100 Greatest Quarterbacks
100-80: The Word Greatest is Used Lightly
100. Jeff Blake- (134 TD, 99 INT, Rating 78.0) Despite being a starter for 8 seasons, Blake played in as many playoff games as you have. If Jeff Blake being one of the top 100 QB's of all time doesn't show how little history football has, then maybe this will prove it....
99. Aaron Brooks- (123 TD, 92 INT, 78.5 Rating) 2000-Active Seriously.
98. Bobby Hebert- (135 TD, 124 INT, 78.0 Rating) 1985-1996 Led the Saints to their first ever playoff appearance....also led them to their first ever 44-10 playoff loss...and a 36-20 loss, and 27-20....Has a son named T-Bob.
97. Jim McMahon- (100 TD, 90 INT, 78.2 Rating) 1982-1996 Would be the worst QB to ever to win a Super Bowl, had Trent Dilfer never existed.
96. Jim Harbaugh- (129 TD, 117 INT, 77.6 Rating) 1987-2000 If Aaron Bailey catches his Hail Mary in the '95 AFC Title game his ranking would probably be 15 places higher. It’s hard to feel any sympathy though, for a guy who went 3-13 with Marshall Faulk in his backfield.
95. Ben Roethlisberger- (52 TD, 43 INT, 88.7 Rating) 2004-Active Probably doesn't belong on this list yet, but it’s hard to put someone with a 31-10 record as a starter behind Aaron Brooks.
94. Doug Williams- (100 TD, 93 INT, 69.4 Rating) 1978-1989 Little known fact: Only played 15 more game after his miraculous Super Bowl performance. Even less known fact: Wasn't very good before the Super Bowl either.
93. Doug Flutie- (86 TD, 68 INT, 76.3 Rating) 1986-1989, 1999-2005 In an odd coincidence, Flutie Flakes are also the 93rd greatest cereal of all-time
92. Jake Plummer- (161 TD, 161 INT, 75.1 Rating) 1997-Active Nothing explains Jake Plummer's career better than the fact that he has thrown exactly the same amount of touchdowns as he as picks. Oh, and the fact that he's thrown 10 interceptions in six playoff games.
91. Tommy Kramer- (159 TD, 158 INT, 72.8 Rating) 1977-1990 Kramer made his postseason debut in 1980 facing the Eagles in a divisional playoff. He had played a crisp game, and the Vikes had the ball leading 16-14, when Kramer fumbled. After the Eagles scored Kramer threw an interception, his third turnover of the game. The Vikings got the ball back and Kramer threw another interception. And then another. And a fifth. The Vikings turned the ball over a playoff-record eight times, all in the second half, and lost 31-16.
90. Milt Plum- (122 TD, 127 INT, 72.2 Rating) 1957-1969One-Hit Wonders: The 7 Greatest Fluke Seasons of All-Time:7. Brian Griese - 2000 Broncos: 19 TD, 4 INT, 3,214 yards, 102.9 Rating6. Don Majkowski- 1989 Packers: 27 TD, 20 INT, 4,318 yards (double his 2nd best season)5. Steve Beuerlein- 1999 Panthers: 36 TD, 15 INT, 4436 Yards, 94.6 Rating4. Scott Mitchell- 1995 Lions: 32 TD, 12 INT, 4,338 Yards, 92.3 Rating3. Milt Plum-1960 Browns: 21 TD, 5 INT, 2,297 Yards 110.2 Rating (12 Games)2. Steve DeBerg-1990 Chiefs: 23 TD, 4 INT, 3,444 Yards, 101.2 Rating1. Brian Sipe-1980 Browns: 30 TD, 14 INT, 4,132 Yards 91.4 Rating. NFL MVP
89. Chad Pennington- (72 TD, 46 INT, 89.3 Rating) 2000-Active Chad is 7th all-time in passer rating, 2nd all-time in completion %, and 1st in arm strength.
88. Steve Beuerlein- (147 TD, 112 INT, 80.3 Rating) 1988-2003 Despite only being around for 12 seasons, the Panthers, amazingly, have 3 players on this list. The Bucs, who have been around 20 extra years, have one, Vinny Testaverde, and all of his success came with the Jets.
87. Mark Rypien- (115 TD, 88 INT, 78.9 Rating) 1988-1997, 2001 From 1991 to'92 Rypien may have had the most precipitous decline in NFL History:1991: 28 TD, 11 INT, 97.9 Rating1992: 13 TD, 17 INT, 71.7 RatingEarly in 1993, he hurt his knee, and his career was effectively over.
86. Michael Vick- (71 TD, 52 INT, 75.7 Rating) 2001-Active Before he was fired as Falcons' Coach, Jim Mora Jr. said "If I was staring a franchise and could pick one guy all-time, I would pick Mike Vick." Obvious that statement was ridiculous, and didn't keep him from getting the axe, but it raises an interesting point. How many teams today would trade their starting QB for Vick? The number is shockingly low. Other than doormats Detroit and Oakland, almost every team, would turn that deal down. Obviously Indy, Cincy, New England wouldn't do it. Denver, Arizona, the Niners, San Diego and Tennessee just drafted QB's with more upside. Pittsburgh, the Giants, Philadelphia, Seattle and Carolina are set. Even the Bills probably wouldn't part with J.P. Losman. The answer is probably 10-12 teams, at most. Coach-killer indeed.
85. Carson Palmer- (78 TD, 43 INT, 91.5 Rating) 2004-2006 If Palmer somehow never manages to make it back to the postseason, he will have the most bizarre career playoff line of all time: 1 for 1, 66 yards.
84. Jeff Hostetler- (94 TD, 71 INT, 80.5 Rating) 1985-1997 In 1991, Hostetler completed only 2 more passes in the regular season than he did in the playoffs (47-45.)...He didn't become a starter until his 8th NFL season. After 4 years with the Raiders, he signed with Washington, but was 36 and was clearly washed up. A large price to pay for his one moment in the sun.
83. Kerry Collins- 174 TD, 172 INT, 73.7 Rating) 1995-Active 12 players have thrown more passes than Collins.41 players have thrown more TD's than Collins.
82. Babe Parilli- 178 TD, 220 INT, 59.6 Rating 1952-1953, 1956-1969 In 1968 as Joe Namath's back-up, Parilli was called "Goldfinger" for being star kicker Jim Turner's holder. That's right, in the sixties even holders had nicknames.
81. Jake Delhomme- (92 TD, 63 INT, 84.5 Rating) 1999, 2002-2006 How long can Delhomme live off his one great game, against the Pats in the Super Bowl?
80. Steve Grogan- (182 TD, 208 INT, 69.9 Rating) 1975-1990 Tom Brady appears poised to obliterate his Patriot records. Except, his 0-4 career playoff record. That one seems safe.
79-60: A Higher Level of Mediocrity
79. Steve DeBerg- (196 TD, 204 INT, 74.2 Rating) 1978-1993, 1998 DeBerg was always mediocre enough that his team would look for greener pastures:In 1980, after his poor third season, the Niners picked Joe Montana in the third round. In 1983, after losing a playoff game, the Broncos replaced him with rookie John Elway.In 1985, the Bucs drafted Steve Young after DeBerg "led" them to a 2-14 season. Amazingly, another team, the Chiefs offered him a starting job, and the 4th try was the charm, as he had his best seasons in 1990 and 1991, leading them to the playoffs both seasons.
