sorry, tebow didn’t make it on our list of the best nfl quarterbacks of 2011

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The 2011 NFL season had its fair share of memorable moments. It all started in the preseason when half-man, half-machine quarterback Peyton Manning had neck fusion surgery with hopes of being ready for the regular season. After his initial rehabilitation, Peyton was feeling fine but eventually the pain in his neck resurfaced and he was unable to throw without severe discomfort. This misfortune caused Peyton to go under the knife again and his second surgery subsequently ended his season. His Indianapolis Colts (they were literally HIS team) were devastated along with the whole NFL community who all have an overwhelming amount of respect for him as an individual, a quarterback and a hybrid human. Peyton’s absence proved just how important the four-time MVP (which is an esteemed NFL record) really was to the whole culture of the Colts as the team went on to have the worst season in its history (2 wins, 14 losses). In an unfortunate turn of events, the birth of “Tebowing” occurred. Media darling Tim Tebow had an amazing late season run and carried his team into the playoffs after he was plugged into the starting quarterback position. The Denver Broncos started the season 1-4 and decided to switch to Tebow mostly because of the unbelievable outcry from Broncos fans and Denver media. Well, they created a monster! Tebow and the Broncos went 7-4 the rest of the way thanks in large part to his last minute heroics and flair for the dramatic. Seemingly, every time the camera was on him he was kneeling in prayer (hence the term “Tebowing”) or preaching Christianity obsessively. Tebow and the Broncos made the playoffs and even eliminated the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round before being blown out by the New England Patriots. Although Tebow was bestowed with the arm of a kicker, he was blessed with a World War II veteran’s heart. He gave his all every single play and always directed all of the credit to God and his teammates. With his unmatched determination and passion for the game, Tebow earned the love and respect of the whole football community. Quarterbacks had a great year in 2011. The absence of Peyton created a small void in the NFL but there were plenty of QBs that stepped up. Namely, Peyton’s little brother Eli Manning. Now that he was no longer in his brother’s shadow, Eli elevated his play and had the best season of his career. QBs all across the league were emerging (Matt Ryan and Alex Smith) and the rookie class led by number one pick Cam Newton was as strong as it had been in years. With that said, here are the Top 5 quarterbacks of 2011:

5 Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)

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Stafford finally lived up to expectations. After two injury-riddled seasons Stafford remained healthy for a full season in 2011 and showed Detroit that he is the real deal. Stafford seemed to connect with star wide receiver Calvin Johnson for big TDs every single game. The combo was lethal and nobody was able to stop it. Stafford put up career numbers with 5,038 yards (3rd), 41 TDs (3rd), a 63.5 completion percentage (5th) and a QB rating of 97.2 (5th). He led the Lions to a 10-8 record and a playoff berth, but The Lions lost to the Saints in the Wild Card round 45-28  where Stafford was outgunned by Brees. 

4 Eli Manning (New York Giants)

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With big bro out for the season Eli carried the family name admirably. He won his second Super Bowl (topping Peyton who only has one). Eli’s biggest games came when it counted most! First against the favored Packers in the divisional playoffs and then in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. Eli threw for 4,933 yards (4th), 29 TDs (6th) and had a 92.9 QB rating (7th), with Eli and the Giants hoisting the Lombardi trophy when it was all said and done, which the G-Men did it on the strength of his arm.

3 Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

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Is it possible to be the most loved and hated QB in the NFL? If it is then Brady has that spot on lock. Flashing those sought-after looks and waving that good hair every chance he had, Brady led his Patriots to a 13-3. They put an end to “Tebow mania” eliminating the Broncos in the AFC Divisional playoffs and then took out the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship. The Patriots eventually lost to the G-Men in the Super Bowl, though Brady threw for 5,235 yards (2nd), 39 TDs (4th), 65.6 completion percentage (4th) and had a QB rating of 105.6 (3rd). Dapper Tom had a great year but could not top Brees or Rodgers.

2 Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

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If only Rodgers had broken a few passing records! Rodgers had an amazing season in his own right. He carried his team (with a lack of a running game) to a 15-1 record in the regular season. He was picking defenses apart weekly as evidenced by his 45 TDs (2nd) and only 6 interceptions (3rd fewest in the entire league). His 122.5 QB rating led the league and his 68.3 completion percentage was second to Brees’s record mark. Rodgers and the Packers lost to the eventual Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Giants in the NFC Divisional playoffs.

1 Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

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Doesn’t it seem like Brees is breaking records every single season? Well, in 2011 Brees broke three more records and enjoyed the best season of his career statistically. He broke Dan Marino’s all-time record for passing yards in a season as he notched 5,476. He also set the record for completions in a season (468) and had the highest completion percentage over a full season in the league’s history (71.2%). Brees led the league with 46 TD passes and was second with a 110.6 QB rating. Wow! The man is a beast! Little guy, big arm — Brees solidified his standing as the best QB in the NFL with his 2011 season.

The list of top QBs in 2011 was a very difficult one to put together because of the sheer number of quarterbacks that had great seasons. Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton all had fine seasons and warranted consideration, but after careful review, we’re sure this top five list was constructed with all bases covered. These are the Top 5 quarterbacks of 2011. Wouldn’t you agree?

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