NFL History: The Top 50 Greatest NFL Quarterbacks of All-Time
A list of some of the best Quarterbacks in NFL History. Today We’ll be looking at the 50 Greatest NFL QBs of All-time. This wasn’t an easy list to compile. First things first. I had to consider every passing era. Furthermore, impressive or what is considered “impressive” stats should be relative to the player’s era and contemporaries. A lot of good names were kept off this list but it’s only a list of the 50 very best.
Before you continue make sure to check out my other works of NFL Lists-
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Top QB’s of the 1970’s — NFL Top 10
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Top 10 NFL Quarterbacks of the '80s
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Top 10 QB’s of the 90s
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Alright, so without further ado here are the Top 50 Greatest NFL Quarterbacks of All-Time. Let the countdown begin!
50. Daryle Lamonica: Buffalo Bills & Oakland Raiders
Career Stats: 66–16–6 QB Record, 49.5 Cmp.%, 19,154 Passing Yards, 164 TD, 138 INT, 72.9 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 5x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro
This man possessed one of the strongest arms in NFL history. There’s a reason why he was nicknamed the “mad bomber”. He was a gunslinger. Wasn’t the most accurate Quarterback, not even for his time, but when he did hit on his passes, they went long.
49. Phil Simms: New York Giants
Career Stats: 95–64 QB Record, 55.4 Cmp.%, 33,462 Passing Yards, 199 TD, 157 INT, 78.5 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1979 NFL All-Rookie Team, 2x Pro-Bowler, 2x Super-Champion (1 As starter, 1 as back-up), 1x Super-Bowl MVP
What Simms lacked in individual accolades, he makes up for in “grit”. Playing in New York isn’t easy. It’s no walk in the park. Simms, like many New York Quarterbacks, had a rough start to his NFL career with the Giants. Ultimately though he was able to get through his struggles, win a Super-Bowl and, Super-Bowl MVP, while delivering one of the greatest Super-Bowl performances in NFL History.
48. Archie Manning: New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, & Minnesota Vikings
Career Stats: 35–101–3 QB Record, 55.2 Cmp.%, 23,911 Passing Yards, 125 TD, 173 INT, 67.1 Rate, 2,197 Rushing Yards, 18 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 2x Pro-Bowler
The original “Manning” who started it all. Archie is the best athlete and most mobile Quarterback of the three. He could make throws on the run, and take off and run when he had to. Manning was running for his life playing for an expansion and, horrible Saints team in the 70s. The Saints were not a good team at all under Archie Manning, and they didn’t win much. Still, his performance and, talent were hard to ignore. He was deadly accurate throwing on the run and set the standard as the first generation of the Legendary Manning Family.
47. Andrew Luck: Indianapolis Colts
Career Stats: 53–33 QB Record, 60.8 Cmp.%, 23,671 Passing yards, 171 TD, 83 INT, 89.5 Rate, 1,590 Rushing Yards, 14 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x Comeback Player of the Year
Whether you’re a bitter Colts fan that’s upset Luck retired early or not, there’s no denying he had a huge impact in his relatively short time in the NFL. Luck much like Archie Manning had a porous Offensive Line, and that’s putting it nicely. The Colts time and time again failed to build a solid O-Line. That was a huge contributing factor for Luck choosing to retire. In his 6 full seasons as the starter for the Colts, Luck led the Colts to the playoffs four times. He was a winner, made plays out of nothing with a bad O-Line, and deserves to be on this list.
46. Randall Cunningham: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, & Baltimore Ravens
Career Stats: 82–52–1 QB Record, 56.6 Cmp.%, 29,979 Passing Yards, 207 TD, 134 INT, 81.5 Rate, 4,928 Rushing Yards, 35 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 1x Comeback Player of the Year, 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro
There’s a chance that if Cunningham hadn’t been injury-prone for a large portion of his career, he’d easily be an NFL Hall-of-Famer and be much higher on this list. As it stands, his career even with the injuries is more than good enough to make the list. His elusiveness, and ability to throw the deep ball had fans marvel when they turned their T.V. set on during the 80s and 90s.
45. Donovan McNabb: Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, & Minnesota Vikings
Career Stats: 98–62–1 QB Record, 59.0 Cmp.%, 37,276 Passing Yards, 234 TD, 117 INT, 85.6 Rate, 3,459 Rushing Yards, 29 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 6x Pro-Bowler
McNabb thinks he was better than Troy Aikman. That may be an over-exaggeration on his part, but he was a good Quarterback. He’s a borderline Hall of Famer who led the Eagles to 5 Conference Championships and a Super-Bowl Appearance. McNabb’s Legacy will forever be remembered for not being able to “get over the hump”.
