Sports Q: Who is the most talented quarterback you’ve ever seen?

Is Tom Brady the most physically talented?

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Chad Finn considers John Elway the most talented quarterback. –Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Welcome to’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. 

He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.

There won’t be much argument among your readers that the greatest quarterback in NFL history is Tom Brady. But I don’t think anyone would say he’s the most physically talented by any means. Who do you think it is? I’d put Cam Newton in that conversation, and it kind of makes me want the Patriots to find a way to bring him here. — Andy H.

Newton would definitely be in the argument — he’s 6-foot-5, is built like an outside linebacker, ran with power and speed, and has a rocket arm. He also won an MVP and got his team to the Super Bowl. If he’s your choice, I’m not going to argue much.


(Don’t think he’d be a fit for the Patriots right now even if they could afford him. Feels like he’s taken too much of a beating to get back to what he used to be.)

I think I’d go with someone else, though — John Elway. He was mobile and even fast as a younger player. And there are few players in the history of the sport that have thrown the ball better. Denver’s receivers used to talk about the “Elway cross” — the mark the point of the ball would leave on their body if they didn’t catch it with their hands. He didn’t have as quick of a release as Dan Marino, but his arm was every bit as good. And he was more accurate and consistent than other super-skilled types like Michael Vick.

Elway probably got more out of mediocre rosters than any quarterback in history. He played in five Super Bowls, losing the first three and winning the final two when he had fellow future Hall of Famer Terrell Davis in the huddle with him. But the skill position talent on those early Super Bowl teams was not all that skilled or talented — he relied on receivers like Ricky Nattiel, Vance Johnson, and Mark Jackson, and running backs like Sammy Winder and Gerald Wilhite. Elway carried those offenses.


The top two quarterbacks I’ve ever seen are Brady and Joe Montana. Elway might be third, but he was more talented than both of them.

But what does everyone else think? Who is the most talented quarterback you’ve ever seen? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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