78. Steve Bartkowski- (156 TD, 144 INT, 75.4 rating) 1975-1986 The Falcons selected Bartkowski with the 1st pick of the 1975 Draft. Here's a look at the success of quarterbacks drafted first overall since the merger (1970.) The 5 drafted from 2001-2005 can't be evaluated yet.Year/Player: Career TD Passes Playoff Record1970- Terry Bradshaw 212 14-5 (4 Titles)1971- Jim Plunkett 164 8-2 (2 Titles1975- Steve Bartkowski 156 1-31983- John Elway 300 14-8 (2 Titles)1987- Vinny Testaverde 270 2-3 1989- Troy Aikman 165 11-5 (3 Titles)1990- Jeff George 154 1-21993- Drew Bledsoe 251 3-31998- Peyton Manning 275 4-61999- Tim Couch 64 None These 10 are a pretty impressive bunch. Four current or future Hall of Famers. Five others achieved varying levels of success. Only Tim Couch was an unmitigated disaster. That's a ridiculously high success rate, although David Carr and Alex Smith seem to be threatening to lower it. 77. Norm Snead- (196 TD, 257 INT, 65.5 Rating) 1961-1976
Second Pick Busts
Snead was burdened by playing for horrible teams his entire career. In his 13 seasons as a starter he never once made the playoffs. Snead was picked 2nd by the Redskins in the 1961 Draft. The contrast between the QB’s picked 1st and those picked 2nd is astounding.
The 7 players picked 2nd are Norm Snead, Roman Gabriel, Archie Manning, Bert Jones, Rick Mirer, Ryan Leaf, Donovan McNabb. 2 historic busts, 3 middling underachievers, one solid player, and one legitimate star. Of the seven, only McNabb ever won a playoff game. The #1 picks combined for 11 Super Bowls.
76. Jack Kemp- (114 TD, 183 INT, 57.6 Rating) 1957-1969 In 1965, Kemp completed 45.8% of his passes. He threw 10 TD's, 18 picks, his rating was an abysmal 54.8. Did the Bills cut him? No, that would have been crazy because they won the AFL Title. Nowadays a 54 rating gets you cut. In 1965, it won Kemp the MVP.75. Charley Johnson- (170 TD, 181 INT, 69.2 QB Rating) 1961-1975 In his 15 seasons with the Cardinals, Oilers, and Broncos, 14 of which Johnson was the starter, he never once qualified for the playoffs. He is the only quarterback to play that long without reaching the postseason. He is also the only quarterback ever to become a chemical engineering professor, though Brett Favre is likely to become the second.74. Ken O'Brien- (120 TD, 98 INT, 80.4 Rating) 1984-1993 O'Brien played 129 games from 1984 to 1993 and threw the ball 3,602 times, with some measure of success. He also ran the ball 174 times, without ever scoring a touchdown, which is next to impossible for a quarterback, and is the NFL record for anyone.
73. Jeff Garcia- (136 TD, 73 INT, 86.4 Rating) 1999-Active
Garcia is one of six players on the list who went undrafted. The other 5 are Jake Delhomme, Jim Hart, Bobby Hebert, Dave Krieg, and, amazingly, Warren Moon.
72. Bert Jones- (124 TD, 101 INT, 78.2 Rating) 1973-1982 You would think that one of the teams with legendary quarterbacking would have the most players on this list. Jones is one of 5 Colts (Manning, Unitas, Harbaugh, George.) The Niners (Montana, Young, Brodie, Garcia, Title) have 5 as well. So do the Browns, Cowboys, and Raiders. But the winners are, surprisingly, the Rams (Waterfield, van Brocklin, Gabriel, Everett, Warner, Bulger) and the Redskins (Baugh, Jurgenson, Kilmer, Theismann, Williams, Rypien) with 6 apiece. 71. Billy Kilmer- (152 TD, 146 INT, 71.6 Rating) 1961-1978 Kilmer is certainly one of the more anonymous quarterbacks to play in a Super Bowl (VII vs. the undefeated Dolphins,) but he's far from the worst. The 5 worst to ever start a Super Bowl (all lost, naturally):
(Note: This list was compiled before the Bears made the Super Bowl. Regardless of what happens, it’s still too early to judge Rex Grossman. Right now, however, he would be in the top spot.)
5. Tony Eason- The Pats QB did not have a horrendous career, but his 1985 season was one of his worst efforts, and the Bears defense sent him to the showers quickly- he was pulled after just 6 passes- all incomplete.
4. Stan Humphries- He had 5 mediocre seasons as the Chargers QB, but somehow in 1994 they managed to make the Super Bowl out of an atrocious conference. They were clearly overmatched by San Francisco and the game was over in the first quarter, although Humphries threw for 275 yards in the blowout. Humphries is actually in the Chargers Hall of Fame, which tells you how many Super Bowls they've won.
3. Vince Ferragamo- He wasn't even supposed to be the Rams' starter in 1979, but when the immortal Pat Haden went down, Ferragamo led them to the Super Bowl, where their stout defense actually gave them the lead heading into the 4th quarter. The Steelers buckled down and won 31-19, but Ferragamo acquitted himself respectably and retained the starting job for 1980.
2. Joe Kapp- The Vikes QB only threw for 40 touchdowns in his entire career and owns one of the worst single season lines of all-time. For the 1970 Patriots, Kapp threw 3 touchdowns versus 17 picks, while completing less than 45 percent of his passes. That being said his 183 yards and paltry 2 INT's in Super Bowl IV should be considered a success.
1. David Woodley- Who? In the 1982 AFC Title game, Woodley threw for 87 yards and 3 INT's while the Dolphins won 14-0. The strategy didn't work the next week, as Woodley's four completions did not lead Miami to victory (21-17 Redskins)70. Neil O'Donnell- (120 TD, 68 INT, 81.8 Rating) 1991-2003 Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, O'Donnell had his choice of several teams where he could start, but Neil chose the money and signed with Rich Kotite's Jets for $25 million. The Jets opened 0-5, failing to reach the end zone in 3 of the contests. Mercifully, the Raiders ended O'Donnell's season in the sixth game, so he couldn't be a party to the Jets epic futility.69. Chris Chandler- (170 TD, 146 INT, 79.3 Rating) 1988-20045 Things you always wanted to know about Chris Chandler but were afraid to ask:1. He set an NFL record by starting for 8 different teams.2. Chandler is to married John Brodie’s (# 57) daughter3. Was so injury prone early in his career, he was nicknamed "Crystal Chandelier" 4. He was so bad in 2004 with the Rams, that coach Mike Martz said Chandler was "holding the whole team hostage"5. Orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in playoff history by beating the Vikings in the '98 NFC Title Game, but people forget the play before he threw the game-tying touchdown, Minnesota LB Dwayne Rudd dropped an easy pick.
68. Brian Sipe- (154 TD, 149 INT, 74.8 Rating) 1974-1983
Red Right 88- The Most Devastating Loss Ever
In 1980, Sipe would lead the Browns to the playoffs for the only time in his 10 year career. The season had been a career year for Sipe, he had thrown for 30 touchdowns and was named the NFL MVP. An 11-5 record earned them a home game against the Raiders, playing for a spot against the Chargers on the AFC Title game.
It was 4 degrees at kickoff (-37 wind-chill) and the entire game was a defensive struggle. Jim Plunkett struggled terribly for the Raiders, while the Browns only touchdown came on defense. The Browns extra point had been blocked, another field goal had been botched, and kicker Don Cockroft had missed two more.
When they drove down to the Oakland 8, with under a minute to go, coach Sam Rutigliano decided to throw a pass into the end zone, because he had no faith in Cockroft. The pass, on a play called Red Right 88, intended for star TE Ozzie Newsome was intercepted by Mike Davis, Sipe’s 3rd pick of the day. Many Browns fans consider the game more devastating than any of the John Elway games, because the Raiders would go on to win the Super Bowl. Sipe threw 25 interceptions the following season, Cleveland went 5-11, and they still have never been to the Super Bowl.
67. Jim Everett- (203 TD, 175 INT, 78.6 Rating) 1986-1997
5 Worst Playoff Performances of All-Time:
5. Daunte Culpepper- 2000 NFC Championship- 13-28, 78 yards, 3 INT. Lost 41-0
4. Jim Everett 1989 NFC Championship- 16-36, 141 Yards, 3 INT. Lost 30-3
3. Donavan McNabb- 2003 NFC Championship- 10-22, 100 Yards, 3 INT. Lost 14-3
2. Roger Staubach- 1976 NFC Divisional- 15-37, 150 Yards, 3 INT. Lost 14-12
1. Brian Sipe- 1980 AFC Divisional- 13-40, 183 Yards, 3 INT. Lost 14-12
66. Jeff George- (154 TD, 113 INT, 80.4 Rating) 1990-2001
Was Jeff George’s NFL career a bust? The first pick of the 1990 Draft, he never performed for the Colts, feuded with Coach Ted Marchibroda, and was traded to Atlanta where he had some success. He seemed to be a late bloomer and had great seasons in ’97 with Oakland and in ’99 with Minnesota. But was it a mistake for Indy to pick him?