44. Boomer Esiason: Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, & Arizona Cardinals
Career Stats: 80–93 QB Record, 57.0 Cmp.%, 37,920 Passing Yards, 247 TD, 184 INT, 81.1 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x MVP, Walter Payton Man of the Year
It’s a shame Esiason didn’t win more during his career. He was a flashy, fiery competitor that almost won a Super-Bowl in Super-Bowl 23. Joe Montana delivered the heart-breaking game wining drive though and, Esiason never did make it back to the big dance.
43. Carson Palmer: Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, & Arizona Cardinals
Career Stats: 92–88–1 QB Record, 62.5 Cmp.%, 46, 247 Passing Yards, 294 TD, 187 INT, 87.9
Accolades/Awards: 3x Pro-Bowler
Palmer had a pretty under-the-radar good Career. He played for a long time and has impressive counting stats. His best football arguably came toward the end of his career under Bruce Arians' offensive scheme in Arizona. Palmer had an impressive 38–21–1 QB Record, with 105 TD, and only 57 INT in 5 seasons with the Cardinals.
42. Kurt Warner: Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, & Arizona Cardinals
Career Stats: 67–49 QB Record, 65.5 Cmp.%, 32,344 Passing Yards, 208 TD, 128 INT, 93.7 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 4x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro, 2x MVP, Walter Payton Man of the Year
This may be a bit low for Warner on this list, but I honestly don’t care. He’s easily one of the more overrated and undeserving Hall-of-Fame Quarterbacks of All-Time. He was benched 3 or 4 times in his prime. Still, he’s good enough to be on this list. He put up impressive stats for his career. However, the benching’s, inconsistency, and lack of a body of work or time make him one of the more odd Hall-of-Fame selections. Warner is the “Mendoza-Line” of NFL Hall-of-Famers.
41. Patrick Mahomes: Kansas City Chiefs
Career Stats: 24–7 QB Record, 65.9 Cmp.%, 9,412 Passing Yards, 76 TD, 18 INT, 108.9 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 1x Offensive Player of the Year, 2x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro
This may be a bit high or low for Mahomes depending on who you ask. For me, it’s just right. There’s no denying what Mahomes has been able to accomplish in his short NFL career thus far. However, it is a short sample size and it’s hard to put him ahead of the other more accomplished Quarterbacks on this list. If Mahomes’ trend of fantastic play continues, he’ll skyrocket up this list.
40. Bob Waterfield: Los Angeles Rams
Career Stats: 50.3 Cmp.%, 11,849 Passing Yards, 97 TD, 128 INT, 61.6 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x MVP, 2x Pro-Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 2x NFL Champion
One of the O.G. gunslingers. I once saw a video of Waterfield throwing a Football at a spoon with his teammate holding the spoon from his mouth and Waterfield hit the target from about 10–15 Yards out. Now that’s accuracy. Waterfield would have put up even more prolific numbers but he shared playing time with another Hall of Famer, Norm Van Brocklin (whom you’ll see later on this list).
39. Y.A. Tittle: Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, & New York Giants
Career Stats: 78–50–5 QB Record, 55.2 Cmp.%, 33,070 Passing yards, 242 TD, 248 INT, 74.3 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x MVP, 7x Pro-Bowl, 3x All-Pro
Just off the fact that Tittle still holds the single-season New York Giants Passing Touchdown Record of 36 TD’s, secures him a high spot on this list. That’s an impressive record especially with Quarterbacks like Phil Simms, Fran Tarkenton, and Eli Manning having all played for the team. His 242 Career Touchdown Passes is very impressive for his era and would equate to about 450 in today’s pass-happy league.
38. Ken Anderson: Cincinnati Bengals
Career Stats: 91–81 QB Record, 59.3 Cmp.%, 32,838 Passing Yards, 197 TD, 160 INT, 81.9 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x MVP, 1x Offensive Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year, 1x Comeback Player of the Year
Anderson mastered the Bill Walsh Offense in Cincinnati before it became famous with the 49ers and Joe Montana. He was a very accurate Quarterback. He threw with timing and rhythm. He didn’t have the strongest arm but he was a perfect West-Coast style Quarterback and was the master of the system before it became a “thing”.
