The Quarterback has always been an illustrious position in all of sports. Though they are only one part of the eleven-man offensive fielding for any given team at any given time, the quarterback is generally the one in control. They lead so much that being a leader in any given situation is colloquially known as “quarterbacking” it. The name "quarterback" comes from the player's usual position on the field (Dictionary.com). The offensive line being the zero mark, the quarterback, halfback, and fullback are lined up in sequence behind said line at their respective distances.
It has always been thought that QBs in the professional sport of football is a treasured but soft role. This stems from the fact that the quarterback is the only position on the field during normal play that doesn’t intentionally make or withstand physical contact with others. A lot of the game has been adapted to keep players in these roles safe. In a perfect draft, there are far fewer choices than that of the QB. They earn some of the highest point totals amongst their team, and are in sole command of organization and communication for the entire offense while the team is on the field. If anyone out there, thinks they’ve got what it takes to make a good GM in the league, here’s a great chance to prove it.
The heir to the cheddar cheese fortune in Green Bay, Wisconsin, took the reigns of the green and gold three years into tenure with the Packers, and hasn’t looked back since. His obvious hall-of-fame performances so far, had led Rodgers into being one of the most desirable QBs in the game. Luckily for Green Bay, there’s an established history of loyalty with the cheese heads, and it’s unlikely that his star will fade anytime soon, or that he will ditch his beloved Packers.
No so long ago, the short and quick quarterback wasn’t something that was super desirable, but thanks to some super mobile and athletic players in the late 2000’s, alongside the birth and rise of the “West Coast Offence” QBs like the strong-armed, and agile footed Russell Wilson became king among the turf. Seattle, and the Seahawks, built an incredibly fast-paced offense, and a hard-hitting show-stopping defense, around Wilson, which saw them make back-to-back repeat visits to the Super Bowl. Even winning one. (pro-football-reference.com)
Speaking of the evolution of the extremely quick, and strong-armed quarterbacks, Michael Vick was one of those athletes that shake up the world. The rubble that fell after the quake that was Vick’s ascension is still cleaned-up today. The world of professional football wasn’t yet ready for it, and nothing he sparked truly caught fire until this latest, the Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes II era, where agility became key. Vick came into the league as a wild one, and left the league as a besmirched human, but everything in between was pure magic.
Ever since coming into the league, the Dallas Cowboys and their high-spending owners have been dubbed as “The nation’s team”. Regardless of how pompous that may sound, the Cowboys have built and sustained a ridiculously wide-spread fanbase, essentially earning the moniker. Troy Aikman, became the face of the franchise in the modern era when he was drafted in 1989 alongside other future hall-of-famers like Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas. Aikman’s crazy style of play, and pocket presence brought three Super Bowl victories to the Cowboys. (pro-football-reference.com)
Inarguably one of the best quarterbacks still playing today, Drew Brees took a little bit of time to truly hit his stride, but thanks to a heavy dose of New Orleans, Brees took his already amazing skills to a whole other level. The now staggering 12-time pro-bowler is one of the strongest leaders on any squad tying up their laces today, and continues to be a beacon of skill and humbleness even as his football work begins to wind down. Speaking of which, Brees doesn’t look to be getting any weaker, slower, or less accurate in his age.
One of the first all-star quarterbacks in the televised football era, YA Tittle came through, into the league via the 1948 draft, and spent the following 14 years playing for the Baltimore Colts, the San Francisco 49ers, and the New York Giants. It was a different game back then, so there’s no comparison in the stats department versus modern day quarterbacks, but that doesn’t mean that Tittle’s path was anything short of astounding. This guy brought one of the best arms, and weirdest throw releases to the game. (pro-football-reference.com)
The former Heisman winning quarterback sought to enter the league out of college but was blindsided by a lockout year in 2011. After signing for big bucks to the Carolina Panthers, Newtown took a few years to begin to shine, but glow brightly he eventually did. Although his statistically impressive work has always fought alongside his attitude woes on the field, Newton has claimed multiple MVP awards, and took his Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. Though he lost that Super Bowl, Newton is a big leader in that locker room. (pro-football-reference.com)
Before he was an angry old man on professional Football television, Terry Bradshaw was the face and quarterback of a rough and gritty Pittsburgh Steelers. The year was 1970, and the notoriously hard-hitting Steelers needed a QB that would do just as much throwing the ball, as he would inviting the throws of punches. Bradshaw saw to it that the gritty Steelers claimed eight conference championships, and four Super Bowl victories. Now, however, Bradshaw is a key part of the league's television broadcast team.