We’ve already seen that he wasn’t the worst QB to be picked first, that was Tim Couch. The Colts certainly should not have selected a different quarterback in the Draft; the only other QB taken in Round 1 was Andre Ware, who turned out to be a colossal bust.
Their major need was obviously a QB, and most of the other players in the 1st round were disappointments (Blair Thomas went second.) Emmitt Smith and Junior Seau were the only notable players picked early. So it could have been much worse for the Colts. In fact, 2 years later it did get much worse for them, when, with the first 2 picks of the entire draft, they selected Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt.
65. Joe Ferguson- (196 Td, 209 INT, 68.4 Rating) 1973-1990
5 Worst Seasons Ever (Top 100 QB’s only)
5. Joe Ferguson 1977 Bills (3-11):12 TD, 24 INT, 48.4 Completion %, 54.8 Rating
4. Jake Plummer 1999 Cardinals (6-10) 9 TD, 24 INT, 50.8 Rating
3. Joe Namath 1976 Jets (3-11): 4 TD, 16 INT, 4.7 Yards per attempt, 39.9 Rating
2. Jim Plunkett 1972 Patriots (3-11) 8 TD, 25 INT 47.6 Completion %, 45.7 Rating
1. Babe Parilli 1953 Packers (2-9-1) 4 TD, 19 INT, 44.6 Completion %, 28.5 Rating
64. Craig Morton (183 TD, 187 INT, 73.5 Rating) 1965-1982
Morton is the only player to lead 2 different teams (Dallas and Denver) to the Super Bowl. Here are his lines for the games. They aren’t easy on the eyes.
Super Bowl V Cowboys vs. Colts: 12 for 26, 127 Yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, lost 16-13
Super Bowl XII Broncos vs. Cowboys: 4 for 15, 39 Yards, 0 TD, 4 INT, lost 27-10
In the 2 games, Morton threw 7 picks, and only completed 16 passes to his teammates.
63. Marc Bulger (95 TD, 59 INT, 91.3 Rating) 2002-Active
Best NFL quarterback from every college- Big East Edition:
Cincinnati- Never had one
Connecticut- Dan Orlovsky (17 career attempts)
Louisville- Johnny Unitas
Pittsburgh- Dan Marino
Rutgers- Mike McMahon
South Florida- Only started playing football in 1997
Syracuse- Donovan McNabb
West Virginia- Marc Bulger
62. Ron Jaworski- (179 TD, 164 INT, 72.8 Rating) 1974-1989
Jaworski, an NFL analyst for ESPN, was covering this year’s Draft, and in scouting Jay Cutler, watched every single college pass the prospect had thrown. All 1,030 of them. Now that, is dedication to your job. Or someone who is really bored. Sounds familiar.
61. Jim Hart - (209 TD, 247 INT, 66.6 Rating) 1966-1984 In 1975, Hart's tenth season, the Cardinals finally qualified for the playoffs. Playing Ron Jaworski's L.A. Rams, the loaded Cardinals appeared poised to win their first playoff game since 1948. Hart threw early interceptions to Jack Youngblood and Bill Simpson, both of which were returned for touchdowns. Their dream was dead by the second quarter, and it would be another 22 years before the Cardinals returned to the playoffs. It was Hart’s only playoff game of this 19 year career.
60. Bernie Kosar- (124 TD, 87 INT, 81.8 Rating) 1985-1996
Kosar has the record for most passing yards in a playoff game; he threw for 489 in a 1987 win over the Jets. Peyton Manning is second with 457. Third is Dan Fouts with 433. If you know who’s fourth, you need to get out more often, like Ron Jaworski. It’s Kelly Holcomb, who threw 429 in a loss to the Steelers in 2003.
59-26: Flaws Aplenty
59. Trent Green- (157 TD, 101 INT, 88.3 Rating) 1997-Active
Best NFL quarterback from every college- Big Ten Edition
Illinois- Jeff George
Indiana- Trent Green
Iowa- Randy Duncan- Picked first in the 1959 Draft by Green Bay, Duncan eschewed the Packers for the CFL, citing a better offer. He eventually played briefly in the AFL, throwing 67 passes.
Michigan- Tom Brady
Michigan St. – Earl Morrall
Minnesota- Mike Hohensee (played 2 games as a replacement player for Bears in ’87)
Northwestern- Otto Graham
Ohio St. – Mike Tomczak
Penn St. – Kerry Collins
Purdue- Len Dawson
Wisconsin- Arnie Herber (threw 82 TD’s in his Hall of Fame career for the Packers but played in the 30’s, so is ineligible for the overall top 100)
58. Danny White- (155 TD, 132 INT, 81.7 Rating) 1976-1988
One of the lesser-known good quarterbacks in history, he was a Donavan McNabb for the 80’s, leading the Cowboys to 3 straight conference championship games. Led by White and Tony Dorsett, they scored at least 30 points in every playoff game they won over the 3 seasons (1980-82.) But the NFC Title games were White’s kryptonite.
In 1980 vs. the Eagles, the Cowboys couldn’t move the ball, or stop the run (194 yards for legendary Wilbert Montgomery) and lost 20-7.
In 1981, they lost to the 49ers on The Catch, although it is a misconception that Dwight Clark’s TD ended the game. While the Cowboys were driving, White was sacked and fumbled the football.
The following year would be the most painful- literally. White was knocked out of the game with a concussion, and future Survivor contestant Gary Hogeboom threw a key interception which ended the Cowboys chances.
57. Mark Brunell- (182 TD, 106 INT, 84.0 Rating) 1993-Active
Almost one-quarter of the players on this list were not highly regarded players, coming out of college.
A list of players drafted after the top 100 picks:
Round 5- Mark Brunell, Steve Grogan-
Round 6- Tom Brady, Matt Hasselback, Marc Bulger, Mark Rypien
Round 8- Trent Green
Round 9- Johnny Unitas
Round 10- Roger Staubach, Charley Johnson
Round 11- Doug Flutie
Round 12- George Blanda, Daryle Lamonica
Round 13- Brian Sipe
Round 17- Bart Starr, Jack Kemp
56. Brad Johnson- (164 TD, 117 INT, 84.4 Rating) 1992-Active
Best NFL quarterback from every college- ACC Edition:
Boston College- Matt Hasselback
Clemson- Steve Fuller (’85 Bears backup, 28 career TD passes)
Duke- Sonny Jurgenson
Florida St- Brad Johnson
Georgia Tech- Joe Hamilton (sacked in his only career attempt)
Maryland- Boomer Esaison
Miami (FL) - Jim Kelly
North Carolina- 5 Tar Heel QB’s have been drafted, only WR Ronald Curry has ever thrown a pass (1 for 3)
N.C. St. - Roman Gabriel
Virginia- Aaron Brooks
Virginia Tech- Michael Vick
Wake Forest- Norm Snead
55. John Brodie- (214 TD, 224 INT, 72.3 Rating) 1957-1983
4 Fast Facts about Brodie, the Niners quarterback from 1957 until 1973:
1. In 1966, Brodie signed what was the richest contract in NFL history: 3 years, $910,000.
2. Was the NFL MVP in 1970, throwing for 24 touchdowns
3. After retirement, joined the Senior PGA Tour for 13 years
4. At one point was one of the highest ranking Scientologists; he was even inducted in by Tom Cruise’s then-wife, Mimi Rogers
54. Neil Lomax- (136 TD, 90 INT, 82.7 Rating) 1981-1988
In 1988, Lomax had one of his finest seasons, throwing 20 touchdowns. But he developed a severe hip problem and was forced to retire at the age of 29. He falls just short of cracking the following list, however.