37. Jim Hart: St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals & Washington
Career Stats: 87–88–5 QB Record, 51.1 Cmp.%, 34,665 Passing Yards, 209 TD, 247 INT, 66.6 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x Pro-Bowler
Hart may be one of the most underrated Quarterbacks in NFL History. He’s a Hall of Famer in my eyes. The man threw for 209 career Touchdown Passes and over 34,000 Yards. That’s a lot of Yards and Touchdowns for a man that played through the 60s and 70s. He had a gun of an arm and is one of the more statistically impressive and prolific passers in NFL History.
36. Bob Griese: Miami Dolphins
Career Stats: 92–56–3 QB Record, 56.2 Cmp.%, 25,092 Passing Yards, 192 TD, 172 INT, 77.1 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 8x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro
The Surgeon. This man didn’t throw much during the Miami Dolphins Super-Bowl runs. Larry Csonka carried most of the Offensive load during those runs. Still, Griese was a lethal passer when he did throw. In Goal-Line situations, his play-action touchdown passes broke-down opposing Defenses. His passes and knowledge of the game were evident when he played. He could manage a game like no other and could read and, dissect defenses. His consistency helped him reach 8 Pro-Bowls, led the Dolphins to 2x Super-Bowl Championships, and got him a call to Canton.
35. Drew Bledsoe: New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, & Dallas Cowboys
Career Stats: 98–95 QB Record, 57.2 Cmp.%, 44,611 Passing Yards, 251 TD, 206 INT, 77.1 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x Super-Bowl Champion (as Back-up)
Bledsoe is another great Quarterback that isn’t in the Hall of Fame. That’s not to say that he belongs, but still, his career is worth remembering. If he never takes that hit from Mo Lewis, Bledsoe’s Career could’ve been much different. He was on a 10 year, 100 million dollar contract. He was the “Franchise” for the Pats at the time. We all know how that story ends. Brady takes over and never looks back. Bledsoe’s career was impressive, he helped the Pats get to a Super-Bowl, threw for over 44,000 Yards in his Career, and was one of the best Quarterbacks of the 90s.
34. Norm Van Brocklin: Los Angeles Rams, & Philadelphia Eagles
Career Stats: 61–36–4 QB Record, 53.6 Cmp.%, 23,611 Passing Yards, 173 TD, 178 INT, 75.1 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 9x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x MVP, 2x NFL Champion
Van Brocklin shared some time at the Quarterback Position with fellow Hall of Famer Bob Waterfield in their time with the Rams. Van Brocklin was ultimately the slightly better passer and, went on to help the Rams win an NFL Championship in 1951.
33. Bobby Layne: Chicago Bears, New York Yanks, Detroit Lions, & Pittsburgh Steelers
Career Stats: 80–48–4 QB Record, 49.0 Cmp.%, 26,768 Passing Yards, 196 TD, 243 INT, 63.4 Rate, 2,451 Rushing Yards, 25 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 6x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro, 3x NFL Champion
Layne was nick-named the “Blonde-Bomber” for a reason. He was a Championship caliber Quarterback and while many fans consider Matt Stafford the best Detroit Lions Quarterback of All-Time, the truth is Bobby Layne is the best. Relative to both their eras, Layne’s numbers are more impressive than Stafford’s. Also, Stafford has never been a top 10 Quarterback at his position. Not in my humble opinion. Layne has.
32. Sammy Baugh: Washington
Career Stats: 56.5 Cmp.%, 21,886 Passing Yards, 187 TD, 203 INT, 72.2 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 6x Pro-Bowler, 4x All-Pro, 2x NFL Champion
They called him “Slinging Sammy” for a reason. The man led the league in Completion Percentage 8 times during his career. He led the league in Passing Yards 4 times. He was one of the more dominant passers of his era.
31. Sid Luckman: Chicago Bears
Career Stats: 51.8 Cmp.%, 14,686 Passing Yards, 137 TD, 132 INT, 75.0 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x NFL Champion, 1x MVP, 3x Pro-Bowler, 5x All-Pro
Luckman once threw for a ridiculous 28 Touchdown Passes on only 202 pass Attempts in 1943. His 1943 Season is one of the greatest NFL Passing Seasons of All-Time. Imagine if Luckman played in today’s NFL. His Numbers would’ve been unimaginable.
