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Top 5 Quarterback Rivalries in NFL History

When it comes to QB rivalries there's one that stands out above all others - Manning vs. Brady

When it comes to QB rivalries there's one that stands out above all others - Manning vs. Brady

The epic Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs AFC Divisional Playoff game this past weekend seems like we may have a true quarterback rivalry between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes. Is it one of the greatest? Not yet.

A great quarterback rivalry cannot just be confined to the regular season. It has to carry over to the postseason and last for multiple years with each quarterback beating the other in the postseason. This has not happened often.

Will Allen/Mahomes rise to that level? I sure hope so. In the meantime, here are the five greatest times that have in the history of the NFL.

5. Sid Luckman vs. Sammy Baugh

For those of you who do not read much about the pre-Super Bowl era, Luckman quarterbacked the Chicago Bears and Baugh led the Washington Redskins. In the early 1940s, these two teams met for the NFL championship three times in four years. Chicago won two (including an NFL record 73-0 beatdown in 1940) and Washington won one.

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4. Terry Bradshaw vs. Ken Stabler

This contest that started with the “Immaculate Reception” could not be called a rivalry until 1976 since Bradshaw and the Steelers dominated. However, after suffering back-to-back AFC Championship Game losses to the Steelers, Stabler led the Oakland Raiders to the 1976 world championship after beating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. Along the way, the Raiders dispatched the Steelers 24-7 in the conference title game. The rivalry resumed in 1980 when Stabler was traded to the Steelers’ AFC Central rival Houston Oilers. The two teams split regular-season victories in 1980 and ‘81, Stabler’s only two years in Houston.

3. Troy Aikman vs. Steve Young

This rivalry was brief but for four years all eyes were on these two teams and their respective quarterbacks. Both Aikman and Young met in the NFC Championship Game three years in a row and would have met for a fourth had the 49ers not been upset by the Green Bay Packers in the 1995 Divisional Round. The quick decline of the Cowboys and the emergence of the Packers brought this rivalry to an end way too soon.

2. Bobby Layne vs. Otto Graham

Layne’s Lions and Graham’s Browns met for the NFL title three years in a row from 1952-54. Detroit won the first two in close games, but Cleveland prevented a three-peat with a 56-10 walloping in which Graham accounted for six touchdowns.

1. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady

No other rivalry even comes close to this one. Brady and Manning met 17 times with five of those games being played in the postseason. Brady won the first six matchups that included two playoff games and holds an 11-6 lead series. However, Manning won the final three playoff meetings, including the last matchup in the AFC Championship Game in 2016. It also doesn't hurt that this rivalry features two of the top three passers in the history of the game when it comes to both yards and touchdowns.

Related: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady By the Numbers

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.