Regarding the question here, I will say that the two best passers
I've ever seen are Steve Young and Drew Brees. Brees is better mechanically than Young (quicker, more compact release), and better on the shorter throws (Young had a tendency to sail the throws to the flats, which seemed to be a result of his throwing motion), but Young had the most accurate deep ball I've seen. It's a dead heat between the two of them.
Favre at his best beat them both in improvisational throws. That's where he was unmatched - 3rd and 12, pressure is getting there, off his back foot...drilled between three defenders, first down....back broken. Nobody ever took the wind out of my sails as a viewer more than peak Favre.
But for all the brilliant plays he made, you had to live with the added boneheaded moments. Brees certainly has some years where he's trying to force things, but with him it's more a, "I am just that accurate, so I'm going to try this throw" sort of thing, as opposed to just freewheeling. And Young, once he took over the SF starting job, was always smart and disciplined with his passing.
All of these guys are/were much
more talented passers than either Brady or Manning. Manning is brilliant with the mental aspects of the position - he gets players open before the ball is even snapped. But in terms of actually throwing the football, he's truly nothing special. You don't want him trying to thread the needle. Luckily, he normally doesn't have to because he so often creates the matchups/route combinations he wants and gives himself easy targets.
And I've already addressed Brady, who is looking quite ordinary this year without enough WR screens being called and with his 6'6" TE having been out up until this week.
And while I'm going off on a tangent...
I'm not a Rodgers fan, either. I consider him to be another scheme guy, though much more athletic than the other QBs listed among the elite. I don't think he's exceptionally accurate.
Rivers has always been underrated, though I despise his mechanics. Tremendously accurate.
Andrew Luck's lack of accuracy makes me seriously ill at times. And...no pun intended, last night's game was one of the luckiest performances by a QB I've seen in some time. The number of bad/dumb throws and deflections he had last night, resulting in 0 INTs...this guy really pisses me off, because on the surface he would seem to possess all the attributes of a great, cerebral QB. His receivers bailed him out on a number of occasions, too.
He even threw the backside on the Spider Y banana on the play in which Wayne got hurt. The fullback was open. No joke.
He's just missing the ingredients to ever reach elite status.
Makes me wonder what the hell the league is going to look like in 5 years, when Manning/Brady/Brees are gone and idiotic hybrid run/pass QBs are taking over the league.