Going Out on Top: The 5 Greatest Farewell Seasons Ever:
5. Don Meredith: 1968 Cowboys- 21 TD 12 INT, 2,500 Yards, 88.4 Rating (Career best).1st round playoff loss.
4. Roger Staubach: 1979 Cowboys- 27 TD, 11 INT, 3,586 Yards, 92.3 Rating
1st Round playoff loss
3. John Elway: 1998 Broncos- 22 TD, 10 INT, 2,806 Yards, 93.0 Rating
Super Bowl Champions, Super Bowl MVP
2. Norm Van Brocklin: 1960 Eagles- 24 TD, 17 INT, 2,471 Yards, 86.5 Rating (12 games)
NFL MVP, NFL Champions
1. Otto Graham: 1955 Browns- 15 TD, 8 INT, 1,721 Yards, 94.0 Rating (12 games)
NFL MVP, NFL Champions
53. Drew Brees- (106 TD, 64 INT, 87.5 Rating) 2001-Active
Blunders- The 5 Best Quarterbacks let go by a team in their prime
5. Trent Green- Dismissed by both the Redskins and Rams, Green made 2 Pro Bowl appearances with the Chiefs.
4. Randall Cunnningham- Let go by the Eagles in 1995, signed with the Vikings, led them to 15-1 record in 1998
3. Drew Brees- The Chargers allowed Brees to become a free agent after 2005, led the Saints to their greatest season in team history in 2006.
2. Bobby Layne- In 1950, Layne was traded from the New York Bulldogs to the Lions, where he had a Hall of Fame career, and led Detroit to their only 3 titles.
1. Fran Tarkenton- The Vikings traded him to the Giants in 1967, who traded him back to Minnesota in 1972, and in his second stint with the team, he led them to 3 Super Bowls, all of which they lost.
52. Vinny Testaverde- (270 TD, 261 INT, 75.2 Rating) 1987-Active
Want more proof of how little history football has relative to other sports;
Baseball: 6th All-Time Home Runs- Hall of Famer Frank Robinson
Basketball: 6th All-Time Points Scored- Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes
Hockey: 6th All-Time Points: Future Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman
Football: 6th All-Time Passing Yards: Vinny Testaverde
51. Matt Hasselback- (114 TD, 72 INT, 85.1 Rating) 1999-Active
5 Greatest Quarterback Tandems:
5.1999-2000 Packers: Brett Favre and Matt Hasselback
4.2000-2001 Patriots: Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe
3.1968-1971 Colts: Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall
2. 1949-1952 Rams: Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin (Both in Hall of Fame)
1. 1987-1992 49ers: Joe Montana and Steve Young (Both in Hall of Fame)
50. John Hadl- (244 TD, 268 INT, 67.4 Rating) 1962-1977
Best NFL quarterback from every college- Big XII Edition
Baylor- Cotton Davidson (73 career TD’s, 108 INT’s)
Colorado- Kordell Stewart
Iowa St. - David Archer (18 TD’s)
Kansas- John Hadl
Kansas St. - Steve Grogan
Missouri- Stece Pisarkiewicz (3 TD’s, 7 INT’s)
Nebraska- Vince Ferragamo (76 TD’s)
Oklahoma- The Sooners have had 5 QB’s drafted, including a Heisman winner, but none have ever thrown an NFL pass.
Oklahoma St. - Rusty Hilger (11 TD’s, 19 INT)
Texas- Bobby Layne
Texas A&M- Gary Kubiak (14 TD’s)
Texas Tech- Billy Joe Tolliver (59 TD’s)
49. Earl Morrall- (161 TD, 148 INT, 74.1 Rating) 1956-1976 Joe Namath might have guaranteed Super Bowl III, but Earl Morrall delivered it to the Jets on a silver platter. His line: 6 for 17, 71 Yards, 3 INT. By the time Unitas came in, Morrall had already lost the game.
48. Don Meredith- (135 TD, 111 INT, 74.8 Rating) 1960-1968
After his retirement from the Cowboys, Meredith became one of the original announcers for Monday Night Football. A preposterous number of players on the list have become announcers/analysts, while almost none have become coaches. Off the top of my head, Meredith, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Young, Boomer Esaison, Phil Simms, John Brodie, Joe Theismann, Dan Marino, Bob Griese, Norm van Brocklin, Joe Montana (briefly) and Dan Fouts were all national analysts.
Amazingly, considering that the quarterback is considered the most cerebral player on the field, of the 100 players, only Otto Graham, Norm van Brocklin, and Sammy Baugh became head coaches in the NFL, and all three failed miserably.
47. Dave Krieg- (261 TD, 199 INT, 81.5 Rating) 1980-1998
The Worst 7 Sack Game Ever
On November 11, 1990, Krieg’s Seahawks were 6-6 and desperately needed a win against the Chiefs to keep their playoff hopes alive. Saddled, by a horrendous offensive line, Krieg had no time to throw and was sacked repeatedly, nine times in total.
Trailing 16-10 late in the game, the Seahawks were driving, when linebacker Derrick Thomas sacked Krieg again, his seventh of the game, an NFL record. With several seconds left, Seattle reached the Kansas City 25, and had time for a final play.
Thomas blitzed, and the Seahawks failed to pick him up again, as he put his hands around Krieg. Somehow, Krieg fought him off, and managed to fire off a pass before Thomas got his 8th sack. He found Paul Skansi in the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Seahawks the 17-16 win.
46. Frank Ryan- (149 TD, 111 INT, 77.6 Rating) 1958-1970
In 1964, Ryan, who taught college math courses during the football season, had one of the greatest 2 week stretches in NFL history. Needing to beat the Giants to make the 1964 NFL Championship (there were no playoffs until 1966,) Ryan went 12 for 13, throwing for 202 yards and 5 TD, while running for another in a 52-20 win.
In the Championship game, Ryan, who was aided by having Hall of Famers at Running Back (Jim Brown) and Wide Reciever (Paul Warfield), ran wild again. He threw 3 TD passes, all to Gary Collins, as the Browns won the title with a 27-0 drubbing of the Colts.
45. Randall Cunningham- 207 TD, 134 INT, 81.5 Rating) 1985-2001
The Biggest Upset of the 90’s
In 1998, Cunningham’s was at the helm of the most prolific offense of all time. Averaging almost 35 points a game, the Vikings went 15-1, and were considered heavy Super Bowl favorites. After a bye, and a shellacking of Arizona, they only needed to get past Atlanta to face the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
The Vikings had won their previous 8 games by double digits, and when they took an early 20-7 lead it appeared they were on their way to a blowout. Late in the 1st half, Cunningham fumbled and Chris Chandler threw a TD, to cut the Vikings lead to 20-14 at the half.
The Falcons kept hanging around, but when they failed on fourth down, with 6 minutes left, trailing 27-20, the game appeared to be over. The Vikings drove the ball down the field, and got to the Atlanta 20, where a field goal would ice the game.
Out came Gary Anderson, who had merely just completed the greatest kicking season ever, hitting all 35 of his field goals. Anderson narrowly missed the kick left, and the Falcons drove down to score and force overtime. Cunningham got the ball twice in overtime, but couldn’t do anything with it, and a hobbled Chris Chandler drove the Falcons to the 21, where Morten Anderson won the game, 30-27.
In what must be small consolation, the Vikes were recently named by ESPN.com the best team ever to miss the Super Bowl.
