The NFL is a quarterback’s league now more than ever. You just can’t win unless you have a top-notch signal-caller in the backfield pulling the strings of the offense for your team, regardless of how dominant your defense may be.
The game has changed a lot over history. The passers get more protection, helpless receivers can’t be punished the same way they used to be so that obviously opens up the door for more yards, higher-scoring totals, and new records on a weekly basis.
But still, there have been quarterbacks that have dominated their eras regardless of how much the rules may have changed. Talent, accuracy, strength, mobility, and sometimes a combination of all that has made them legends of this game. Today, we’re going to honor them by ranking the top 50 quarterbacks in NFL history.
50. Doug Williams
Stats: 16,998 yards, 100 TD, 93 INT, 49.5% completion percentage
Awards: Super Bowl MVP
Doug Williams’ career doesn’t exactly speak greatness. Stat-wise, he may not be the best guy on this list by a long shot. However, he was one of the most talented gunslingers in the league during his prime.
Williams led the Washington Redskins to a Super Bowl triumph as one of the first true dual-threat quarterbacks in the league. He only played for 9 seasons but still retired with 15 rushing touchdowns and almost 17,000 yards with 100 scores.
49. Vinny Testaverde
Stats: 46,233 yards, 275 TD, 106 INT, 56.5% completion percentage
Awards: 2 Pro Bowls
Vinny Testaverde is the prime example of a talented guy in the wrong environment and that, obviously, hurt his chances of winning. He spent most of his career in losing teams and struggled to win games despite putting up insane numbers.
Testaverde only played 7 playoffs games after running the show for the Bucs, Browns, Ravens, Jets, Cowboys, Patriots, and Panthers. He could’ve been a legend had he played for the right team.
48. John Hadl
Stats: 33,503 yards, 244 TD, 268 INT, 50.4% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro
Most young fans may not know the first thing about John Hadl but I’ll tell you this: he could play in today’s league and dominate as one of the best, as he was a yard-producing machine that didn’t need many attempts to put up numbers.
He could perform superbly under pressure and wasn’t afraid to pay the price for it in a much more physical era. Still, he managed to average over 7.4 yards per attempt and win one AFL Championship.
47. Trent Green
Stats: 28,475 yards, 163 TD, 114 INT, 60.6% completion percentage
Awards: 2 Pro Bowls
Trent Green’s career got off to a rough start due to injuries and bad luck. He was supposed to lead the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ at St. Louis but got hurt and Kurt Warner took over to become one of the greatest ever.
Still, Green managed to become a legend with the Kansas City Chiefs towards the final passage of his career. He threw for over 4,000 yards in three straight years and could’ve ended up being one of the best ever if it wasn’t for his durability issues.
46. Archie Manning
Stats: 23,911 yards, 125 TD, 173 INT, 55.2% completion percentage
Awards: 2 Pro Bowls
Archie Manning may haven’t been as successful or talented as his two sons but he still cracks the top 50 for what he accomplished with his subpar New Orleans Saints, with whom he spent most of his career.
Manning played for some terrible teams but still found the way to put up huge numbers - perhaps because he was trailing for most of the time. He had three 3,000+ yard seasons and obviously, some incredible genes.
45. Mark Brunell
Stats: 32,072 yards, 184 TD, 108 INT, 59.5% completion percentage
Awards: 3 Pro Bowls
Mark Brunell may not be the most spectacular player of this list but he was as consistent as they come. He turned the Jacksonville Jaguars into the best expansion team during his early days with the team, leading them to the playoffs 3 out of 4 years.
He put up impressive numbers as a starter before bouncing around the league as a backup, finally retiring in 2011. Also, he was Drew Brees’ backup during the Saints' Super Bowl win, for what it’s worth.
44. Michael Vick
Stats: 22,464 yards, 133 TD, 88 INT, 56.2% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, Comeback Player of the Year
If we talk about polarizing players, perhaps no one will ever be as polarizing as Michael Vick. His numbers aren’t that impressive, and his rushing record was recently topped by Lamar Jackson, but this guy set the standard for the modern dual-threat quarterback.
