Montana, Unitas listed among the best quarterbacks ever ......

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: MICHAEL WORKMAN - Peyton Manning ranks high among the best-ever at quarterback in the NFL.We asked our 11 experts two extra questions:

Where do Tom Brady and Peyton Manning rank among the greatest ever as NFL quarterbacks?

Who is the greatest ever at the position?

All put Tom Brady and Peyton Manning among the top 10 of all time.

The tally for the greatest ever reads this way: Joe Montana five votes, Brady four, Johnny Unitas two.

Comments from our panelists:

• June Jones: "I have great respect for Montana and Manning for their mind-set and ability to win a game on the last drive. Brady has had his clutch moments, too, and he has more Super Bowl wins than Peyton. But I say Montana first, Manning second as the two greatest ever."

• Warren Moon: "Brady and Manning are both top-five guys. Competitiveness is something you can't coach. Peyton and Tom have that, which separates them from most others. They are so ultra-competitive, and they put the time and work in to be in full command. I still have Montana and John Elway at the top. If Tom makes another Super Bowl, I'd have to put him ahead of John, and Peyton is right there behind John. They've been able to do it over a long period of time. That's how I judge quarterbacks — longevity and success."

• Terry Baker: "In my time, Unitas was at the top of his game. You couldn't stop him. I'd still put him No. 1. Steve Young is one guy who gets overlooked, but he had great credentials and was a tremendous scrambler. He was faster than any of the running backs."

• Derek Anderson: "Brady and Manning are right there close to the top. Tom has a little bit of the edge with his four Super Bowl wins, but they're both unbelievable quarterbacks. I'd say Brady is No. 1, with Montana and Elway behind them. Elway had a great ability to run and scramble, and his elusiveness is something that came before most guys did that. I just love the way Montana played. He didn't have the strongest arm, but got the ball to his guys in space and let them make plays."

• Matt Moore: "Brady and Manning are No. 1 and 1A on my list. Those two guys have done it at such a high level for a long period of time. You talk about skills, the mental part and leadership — they have the whole package. I'd go with Brady because of his Super Bowl victories. One of the most important stats is winning."

• Akili Smith: "Until Brady won the Super Bowl last year, I had Montana No. 1 and Brady No. 2. Now I have Brady No. 1. He has been there six times, he's won it four times, and he's doing it in the salary cap era, where there is more parity and rosters are in flux every year. Montana had the opportunity to play with the same core of teammates for years. Brady is doing it with different weapons every year. That's phenomenal. But I like Manning, too. He's a flat-out winner."

• Chris Miller: "Manning is a consummate pro, one of the classiest NFL quarterbacks ever. Brady was a sixth-round pick, and he's had a chip on his shoulder, wanting to prove the world wrong. What incredible competitive drive and desire. I'd put them in the top six with Elway, Dan Marino, Montana and Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers will work his way up there before he's through. Terry Bradshaw was awesome, but the Steelers had a phenomenal defense and a great running game. I'd say first Montana and then Brady."

• Neil Lomax: "Brady and Manning are both top 10. Montana was the best. He never ran, was a pure pocket passer and did not have to throw the ball 50 yards. But what he did with his abilities and was able to do with that team in the '80s was incredible. And he didn't have the physical presence."

• Joey Harrington: "Brady and Manning have been able to do it with as much grace and humility as anybody I've seen. As a kid, I saw the greatness of Marino, Elway and Montana. From my time as an adult, it's hard for me to start a team with anybody but Brady. Montana had Jerry Rice and John Taylor and Brent Jones and Roger Craig around him. Manning won one Super Bowl. Favre won only one. Marino never won one. What Brady has done with a truly unremarkable cast of characters — his ability to take whatever he is dealt and turn it into a winning hand — tips the scale for me."

• Mouse Davis: "Brady is spectacular. So is Manning. He isn't quite as athletic as Brady, but both of them are great, right at the top of the ladder. I really like Montana. I had a guy named Jeff George in Atlanta who was unbelievable as a passer, but he wasn't in the class of a guy like Montana as a quarterback. There are more important things than the ability to throw."

• Dan Fouts: "I hate to compare eras, but Brady and Manning are in the top 10. I can make an argument for 10 guys being the best without having to think that hard. Of this era, they're the two best. Overall, I'd pick Unitas. I could project him being an All-Pro in today's game. The timing routes, toughness, leadership and record (118-64-4), he had it all. If he played today, he would be right up there among the very best."

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