44. Daunte Culpepper- (137 TD, 89 INT, 90.8 Rating) 1999-Active
Best Quarterbacks by Season- 2000’s
2000- Daunte Culpepper
2001- Kurt Warner
2002- Rich Gannon
2003- Peyton Manning
2004- Peyton Manning
2005- Peyton Manning
2006- Peyton Manning
43. Drew Bledsoe- (251 TD, 206 INT, 77.1 Rating) 1993- Active
Best NFL quarterback from every college- Pac-10 Edition
Arizona- Fred Enke (31 TD Passes from ’48-54)
Arizona St. – Danny White
California- Craig Morton
Oregon- Dan Fouts/ Norm Van Brocklin
Oregon St. – Derek Anderson (5 TD as Browns Rookie this year)
Stanford- John Elway
UCLA- Troy Aikman
USC- Carson Palmer
Washington- Warren Moon
Washington St. – Drew Bledsoe
42. Rich Gannon- (180 TD, 104 INT, 84.7 Rating) 1987-2004
Another Classic Marty Schottenheimer Playoff Moment
In Week 10 of 1997, the Chiefs lost Elvis Grbac to injury, and Rich Gannon replaced him admirably. The Chiefs, who had been 6-2 when Grbac went down, didn’t miss a beat as they rolled to a 13-3 record and the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Grbac was able to come back in the final week of the season, and split time with Gannon in a victory.
So, Schottenheimer was left with a quarterback controversy for the playoff game with the Broncos. Grbac had lost 19-3 to Denver, while Gannon had beaten them 24-22. Naturally Marty chose Grbac, and the Chiefs could only muster 10 points in the home defeat.
41. Tobin Rote- (148 TD, 191 INT, 56.8 Rating) 1950-1966 The Good- Rote is the only player in history to lead teams to win the NFL Championship (with the ’57 Lions) and the AFL Title (with the ’63 Chargers.) The Bad- Even if you add his 148 Passing TD to his 37 rushing, they still don’t equal his 191 INT. The Ugly- His 56.4 Passer Rating is the 4th lowest ever amongst those who have thrown 1,500 passes.
40. Boomer Esiason- (247 TD, 184 INT, 81.1 Rating) 1984-1997
NFL MVP’s in the Super Bowl
Year Player Attempts Completions Yards TD INT Result Other1966- Bart Starr: 23 16 250 2 1 Won 35-10 MVP1968- Earl Morrall: 17 6 71 0 3 Lost 16-7 1978- Terry Bradshaw: 30 17 318 4 1 Won 35-31 MVP1981- Ken Anderson: 34 25 300 2 2 Lost 26-211983- Joe Theismann: 35 16 243 0 2 Lost 38-91984- Dan Marino: 50 29 318 1 2 Lost 38-16 1987- John Elway: 38 14 257 1 3 Lost 42-101988- Boomer Esaison: 25 11 144 0 1 Lost 20-161989- Joe Montana: 29 22 297 5 0 Won 55-10 MVP1994- Steve Young: 36 24 325 6 0 Won 49-26 MVP1996- Brett Favre: 27 14 246 2 0 Won 35-211997- Brett Favre: 42 25 256 3 1 Lost 31-241999- Kurt Warner: 45 24 414 2 0 Won 23-16 MVP2001- Kurt Warner: 44 28 365 1 2 Lost 20-172002- Rich Gannon: 44 24 272 2 5 Lost 48-20
39. George Blanda (236 TD, 277 INT, 60.6 Rating) 1949- 1975 Hall of Fame
Blanda retired as the all-time leader in Points Scored, Interceptions Thrown, Most Seasons Played, Oldest Player to appear in an NFL Game (48!!!.) His most impressive statistic came in 1970 when at age 43, he tied or won games in 5 straight weeks, 3 times at quarterback, twice with field goals. 38. Charlie Conerly- (173 TD, 167 INT, 68.2 Rating) 1948-1961
Conerly Vs. Layne
My grandfather is in a bar in Detroit in 1958, when a fight breaks out. It turns out, its two people arguing about which quarterback is better: the Giants’ Conerly or the Lions’ Bobby Layne. Although there may be better ways to settle it, it seems like would have been a valid debate. It is pretty fair to compare their careers as both came to the NFL the same season, and finished only one year apart. Here are their career stats:
Player Games Attempts Comp. % Yards Yds/Att TD INT Rating Rush-Yds TD
Conerly 161 2833 1418 50.1 19,488 6.9 173 167 68.2 685 10
Layne 175 3700 1814 49.0 26,768 7.2 196 243 63.4 2,451 25
Conerly was obviously on a team that passed less than Layne, and when the Lions did run, Layne clearly did a lot more of it than Conerly did with New York. What’s amazing is that they played in the same league for 14 seasons, reached the Championship game a combined 7 times, but never faced each other once in the postseason.
The team’s split their four head-to-head meetings with Conerly and Layne at quarterback. Layne’s Lions won 3 titles in 4 attempts, Conerly won 1 title and lost 2 more.
Clearly, Layne was a far superior player, albeit one on a much better team. But Layne is a Hall of Famer, and there’s no shame in not being as good as he was. Conerly’s numbers stand up pretty well considering he was not playing in a passing era. In fact, he is the only quarterback from that era who threw more touchdowns than picks, including Norm Van Brocklin, Otto Graham, and Y.A. Title.
37. Kurt Warner- (125 TD, 83 INT, 93.8 Rating) 1998- Active
You already know that Warner had the most bizarre start to a career ever. What has made him more fascinating is how wildly is career has fallen off the tracks.
Years Games Attempts Comp. % Yards TD INT MVP’S Playoff Record
1999-2001 43 1,392 935 67.2 12,612 98 53 2 5-2
2002-2006 36 1,105 706 63.9 7,940 27 30 0 None
No one has ever gone from being legendary to incompetent so quickly.
36. Daryle Lamonica- (164 TD, 138 INT, 72.9 Rating) 1963-1974
Top 5 Quarterback Nicknames
5. Ken “The Snake” Stabler
4. Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica
3. Dave “Mudbone” Krieg
2. Charlie “Roach” Conerly
1. Jared “The Pillsbury Throwboy” Lorenzen
35. Steve McNair- (172 TD, 114 INT, 83.3 Rating) 1995- Active
McNair was so good in college, that he finished 3rd in the Heisman voting, even though he played for Alcorn St., which was a Division I-AA school. It’s crazy that with the money colleges spend on recruiting, so many great players fall through the cracks.
Kurt Warner had to go to Northern Iowa, Ken Anderson went to Augustana, Phil Simms attended Morehead St, Terry Bradshaw played for Louisiana Tech, Brett Favre went to Southern Miss, and Trent Green was a Delaware Blue Hen.
The best small college story of all is Dave Krieg, who played for Milton College, which closed down a year after he left. Krieg took it in stride, saying “At least I don’t have to pay alumni dues.”
34. Bob Waterfield- (97 TD, 128 INT, 61.6 Rating) 1945-1952 Hall of Fame
Best Quarterbacks by Season- 1950’s
1950- Norm Van Brocklin
1951- Bob Waterfield
1952- Tobin Rote
1953- Otto Graham
1954- Bobby Layne
1955- Otto Graham
1956- Ed Brown
1957- Johnny Unitas
1958- Johnny Unitas
1959- Charlie Conerly
33. Roman Gabriel- (201 TD, 149 INT, 74.3 Rating) 1962-1977
A note on the 16 Game Era
You’ll notice 2 enormous differences between quarterbacks from the 1950’s through 70’s, and those from the 80’s until today. One is that they threw prodigious amounts of interceptions, no matter how good they were. Secondly, their QB Ratings were much lower; the average rating by 1970 was lower than 70, now an average rating is 80. This is due to a greater emphasis on the passing game in modern football, and a sophistication of game planning, along with a universal aversion to turning the football over.
Another major difference was the extension of the season from 14 games to 16 in 1978. Prior to ’78, throwing for 3,000 yards in a season was impossible, a star QB like Roman Gabriel only did it once. Starting in 1978, mediocrities like Jim Zorn and Archie Manning did it 3 years in a row, after never having thrown for 3,000 before. Gus Frerotte’s done it. Jon Kitna has done it 5 times. Jay Schroeder has thrown for 4,000.