30. Joe Namath: New York Jets, & Los Angeles Rams
Career Stats: 62–63–4 QB Record, 50.1 Cmp.%, 27,663 Passing Yards, 173 TD, 220 INT, 65.5 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 5x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x Comeback Player of the Year
Namath may not have had the prettiest stats but he was a gunslinger that helped the Jets achieve the greatest success in their NFL History. Namath Guaranteed a Super-Bowl Victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super-Bowl three. It was thought at the time that the Colts would win by at least 2 touchdowns and, that the AFL (Jets) was far inferior to the NFL (Colts). With Namath at the helm, the Jets rode their Quarterback’s MVP level performance to victory and, won Super-Bowl 3. This helped the NFL reconsider a merger with the AFL, and on this alone, Namath’s Legacy will live on forever. He’s quite simply, an All-Time great.
29. Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers & New England Patriots
Career Stats: 68–55–1 QB Record, 59.6 Cmp.%, 29,041 Passing Yards, 182 TD, 108 INT, 86.1 Rate, 4,808 Rushing Yards, 58 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2011 NFL All-Rookie Team, 1x Offensive Player of the Year, 1x MVP, 3x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro
For someone who bought the Panthers to relevancy, the Franchise sure wasted no time in getting rid of their best player in Franchise History. Newton will make the Panthers look like fools in short order though, in New England. Newton has the rare ability to single-handedly carry teams and win games. He makes everyone around him better, and his on-field I.Q. is phenomenal. I have no doubts that he’ll return to form with the Patriots and thrive.
28. Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons
Career Stats: 109–80 QB Record, 65.4 Cmp.%, 51,186 Passing Yards, 321 TD, 147 INT, 94.6 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2008 All-Rookie Team, 1x Offensive Player of the Year, 1x MVP, 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro
Matty Ice will be a border-line Hall of Fame Candidate once his time comes if he doesn’t win a Super-Bowl. If you ask me, I believe he’ll get in regardless. He’s Already Top 10 in Passing Yards and closing in on Fran Tarkenton for tenth All-Time in Passing Touchdowns. He still has at least 3 or four more seasons to continue to add to his already impressive resume.
27. Bart Starr: Green Bay Packers
Career Stats: 94–57–6 QB Record, 57.4 Cmp.%, 24,718 Passing Yards, 152 TD, 138 INT, 80.5 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x MVP, 5x NFL Champion, 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 2x Super-Bowl MVP
Starr was extremely efficient and accurate. All he did was win games. 7 Championships in total. He was a field general and great leader, he came through for the Packers in Clutch situations.
26. Jim Plunkett: New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, & Oakland Raiders
Career Stats: 72–72 QB Record, 52.5 Cmp.%, 25,882 Passing Yards, 164 TD, 198 INT, 67.5 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 1x Comeback Player of the Year
I’m definitely in the Jim Plunkett deserves to be in the NFL Hall of Fame camp. He played on some horrific teams in the 70s. Yet, he was able to turn his career around and help the Raiders win two Super-Bowl Championships. The Raiders do not win those two Super-Bowls without Plunkett. He’s the only Quarterback in their history to win two Super-Bowls. That has to count for something. I don’t understand why he would or could be left out of the NFL Hall of Fame.
25. Ken Stabler: Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers, & New Orleans Saints
Career Stats: 96–49–1 QB Record, 59.8 Cmp.%, 27,938 Passing Yards, 194 TD, 222 INT, 75.3 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 4x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x MVP, 1x Offensive Player of the Year
Stabler was one of the more marketable Quarterbacks of his time. For good reason too. He won games and was a baller. He helped the Raiders win a Super-Bowl and, was a League MVP. Stabler was a top-five Passer in the 70s.
24. Philip Rivers: Los Angeles Chargers, & Indianapolis Colts
Career Stats: 123–101 QB Record, 64.7 Cmp.%, 59,271 Passing Yards, 397 TD, 198 INT, 95.1 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Comeback Player of the Year, 8x Pro-Bowler
When it comes to the legendary 2004 NFL Quarterback Class, Rivers is the third-best of the “big three”. That’s no insult though as you can see. Rivers is still one of the 25 best Quarterbacks of All-Time. Statistically, he is one of the most impressive quarterbacks to ever play, in the Regular Season. However, the huge knock-on Rivers is his inability to come up big when his team needs him most. If somehow Rivers can win a Super-Bowl, maybe he’s perceived in a higher light.