Vick was the league’s finest entertainer during his prime. He could run and break tackles like Emmit Smith and had a cannon for an arm to create plays out of nowhere. We’ll never forgive him for ruining his promising career with that dogfighting scandal. He was the ultimate scrambler.
43. Jim Plunkett
Stats: 25,882 yards, 164 TD, 198 INT, 52.5% completion percentage
Awards: Comeback Player of the Year, Super Bowl MVP
Jim Plunkett didn’t exactly reek of talent, athleticism, speed, or any trait you’d say that makes an elite quarterback. Still, somehow, he managed to win two Super Bowls, which is more than most signal-callers can say.
Plunkett has one of the strangest careers ever as he’s a two-time champion as a starter with no actual awards or even Pro Bowl selections but hey, this game is all about winning, and the guy won.
42. Ken Anderson
Stats: 32,838 yards,197 TD, 160 INT, 59.3% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP
Ken Anderson had the tough luck to coexist with the San Francisco 49ers and their terrifying dynasty. If not, perhaps he would’ve made more than one Super Bowl appearance. But make no mistake, this guy was a baller.
Anderson was the most accurate passer in the league by a long stretch. He could throw dimes like the best of them but his lack of playoff success hurt his Hall of Fame chances and thus, he’s not ranked higher on this list.
41. Joe Theismann
Stats: 25,206 yards, 160 TD, 138 INT, 56.7% completion percentage
Awards: 2 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP
Joe Theismann could have joined the Miami Dolphins but a contract dispute took him all the way to Canada, where he played the first three years of his career. He got savvier, stronger, quicker, and deadlier up north, for sure.
He’d then become one of the greatest players in Redskins’ history by leading them to a Super Bowl and being the best offensive player in the nation in 1983. Sadly, his career got to a gruesome end with a broken leg after a tackle by Lawrence Taylor on national television.
40. Sammy Baugh
Record: 11-10-0 (since 1950)
Stats: 21,886 yards, 187 TD, 203 INT, 56.5% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls, 4 All-Pro, Hall of Fame
Well, Sammy Baugh is a football legend. He didn’t just play quarterback but also defensive back and punter. He led the league in completion percentage eight times thanks to his famous forward pass.
He also led the league in interceptions once, and five times in yards per punt. He literally could do it all at a high rate and his versatility led the Washington Redskins to a couple of Championships.
39. Philip Rivers
Record: 123-101 (as of 2019)
Stats: 59,271 yards, 397 TD, 198 INT, 64.7% completion percentage
Awards: 8 Pro Bowls, Comeback Player of the Year
Well, Philip Rivers has always been a bit of a polarizing figure around the league. There have never been any kinds of doubts regarding his arm power and ability to put up numbers on the stat sheet.
However, he’s only played 11 playoffs games on his 15 season-career and is yet to make a Super Bowl appearance. Also, he’s had to live under Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning’s shadow, so that hasn’t helped his case but his individual stats grant him a spot in the Hall of Fame, for sure.
38. Drew Bledsoe
Stats: 44,611 yards, 251 TD, 206 INT, 57.2% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls
Drew Bledsoe sure had a lot of ups and downs throughout his career but he was one of the most productive players in the league during his prime, as you can tell by his over 40,000 passing yards.
Most young fans now know him for being the guy Tom Brady replaced with the Patriots but make no mistake, Bledsoe was a huge threat in the pocket. Efficiency was always a concern with him, though.
37. Patrick Mahomes
Record: 24-7 (as of 2019)
Stats: 9,412 yards, 76 TD, 18 INT, 65.9% completion percentage
Awards: 2 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, Super Bowl MVP
Ok, I know this one will turn a lot of heads, but talent-wise, Patrick Mahomes is one of the greatest athletes to ever lace them up. He’s the ultimate cheat code and - barring injury - will go down as a legend once it’s all said and done.
Mahomes turned the Kansas City Chiefs around and is the face of an electrifying and unstoppable offense. He’s already a Super Bowl champion after just three seasons and his combination of skill, strength, accuracy, and rushing ability make him the ultimate quarterback.
36. Phil Simms
Stats: 33,462 yards, 199 TD, 157 INT, 55.4% completion percentage
Awards: 2 Pro Bowls, Super Bowl MVP
Most people may not be that fond of Phil Simms as an analyst but he was a great quarterback during his 15-year career in the NFL. He may have not been that spectacular, but he was the definition of consistency.
