Class of 83'
Looking back, people always talk about how great the class of 1983 was for quarterbacks. Well looking back they were dominant. The big "3" Marino, Elway, and Kelly all are in the Hall of Fame. But looking closer they totally dominated the AFC. Taking into consideration the years when at least two of the big three were still in the league (a span from 1983-1998) did you know that one of these quarterbacks represented the AFC in the Superbowl a mind-boggling 10 times(Elway-5, Kelly-4, and Marino-1). Over that span only 6 times was the AFC represented by a quarterback of any other class. That is crazy success. Look even closer at their representation in the AFC Championship:
1997-Elway(W)(Kelly retired after 1996 season)
1998-Elway(W)(Elway retires, Marino goes one more year)
That means 12 out of the 16 years one of the AFC championship teams was led by a QB of the 1983 class. Those three were dominant.
Class of 2004
Now I am unsure if any class will ever compare to the class of '83, but the class of 2004 is having some early success (not as much success as the class of 83). So far here are the stats of the big 3 of 1983 (E.Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger).
Eli Manning- (1) Conference Championship Appearance [Win], (1) Super Bowl Appearance [TBD]
Philip Rivers- (1) Conference Championship Appearance [Loss]
Ben Roethlisberger- (2) Conference Championship Appearances [Loss/Win], (1) Super Bowl Appearance [Win]
It is very early and well 2 of these QBs are at an extreme disadvantage of playing in the same conference as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but the class of 2004 is shaping up to at least be talked about as one of the top drafts of successful QBs.
I am a huge Tom Brady fan. All he does is win. Until this year he was not the statistical monster that Peyton Manning or Dan Marino were, but he was a successful QB like Joe Montana. Some people would kill me for even making the comparison between Montana and Brady, but folks if Brady wins it all this year with the Pats he will be just as successful as Montana with a chance to pass him in the years to come. (Pacifist Viking might not remember this, but back in the day I remember him praising Tom Brady and calling him the next Joe Montana). But lets look at their playoff success (for this purpose I am not counting Montana's time at Kansas City were he was 2-2 in the playoffs and made one AFC championship game-These will be listed in the years of the seasons not the year of the Super Bowl).
1982- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
1983- Conference Championship Appearance (1-1)
1984- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
1985- Wild Card (0-1)
1986- Division (0-1)
1987- Division (0-1)
1988- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
1989- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
1990- Conference Championship Appearance (1-1)
Total Playoff Accomplishments
Record-(14-5) [16-7 if you include KC]
Super Bowl Appearances- 4 (4-0)
Conference Championship Appearances- 6 (4-2) [7 if you include KC (4-3)]
2001- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
2003- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
2004- Super Bowl Winner (3-0)
2005- Division (1-1)
2006- Conference Championship Appearance (2-1)
2007- Super Bowl Appearance (2-0/TBD)
Total Playoff Accomplishments
Super Bowl Appearances- 4 (3-0/TBD)
Conference Championship Appearances- 5 (4-1)
If Brady wins it this season it will no longer be wrong to call him as good as Joe Montana.
I spent last week defending Eli Manning as a "good" quarterback over at The Sports Flow. I was arguing that Eli Manning gets a bad rap because everyone expects/expected him to be at Peyton's level instantly rather than letting him develop into that realm. He was heaped on expectation that he could not live up to, but fact is Eli Manning is a good quarterback and now he is a Super Bowl appearance QB. His record in the playoffs is now 3-2. He has lead his team to the playoffs every year that he has been the full time starter. Eli Manning is a good and successful QB and now he may not be the statistical monster that Peyton Manning is, but he has had earlier playoff success than his brother did. Peyton's first 3 playoff appearances were one losses, while Eli's third playoff appearance has led to the Super Bowl. [Now I am not saying Eli is as good as Peyton and one must also remember that Peyton has had to contend with Tom Brady and the Patriots most of his career]. Eli Manning is a "good" quarterback and the Giants have to be happy. How much is his success this year to be attributed to Tiki Barber's retirement?
(All statistical information was accessed at pro-football-reference.com_