23. Len Dawson: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Texans, & Kansas City Chiefs
Career Stats: 94–57–8 QB Record, 57.1 Cmp.%, 28,711 Passing Yards, 239 TD, 183 INT, 82.6 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 7x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro, Walter Payton Man of the Year
For someone who played a majority of his career in the 60s, Dawson had a very high career Passer Rating. He threw for a lot of Touchdowns passes as well. He led the league in Passing Touchdowns 4 times in his career. He helped the Chiefs win their first Super-Bowl victory.
22. Sonny Jurgensen: Philadelphia Eagles & Washington Football Team
Career Stats: 69–71–7 QB Record, 57.1 Cmp.%, 32,224 Passing Yards, 255 TD, 189 INT, 82.6 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 5x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro
Jurgensen is one of the only Quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame to have retired with a career losing Record as a Starting Quarterback. Still, his production was able to supersede his lack of winning and Post-Season success.
21. Dan Fouts: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers
Career Stats: 86–84–1 QB Record, 58.8 Cmp.%, 43,040 Passing Yards, 254 TD, 242 INT, 80.2 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 6x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro, 1x Offensive Player of the Year
People forget that Fouts had a difficult beginning to his career. However, once Legendary Coach Don Coryell came in and implemented his Offense, Fouts and the Chargers took off. They were one of, if not, the best Offenses through-out the late 70s and early 80s. Fouts was unorthodox (much like fellow former Charger, Philip Rivers) but he did have a good quick release, strong arm, and was a great Leader. He’s one of the best Quarterback’s to have never won a Super-Bowl
20. Warren Moon: Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, & Kansas Chiefs
Career Stats: 102–101 QB Record, 58.4 Cmp.%, 49,325 Passing Yards, 291 TD, 233 INT, 80.9 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1984 All-Rookie Team, 9x Pro-Bowler, 1x Offensive Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year
Imagine if Moon hadn’t started his career in Canada before coming to the NFL. He’d probably be much higher on this list. He also would’ve had more chances to win a Super-Bowl. The man won 5 Grey-Cups in the CFL before coming to the NFL. People say Moon wasn’t a winner and that he put up empty stats. That’s wrong. The man was a winner that just wasn’t able to win the “big one” in the NFL.
19. Terry Bradshaw: Pittsburgh Steelers
Career Stats: 107–51 QB Record, 51.9 Cmp.%, 27,989 Passing Yards, 212 TD, 210 INT, 70.9 Rate, 2,257 Rushing Yards, 32 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 4x Super-Bowl Champion, 2x Super-Bowl MVP, 3x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x MVP
It’s crazy to think that Bradshaw was once in a Quarterback battle with Joe Gilliam for the Starting job. Ultimately, Bradshaw was able to separate himself and win 4 Super-Bowls with the Steelers. His numbers in the regular season aren’t too impressive, but he came through big for the Steelers in clutch moments of the Playoffs.
18. Jim Kelly: Buffalo Bills
Career Stats: 101–59 QB Record, 60.1 Cmp.%, 35,467 Passing Yards, 237 TD, 175 INT, 84.4 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 5x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro
The fact that Kelly was able to get to 4 straight Super-Bowls, even though all were losses, is very impressive and speaks to his ability as a Quarterback to impact his team's Win-Loss column. Any team, or much less a Quarterback making 4 straight Super-Bowls, is something we may never see again. Kelly is one of the most intelligent Quarterbacks in NFL History and used his smarts to run the Legendary no-huddle “K-Gun” offense.
17. Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks
Career Stats: 86–41–1 QB Record, 64.5 Cmp.%, 29,734 Passing Yards, 227 TD, 68 INT, 101.2 Rate, 3,993 Rushing Yards, 19 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 6x Pro-Bowler, 1x Super-Bowl Champion
Wilson is your modern-day dual-threat Quarterback. Don’t get it twisted though. Wilson is a phenomenal Pocket Passer. His vision, accuracy, and ability to read defenses, make him one of the Top Quarterbacks in the NFL today. If he wins another Super-Bowl, he may climb much higher on this list.
16. Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers
Career Stats: 144–71–1 QB Record, 64.3 Cmp.%, 56,545 Passing Yards, 363, 191 INT, 94.0 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 2004 All-Rookie Team, Offensive Rookie of the Year, 6x Pro-Bowler, 2x Super-Bowl Champion
Is Ben the best leader? Probably not. Is he the most durable? Nope. What he is though, is a 2x Super-Bowl Champion and, a Quarterback that could hurt you on the ground and with his arm. He was also a Winner. In his 15 seasons as a full-time starter for the Steelers, “Big Ben” had a losing record just once.