Simms also was lucky enough to have one of the fiercest defenses in NFL history during his prime so he’ll likely never get enough credit, but he did just everything the Giants needed him to do to lead them to a couple of championships.
35. Eli Manning
Stats: 57,023 yards, 366 TD, 244 INT, 60.3% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 2 Super Bowl MVPs
Eli Manning’s record pretty much sums up his career. Sometimes he was great, sometimes he was terrible. The Giants decided to live and die by him and it truly paid off, as he led them to a couple of Super Bowl wins, both against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Eli retired as the Giants' leader in passing yards, completed passes, and touchdown passes. He may not be the most consistent or talented guy in the Manning household but he always delivered when his team needed him in the ultimate stage.
34. Boomer Esiason
Stats: 37,920 yards, 247 TD, 184 INT, 57.0% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP
Boomer Esiason was a great quarterback on a pretty awful team for most of his career. Still, he managed to put up insane numbers in just 10 seasons and even led the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl, even though Joe Montana and his 49ers beat them.
Unlike most quarterbacks, Esiason was actually a lefty. He was explosive out of the pocket and had one of the strongest arms in the league during his prime and would’ve been a champion is if it wasn’t for Joe Cool’s clutch pass to John Taylor.
33. Rich Gannon
Stats: 28,743 yards, 180 TD, 104 INT, 60.2% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros, 1 MVP
Rich Gannon is the definition of a late bloomer. It took him a while to settle himself and become a consistent producer but once he took off, he never took his feet off the gas, leafing the Raiders to a couple of Super Bowls.
Needless to say, his legacy will always be tainted due to the fact that he lost both times but still, he put some impressive numbers over his career, and while he wasn’t exactly the most explosive gunslinger in the nation, he was always consistent enough to contend.
32. Kurt Warner
Stats: 32,344 yards, 208 TD, 128 INT, 65.5% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros, 2 MVPs, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
Kurt Warner could’ve been the greatest quarterback of all time if he hadn’t entered the league at age 27. Still, he put some incredible numbers in just 12 seasons and even made it to the Hall of Fame.
He took over the injured Trent Green and led the Rams to a Super Bowl win but struggled with injuries later on in his career, bouncing around to the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals. He then became the second quarterback to start in two Super Bowls with 2 different teams, even though he lost that one to the Steelers.
31. Donovan McNabb
Stats: 37,276 yards, 234 TD, 117 INT, 59.0% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls
While most people may give Donovan McNabb a hard time because of his lack of silverware, he was a very productive player during the 2000s and one of the first dual-threat quarterbacks to thrive in the league.
McNabb rushed for 3,459 yards and 29 scores besides throwing for 37,000 career yards, which explain why he was a perennial presence in the Pro Bowl. However, he constantly struggled in the playoffs.
30. Jim Kelly
Stats: 25,467 yards, 237 TD, 175 INT, 60.1% completion percentage
Awards: 5 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Hall of Famer
Jim Kelly’s career is heartbreaking. He was a master at making adjustments in the line and calling audibles to keep defenses guessing with his “no-huddle, K-offense” and that helped him put insane numbers year after year.
However, he and the Buffalo Bills constantly underperformed when it mattered the most: the Super Bowl. They made it to four straight trips to the biggest game of the year but always came back home empty-handed.
29. Ben Roethlisberger
Record: 144-71-1 (as of 2019)
Stats: 56,545 yards, 363 TD, 191 INT, 64.3% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls
People may not care about Ben Roethlisberger and rightfully so, as he’s had his fair share of controversies off the gridiron and in the Steelers locker room but nobody can deny the fact that he’s one of the best, most productive quarterbacks of the past two decades.
Roethlisberger’s size and strength make him deadly in the pocket and even though he’s everything except mobile, he’s a master at making something out of broken plays. Love him or hate him, he’s a baller.
28. Roman Gabriel
Stats: 29,444 yards, 201 TD, 149 INT, 52.6% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP
Roman Gabriel played in an era where you were basically allowed to butcher the quarterback at will. His numbers may not be impressive for today’s game but he was a game-changer back in the day for one reason: he didn’t make mistakes.
