I am sick of reading about 3 vs. 4 stars, so here is something different. I vote Harbaugh. I was just a kid when he was at UofM, but I can remember going to the spring game when I was 5 or 6 and he gave his wristbands to my cousin after the game. He was my favorite player after that. On a more subjective note, he put up terrific passing stats that still rank pretty high in the records on a team that was, until that point, a running offense. He had a great arm, could scramble, and played with a ton of heart. I remember seeing him (albeit in the pros for Indy) follow a running back's fumble into a pile against a D lineman and come out with a broken nose and the football. If he didn't get hurt in his upperclass years, he might have won the heisman. There are players ranked higher statistically, but much of that comes from a system change. (example: Does anyone think John Navarre was better?) I was in college from Dreisbach to Henson, and saw some great QB's, with Henson being the best tools wise, but I still vote Harbaugh.
Who was the best UofM QB?
Benny to Bennie would have been fun to watch.
Agreed. On Friedman and the Yankees.
CONER! or Malletsaurusrex hmmmmm choices, choices.
I will never forget the game when Leach basically beat OSU by himself. Can't remember the year. Anybody?
is my favorite Wolverine ever. He was so unlike any other quarterback at that time. He's the man.
Not only was Leach a great QB but, he's still a vocal, great Michigan Man! That puts him at the top of my list and it also eliminates Harbaugh after he bashed his alma mater in the press about education.
Henne's hurt by that goose egg against OSU, Brady split time as a senior, Henson bailed for the Yanks and OSU alum Stienbrenner.
As for the poster who claims Montana is only recognized because of his Super Bowl rings may I suggest you look at his stats. The only 3X SB MVP, no interceptions in the SB, all the great comebacks. Try to name some of the offensive weapons the 49ers had in their first SB win.
Henne, except for the dead arm game, came up huge in every big game he needed too. I don't think you can blame him.
Grbac was pretty darn good.
Because you can't mean that.
He started the statue qb trend.
Do you know that Grbac led the nation in passing efficiency one year? He also quarterbacked us to three straight Big Ten titles. I wouldn't call him our best ever, but he doesn't deserve your ridicule.
I ridiculed the notion of him as the best ever, the subject of this thread.
I don't think he was our best ever, but he's not so far from the top that it's a laughable idea. Do you remember him as well as you think? Check out his stats:
522-835 (62.5%), 6,460 yards, 71 TD, 31 INT, 7.7 YPA.
That's one of the best stat lines anyone's ever put up at this school.
he would throw at the worst moments. I'm not knocking him, his stats are there, and the throw to Desmond against ND is enough on it's own to put him in our hearts. But he was not a great big game QB.
Grbac went 6-2-3 in career starts against ND, OSU and MSU. Those teams werent chopped liver as during Elivs' time our three main rivals were either legit National Title contenders or solid top-20 teams. One of those losses was the controversial MSU/Desmond P.I. game. He never lost to Ohio State. He won a Rose Bowl, something only four UM quarterbacks have done since 1966.
You might want to reconsider 'he's not a big game QB'
And, if you have time detail some INTs. I'm interested in this....memory is hazy at best on the play by plays at times during early 1990s games. The BIG ONE that stands out in my mind is his TD pass to a wide open Michael Stonebreaker in the end zone in the 1990 game. Well, it was in the end zone, and Stonebreaker played for ND, so I guess it was not a TD.
were it not for that 4th quarter pick. That game and the ND game in 1992 were the ones that stick in my memory and led to the comment. In '92 Elvis threw 3 int's against ND. We outgained them thoroughly (as I recall) but were done in by those picks.
Navarre was indisputably Michigan's best QB from 2003-2003.
Brady or Grbac!
The answer is obvious: Tate. And according to another thread, he'll do it in three years because he'll be going pro then.
Brian Griese anyone? This is sort of where Joe Montana gets thrown around in best NFL QBs ever discussion. Griese didn't have the best tools or put up anywhere near what could be considered gaudy stats, but he has one thing that the others don't...an NC (or half of one). #2 could have something to do with all of that I suppose.