32. Jim Plunkett- (164 TD, 198 INT, 67.5 Rating) 1971-1986
Jim Plunkett VS. Ken Anderson
Generally a QB who wins 2 Super Bowls is bulletproof. Every other quarterback who has won multiple Super Bowls is either in the Hall of Fame (Starr, Bradshaw, Staubach, Montana, Griese, Elway, and Aikman) or will be (Favre and Brady.) Plunkett is the exception to the rule. His career overlaps perfectly (1971-1986) with the Bengals’ Ken Anderson, who won exactly zero titles, and makes for an interesting comparison.
Player Games Attempts Comp. % Yards Yds/Att TD INT Rating Playoff Rec. MVPS
Plunkett 157 3,701 1,943 52.5 25,882 7.0 164 198 67.5 8-2 0
Anderson 192 4,475 2,654 59.3 32,838 7.3 197 160 81.9 2-3 1
A few things become clear from these numbers. Plunkett had an impossible time staying healthy. He threw way, way too many interceptions. In 1983, the year Plunkett won his second Super Bowl, he had his finest regular season. He threw 20 TD, 18 INT, had 2,935 yards and had an 82.7 rating. Anderson had 5 better seasons than that one.
A major factor in the 2 titles was that Plunkett had a loaded defense led by Ted Hendricks and Lester Hayes. Plunkett also only had to beat Joe Theismann and Ron Jaworski to win Super Bowls. Anderson’s loss came in a game where he outplayed Joe Montana.
31. Joe Theismann- (160 TD, 138 INT, 77.4 Rating) 1974-1985
Theismann’s career was way too short; after being drafted he went to the CFL and played with the Toronto Argonauts for three seasons. He then went to Washington, where he sat on the bench for 2 seasons, then over the following 2 seasons occasionally spelled Billy Kilmer.
By the time Theismann won the starting job he was already 29, and he had a terrible first season. Luckily the Redskins didn’t give up on him, and he had a breakout season in 1979, although he took two steps back by struggling in 1980 and ’81. Theismann finally put together quality back-to-back seasons, leading the Redskins to a pair of Super Bowls, winning one, and winning the NFL MVP in ’83 when he was 34 years old. Only Y.A. Tittle, had his career year later than that, when he won the MVP at age 37.
30. Joe Namath- (173 TD, 220 INT, 65.5 Rating) 1965-1977
Namath is the hardest person on the entire list to judge for several reasons. His numbers are not exactly awe-inspiring; the person most comparable to him statistically is Babe Parilli, who backed him up on the Jets for two seasons.
Other than Super Bowl III, his teams did not have a great deal of success, the Jets were under .500 nine out of 12 times during his tenure.
You can grant Namath two major factors in his favor. One, the talent surrounding him was sub par, and secondly, his career was plagues by injuries.
In all fairness, if Namath loses Super Bowl III, he probably isn’t higher than 75 on this list. That’s one important win, all right.
29. Phil Simms- (199 TD, 157 INT, 78.5 Rating) 1979-1993
5 Worst Super Bowl Winning Seasons for a QB
5. Len Dawson- 1969 Chiefs: 9 TD, 13 INT, 1,323 Yards, 69.9 Rating (8 games)
4. Phil Simms- 1986 Giants: 21 TD, 22 INT, 3,487 Yards, 74. Rating
3. Johnny Unitas- 1970 Colts: 14 TD, 18 INT, 2,213 Yards, 65.1 Rating
2. Trent Dilfer- 2000 Ravens: 12 TD, 11 INT, 1,502 Yards, 76.6 Rating
1. Bart Starr- 1967 Packers: 9 TD, 17 INT, 1,823 Yards, 64.4 Rating
28. Ken Stabler- (194, 222 INT, 75.3 Rating) 1970-1984
Sea of Hands
Stabler had been the victim of horrible luck in 1972, losing on The “Immaculate Reception,” and then the Raiders let the 1973 AFC Championship game get away from them. In 1974 he was trying to turn the tables on the Dolphins who had ended their previous season.
Stabler had come out firing, throwing two TD passes but trailed Miami 20-14 with 5 minutes to go. He immediately found Cliff Branch for a 72 yard strike, which gave them back the lead. Bob Griese responded by leading the Dolphins on a 4 play scoring drive, making it 26-21 Miami with less than 2 minutes remaining.
The Raiders drove down to the Miami 8, where Stabler threw a ball up to Clarence Davis. With 3 Miami players surrounding him, Davis caught the ball and held on, giving Oakland the 28-26 win. They would lose the following week in the AFC Title game, and the Steelers would beat them in 1974, but the fourth try would be the charm for Stabler and Oakland in 1975.
27. Ken Anderson- (197 TD, 160 INT, 81.9 Rating) 1971-1986
Fun with the Hall of Fame Part I: Retired
There are 24 Modern quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame. This year, and presumably for several years after that, there will be no more players added to that list. None of the fifteen finalists this year are quarterbacks because all of the supposed worthy candidates are in; there is no outcry about a QB currently, like there is for say, Art Monk. Is it reasonable then, that there are no worthy quarterbacks outside the Hall?
The best QB’s not enshrined are most of the players we have just seen: Simms, Theismann, Plunkett, Stabler, Gabriel, and Ken Anderson. Most have fatal flaws; Plunkett’s career numbers are atrocious, Theismann and Simms didn’t reach their primes until late in their careers, Stabler only had 4 good years, and Gabriel played on terrible teams.
That leaves, Anderson, who never won a title. That was hardly his fault however, as he played well in the postseason. His numbers are certainly better than a few of the players in the Hall of Fame, like Bob Waterfield and Joe Namath. Everyone else on this list can say the same, so that isn’t cause for induction. There isn’t one thing that stands out about Anderson, so it is impossible to recommend his induction, but he is the best retired quarterback not in the Hall of Fame.
26. Donovan McNabb- (152 TD, 72 INT, 84.1 Rating) 1999-Active
Fun with the Hall of Fame Part II: Active Players
It’s safe to assume that Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady will get into the Hall of Fame on their first try. But, are there any other active players who have a shot at getting into Canton?
It’s way too early to discuss Drew Brees and Carson Palmer who both have amazing numbers. Kurt Warner’s prime only lasted 3 seasons. Daunte Culpepper was putting up All-World numbers and now his career has fallen off the tracks.
The only legitimate option is McNabb. After a mediocre rookie season, he has put together seven straight excellent seasons, although the last two have been cut short by injury.
He throws interceptions less frequently than any other player ever. He has run for 24 touchdowns. He has a winning playoff record (7-5.) The only thing he doesn’t have is a championship. Basically, the formula for McNabb to make the Hall is to make a second Super Bowl. Short of that, if he can stay healthy for 5 more years and compile numbers similar to what he has done, he should be in decent shape.
25-1: Where the Real List Begins
25. Y.A. Tittle- (212 TD, 221 INT, 74.3 Rating) 1950-1964
Best Quarterbacks by Year- 1960’s
1960- Milt Plum
1961- George Blanda
1962- Len Dawson
1963- Y.A. Tittle
1964- Johnny Unitas
1965- John Brodie
1966- Len Dawson
1967- Sonny Jurgenson
1968- Bart Starr
1969- Roman Gabriel
24. Norm Van Brocklin- (173 TD, 178 INT, 75.1 Rating) 1949-1960
Van Brocklin was drafted by the Rams, a team that already had Bob Waterfield, a start quarterback. In van Brocklin’s second season, Coach Joe Stydahar decided to platoon them, and the results were phenomenal. They scored 466 points in a 12 game season, averaging 38.8 per game, which is still the record. They would lose an epic title game to Otto Graham’s Browns, 30-28.
1951 was even kinder to van Brocklin. In an early season game he passed for 554 yards in a game, a record which also still stands. Then in the title rematch against the Browns, he came off the bench to throw a 73 yard TD pass to give the Rams a 24-17 win.
Returning to the Title game in 1955, the Browns intercepted van Brocklin 6 times, to win a rout.
Norm played his final 3 seasons with the Eagles, and capped his career with a return to the Championship game in 1960. Facing Vince Lombardi’s Packers, van Brocklin orchestrated a fourth quarter comeback to win 17-13. It was the only time Lombardi ever lost a Championship game.
