The National Football League’s love-child/man-crush/obsession, Tom Brady (he is easy on the eyes), completed his second season after missing the entire 2008-year with a severe knee injury in the New England Patriots’ first game. And Brady was back to his old ways as he netted the MVP award and had arguably the best season of his career, leading his team to a NFL-best 14-2 record.
In a highly publicized move, the Denver Broncos drafted University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow with the 25th pick of the 2010 draft (much to the chagrin of John Elway). The media’s fascination with Tebow created a stir in Denver and brought a whole new meaning to “quarterback controversy.” Fans clamored for his insertion into the starting QB gig late in the season after the team fell out of contention, and it put the whole organization in a tough spot. The Broncos eventually gave in and Tebow became the most exciting player in the league. His dreadful passing accuracy was partially negated by his running ability. Something about a Christianity preaching, 6-foot-3, 235 pound Caucasian QB barreling through the middle of the field with no intent to slide was completely captivating. And this was just the beginning of the Tebow craze.
With that said, here are the Top 5 quarterbacks of 2010:
5 Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Brees was coming off of the best season of his career. He was arguably the most efficient QB on this list as he completed a league-high 68.1 percent of his passes. He also set the mark for second most completed passes in a single season with 448. The problem was that he threw too many interceptions. He threw 33 touchdowns, which tied Manning for second in the league, but he threw the second most interceptions, with 22 (Peyton’s little brother Eli led the league with 25; but he turned out just fine). As a result, his QB rating suffered and dropped to 90.9, which was good for 12th in the league. Brees and the defending champion Saints were eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Seattle Seahwaks in a huge upset. The Saints 11-5 record was much stronger than the Seahawks’ 7-9 record going into the contest.
4 Phillip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
Rivers had a great season and narrowly missed out on a number three rank here. Although his numbers might merit that consideration, his Chargers’ 9-7 record was one loss shy of Manning’s Colts and they navigated equal offenses. Rivers and the Chargers missed the playoffs by one game, but it was not his fault. He put up phenomenal numbers! His 4,710 passing yards led the league (he had no running game, so had to pass to keep the chains moving). He also tossed 30 TDs (5th), completed 66 percent of his passes (3rd) and his QB rating of 101.8 was the second highest in the NFL. With a slightly better supporting cast, Rivers could have potentially been the best QB in 2010.
3 Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts)
No surprise here. You might have heard about this guy. He has done a few commercials, won a few games, mixed in a Super Bowl win and four MVP awards. Manning is the NFL’s version of Marcus Wright in “Terminator Salvation,” half man-half machine. The Terminator threw for 4,700 yards (tied for 2nd), 33 TDs (2nd), completed 66.3 percent of his passes (2nd) and posted a 91.9 QB rating (10th). In 2010, Manning set the all-time record for completions in a season with 450. The Colts went 10-6 and lost 17-16 to the New York Jets in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
2 Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)
The entire 2010 season was somewhat of a coming-out party for Rodgers. He proved that he was an elite quarterback in previous seasons, but he still needed to win the big game. In 2010, Rodgers won every big game en route to winning Super Bowl XLV. Even more impressively, he did it with a mediocre running game. His 101.2 QB rating was third best in the league. He also threw 28 TDs (6th), 3,922 yards (7th) and completed 65.7 percent of his passes (6th). Rodgers was even better in the playoffs, and as the games got bigger, so did he. Rodgers carried his team to playoff victories over the Philadelphia Eagles (wild card), Atlanta Falcons (NFC divisionals), Chicago Bears (NFC Championship) and the Steelers in the grand finale.
1 Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Brady led the Patriots to a dominant 14-2 season and was deservedly named the league’s MVP. He also became the fastest QB to 100 wins (131 games). He was unstoppable as he threw for a league-high 36 touchdowns, while being intercepted a league-low four times. Those marks led to his league-best 111.0 QB rating. Brady officially put any doubts about his knee injury to rest. The Patriots eventually lost to the New York Jets in the AFC divisional playoffs.