Gabriel was rarely intercepted in clutch situations and only 3.3% of his passes were picked off, which was unprecedented at the time. He led the league in passing attempts with over 400 twice on his career and his game would be better suited for today’s football.
27. Norm Van Brocklin
Stats: 23,611 yards, 173 TD, 178 INT, 53.6% completion percentage
Awards: 9 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Even though quarterbacks are taking more pass attempts every day, Norm Van Brocklin still holds the single-game record for the most passing yards with 554. That’s just how great he was back in the day.
He led the Rams and Eagles to NFL Championships and was constantly among the league’s leaders in every significant category. His arm strength was also worth noticing as he didn’t hesitate to throw the ball downfield at any given time.
26. Sid Luckman
Stats: 14,6986 yards, 137 TD, 132 INT, 51.8% completion percentage
Awards: 3 Pro Bowls, 5 All-Pros, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Even though most young fans may not know about him, Sid Luckman is not only one of football’s biggest winners but also the true pioneer of the ‘T-formation’, which helped him take home 4 trophies.
Luckman had a cannon for an arm and some consider him the most accurate long-range passer the league has ever seen, as well as the best quarterback in Chicago Bears history. He still holds the record (tied) for the most touchdown passes in a game with 7.
25. Joe Namath
Stats: 27,663 yards, 173 TD, 220 INT, 50.1% completion percentage
Awards: 5 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
Joe Namath has always been one of the most difficult guys to rank. He may be a bit overrated if you take a look at his stats but hey, he sure delivered when it mattered the most and it is tough to push him below on this list given his accolades.
‘Broadway Joe’ was an entertainer and a trash-talker but he put his money where his mouth was. His interception total and completion percentage are underwhelming but he could produce in bunches during his prime, for sure.
24. Len Dawson
Stats: 28,711 yards, 239 TD, 183 INT, 57.1% completion percentage
Awards: 7 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pro, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
Len Dawson is one of the few people that can brag about winning NFL championships and Super Bowls as well. He completely dominated his era with the Kansas City Chiefs, establishing records for career passing yards, touchdowns, and wins.
His numbers may be topped by Patrick Mahomes but this guy did it first and did it well. He led the league in completion percentage 8 times (including his final season) and six times in passer rating. Also, he holds a career INT% of just 6.4, which was great at the time.
23. Steve McNair
Stats: 31,304 yards, 174 TD, 119 INT, 60.1% completion percentage
Awards: 3 Pro Bowls, 1 MVP
Steve McNair is mostly remembered for his tragic death but he was one of the most talented quarterbacks the league had ever seen during his prime. To even put it in context, ‘Air’ McNair was the first African-American player to win the NFL MVP.
McNair led the Titans to the playoffs four times against all odds and even made it to one Super Bowl, which he lost - literally by one yard - at the hands of the almighty Rams. He was a dynamic dual-threat that would always keep defenses guessing.
22. Sonny Jurgensen
Stats: 32,224 yards, 255 TD, 189 INT, 57.1% completion percentage
Awards: 5 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros, Hall of Famer
Sonny Jurgensen is one of football’s biggest forgotten stars. His lone title came as Norm Van Brocklin’s backup and people just don’t talk about him even though he has some of the most impressive career stats and is a Hall of Famer.
Jurgensen threw for over 32,000 yards and 250 touchdown passes throughout his career on an era when most quarterbacks didn’t rely on their arms that much like they do nowadays and posted better numbers than most guys on this list.
21. Bob Griese
Stats: 25,092 yards, 192 TD, 172 INT, 56.2% completion percentage
Awards: 8 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pro, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Bob Griese spent most of his career with a cloudy vision in his right eye. Imagine just how good he could have been if he saw properly. He led the Miami Dolphins to 2 Super Bowls and even though had his ups and downs, was one of the deadliest guys in the league in his prime.
Notably, Griese always called his own plays, which makes it even more impressive considering he barely saw from one eye. He was a part of the undefeated 17-0 Dolphins team even though he shared the quarterback duties with Earl Morrall due to injury.
