1. The "Usual Suspects" Have Hurdles to Climb in 2009 In starting this argument, I believe addressing the unique hurdles top quarterbacks will be presented with in 2009 is the most appropriate starting place, as it will be shown that Tony Romo has a lot less to "overcome" than those who have led the league at this position over the last 5-6 years. One can't think of "quarterback in the NFL" without thinking Tom Brady. He is the epitome of a competitor, the epitome of a winner, and the epitome of what an NFL quarterback should be. However, he suffered a catastrophic knee injury last year, as well as complications after surgery that further delayed his rehabilitation. No amount of Brady's vast resources of competitive drive or Bill Belicheck's wealth of X's and O's can overcome a broken body part. and the track record of quarterbacks who suffered a similar injury is far less than sterling the year after the injury (see: Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb). Ben Roethlisberger is about Tony Romo's age, but has already won two Superbowls, while Romo has yet to win a playoff game. Yet if Romo plays to his potential, he will outperform Roethlisberger based on offensive systems alone. While I can't knock Roethlisberger's amazing propensity to pull out a victory in the clutch, his numbersas a passer in 2008 were less than impressive: 24th overall in Passer Rating; 21st overall in completion percentage; 14th overall in passing yards; 15th overall in passing touchdowns; And 28th overall in total interceptions. Romo has a plethora of weapons to exploit that dwarf those in the arsenals of McNabb and Palmer, and should find himself ahead of those two. Drew Brees will be another ridiculously strong contender, but Marques Colston has yet to prove he is more than just an awesome rookie year, and Reggie Bush won't have Duece McCallister to pick up blitz's and take the crushing between the tackles. Between Bush, Colston, and tight end Jeremy Shockey (who has never played in all 16 in a season in his entire career), there are substantial injury concerns to 3 key components of that passing attack, and, while Brees dealt with these injuries last year with much success, I can't see him repeating that performance if all three players go down again. Peyton Manning probably has the strongest chance to contended with Romo for the best quarterback in 2009. He has lost his favorite target for good in Marvin Harrison, and that could prove crucial. It's true that Reggie Wayne has unquestionably become the most potent receiver on that team, and that Peyton pretty much stuck to his career averages of around 4,000 passing yards and 28 touchdowns last year without Harrison for a majority of the season, but we'll see if defenses learn to adjust better to the Colts' attack without Marvin Harrison in the line-up for an entire season.