- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every year, the NFL’s communications department puts out its “Kickoff’’ release, which is filled with all sorts of notes and nuggets. I’ll share some with you in the coming weeks. But let’s start with the first one that really caught my eye.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are generally regarded as the best two quarterbacks in the NFL, and Drew Brees is the unquestioned king of the NFC South. I won’t dispute that. But, in a least one very important category, we have another NFC South quarterback near the top.
That’s Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. When it comes to winning percentage in games started by active quarterbacks (10 games minimum), Ryan is a very close second to Brady. In three seasons, Ryan is 33-13 (a .717 winning percentage). Brady is 111-32 (.776).
Ryan is ahead of the likes of Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, who generally make every list of “elite’’ quarterbacks. By the way, Ryan's 33 victories tie him with Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the most by a quarterback in his first three seasons since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
Brees is 15th on the list with a .577 winning percentage (79-58). Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman is 13-12 (.520).
Then, there’s Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen, who, amazingly is not last on the list. But he is very close with a 1-9 record (.100). Clausen should be very thankful that Tyler Thigpen is 1-11 (.083) and Brodie Croyle is winless in his 10 NFL starts.