15. Steve Young: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, & San Francisco 49ers
Career Stats: 94–49 QB Record, 64.3 Cmp.%, 33,124 Passing Yards, 232 TD, 107 INT, 96.8 Rate, 4,239 Rushing Yards, 43 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion (2 as Backup), 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 7x Pro-Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 2x MVP, 1x Offensive Player of the Year
Following in Joe Montana’s footsteps isn’t easy. Those are big shoes to fill. Young did a great job though and was able to deliver a Super-Bowl for the 49ers. His run as an Elite Quarterback in the 90s and Overall for his career lasted just 8 seasons. That was more than enough though to get a spot in Canton and, be remembered as one of the greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time.
14. Roger Staubach: Dallas Cowboys
Career Stats: 85–29 QB Record, 57.0 Cmp.%, 22,700 Passing Yards, 153 TD, 109 INT, 83.4 Rate, 2,264 Rushing Yards, 20 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 6x Pro-Bowler, Walter Payton Man of the Year
Had it not been for his Military requirements, Staubach could’ve been in the Top 5. He won 2 Super-Bowls in 3 tries and put up some great career numbers. Not bad at all for a guy who took over full-time for the Cowboys at the age of 29.
13. Johnny Unitas: Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, & San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers
Career Stats: 118–63–4 QB Record, 54.6 Cmp.%, 40,239 Passing Yards, 290 TD, 253 INT, 78.2 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 3x NFL Champion, 10x Pro-Bowler, 5x All-Pro, 3x MVP, Walter Payton Man of the Year
Some say Unitas was the Peyton Manning of his era. With an astounding 290 career Touchdown Passes in his era, for his career, that’s a believable statement. Unitas’ 1959 Season where he threw for 32 Touchdown Passes, is one of the best passing seasons of his era. Unitas commanded the huddle and, was well respected by his peers and, teammates for his leadership and poise. Who knows? If Unitas is healthy for Super-Bowl 3, maybe Joe Namath’s guarantee doesn’t come true.
12. Fran Tarkenton: Minnesota Vikings, & New York Giants
Career Stats: 124–109–6 QB Record, 57.0 Cmp.%, 47,003 Passing Yards, 342 TD, 266 INT, 3,674 Rushing TD, 32 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 9x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 1x Offensive Player of the Year, 1x MVP
It was hard for me to keep Tarkenton out of the Top 10. This man was ahead of his time. He could scramble, throw on the run, had a strong arm, and was small. He was Russell Wilson before Russell Wilson. When Tarkenton retired in 1978, he left the NFL as the leader in almost every major statistical Passing category we care about. His 342 Touchdown Passes in the “Dead Ball” era, when Corners could do whatever they wanted to Wide-Receivers, is mind-boggling. Imagine what Tarkenton would do in today’s pass-happy NFL. He was a top Quarterback in two decades, the 60s and 70s.
11. Otto Graham: Cleveland Browns
Career Stats: 57–13–1 QB Record, 55.8 Cmp.%, 23,584 Passing Yards, 174 TD, 135 INT, 86.6 Rate, 44 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 5x Pro-Bowler, 7x All-Pro, 3x NFL Champion
One of the most underrated players on this list. Graham, like many other “old-time” Quarterbacks, is easily forgotten by a lot of fans today but he was the last truly great Cleveland Browns Quarterback. He was a tough Quarterback that did whatever it took to win, and win, he did. Plenty of it. He won 3 NFL Championships. He was an awesome Quarterback that even had 44 Rushing Touchdowns for his Career. That’s a lot for a Quarterback. Graham should stand the test of time and, always be remembered as an All-Time Great Quarterback.
10. Drew Brees: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, & New Orleans Saints
Career Stats: 163–111 QB Record, 67.6 Cmp.%, 77,416 Passing Yards, 547 TD, 237 INT, 98.4 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 13x Pro-Bowler, 1x All-Pro, 2x Offensive Player of the Year, 1x Comeback Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year
Now we get down to the “nitty-gritty”. The Top 10. To kick off the Top 10 list is one of the most decorated and arguably the best statistical Quarterbacks of All-Time, Drew Brees. Brees has played a remarkable 19 seasons and is going to be entering his 20th Season in 2020. How epic and fitting for such a great player. Brees holds multiple NFL Career passing Records, including Passing Touchdowns and Yards. Like so many other great Quarterbacks though, Brees hasn’t been able to sustain his Regular Season success into the Post-Season. He’s won just one Super-Bowl and his teams (not necessarily Brees) have come up short in the Playoffs too many times.
9. Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers
Career Stats: 113–60–1 QB Record, 64.6 Cmp.%, 46,946 Passing Yards, 364 TD, 84 INT, 102.4 Rate, 3,122 Rushing Yards, 28 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 8x Pro-Bowler, 2x All-Pro, 2x MVP
What the Packers are doing to Rodgers is borderline ridiculous. They have failed to give this man a supporting cast on offense worthy of his talents. For years this man has carried the Packers on his back and, they repay him by reaching in the 2020 NFL Draft and Drafting Quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th Overall pick, instead of getting Rodgers more help. For a Quarterback, Rodgers is still relatively young. At age 36, he has at least 3 or 4 more years before he retires. Nonetheless, Rodgers has had a Hall of Fame-worthy career and, his accuracy, arm strength, ability to make plays on the run, and his historically low Interception rate make him easily one of the Top 10 NFL Quarterbacks of All-time.
8. Brett Favre: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, & Minnesota Vikings
Career Stats: 186–112 QB Record, 62.0 Cmp.%, 71,838 Passing Yards, 508 TD, 336 INT, 86.0 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 11x Pro-Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 1x Super-Bowl Champion, 3x MVP, 1x Offensive Player of the Year
Many have Rodgers over Favre in the “Favre v.s. Rodgers” debate. Give me Favre. He was more durable, got to more Super-Bowls, All-Pros, and threw for more Touchdown passes, while being just as good as Rodgers. Favre at one point in the 90s won three Straight MVPs and dominated his era in the 90s. Farve was also a top Quarterback in the 2000s and, had arguably his finest season as a passer in 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings at the age of 40.
7. Eli Manning: New York Giants
Career Stats: 117–117 QB Record, 60.3 Cmp.%, 57,023 Passing Yards, 366 TD, 244 INT, 84.1 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 2x Super-Bowl MVP, 4x Pro-Bowler, Walter Payton Man of the Year
Many may be surprised to see Eli this high, but ultimately he is the most clutch quarterback in NFL Playoff history. He came through when the Giants needed him most and was a fantastic Quarterback, that was let down by the Giants during the prime years of his career. I’m not the only one who thinks that Eli Manning is better than Aaron Rodgers.
The bottom line is “Easy E” is a First Ballot Hall of Famer and one of the most underrated Quarterbacks in NFL History.
Eli Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Famer
Eli Manning is an NFL Legend & Hall of Fame Quarterback
6. Troy Aikman: Dallas Cowboys
Career Stats: 94–71 QB Record, 61.5 Cmp.%, 32,942 Passing Yards, 165 TD, 141 INT, 81.6 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 3x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 6x Pro-Bowler, Walter Payton Man of the Year, 1989 All-Rookie Team
A lot of people are going to be angry for me putting Aikman this high on the list. I don’t care though. You can discredit him all you want and say he had a lot of talent around him, but as I said in my synopsis of Aikman in my Top QB’s of the 90s List, you’re supposed to surround your Quarterback with great talent. That’s not a good excuse for discrediting a Quarterback. You can only play with who you got.
Make no mistake about it though, Aikman was one of the most accurate passers to ever throw a football and his impact on the Cowboys is undeniable. He delivered 3 Super-Bowls, was clutch in the playoffs, and ran the run-first offense to perfection. Had he been asked to throw more, his numbers and, Career would’ve been even more phenomenal.
5. Dan Marino: Miami Dolphins
Career Stats: 147–93 QB Record, 59.4 Cmp.%, 61,361 Passing Yards, 420 TD, 252 INT, 86.4 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1983 All-Rookie Team, 9x Pro-Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 1x MVP, 1x Offensive Player of The Year, 1x Comeback Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year
When you go back and watch Dan Marino play, it’s not hard to notice that you’re looking at arguably the most talented passer in NFL History. He had a lightning-quick release, great footwork, accuracy, arm strength, and mechanics. He put up some incredible numbers during his career and achieved a lot of individual success. He also helped the Dolphins get to the Playoffs for most of his career. The one knock on Marino though, is that he never was able to win the “big one”. It’s a shame too. If Marino wins just one Super-Bowl in his career, he’s probably number one on this list honestly.