Just inciting discussion...If we're talking QBs I remember watching (I'm 26) I would say a tie between Henne and Grbac.
Are you suggesting that Montana didn't have the best tools or didn't put up gaudy stats?
I guess what I'm saying is that as good a college QB as Griese was, he never went out and dominated like Montana did over and over and over again. Griese played within himself and the offense and made some great plays here and there. Montana did all that while imposing his will on the entire rest of the league game in and game out.
I guess, bottom line: I don't think the comparison is very apt.
I agree comparing Griese to Montana is a joke in 99% of discussions, however in discussions titled "best QB ever at/in ___" it makes sense. Here's how...
If Montana hadn't won 4 rings would he be considered one of the best NFL QBs of all-time? Probably not.
1) He never threw for over 4,000 yds and only once threw for over 30 TDs. Compare that to Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady.
2) I don't think it's a stretch to say he wasn't the most physically gifted QB of all-time. He wasn't that mobile and didn't have a laser-rocket arm. Compare his raw skills to Elway (better arm and mobility), Steve Young (more mobile and comparable arm), or Dan Marino (comparable mobility and better arm).
Montana "played within himself" which included being a great leader, crazy accurate, and unbelievable in the clutch. That won him 4 rings and a spot at the table.
Does Griese deserve comparable praise to Montana for his team's accomplishments? No, see my "#2" comment in the original post. But his mentioning in the "best UofM QBs discussion" is because of the end result of his play at QB, similar to Montana.
But he did win a NC which you just cannot discount. He has to be in the discussion unless you are making a full career comparison.
1. Don't downgrade the '97 title by calling it a "half" championship. We have enough rival fans doing that already.
2. Griese absolutely sucked until his senior year. If he'd played anywhere near his senior-year level earlier in his career, you could make a case for him. But he was really bad when he started as a sophomore, and then he couldn't even keep his job the next year. (The only reason the '95 OSU game was close was because Griese threw three awful interceptions.)
3. As a senior, Griese did everything asked of him - but he was asked to do a lot less than a lot of other U-M QBs. He barely threw for 2,000 yards on the season. (The Rose Bowl was practically the only time all year he got to throw downfield.) The defense was the main reason we went undefeated. If we could have had that kind of defensive dominance in other years, we'd have won a few other national titles.
1) Agreed, I'm the first to jump down rival friends' throats when they play the 1/2 NC card. I was just foolin'
2) & 3) See "Just inciting discussion" section of original post. I know he wasn't that great out there, but he came up big when he needed to and didn't mess it up. He was our own mini-Trent Dilfer.
Rose Bowl stats: 18/30 for 251 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
...end of story.
The only reason he doesn't have Harbaugh, Grbac, or Navarre-like stats is because he was splitting time w/ Greise and Henson. But if we're talking about BEST rather than MOST-ACCOMPLISHED, I think there is no way you can consider anyone else.
To detractors, I point you to the 2000 Orange Bowl vs. Alabama.
The "split time" argument is waaaaay overplayed. Brady threw 341 passes to Henson's 90. He also threw more passes that year than guys like Griese, Grbac, Collins, Harbaugh, or anyone not named "Henne" or "Navarre" ever threw in a season.
How does Henne get overlooked when talking about the best Michigan QB ever? He was a 4 year starter, holds pretty much all of Michigan's passing records and if he doesn't get injured his Sr. year is a 1st round draft pick. Yeah he made some bad decisions but he was huge in some of those classic comebacks. Yeah he had Braylon and Manningham but Henson/Brady had David Terrel and Walker and Grbac had Desmond. Maybe because he just left and it hasn't set in yet but he has to by my vote.
This is hard to argue because I did not see the Benny to Benny connection or Rick Leach, etc.(I am 29 so JH was the first QB I watched and even then I couldn't appreciate him) After watching the 2008 Captial One Bowl last night, Henne sure did possess some great passing ability. Some of those post pattern throws were just flawless, and he did those with regularity throughout his career. There was one crossing pattern where he hit Matthews and it looked like it knocked the wind out of him on the spot. Made me laugh and be happy that I never had to catch any of his burners.
Are you kidding me? That throw was epic amazing OMG fucking stellar awesome jesus how did he do that?
Edit: "Are you kidding me?" is directed at the throw, not any poster.
Do people realize how sick good Henson was?
At hitting cureveballs? Or learning an NFL playbook?
To which do you refer?
You clearly didn't watch Michigan in 2000.
I did watch Michigan in the days of Henson. He was a physical specimen with all the tools and he played great when he got the chance.
My comment was to imply that his short stint at UofM (helped by injuries and Steinbrenner's checkbook) is overshadowed by his, more public, lack of ability in the batter's box and struggles in the NFL.
People always ask me this question and are shocked when I say Drew Henson, but it's true. He was unquestionably the best QB I've ever seen play for Michigan, Harbaugh included.
The stats bear this out, even though he only played the one full year.
Talent, yes. Good stats that year too. But IMO you have to make the team better if you're discussing "best ever." I don't think he did that IMO. I'd take Brady over him, (college Brady, not even pro Brady) and Griese as well. But he was damn talented and one of the best college QB's I've seen. I still can't believe he didn't pan out in the NFL.
If Henson's stats in 2000 weren't making the team better, I don't want to know what is.
Our problems in 2000 (when Henson was healthy) were 100% on the defensive side of the ball. How was Henson supposed to make them better? On offense, we were a machine.
Clearly Henson scored too fast.
I remember Brady well then, especially against Bama, and felt like he elevated the team, but thinking of the awful defense in 2000, including the nightmare of NW, I rescind.
Stevie Brown. Or did you mean the best QB for our team? He really made sure the ball got out there deep.
Two Big 10 championships, beat OSU three times, NFL MVP, NFL Hall of Fame.
Henson had the potential to be the best (damn yankees) but you have to go with the guy who has all the records ant thats Henne.
Don't dismiss Friedman because he played in the 20's. The guy was the Red Grange of the passing game and was a huge star at the time. Plus he had to throw the ball when it was bigger and rounder.
a fat little boy named Tobias.
had this command of the field that I also saw flashes of with Henson (damn yankees, indeed!).
Henne was 0-4 against OSU, 1-3 in bowls, and had one certifiably bad year.
Measured by YPA, Henne was never as good as John Navarre's Junior OR Senior years (and his completion % was comparable on significantly fewer throws).
He has neither the efficiency stats nor the wins to even be in the conversation.
I'll probably get grenades for this, but Henne's offensive lines were some of the worst in the throwing era, whether you look at Harbaugh on, or Grbac on.
In 2004, Jake Long was 2nd team All-Big 10, Matt Lentz was 1st team all-big 10, David Baas was 1st team, Adam Stenavich was 1st team.
In 2005, Stenavich and Lentz made 1st team.
In 2006, Kraus and Bihl were 2nd team All-Big 10 and Long was 1st.
In 2007, Kraus made 2nd team, Long made 1st.
Henne never played on a line with fewer than 2 all-conference players, once had 4, and once had 3.
2001, John Goodwin was 1st team all big-ten.
2002, nobody was.
2003, Tony Pape was 1st team, Dave Pearson was 2nd, and David Baas was 1st.
Navarre played behind significantly worse offensive lines.
Often overlooked, but he gets my vote.
He was amazing, and a bit of a pioneering figure at the QB position for UM as it entered the modern era of offense.
Full time starter for three years. Won three Big 10 Titles. A combined 6-2-3 against ND, MSU and OSU in an era where all three of those rivals were annually either a MNC contender or top-20 team. Rose Bowl Champion. The QB half of a Heisman winning pass catching combination.
I'd gladly put his career up against any other UM QB. I think he's the programs best, but thats just one man opinion.
The three best quarterbacked teams I've seen since I've been closely following Michigan:
1. 2000 Henson
2. 1999 Brady
3. 2003 Navarre
I never closely followed the team with Grbac, Harbaugh, or Collins as QB's, but Harbaugh's 1986 looks rediculous from stats.
He may have finished #2 in the Heismann in 1986. I think he would have won it had UM gone undefeated. But, I would have to double check that.
Dont worry about Collins. He is not in this discussion. Good QB, but not great.
I still like Elvis. Everytime I watch a classic game or see his highlights on Wolverine Historian, I am reminded of just how good he was. He was 22-2-2 in Big 10 games he started. Thats awesome.
Everyone picks Brady, Harbaugh, Leach, Henne it seems, so I have decided to carry the torch for Elvis.
usually throws the critical interception" QB. He broke my heart several times. He was exactly the same way in the NFL.
#3 not so much. I know it's fashionable to knock Navarre, but in this case I think he merits some of it. He was definitely better than perceived, but not even close to top three IMO. I'd take Henne any day of the week over him.
What if you are playing Ohio State?
-1 for overlooking the fact that Henne was the least of our problems in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 games.
-1 for saying "BOOM! MUSKETED!"
- 1 for no Sarcasm meter
- Eleventy Billion for not succumbing to my wit and charm.
The only thing he lacks record wise, and it's a big one obviously, is the win against OSU. He can read defenses amazingly well, make every throw there is to make and has a cannon when he gets even a second to set up. The only thing he lacks physically is mobility, but he makes up for it with the cannon.
I think about how many amazingly clutch drives and throws he had and it boggles my mind. MSU 2004 and 2007 and PSU 2005 just to name a few of the top of my head. Huge clutch drive against Iowa 2004, @Illinois 2007, the whole Rose Bowl game against Texas. As was said above, watching the lasers he threw in that Capital One Bowl game was amazing. Just think if Michigan had played that wide open an offense for even one of his seasons.
The only thing he lacks record wise, and it's a big one obviously, is the win against OSU.
Records as starter:
Henne: 32-13 (71%)
Navarre: 30-11 (73.2%)
Brady: 20-5 (80%)
Grbac: 31-6-3 (83.8%)
Harbaugh: 24-5-1 (82.8%)
Chad Henne has the worst record as a starter of any QB in the discussion. And again, I keep throwing out someone that NOBODY would put in the discussion (Navarre) as a comparison point. Further, only one of the above QB's was 0-for career against OSU.
Do you think Navarre was a better QB than Henne?
I don't. I just don't think that someone who we have such a hard time separating from a universally derided player should qualify as our greatest QB.
It must be noted, though, that Henne is only one of that group to have started as a true freshman. In fact, most of the rest of them didn't even see the field much in their second year in the program. Henne recorded 24 starts as a freshman and true sophomore. If the others had done likewise, they presumably would have recorded lower winning percentages than they ended up with.
Henne's freshman year was 10-3. Sophomore was 7-6. Also, the Oline in 2005 was just dreadful.
Actually, we went 9-3 in 2004 and 7-5 in 2005, for a 16-8 total. We still had an 11-game regular-season schedule those years. The 12-game schedule was adopted for good in 2006.
By the way, I forgot about this earlier, but it should also be noted that Henne was knocked out or severely limited in three of our four losses in 2007.
The only loss in 2007 that Henne didn't start was against Wisconsin.
He lost the ASU game, and we were behind a bazillion by the time he got hurt vs. Oregon.
Henne actually did start against Wisconsin (so it goes against his record), but played only two series in the first quarter before reaggravating his shoulder. He can hardly be blamed for that loss.
And don't forget OSU, when Henne was clearly a shell of his usual self. He gets the loss charged to his record, but a lot of other players might not have even tried to gut it out that day.
Oh, well I didn't count Wisconsin against Henne. So, it's a wash if you want to absolve him of OSU.
As Shock points out, the inclusion of Henne's freshman year actually improves his overall win percentage.
It's also interesting to note that, statistically, Henne's best year in terms of completion %, YPA, and TD/INT was his freshman yeare.
The fact remains that Henne, unlike all of the others, had to start every game as a true freshman and true sophomore, and his winning percentage in those two seasons (.667) was worse than that of his upperclass years. Do you seriously dispute the notion that the others would have also had their winning percentages lowered if they'd started as freshmen/sophomores?
