Tom Brady, Peyton Manning: History's Greatest Winners

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 13, 2014



(Note: we published a substantially similar story last week. Data below is updated through the 2013 divisional-round playoffs.) 

There’s a reason why the AFC title game, and Brady-Manning Bowl XV will dominate the North American sports scene for the next week:

Tom Brady and Peyton Mannign are  the most prolific winning QBs in NFL history.

Brady's New England Patriots and Manning's Denver Broncos each advanced to the AFC championship game with their team's divisional round victories over the weekend.

The Patriots rushed past the Colts, 43-22 on Saturday; the Broncos held off the Chargers, 24-17, on Sunday.

In addition to advancing to the conference title game, Brady and Manning each advanced up the list of greatest winners in NFL history. Brett Favre remains No. 1 in total victories (199). Manning is No. 2 in total wins (177); Brady is No. 3 (166).

But in terms of win-loss differential, Brady and Manning are easily unchallenged as the greatest of all time.

Brady is a spectacular +116 in career win-loss differential (166-50); Manning is the only one close at +93 (177-84). If each plays two to three more seasons, they are likely to become history's first 200-win quarterbacks.

After them, it’s a distant drop to No. 3: no less a legend than Joe Montana, who was +79 in win-loss differential.

Montana is the greatest Super Bowl QB in history, winning four championships in four opportunities, and a player who helped revolutionize our concept of modern football.

The nation will be glued to the AFC title game Sunday afternoon; it's likely to set some sort of ratings record. The game's biggest asset is that it pits two legendary winners at the most important position in sports.

We looked at every QB in NFL history who won at least 100 games to see who won most consistently. It’s a fairly short list of 21 performers. Most of those quarterbacks are in the Hall of Fame or will be in the Hall of Fame, with a couple exceptions.

None of these legends came even close to Brady and Manning at the most important task of all: winning games.


The 100 Win Club (ranked by win-loss differential)

RankPlayerWLTPWPLAll WAll LWin %Diff
1Tom Brady148430187166500.769+116
2Peyton Manning1677301011177840.677+93
3Joe Montana117470167133540.711+79
4Brett Favre186112013111991230.618+76
5John Elway148821148162900.643+72
6Terry Bradshaw107510145121560.684+65
7Johnny Unitas11864463124670.649+57
8Ben Roethlisberger95470104105510.673+54
9Dan Marino1479308101551030.601+52
10Ken Stabler9649176103550.652+48
11Steve Young9449097103560.648+47
12Bart Starr9457691103580.64+45
13Jim Kelly10159098110670.621+43
14Donovan McNabb9862197107690.608+38
15Drew Brees11075064116800.595+36
16Phil Simms9564064101680.598+33
17Troy Aikman94710115105760.58+29
18Dave Krieg9877046102830.551+19
19Frank Tarkenton1241096651301140.533+16
20Drew Bledsoe9895043102980.51+4
21Warren Moon1021010371051080.493-3

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