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Who are the top five NFL quarterbacks? Readers choose

NFL.com has spent much of Wednesday discussing what defines a top-shelf quarterback. (Actually, our editors used the dreaded "e" word, but Around the League made an important vow to not call anyone e---- during Super Bowl week.)


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Kimberly Jones also wrote a great piece making the case that Joe Flacco is simply carrying the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. (Can't argue with that.) But does that really make him a top quarterback, or do you need sustained regular-season success?

We asked NFL.com readers on Twitter for their top five quarterbacks, and the results were surprising. The quarterbacks mentioned the most:

1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Drew Brees
4. Aaron Rodgers
5. Eli Manning
6. Joe Flacco

Brady and Manning nearly had identical votes. I'm shocked Rodgers wasn't higher; he would be the first guy I mentioned. I'm also surprised Flacco nearly cracked the top five. As fans, we are often too focused on wins and losses that are out of a quarterback's control.

If Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore hadn't blown his assignment in the Broncos' divisional-round loss, I doubt Flacco would be mentioned in the top eight. Flacco is a complete quarterback who can make any throw, but he hasn't yet been consistently great over a 16-game regular-season schedule. That's what defines greatness to me.

There was a huge drop-off after Flacco in the voting. The rest of the list:

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7. Russell Wilson
8. Ben Roethlisberger
9. Robert Griffin III

Yikes. Wilson had a great rookie season, but it's insane that Roethlisberger isn't higher. He might be the most oddly underrated two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback ever. Roethlisberger has been one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL for a long time, and he's only improved his overall game during his career.

Also notably absent: Tony Romo. Put Romo on the New York Giants or Ravens for the past decade, and I'm convinced he would have reached a Super Bowl or two.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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