4. Joe Montana: San Francisco 49ers, & Kansas City Chiefs
Career Stats: 117–47 QB Record, 63.2 Cmp.%, 40,551 Passing Yards, 273 TD, 139 INT, 92.3 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 4x Super-Bowl Champion, 3x Super-Bowl MVP, 8x Pro-Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 2x MVP, 1x Offensive Player of the, 1x Comeback Player of the Year
Once you get to the Top 5 of any list, it becomes about personal preference because all the top 5 Quarterbacks on this list have a case for number one depending on who you ask. If you ask me, Montana is fourth. He was the gold standard for all Quarterbacks in the 80s. Montana and the 49ers dominated that decade and won 4 Super-Bowls. Montana was the Super-Bowl MVP in three of those Super-Bowls. His quick decision-making and short to medium accuracy made him a perfect fit for Bill Walsh’s Legendary West Coast Offense.
3. Peyton Manning: Indianapolis Colts & Denver Broncos
Career Stats: 186–79 QB Record, 65.3 Cmp.%, 71,940 Passing Yards, 539 TD, 251 INT, 96.5 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 1998 All-Rookie Team, 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 14x Pro-Bowler, 7x All-Pro, 5x MVP, 2x Offensive Player of the Year, 1x Comeback Player of the Year, Walter Payton Man of the Year
If you were to put Peyton Manning number one on your list. I’d have no problem with that whatsoever. For many reasons. There are too many to count. Peyton was “the offense” on any team he played on. There’s a reason why they called him “the sheriff”. What he said, and did was gospel. You either followed Peyton, or you were outta line and town. He called the games at the line of scrimmage on game day. Offensive Coordinator? Peyton was the Offensive Coordinator.
This man is the greatest no-huddle Quarterback of All-time. His ability to read defenses and check-in and out of plays is second to none. He won games as well. He won two Super-Bowls and won five NFL MVPs. I could go on for hours explaining why Peyton at the very least is top 3 at the Quarterback position, but I don’t think I need to go further at this point.
2. Tom Brady: New England Patriots & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Career Stats: 219–64 QB Record, 63.8 Cmp.%, 74,571 Passing Yards, 541 TD, 179 INT, 97.0 Rate
Accolades/Awards: 6x Super-Bowl Champion, 4x Super-Bowl MVP, 14x Pro-Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 3x MVP, 2x Offensive Player of the Year, 1x Comeback Player of the Year
Sorry Patriots fans. I cannot put this man Number one. He’s close though. Nobody has gotten to more Super-Bowls than Brady. He’s been to 9. That’s a lot of Super-Bowl Appearances and winning. Brady’s rise to fame is a great story. He’s the Quarterback that came from nothing, was drafted in the 6th Round, and had been overlooked throughout his entire Football Career. He’s always stepped up his game when his team needed it most. Now entering his 21st NFL season, Brady will look to add to his resume without the Patriots and Bill Belichick.
1. John Elway: Denver Broncos
Career Stats: 148–82–1 QB Record, 56.9 Cmp.%, 51,475 Passing Yards, 300 TD, 226 INT, 79.9 Rate, 3,407 Rushing Yards, 33 Rushing TD
Accolades/Awards: 2x Super-Bowl Champion, 1x Super-Bowl MVP, 9x Pro-Bowler, 1x MVP, Walter Payton Man of the Year
The Quarterback of all Quarterbacks. The Greatest Quarterback of All-Time. As I stated in my 80s and 90s list of top Quarterbacks, if you were building the perfect Quarterback, it would be Elway. He has the strongest arm in the history of the NFL. He threw torpedoes in the air and carried some very mediocre Denver Bronco teams to three Super-Bowls in the 80s where the Broncos were exposed as a team and ultimately lost all three.
Elway had the football angels next to him though, and he was able to finish his last two seasons in the NFL with Two straight Super-Bowls. Bottom line is, Elway is the Quarterback you want to have or hope to have every time your team drafts a quarterback in the first round. He was clutch. He had the legs, arm, footwork, body, strength, size, speed, leadership, and everything you look for in an NFL Quarterback. He was built in a lab and, he is the greatest Quarterback I’ve ever seen.
There you have it! The 50 Greatest NFL Quarterbacks of All-Time. Thanks for reading. If you liked this post please share it on your social media, make sure to follow me to get notifications of my newest or latest content and, also be sure to check out some more of my content below: