Brady, Manning among the six in elite grouping

Who's platinum level? Who's gold? Find out which category best fits each of the league's starting QBs.

Updated: September 15, 2005, 3:23 PM ET
By Chris Mortensen | ESPN Insider
One thing is never going to change about the NFL. The quarterback is usually going to be the hero or the goat. Forget that it's a team game. Forget that playing quarterback in this league is more physically, mentally and emotionally demanding than ever before. Nobody wants to use rationale in defining most of these guys.

In fact, I am always amazed by how many fans and media members want to denigrate a quarterback such as Peyton Manning, Brett Favre or Michael Vick, all in the name of Tom Brady. When you have so few elite quarterbacks, can't we just enjoy all of them?

So, as usual, I have kept a file of notes from conversations with general managers, scouts, coaches, players and former quarterbacks who have their own views of the guys under center in today's NFL.

It's all subjective and we're not going to rate them Nos. 1 through 32, but we will break them down into four medal levels -- platinum, gold, silver and bronze along with a special category -- with names listed in alphabetical order in each grouping. You might be surprised.

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