My List, My Rules

December 5th, 2018


Drew Brees casts a major shadow over Sunday’s big game at Raymond James Stadium.

It’s a big game for the Saints because they can clinch the NFC South title at 11-2 and prove that the 13-10 loss in Dallas was a mere blip on a dominant season.

And it’s a big game for the home team, which can sweep New Orleans, improve to 5-2 at home and make the final three games of the season quite interesting.

As usual, Brees looms large, despite a relatively small frame.

He is 16-10 in his career against Tampa Bay, with 51 TD passes and only 26 interceptions. The Bucs have sacked Brees 34 times and a surging pass rush will be tested against one of the NFL’s premier offensive lines.

The Cowboys hit Brees repeatedly in prime time as the Saints were limited to only 176 yards, their lowest output of the Brees/Sean Payton era.

“We won 10 a row and we felt like we were rolling,” Brees said. “Now, it’s time to get that mojo back.”

No. 9 returns to Tampa on Sunday

Brees has already thrown for more yards than any quarterback in league annals — and he’s looking to pad those numbers against Tampa Bay’s young but spirited secondary.

Earlier this season, as Brees closed in on some cherished NFL records, I had the audacity to suggest to Chris Russo on SIRIUS Radio that Brees belongs on a list of the game’s Top 10 quarterbacks of all time.

The Mad Dog barked at me, apparently upset that I had Brees ranked ahead of Trent Dilfer. Sorry, Chris. Like the late Tom Petty, I won’t back down, so here’s my Top 10:

No. 10. Roger Staubach –  Roger the Dodger won four NFL passing titles and the Cowboys were never out of a game while No. 12 was under center.

No. 9. Brees – He turns 40 next month, but Brees shows no signs of slowing down. The cast around him constantly changes, but Brees always seems to have the Saints offense among the league leaders.

No. 8. Brett Favre – Won three consecutive MVP awards and set new standards for durability at the position. One of the great gunslingers.

No. 7. Dan Marino – Stunned the league with a then-record 48 TD passes in 1984, just his second pro season. Fabulous arm, quick release, but never had enough defense in Miami to earn a Super Bowl ring.

No. 6. John Elway – Master of the fourth-quarter comeback, he went out on top with back-to-back Super Bowl championships.

No. 5. Otto Graham – Guided Browns to 10 division or league crowns in 10 years. When you’ve earned Paul Brown’s trust, you deserve to take a bow.

No. 4. Johnny Unitas – Rose from the scrap heap to become a 3-time Player of the Year. Led Colts to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959.

No. 3. Peyton Manning – Only player with five MVP awards, Manning was named to 14 Pro Bowls. Nobody prepared harder, or smarter.

No. 2. Joe Montana – Named Super Bowl MVP three times and threw 11 TD passes on the NFL’s biggest stage, without a single interception.

No. 1. Tom Brady – Has five Super Bowl rings and directed New England to the championship game on three other occasions. Still going strong at the age of 41. The NFL’s ultimate competitor.

Who didn’t make the cut? Terry Bradshaw, Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young, Bart Starr.

Hey, it’s my list, my rules.

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at world headquarters in July of 2016, and Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. His award-winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. And everything is presented by Ed Morse Cadillac Tampa and Ed Morse Cadillac Brandon. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Also a TV star, Ira is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show at 10:30 a.m. “The Sage” enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Bette Midler, Chiefs victories and needling Joe. …Don’t forget to WATCH IRA AND DERRICK BROOKS on the new TAMPA TWO show from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.

20 Responses to “My List, My Rules”

  1. BucfanBF Says:

    You can argue for Terry Bradshaw!! He was only of a few QB’s who called his own plays at the line of scrimmage his entire career…..

  2. Bucs fans short memories Says:

    No Aaron Rodgers….lol Garbage list. Obviously an old mans opinion living in the past with most of these names.

  3. Buc407 Says:

    Good list. I’d bump out Otto graham and staubach With Rodgers And Steve young

  4. JimmyJack Says:

    No respect for a Top Ten list that does not include Steve Young yet includes Brett Farve and has Manning in the Top 3.