20. Y.A. Tittle
Stats: 33,070 yards, 242 TD, 248 INT, 55.2% completion percentage
Awards: 7 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Y.A. Tittle is another example of an incredibly talented guy that had it all to become a legend but lacked what matters the most: a ring to show for it. Silverware aside, he was as dominant as you could find in the gridiron.
Tittle could hurt defenses in a huge variety of ways, as you can tell by his 39 rushing touchdowns, which were almost unprecedented at the time. Also, he was the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for back-to-back 30+ touchdown seasons.
19. Ken Stabler
Stats: 27,939 yards, 194 TD, 222 INT, 59.8% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Ken Stabler was tailor-made for the spotlight. He never backed down from a big moment and excelled in clutch situations like few quarterbacks in the history of the game. That’s what made him a Raiders’ legend.
Stabler was never going to back down from a challenge, a sack, a tackle, or 3 linebackers going for his head. He personified the identity of the Raiders and even led them to a Super Bowl triumph over the Vikings before playing for the Oilers and Saints.
18. Dan Fouts
Stats: 43,040 yards, 254 TD, 242 INT, 58.8% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros, Hall of Famer
Dan Fouts had a cannon for an arm. He was the first player to throw for 4,000+ yards in three straight seasons in NFL history and led the league in passing yards in three straight years as well.
However, despite being surrounded by elite talent and putting up insane numbers, Fouts was never able to win a championship, just like Philip Rivers, so perhaps we should start talking about a Charger's curse or something.
17. Warren Moon
Stats: 49,325 yards, 291 TD, 233 INT, 58.4% completion percentage
Awards: 9 Pro Bowls, Hall of Famer
Warren Moon was a baller. He dominated both the CFL and NFL and is inducted into both of their Hall of Fames, and rightfully so. He held most passing-related records for years and his Run-and-shoot offense was simply unstoppable during his prime.
Moon’s lone stain on his resume will always be his lack of success in the postseason, as he never even made it past the divisional round. Still, production-wise and talent-wise, it’s hard to put many guys ahead of him.
16. Troy Aikman
Stats: 32,942 yards, 165 TD, 141 INT, 61.5% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
Troy Aikman didn’t put up the most impressive numbers of this list, especially in terms of touchdown passes. However, he’s got three Super Bowl rings and did play a pivotal role in all of them, even if he wasn’t the focal point of his offense.
Aikman did what he was asked to do when he was asked to do it, and that was enough to lead the run-heavy Cowboys to glory. Perhaps he would’ve posted better numbers elsewhere but regardless, he’s a legend of the game.
15. Fran Tarkenton
Stats: 47,003 yards, 342 TD, 266 INT, 57.0% completion percentage
Awards: 9 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Fran Tarkenton was a menace during his prime. He retired as the leading passer and rusher for his position and completely dominated through the regular season but like many others, he always came up short in the playoffs.
Regardless, his numbers make him one of the greatest ever. He rushed for 3,674 yards and 32 scores but had the tough lock to play at the same time as some of the greatest teams in the history of the game.
14. Terry Bradshaw
Stats: 27,989 yards, 211 TD, 210 INT, 51.9% completion percentage
Awards: 3 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, 2 Super Bowl MVPs, Hall of Famer
It’s tough to rank Terry Bradshaw among the all-time greats. Not because he isn't one of them but because of the spot he deserves. I mean, those 4 Super Bowl rings should be more than enough to crack the top-10 but his individual stats are somewhat underwhelming, to say the least.
Still, Bradshaw always delivered in the playoffs, with 3 of his 7 career 300+ yard games coming in the postseason. He had one of the strongest arms the league had ever seen but he wasn’t the main reason why the Steelers were so dominant back in the day.
13. Aaron Rodgers
Record: 113-60-1 (as of 2019)
Stats: 46,946 yards, 364 TD, 84 INT, 64.6% completion percentage
Awards: 8 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros, 2 MVPs, Super Bowl MVP
I truly hope Aaron Rodgers is ranked higher on this list once it’s all said and done. Honestly, he’s one of my favorite players of all time, and the fact that he holds the lowest pass interception percentage in NFL history (1.4%) tells you how reliable this guy has been throughout his career.