Throw in the fact that Henne - unlike all of the others - had an injury-plagued senior season, and it's not a very fair comparison.
Henne went 11-2 as a junior and 6-4 as a senior starter, but if you toss out the Wisc and OSU games (in which he either didn't play much or was severely hobbled), then he was 17-4 (.809) when healthy as an upperclassman.
is that Henne (not talking about any other QB's) was NOT hurt by a freshman campaign. The sophomore season is isolated from his freshman year. Repeat. Taking out Henne's freshman year would not have helped his career win percentage.
I understand that. But the .750 mark he put up that season is still worse than what he put up as upperclassman when healthy (as noted above, we were .809 when he was healthy those two years). And in his sophomore year, our winning percentage (.583) was much worse. None of the other QBs cited above was a full-time starter in EITHER his first or second year in the program. Not one started a game as true freshman, and most only started a couple as a redshirt frosh. So how fair of a comparison is it?
Grbac started 5 games as a frosh, and was full-time as a sophomore.
Also, the whole "when healthy" thing is dabbling in hypotheticals - what if Henson had stayed? What if Brady beat Griese out in 1997? What if Gutz didn't get hurt?
Plus Henson had some serious issues with a broken foot that limited him in several games if I remember.
At the same time, by all accounts, Henne really shouldn't have played in some of the games he did his senior year. When he did play significant minutes, we were a different team with him in there (NWU, ILL, MSU...forgetting some) with the exception of the Mario Manningham drop-fest of an Ohio State game.
I didn't include Wisconsin for him. I thought Mallett played the entire thing.
Point taken - the OSU o-fer is the largest glaring weakness on his resume in my mind. So are you saying Grbac was the best ever then? Where's Griese on the list?
Also, how many of the games you counted had multiple QB's play?
To your point - Henson and Navarre played in a lot of the same games to gether I believe. Did you only count the ones where the started played the whole game?
Obviously 2005 hurt Henne's winning percentage significantly, but the team, not just Henne, was pretty horrible that year. And I don't know if you can fault Henne for giving up 42 to the Buckeyes in 2006, when his stats were 35-21-0 267Yds 2TDs
Navarre was only pulled from 1 game he started - a win against Illinois. I actually did not count that for him, as he was awful, and Henson won the game. That's the only game where both of them got significant playing time.
I also counted 2007 NW as a win for Henne - he didn't start, but came in with the team behind.
Henne only played part of the Oregon game, but gets the L, as the team was waaaaay behind when he got hurt.
OSU record is a huge detriment to the argument, but i don't believe anyone had as many clutch drives (in my memory anyway) as Henne. And I don't think those losses were on him in the same way that 2000 the defense handicapped Henson, as was rightly pointed out. Defense was often poor in those years, tackling always poor.
This question needs to be clarified a bit. If we are going on pure talent alone then Henson is the guy. If you are going on numbers then Henne obviously wins. But if you are going on leadership, or what Shock loves to call "intangibles" then you go with a guy like Harbaugh or Leach.
My vote goes to Harbaugh. Nitty Gritty got it done when he said he would. His numbers when you take into consideration the era he was playing in are pretty astounding, and he was the closest a Michigan QB has come to winning the Heisman.
Henne definitely lacked in the pure QB leadership department as far as being the face of the team. At the same time, he had Braylon, Hart, Long, Woodley, Harris, etc as major leaders, so it wasn't imperative that he play a huge role in that area. He definitely led with poise under pressure and with his play at crunch time though.
Just one example, but one none the less.
Vs. MSU in 2004, where Braylon blew up my friend and I watched Braylon basically choking Chad on the sideline saying "get me the fucking ball" over and over again. Henne then promptly got him the damn ball.
He wasn't really a leader so to speak, because as you mentioned he had leaders on the team. But it is hard to underscore what he did with the game on the line.