  5. 813bucboi Says:

    #10…#5…#4 were before my time…….but i like the list….


  6. Doctor_berto Says:


    Favre was better than Young and its not even close. And I don’t think anyone can debate Peyton top 3 except you I guess.

  7. ndog Says:

    Where Jameis Ira???? I kid I kid.

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Bucs fans short memories- Is Rodgers a “sure-fire” 1st ballot HOF’er? I’m not sure about that.
    Brees has been consistent AND durable throughout his entire career. He ranks above Rodgers IMO.

  9. DB55 Says:

    Cowboys showed us that to beat the saint you either our score them or punch them in the face. I say do them both. Now that we have some NYers on the squad we don’t seem as soft do we?

  10. Brandon Says:

    BucfanBF Says:
    December 5th, 2018 at 10:35 am
    You can argue for Terry Bradshaw!! He was only of a few QB’s who called his own plays at the line of scrimmage his entire career…..


    EVERYBODY did that in his era, even in the 80’s it was done in the huddle (not t the line of scrimmage, which Bradshaw DID NOT do).

    Terry was almost benched for the entire first half of his career. While Staubach was putting out multiple 100+ rating seasons, Bradshaw struggled to complete half of his passes, or throw more TDs than INTs…. that despite having Hall of Fame players at both WR positions, RB, and offensive line… not to mention the best defense of its era. Fine, put him and game manager extraordinaire Aikman in the Hall of Fame… but please don’t confuse these two completely overrated players as two of the best QBs to ever play the game… not even close!

  11. Brandon Says:

    JimmyJack Says:
    December 5th, 2018 at 11:25 am
    No respect for a Top Ten list that does not include Steve Young yet includes Brett Farve and has Manning in the Top 3


    No respect for somebody and their opinion if they can’t spell FAVRE correctly or think that Manning and his boatloads of NFL records as well as two Super Bowl wins aren’t worthy of being considered a top QB. Top 3… top 5… he belongs way up there somewhere…. oh and BucFanBF might be interested to know that Peyton Manning ACTUALLY called entire games from the line of scrimmage for most of his career… which Bradshaw never did.

  12. ATLBucsfan Says:

    Good list Ira. Nobody else’s matters!

  13. JimmyJack Says:

    Farve was overrated. He made a career of choking in the biggest games.

    He wouldn’t even be in my top 25.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    Young didn’t have the longevity as the others. That’s the only thing that keeps him out of my top 3.

    If you discuss top QBs in their prime Young is #1.

  15. Onetrickpony Says:

    Farve vs Sapp, I miss those games. Sorry off topic

  16. SenileSenior Says:

    I know Graham and Unitas only by reputation. I like your list. We can quibble about the order for some of them.

    I have seen all of those mentioned including Rogers. I cant argue which were actually the best. My favorite three are Montana, Elway and then Brady.

    Brady has the most Super Bowl rings of course.

  17. DB55 Says:


    I can’t help but to point out that you did not list Jameis Winston. Obvious oversight on your part I know you getting older and stuff….

  18. Iron Wombat Says:

    No. 3. Peyton Manning – Only player with five MVP awards, Manning was named to 14 Pro Bowls. Nobody prepared harder, or smarter.

    Except for the post season where he was mediocre at best and played especially bad in Superbowls. Where his 2 wins were attributed to a dominant defense dragging his carcass across the finish line.

  19. uckinator Says:

    As much as I dislike Tom Brady and the cheaters from New England, I have to agree that Mr. Brady is number one on my list as well. Amazing for a guy that was picked in the 7th round. For the best form while throwing, go with Dan Marino. His ball came out with a quick release like a rocket with amazing accuracy. A beautiful thing to watch.

  20. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Staubach missed 4 years during 60’s serving in the Navy or he may have won
    another SB or 2.
    C’mon Ira, if you had 1 game to win for all the marbles, you’re telling me you’d pick Brady over Montana?