He’s a master in clutch situations and has arguably the best arm the league has ever seen. His career has been mostly wasted because of the lack of a true supporting cast around him and a coach that actually wanted to make the most out of his traits but he’s still put up incredible numbers.
12. Bart Starr
Stats: 24,718 yards, 152 TD, 138 INT, 57.4% completion percentage
Awards: 4 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, 1 MVP, 2 Super Bowl MVPs, Hall of Famer
Bart Starr may have not put huge numbers but he’s one of the main reasons why the Green Bay Packers became a dynasty. He led them to 5 Championships and 2 Super Bowls in a six-year span.
He was known for being more of a game-manager than the most talented gunslinger in the league. Production-wise it’s difficult to rank him higher on this list but hey, let’s talk about that silverware. He’s earned his spot.
11. Otto Graham
Stats: 23,584 yards, 174 TD, 135 INT, 55.8% completion percentage
Awards: 5 Pro Bowls, 7 All-Pros, 3 MVPs, Hall of Famer
Most young fans may not even know who this guy was but Otto Graham was ahead of his time. He was the most dominant player in the league during his 10-year tenure with the Cleveland Browns, leading them to 7 titles over that span.
Graham also holds the best winning percentage (81.0%) of all-time among quarterbacks. He wasn’t afraid to throw the ball downfield on a run-heavy era where signal-callers often paid the price for taking chances.
10. Roger Staubach
Stats: 22,700 yards, 153 TD, 109 INT, 57.0% completion percentage
Awards: 6 Pro Bowls, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
Roger Staubach’s career could have been far more impressive but his duties with the U.S Navy made him enter the league at age 27. Still, he had a successful 10-year career in which he posted numbers other quarterbacks couldn’t do in significantly more time.
Staubach was deemed ‘Captain Comeback’ because of his ability to set up game-winning drives (23 per his career). He also led his almighty Dallas Cowboys to a couple of Super Bowl rings in four tries.
9. John Elway
Stats: 51,475 yards, 300 TD, 226 INT, 56.9% completion percentage
Awards: 9 Pro Bowls, 1 MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
It took him some time but John Elway finally became a winner at the highest level. He often underperformed in the playoffs after putting together consistent and impressive campaigns in the regular season, until he finally won back-to-back Super Bowls on his final years.
Elway was a sure thing. He was going to move the chains and pile up yards any given night but never had a ground-breaking season. Still, these kinds of numbers and a couple of Super Bowl rings grant him a spot in the top-10, for sure.
8. Steve Young
Stats: 33,124 yards, 232 TD, 107 INT, 64.3% completion percentage
Awards: 7 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros, 2 MVPs, Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Famer
Steve Young may have not just been the most impressive guy out on the gridiron but also one of the most efficient. He succeeded Joe Montana with the Niners and kept their winning tradition alive from day one, leading them to 3 Vince Lombardi trophies.
Young also made a lot of damage on the ground scrambling for 4,239 yards and 43 touchdowns per his career. Young could make something out of nothing with his ability to improvise and think outside of the box. He was an entertainer.
7. Brett Favre
Stats: 71,838 yards, 508 TD, 336 INT, 62.0% completion percentage
Awards: 11 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros, 3 MVPs, Hall of Famer
If we talk about production, durability, and breathtaking play, we have to talk about the legendary Brett Favre. He was the first guy to eclipse the 500-touchdown mark and still holds the record for the most starts, passing attempts, and interceptions (no one’s perfect).
Favre’s legacy will always have a bit of an asterisk next to it for joining the Vikings after his lifelong career with the Packers but his numbers can’t ever be overlooked. He was reckless, daring, skilled, and simply spectacular.
6. Drew Brees
Record: 163-111 (as of 2019)
Stats: 77,416 yards, 547 TD, 237 INT, 67.6% completion percentage
Awards: 13 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro, Comeback Player of the Year, Super Bowl MVP
Drew Brees is still playing but there’s no doubt that he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and arguably a top-3 quarterback in the history of the game. The only reason he’s not ranked in the top-3 is that he has just one Super Bowl to show for it.