23. Dan Fouts- (254 TD, 242 INT, 80.2 Rating) 1973-1987
Best Quarterbacks by Season- 1980’s
1980- Brian Sipe
1981- Ken Anderson
1982- Dan Fouts
1983- Joe Theismann
1984- Dan Marino
1985- Ken O’Brien
1986- Dan Marino
1987- Joe Montana
1988- Boomer Esiason
1989- Joe Montana
22. Sonny Jurgenson- (259 TD, 189 INT, 82.6 Rating) 1957-1974
The best player to never to win a playoff game.
21. Bob Griese- (192 TD, 172 INT, 77.1 Rating) 1967-1980
Best Quarterbacks by Season- 1970’s
1970- John Brodie
1971- Roger Staubach
1972- Billy Kilmer
1973- Roger Staubach
1974- Ken Stabler
1975- Fran Tarkenton
1976- Ken Stabler
1977- Bob Griese
1978- Roger Staubach
1979- Roger Staubach
20. Warren Moon- (291 TD, 233 INT, 80.9 Rating) 1984-2000
Moon might have blown a 38-3 lead in a playoff game once, but that wasn’t his only terrible moment; he was 3-7 lifetime in the playoffs.
Team Passing Records- AFC
Dolphins: Dan Marino 61,361
Broncos: John Elway 51,475
Chargers: Dan Fouts 43,040
Colts: Johnny Unitas 39,768
Bills: Jim Kelly 35,467
Oilers/Titans: Warren Moon 33,685
Bengals: Ken Anderson 32,838
Patriots: Drew Bledsoe 29,657
Chiefs: Len Dawson 28,507
Steelers: Terry Bradshaw 27,989
Jets: Joe Namath 27,057
Jaguars: Mark Brunell 25,698
Browns: Brian Sipe 23,713
Raiders: Ken Stabler 19,078
Texans: David Carr 13,391
Ravens: Vinny Testaverde 7,148
19. Bobby Layne- (196 TD, 243 INT, 63.4 Rating) 1948-1962
For Layne, who won 3 Titles with Detroit in the 50’s, to still be their all-time leading passer, despite playing 12 game seasons, is a better indictment of the Lions than any writer can make.
18. Jim Kelly- (237 TD, 175 INT, 84.4 Rating) 1989-1996
Kelly’s Super Bowl Stats- Cover your eyes
Game Opponent Comp Att. Yards TD INT Final Score
Super Bowl XXV Giants 18 30 212 0 0 Lost, 20-19
Super Bowl XXVI Redskins 28 58 275 2 4 Lost, 37-24
Super Bowl XXVII Cowboys 4 7 82 0 2 Lost, 52-17
Super Bowl XXVIII Cowboys 31 50 260 0 1 Lost, 30-13
17. Len Dawson- (239 TD, 183 INT, 82.6 Rating) 1957-1975
The 1983 draft with Marino, Elway and Kelly is obviously the greatest draft ever, but the 1957 Draft is definitely second; it’s the only Draft with 5 players from the top 100.
Len Dawson and Sonny Jurgenson are Hall of Famers.
Jack Kemp won 2 AFL Titles.
John Brodie was the NFL MVP in 1970
Milt Plum had one of the best statistical seasons ever in 1960.
Combined the five players have a Super Bowl win, 3 AFL Titles, an NFL MVP, and 2 AFL MVP’s.
16. Fran Tarkenton- 342 TD, 266 INT, 80.4 Rating)
Fran the Scrambler in the Super Bowl
Game Opponent Comp Att. Yards TD INT Final Score
Super Bowl VIII Dolphins 18 28 182 0 1 Vikings lost 24-7
Super Bowl IX Steelers 11 26 102 0 3 Vikings lost 16-6
Super Bowl XI Raiders 17 35 205 1 2 Vikings lost 32-14
15. Sammy Baugh- (187 TD, 203 INT, 72.2 Rating) 1937-1952
In 1940, Baugh’s Redskins were famously destroyed by the Bears in the NFL Championship Game, 73-0. They beat Chicago for the 1941 Title, and in1943 played the rubber match. During that game, Baugh got injured. What’s bizarre about his injury, was that he got hurt tackling Sid Luckman, the Bears quarterback. Back then, everyone played both ways. Could you imagine Peyton Manning and Tom Brady having to tackle each other?
14. Troy Aikman- (165 TD, 141 INT, 81.6 Rating) 1989-2000
Team Passing Records- NFC
Packers: Brett Favre 57,500
49ers: Joe Montana 35,124
Cardinals: Jim Hart 34,639
Giants: Phil Simms 33,462
Vikings: Fran Tarkenton 33,098
Cowboys: Troy Aikman 32,942
Eagles: Ron Jaworski 26,963
Seahawks: Dave Krieg 26,132
Redskins: Joe Theismann 25,206
Rams: Jim Everett 23,758
Falcons: Steve Bartkowski 23,468
Saints: Archie Manning 21,734 (only one on list not in top 100)
Lions: Bobby Layne 15,710
Bucs: Vinny Testaverde 14,820 (only player to be all-time leader for 2 teams)
Panthers: Jake Delhomme 13,331
13. Sid Luckman- (137 TD, 132 INT, 75.0 Rating) 1939-1950
Technically, Luckman and Baugh are considered Pre-Modern Quarterbacks. The Modern Era started after World War II in 1946. But, since they played in pass-heavy offenses, and their careers extended past ’46, I felt the list would be incomplete without them.
12. Tom Brady- (147 TD, 78 INT, 88.4 Rating) 2000- Active
I have still never heard a good explanation for why Brady wasn’t drafted until the 6th Round. Also, if the Patriots had any clue he would be this good, shouldn’t they have drafted him much earlier just to make sure?
11. Terry Bradshaw- (212 TD, 210 INT, 70.9 Rating) 1970-1983
The 5 Worst Rookie Seasons Ever
5. Troy Aikman-1989 Cowboys (1-15): 9 TD, 18 INT, 5.97 Yds/PA, 55.7 Rating
4. Jim Zorn- 1976 Seahawks (2-12): 12 TD, 27 INT, 47.4 Comp. %, 49.5 Rating
3. Steve DeBerg- 1978 49ers (2-14): 8 TD, 22 INT, 45.4 Comp. %, 40.0 Rating
2. Tobin Rote- 1950 Packers (3-9): 7 TD, 24 INT, 37.1 Comp. %, 26.7 Rating
1 Terry Bradshaw-1970 Steelers (5-9): 6 TD, 24 INT, 38.1 Comp %, 30.4 Rating
10. Otto Graham- (88 TD, 94 INT, 78.2 Rating) 1950-1955
Why is Otto so Low?
On lists like this one, you will generally find Otto Graham ranked about 3rd. It’s hard to argue with his results; he made the title game in all 10 of his pro seasons, winning seven titles. The problem with Graham is that from 1946-49, the first 4 years of his career, the Cleveland Browns competed in the All-American Football Conference. Although, I’m certain that the level of play was closer to the AFL then say, the CFL, I have only included stats recognized by the NFL on this list. So, Graham loses four of his 7 titles, and some of his best seasons. Even so, in his 6 seasons, Graham made as many title games as anyone else in the history of the sport.
9. Roger Staubach- (153 TD, 109 INT, 83.4 Rating) 1969-1979
Heisman Trophy Winning QB’s in the NFL
Busts (this list is rather lengthy)1962 - Terry Baker Oregon St.-: No TD Passes in 3 seasons with the Rams1964- John Huarte Notre Dame: In his 6 seasons with 4 teams, he threw a single TD pass1965- Steve Spurrier Florida: Quarterbacked the Bucs to their epic 0-14 season. 1967 Gary Breban UCLA: Threw one pass in his 2 year Redskins career. I'm sure it was a great pass though.1971- Pat Sullivan Auburn: Threw 5 TD's and 16 INT's in 4 seasons with Atlanta1989- Andre Ware Houston: Was so bad that, even though he was picked 7th, never got a chance to play to prove how inept he truly was.1990- Ty Detmer BYU: Spent 8 years sitting on 5 different benches, which makes him a very rich bust.1992- Gino Torretta Miami: When the Heisman Trophy winner gets picked 192nd in the Draft, he usually gets the message. 1993- Charlie Ward Florida St. :When the Heisman Trophy winner doesn't even get drafted, it usually means he's going to put his college degree to good use. Ward, on the other hand, made more money playing in the NBA, than anyone here on this list made as a quarterback. 1996- Danny Wuerffell Florida- My father-in-law said recently of Wuerffell “He wouldn’t have been bad player if he hadn’t turned down the NFL. That’s how unmemorable Wuerfell’s NFL career was, Gators fans forgot it even happened.