The brand spanking new poster boy for all of the success seen in the windy city, Trubisky is in his second year in the league, and his first at the helm for the Bears franchise. In what has been coined as the coming out year for the new look Bears, Trubisky has led a strange and exciting team to the first playoff birth in Chicago football fans recent memory. Mitchell Trubisky has thrown for almost 3,000 yards so far in the 2018 campaign, with 23 touchdowns, only 12 interceptions, and has rushed for nearly 500 yards. (pro-football-reference.com)
Another of the young, the quick, and the powerful, Jared Goff is the fresh-faced quarterback of the newly re-minted Los Angeles Rams, and with his steady accuracy, and rocket arm, has helped lead the power of the west, turning the Rams into a contender with special help from some other notable young and old superstars alike. Goff, in his third year behind center in Los Angeles, has been nominated twice to the pro-bowl, and currently sits one win back from the top of the league as a whole.
If we plucked a group of 50 professional football quarterbacks and asked them each to name who they think is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, more than half would probably say Dan Marino. The Pittsburgh alum was plucked from the 1983 draft 27th overall by the Miami Dolphins and almost immediately began breaking all sorts of records. Still to this day, Marino is littered among the top of the charts in all QB record books, even though he played far fewer seasons than all the QBs overtaking him. He had the sharpest throw known to football, and inexplicable arm mechanics.
Perhaps the most well-known CFL transplant to ever make a big stink in the states, Warren Moon jumped into a hot seat with the Houston Oilers in the early 1980’s, where he took the national league by storm. In 1989, he became the highest paid player in the league, and eventually went on to helm the QB role in nine pro-bowls, and played for the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Kansas City Chiefs, before retiring in 2000. (Pro Football Reference.com)
Patrick Mahomes II
In perhaps the wildest introduction to the national league, and the big stage, Patrick Mahomes the 2nd has burnt the script to ashes in his first year (this season) as the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. Through fourteen week, Mahomes II has thrown for 45 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions (Business Insider). He has struck his signature next to some of the most prestigious league records in the history books in his little time within the league. Currently, he’s a very strong frontrunner for MVP of the league.
Joe Theismann once took what he thought was a sure thing in signing to a northern football team after discussions and contract negotiations with the Miami Dolphins dissolved, but eventually made his way to the big time in the form of a Washington Redskins team who purchased Theismann’s rights from the Dolphins. There, he amassed some stellar stats, and took the Redskins to one of their few Super Bowl appearances, and victories. He’s celebrated, with slightly hushed tones. Theismann made waves in football. (pro-football-reference.com)
It’s hard to judge Tony Romo by the Dallas Cowboys team he left behind, or even the gigantic order he was asked to replace in Troy Aikman. It’s true though, that he was never given the fair chance that maybe someone with his talents deserved. Romo was the QB of a steadily mediocre Cowboys team through his thirteen-year stint in Big D. He never mustered enough to take his team to the big show, never once making it to the Super Bowl.
In the same breath that one speaks about Tony Romo, one could easily mention the name Matt Ryan. Another extremely talented quarterback (still playing) that just hasn’t been able to push his team the next step. He has the skills, and the prowess of a historic quarterback, but has come up short in every season since his induction into the league in 2008 (Pro Football Reference.com). Ryan and his Falcons have come close, however, fell in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots.
Half of the Eli Manning and Philip Rivers controversy, Rivers has come quietly through the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers organization. No one has ever been able to discredit the quarterback’s skills, but thanks to an overall lacklustre supporting cast, Rivers has spent his time attempting to polish things in southern California. Though the Rivers-led Chargers had a few strong years near the end of the 2000’s, it has been a tale of mediocrity in Charger-town, though this year, they are making waves.
The biggest part of the modern-era Manning family values, Peyton Manning came into the league on the heels of the 1998 draft and went about setting records everywhere he looked. Over the course of his illustrious sixteen-year path, Peyton Manning won two Super Bowls, one Super Bowl MVP, and was elected to 14 Pro Bowls (Football Wikia). He is still marked upon the history books in many categories as the record holder, though, at the way the game has been changing recently, that might not be for much longer.
Though his reign over the AFC East might be coming to an end, there’s no arguing that Tom Brady is one for history. Possibly the most astounding path ever forged by a player that was drafted outside of the realm of relevance. That’s right, Tom Brady, the oft-considered greatest quarterback of the modern age, was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 entry draft, at pick number 199. 198 players were considered better than the five-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Bowl MVP, three-time league MVP. (pro-football-reference.com)
Nicknamed “Snake”, Ken Stabler was the crucial, and wondrous quarterback for the Oakland Raiders in their once dominant stand among the West. During his stint in Oakland, Stabler became synonymous with the black and silver he donned, before moving on to play two seasons in Houston for the Oilers, and finally three seasons with the New Orleans Saints. He played his professional football in a different kind of world, the game was almost unrecognizable then, put up against today’s standards.