Even so, Brees holds the record for the most regular-season passing touchdowns (547), most touchdowns in a game (tied with 7), most career passing yards, most career completions, and even the single-season highest completion percentage ever (74.4%). He just keeps getting better and even though his career is coming to an end, it feels like he could still play at a high level for 3 more years, at least.
5. Dan Marino
Stats: 61,361 yards, 420 TD, 252 INT, 59.4% completion percentage
Awards: 9 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros, Comeback Player of the Year, 1 MVP, Hall of Famer
Dan Marino is the greatest quarterback never to win a championship, which is the only stain on his incredible resume. He changed the way the game was played and was arguably the first volume passer in modern football.
Marino was the best passer the league had ever seen. He put up a 5,084-yard season in just his second year in the NFL and never took his foot off the gas. He was a master at avoiding contact (even though he had a great offensive line) and had the quickest trigger in the league. Sadly, he still holds the record for the most wins without a title in NFL history.
4. Johnny Unitas
Stats: 40,239 yards, 290 TD, 253 INT, 54.6% completion percentage
Awards: 10 Pro Bowls, 5 All-Pro, 4 MVPs, Hall of Famer
Johnny Unitas held the record for most straight games with a touchdown pass (47) for 62 years. That’s insane. He was a scoring machine like no other during his prime and is considered by critics as the pioneer of the modern offense.
Unitas put up numbers no one else was even close to during his era, as the rules didn’t favor quarterbacks or the offense at all. He led the league in passing yards and touchdown passes 4 times and led the Colts to 3 NFL Championships and 1 Super Bowl ring.
3. Peyton Manning
Stats: 71,940 yards, 539 TD, 251 INT, 65.3% completion percentage
Awards: 14 Pro Bowls, 7 All-Pros, 5 MVPs, Super Bowl MVP, Comeback Player of the Year
Production-wise, Peyton Manning could’ve ended as the greatest quarterback ever but he had one kryptonite: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Manning is the greatest regular-season quarterback ever as you can tell by his 5 MVPs, an all-time high.
He struggled under pressure in the playoffs for most of his career but he still managed to win a couple of Super Bowls, including one on his final season, which was the best way to end an incredible career. He still holds the record for the most touchdown passes in one season (55), most season with 4,000+ yards (14), most passing yards on one season (5,477), most consecutive seasons with 25+ touchdown passes (13), and is the only quarterback with at least 6 touchdown passes in three different games. He was a baller.
2. Joe Montana
Stats: 40,551 yards, 237 TD, 139 INT, 63.2% completion percentage
Awards: 8 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros, 2 MVPs, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, Comeback Player of the Year, Hall of Famer
Joe Montana gets a slight edge over Peyton Manning on this ranking because of his great moments in the playoffs and Super Bowl. He even won a ring without Jerry Rice and a couple without Roger Craig, and even though he had an incredible team around him, he always delivered when it mattered the most.
Montana is one of the most influential players of all time. He set the standard for winning athletes and put his team in a position to contend for a ring on every single season. Also, he has to be one of the most clutch players ever, after leading 32 fourth-quarter comebacks, including ‘The Catch’ vs. the Cowboys in the 1981 Championship Game and then in Super Bowl XXIII vs. the Bengals.
1. Tom Brady
Record: 219-64 (as of 2019)
Stats: 74,571 yards, 541 TD, 179 INT, 63.8% completion percentage
Awards: 14 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros, 4 Super Bowl MVPs, Comeback Player of the Year
Tom Brady is the Michael Jordan of football. He’s the ultimate winner and there’s nothing we could say about him that could demeanor his legacy. You can talk about his lack of mobility or Bill Belichick’s elite coaching. You can talk about the great receivers he’s had, or even about the three Super Bowl losses. It just doesn’t matter, Brady is the greatest of all time and he’ll prove it again even after leaving the New England Patriots.
He’ll go down as the league’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, is the oldest player to win an MVP (40), which proves that he’s been a consistent menace for two decades. I mean, it’s not easy to play at the highest level for 5 years, try 20. Up to this day, he holds the record for the most playoff games (41), road wins (98), best touchdown to interception ratio in a season (28-2), career passing yards and touchdowns with one team, most touchdown passes (18) and yards (2,836) in the Super Bowl, most Super Bowl wins and never-ending etcetera.
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