We were under the impression that the best way to gauge popularity in the NFL was to see which players had the highest-selling jerseys. Of course, what we failed to realize was that there might actually be an easier way to figure this out. One could simply ask the fans. In early February, the good folks at Public Policy Polling surveyed 410 “self described NFL fans” with the hopes of getting to the bottom of some questions that are easily of the utmost importance to those who love the National Football League.
The most obvious question of them all: Who is your favorite quarterback in the NFL? While fans had to choose from a specific list of quarterbacks, 9% of them actually went with the response: “Someone else/Don’t have a favorite.” If we were to make that answer “No. 10″ on the list of popular quarterbacks, then that would leave us with nine other QBs to rank. With that in mind, where do the rest of these individuals fall on the popularity scale? Let’s find out.
9. Drew Brees
Despite missing out on the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2007, Drew Brees still put up ridiculous numbers in 2015. He led the NFL in passing yards with 4,870, completed 68.3% of his passes, threw 32 touchdowns, and only had 11 interceptions. Given that he is now 36 years old, the debate will continue to rage on as to whether or not the quarterback’s days with the Saints are numbered. However, given this information, one thing cannot be debated: The people like Brees.
6. Ben Roethlisberger (Tie)
Ben Roethlisberger was only able to start 11 regular season games this year, yet it was enough to remind everyone just how important he is to the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Big Ben started under center, not only did the Steelers go 7-4, but they looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Of course, as we all know, that didn’t happen. We guess Roethlisberger will have to look at this ranking as a nice consolation prize. Although, we doubt he’ll see it that way.
6. Eli Manning (Tie)
While Eli Manning didn’t finish 2015 with the same sort of team success as his older brother, he did manage to win the battle from a statistical standpoint. The New York Giants quarterback threw for 4,436 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just 14 interceptions. Clearly this was enough to help Eli nab 6% of the vote. Unfortunately, he and Roethlisberger weren’t the only ones to reach this percentage.
6. Russell Wilson (Tie)
Although Russell Wilson wasn’t able to lead the Seattle Seahawks to their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, that didn’t stop him from having a breakout season of his own. The three-time Pro Bowler threw for 4,024 yards, 34 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, while completing 68.1% of his passes. If anything, we now know that the Seahawks can easily build an offense around their superstar quarterback. That and the fact that he’s fairly popular among NFL fans.
5. Tim Tebow
So this happened. Even without taking a snap in the 2015 regular season, Tim Tebow managed to be voted the fifth most popular quarterback in the entire NFL. We’re not sure who should be more embarrassed, the QBs who got beaten out by Tebow or those who actually picked him in the first place. Seriously, stop trying to make “Tebow Time” happen. It’s not going to happen.
4. Cam Newton
While Cam Newton was unable to lead the Carolina Panthers to a victory in Super Bowl 50, there is reason to believe that this year’s MVP may have developed into the game’s best player. Whether he was torching defenses with his rocket arm, overpowering them with his superhuman strength, or taking over a game with his legs, Newton electrified fans each and every time he stepped onto the gridiron. In doing so, he did more than just make his end zone celebrations something to look forward to, he also “dabbed” his way up the quarterback popularity chart. And trust us, that’s no small task.
3. Aaron Rodgers
The 2015 numbers might not suggest it, but we have a hard time believing there is a better quarterback in the NFL than Aaron Rodgers. As far as the position is concerned, the guy has the whole package. The Green Bay Packers gunslinger is insanely accurate, ridiculously intelligent, and has the skill and confidence to make any throw required of him. Toss in the fact that he is crushing it as a spokesperson in the commercial world, and it’s no wonder that 13% of the fans polled are on Team Rodgers. We’re right there with them.
2. Peyton Manning
It wasn’t pretty, but Peyton Manning still found a way to topple the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 and go on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in his career. If you ask us, now would be the perfect time for him to quit while he’s ahead. And while we have no idea if the five-time NFL MVP will ride off into the sunset, maybe knowing that he is the second-most popular quarterback in the NFL will make the decision to leave the game a little bit easier. Then again, considering how competitive the future Hall of Famer is, this may actually make him want to keep playing. It’s No. 1 or nothing at all.
1. Tom Brady
It’s good to be Tom Brady. The man is an 11-time Pro Bowler, a two-time First-Team All-Pro, a two-time league MVP, and the winner of four Super Bowls. In case you didn’t know, the last feat put him in some pretty elite company. And now, thanks to these particular results, we can add another accomplishment to his already impressive resume: America’s Favorite NFL Quarterback.