2000- Chris Weinke Florida State- The only guy on the Busts List who owns a major NFL Record. Unfortunately, the record is for most consecutive starts lost (17.)
2001- Eric Crouch Nebraska- Played for the Hamburg Se Devils last year. I’m sure that will work out well for him.
2003- Jason White Oklahoma “Retired” with a knee problem after he went undrafted.
On the Fence1984- Doug Flutie B.C.: Had he not played in the C.F.L. for 10 years, who knows he could have been?1986- Vinny Testaverde Miami: Had a lot of success late in career, but was weighed down by terrible teams for too long.2004- Matt Leinart USC- Too soon Studs1963- Roger Staubach Navy1970- Jim Plunkett Stanford
2002- Carson Palmer USC
8. Bart Starr- (152 TD, 138 INT, 80.5 Rating) 1956-1971
Best NFL quarterback from every college- SEC Edition
Alabama- Bart Starr
Arkansas- Ken Anderson
Auburn- Jason Campbell
Florida- Rex Grossman
Georgia- Fran Tarkenton
LSU- Y.A. Tittle
Kentucky- George Blanda
Mississippi- Charlie Conerly
Mississippi St.– Don Smith (threw 1 pass for the Bills in 1990)
South Carolina- Anthony Wright (20 Career TD)
Tennessee- Peyton Manning
Vanderbilt- Jay Cutler
7. Peyton Manning- (275 TD, 139 INT, 94.4 Rating) 1998-Active
If he has about 6 more years that look something like his first nine, and can win a pair of rings along the way, he will be #1 on this list. It won’t even be close.
6. Steve Young- (232 TD, 197 INT, 96.8 Rating) 1985-1999
The 5 Greatest Regular Seasons Ever:
Dan Marino 1984: 48 TD, 17 INT, 5,084 Yards, 64.2 Comp. %, 108.9 Rating
Steve Young 1994: 35 TD, 10 INT, 3,969 Yards, 70.3 Comp %, 112.8 Rating
Kurt Warner 1999: 41 Td, 13 INT, 4,353 Yards 65.1 Comp %, 109.2 Rating
Daunte Culpepper 2004: 39 TD, 11 INT, 4,717 Yards, 69.2 Comp. % 110.9 Rating
Peyton Manning 2004: 49 TD, 10 INT, 4,557 Yards, 67.6 Comp. %, 121.1 Rating
5. Brett Favre- (414 TD, 273 INT, 85.0 Rating) 1991-Active
Best Quarterbacks by Season- 1990’s
1990- Jim Kelly
1991- Mark Rypien
1992- Steve Young
1993- Steve Young
1994- Steve Young
1995- Brett Favre
1996- Brett Favre
1997- Brett Favre
1998- Randall Cunningham
1999- Kurt Warner
4. Dan Marino- (420 TD, 252 INT, 86.4 Rating) 1986-1999
The 5 Best Rookie Seasons Ever
5. Mark Rypien- 1988 Redskins: 18 TD, 13 INT, 1,730 Yards, 85.2 Rating 9 games
4. Charlie Conerly- 1948 Giants: 22 TD, 13 Yards, 2,175 Yards, 84.0 Rating
3. Dan Marino – 1983 Dolphins: 20 TD, 6 INT, 2,210 Yards, 96.0 Rating 9-2 as starter
2. Ben Roethlisberger- 2004 Steelers: 17 TD, 11 INT, 2,621 Yards, 98.1 Rating 13-0 as starter
1. Bob Waterfield- 1945 Browns: 14 TD, 17 INT, 1,609 Yards, 72.4 Rating, 5 Rushing TD. Led team to 9-1 record, NFL Title. 1945 MVP
3. John Elway- (300 TD, 226 INT, 79.9 Rating) 1983-1999
Before we get to the inevitable Unitas vs. Montana showdown, we should explain
why the players ranked 3-6 are placed where they are. You could make a case that Young, Elway, Marino or Favre should be first all-time.
Marino’s numbers are the best of the four, and he played on many terrible-to-mediocre teams. But he, of course, is the only one in the Top 15, as of this Sunday, to have never won a ring.
Young has the highest Passer Rating ever, and had about six seasons that are better than anything Elway or Favre ever put up, and threw 6 touchdowns in his only Super Bowl. He also has a mediocre 8-6 playoff record.
Favre has massacred his reputation the previous few seasons. But if he plays in 2007, he will have some major records under his belt, he played very well in both of his Super Bowl appearances.
Elway made 3 Super Bowls with a lousy team, and won 2 more with a great team. That’s not why he is ranked 3 however. Basically, it comes down to this: which of these 4 players would you most want to have on your side for one game?
Young and Favre have lost too many big games, and Marino never got his team in big games to begin with. Elway definitely has inferior numbers compared to the other 3, but he is the clear choice for his big game prowess.
Who is the GOAT?
1,2 Joe Montana- (273 TD, 139 INT, 92.3 Rating) 1979-1990, 1992-1994
1,2 Johnny Unitas- ( 290 TD, 253 INT, 78.2 Rating) 1956-1973
First, let’s do a statistical comparison.
Player Games Attempts Comp. % Yards Yds/Att TD INT Rating MVPS Titles
Montana 192 5,381 3,409 63.2 40,551 7.52 273 139 93.2 2 4
Unitas 211 5,186 2,830 54.6 40,329 7.76 290 253 78.2 3 3
The numbers are basically what you’d expect. Unitas’ 78.2 Rating in the 50’s and 60’s is slightly more impressive than Montana’s 93.2 in the 80’s.
Montana was a model of consistency; his worst full season was his last year, in 1994, with the Chiefs. Even then he threw 16 TD’s versus just 9 picks, and led Kansas City to the playoffs.
Unitas was much streakier. He had mediocre seasons in 1961, ’62, ’66, and ’69, and redeemed a terrible regular season with a Super Bowl win in 1970.
It must be noted that Montana’s four titles are far more impressive than Unitas’ four. Montana played in a 28 team league, Johnny U’s two NFL Titles came when there were 12, then 14 teams.
Montana didn’t just win 4 Championships, he played brilliantly in 3 of the games, and led a game-winning drive in the fourth. He beat the regular season MVP three times to win those Super Bowls, and John Elway in his last one.
Unitas was also cursed by being born slightly too early to have had the Super Bowl successes he deserved. Of course, an astute fan will acknowledge that an enormous part of the boom leading to the Super Bowl era was caused by Unitas.
By the time he reached his two Super Bowls, he was frequently injured, and past the prime of his career. In 2 Super Bowls, he threw 3 interceptions, without a touchdown. That’s 3 more picks than Montana, and 12 fewer touchdowns.
Montana was aided a phenomenal offensive line, and unquestionably, the greatest Wide Receiver ever. Unitas though, was not lacking for Hall of Famers on his team, he was one of 6 to be inducted.
It is inherently possible that Unitas was a better player then Montana, but the information we have seems to lead to the contrary. Montana, by virtue of sustained greatness, gets the nod as the greatest ever.
Of course, this will all be moot in five years when Manning passes both of them. That’s Peyton, not Eli, by the way.
Sources: The statistics were taken from three sites: pro-football-reference.com, databasefootball.com, profootballhof.com. The Dave Krieg quote was from Seahawks.com. Every list is original.