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Modern QBs vs. Their Legendary Predecessors


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It’s easy to take a Hall of Fame quarterback and place him on a pedestal over anyone playing for his former team. Miami may never see another Dan Marino and New England might wait decades before the next Tom Brady. But in fantasy, none of that matters. In fantasy, Joe Flaccos and Matt Ryans reign supreme while legends fall out of the first round.

Colin Kaepernick and Steve Young

The sophomore sensation in San Francisco had a stellar season that nearly led the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory and cemented Kaepernick’s spot as starting quarterback over Alex Smith. It’s easy to fall for Kaepernick’s fantasy allure —a quarterback who poses a double threat in the air and on the grass. Kaepernick threw for 1,814 yards and ran for another 415 in 2012. That’s only half as many rushing yards as Robert Griffin III, but still an impressive number compared to a pocket passer like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

But Steve Young still did it better. In a twist of fate favoring the Bay Area, one of the greatest all-time quarterbacks (Joe Montana) was followed immediately by Young with all the same passing power and the legs to complement. Young has six 3,000-plus passing yard seasons under his belt and several more where he rushed for 400 yards or more. Kaepernick does have veteran receiver Anquan Boldin this season, but it won’t be enough to pass the true double threat from San Francisco.

Winner: Young

Peyton IFrame Manning and John Elway

Despite a disappointing first-round playoff loss, Manning had an accomplished first season as a Denver Bronco. His 4,659 throwing yards and 37 touchdown passes doesn’t just warrant bragging rights following a neck surgery, it was one of the best statistical seasons in Manning’s career (plus a great way to shut up the critics).

Elway’s numbers are nothing to be ashamed of, but when it comes to regular season stats, Manning is just ridiculous. Elway only cracked the 4,000-yard mark once (and barely, at 4,030). Manning has done that an insane 12 times. Only twice did he fail to reach 4,000 yards and even then, Manning put up 3,700-plus each time. Elway is one of the greats, but the numbers just don’t lie.

Winner: Manning

Tony Romo and Troy Aikman

Careful. Your first instinct will tell you, “well, obviously Aikman is better,” and if you were putting a real-life gunner in your lineup, you’d be right. But this isn’t real life, this is fantasy (sorry), and the shocking truth isn’t just that Romo beats out Aikman, he embarrasses him.

Keep in mind, Aikman had Emmitt Smith running the ball and the NFL is a completely different league today, but even with all that considered it just isn’t close. Like Manning, Romo is a consistent 4,000-plus yard passer, doing it four out of the last six seasons. Aikman didn't even do it once, ever, in his long career. Despite the complete domination of “America’s Team” in the 1990s, 3,445 passing yards was the most he ever had in a season(1992). 

It’s tough to write down Romo’s name in any context that is positive, but second place is so far behind, it’s still in the starting blocks.

Winner: Romo