Agreed. I brought Robohenne into the conversation below. Henne was ABSOLUTELY lights out in the 4th quarter when it was on the line. MSU in 2007 is the best barometer of that. Illinois of that year as well. If he had been healthy that entire year then a lot of things would've been different. I still think we get slaughtered by Oregon though.
I wanted to say Leach but nobody has mentioned Wangler. Wangler to Carter was special and don't forget Wangler was hampered after Lawrence Taylor viciously broke his leg
1000 cocktails to you sir for bringing up in John Wangler, the Royal Oak Kid.
You wont win the argument of 'best ever', but if we were to do a favorite QB of all time, Wangler would be it for me. Ahead of Harbaugh by a nose.
First Rose Bowl win for Bo. Just the way he inspired his teammates as he rehabbed from an injury, that in those times was usually a career ended, is one of the best stories in program history.
Has a UM QB ever performed so heroically in a loss the way Wangs did in the heartbreaking 1980 ND game? I dont think so.
He also threw the most famous pass in team history.
Not a bad argument, but then UM became QB U 15 years later and he keeps falling further down the list.
vs Brady(that was a special match up), but my favorite to watch was Wangler to Anthony Carter. The way Wangler threw the ball and the poetry in motion of AC making the catches were simply-the best of times for this Michigan Fan-Go Blue!
I haven't taken a stand yet, so I'll say this:
Best single season had by a UM QB: Henson.
Best career: Harbaugh.
Anyone know how to embed a poll into the comments? That would be interesting.
Are we forgetting Robohenne?
I've made my stance, but Robohenne is off the charts.
That means there is no debate possible. Benny Friedman. Benny Friedman. Benny Friedman. As noted above, he was ever bit as big as Red Grange. Indeed, if not for him, the NFL might not have been around for Johnny U to make an institution.
Tom Brady based on his production in the NFL
was best while at Michigan.
For one beautiful year, Brian Griese.
No one had a better season than him.
For a career? Chadley Jonathan Henne.
that they would be correct.
But another blast from the past is Harry Newman, QB in 1932. It has been stated that he almost uncertainly would have won the Heisman if it existed then, during an 8-0 season out-scoring opponents 123-13. He also kicked the FG that beat our biggest rival at the time, Minnesota, 3-0.
Of the list of QB's that played in the modern era (like, when they didn't play defense as well and have key ints. like Friedman had), there's Moorehead, Franklin, Leach, Wangler, Smith, Harbaugh, Grbac, Collins, Griese, Henson, Brady, Navarre, and Henne.
There is no clear-cut answer as all have certain flaws. Leach had a great record, but the Michigan teams were dominant against very over-matched opponents and he really was an average passer at best. Same with Franklin.
Some had only one really good season (Greise, Henson and Navarre); some never beat beat their primary rival (Henne). Henne (37) is the career leader in Ints; Grbac and Navarre are close (31), tied at 4th. Navarre probably is the career leader in passes batted down. Griese was aided by what was arguably the best defense Michigan has had in 70 years. Brady's NFL success is not included in his Michigan stats.
I think that Jim Harbaugh was Michigan's best QB when considering all those who played around him, his teams success, and what he meant to the team. Although he played in the late '80's under Bo, he still is near the top of many all-time categories, including efficiency (#2), passing yards per game (#3), completion percentage (#3), ect.
Besides, what I think I liked most about Harbaugh was that he wasn't afraid to audible away from play-calls of Bo's that obviously were destined to fail. Not many of Bo's QB's did that.
But my favorite was Steve Smith, as he was an excellent passer when he wasn't required to run a lot and get beaten up. He was also reportedly the second-fastest player on the team (a guy named Carter was the fastest).
Even during Bo's 3-yards and a cloud of dust game planning, Smith is still top-10 on most of the career lists (attempts, completion, TDs, yards per game - and those don't include his rushing).
Thanks for synthesizing over 100 posts!
Couple things - your interceptions number should be broken down to per-attempt. If you throw more passes, naturally you are going to throw more interceptions.
Navarre was definitely the leader in passes knocked down...I would also give him most passes rocketed off a thigh pad or face mask from 5 yards away.
Greatest quarterback ever