His run started off with a sour taste in everyone’s mouth with telling the San Diego Chargers that he refused to play there, and demanding a trade immediately after becoming a drafted rookie. But Eli eventually made a decent time of it. There will always be a strenuous asterisk next to his name in the history books, but nothing can erase the miracle helmet catch, and his two Super Bowl Championship rings. Thanks to his prolific father, and superhuman brother, Eli had a large shadow that he has yet to escape.
Broadway Joe Namath will forever be New York’s golden child (sorry Eli), and his astounding legacy in the New York Jet’s will remain gospel in the city that never sleeps. Drafted 12th overall in the 1965 entry draft, Broadway Joe became ever more legend when he guaranteed his Jets’ victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III, and following up on that promise (pro-football-reference.com). To this day, it’s the only appearance by any New York Jets team in a Super Bowl, and their only win on record.
Known to all the fans of the Pittsburgh black and yellow, “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is another quarterback with an amazing set of skills, that has seen just enough success to be considered top-tier. Big Ben will go down in the hall-of-fame one day, but today (as he’s still active), fans of the beloved QB struggle with a few bad seasons. The Steelers have always had a hard time dressing co-stars to properly compliment Roethlisberger, though, they had a few great years. Early in his time, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to two Super Bowl Victories (XL, XLIII). (pro-football-reference.com)
Tarkenton came into the league among other greats in the early 1960’s, but remains one of the few all-star hall-of-fame quarterbacks that isn’t necessarily synonymous with a single team. Early on in his eighteen-year journey, Tarkenton played for the Minnesota Vikings, where he is probably most beloved, before doing a four-year stint with the New York Giants, then went back to Minnesota and their Skol, for the final six years of his time in the league. The hall-of-famer never won a Super Bowl, and is often considered one of the best to never get a ring. (NBC Sports)
San Francisco’s quickly dissolved golden-boy, Jimmy Garoppolo came to the west coast red and gold from the New England Patriots where he backed up the legendary Tom Brady where he played in a small handful of games, showing his skills. Upon his entry-level contract ending, the San Francisco traded for Garoppolo before offering him an astounding $137 Million Dollar contract for five years, but he tore his ACL in week three of this football season, meaning the powerhouse arm of Garoppolo is getting paid all-star money to sit on the bench. (Pro Football Reference.com)
Something along the lines of the Michael Vick era, Vince Young was one of those quick and agile quarterbacks with a bit of a strong arm, and a tiny accuracy problem. The faster-paced QB-ing in the late 2000’s made dizzying headlines due to defences just not being able to keep up. Young made the Tennessee Titans relevant again, for his short stint in Nashville, before his work fizzled out, and he spent a year each at the Eagles camp, then the Bills, then the Packers, and finally the Browns. (pro-football-reference.com)
In what will be the greatest need for sympathy, Matthew Stafford’s nine-year journey can’t be much longer for this world. The Detroit Lions faithful have put a lot of trust and love into Stafford, deservingly so, because he’s an extremely talented QB. But he has been plagued with small hurts, and a disappointing team for the majority of his career. Lions fans will have to understand that Stafford brought a hall-of-fame level of talent to a team that just couldn’t help him out.
Flagrantly great quarterback lists cannot be uttered without the inclusion of one Brett Lorenzo Favre, the Green Bay Packers legendary modern-era QB. Favre drove fans bonkers with his scrambling and irrational underhand side-tosses, but he was always the backbone of the cheese factory during his fifteen-year ride as a Packer. The end of his team playing was bittersweet, with some disappointing stints in New York with the Jets, and in Minnesota with the Vikings. Though he could have gone out on top, the one-time Super Bowl champ, will forever be a hall-of-famer.
The forever tale of what-could-have-been in Houston. Deshaun Watson began his journey in the national league with a gigantically deafening boom, and was on track for one of the grandest rookie seasons known to the sport. Unfortunately for Watson, and the Houston Texans, he experienced a truly difficult injury, ending his rookie campaign early. There is still hope for the Texans and Watson. He is still very young, and if he can ever get back into that staggering form big things will be coming to Houston. (pro-football-reference.com)
Every so often a quarterback comes along that makes a job out of filling out rosters as needed. The “franchise back-up” as they are known. Understood by all, their star never shines bright enough to claim the starting role anywhere, but they rack up starts and action when the franchise face goes down or gets hurt. They are a needed commodity in the league, as having a prolific “fixer” can save a playoff run in dire times. Kirk Cousins may be the greatest fixer of all time. Now, as a possible franchise-saver in Minnesota, Cousins has a real chance. (Football Wikia)
Mariota has done many astounding things in his short ride in Tennessee, including revitalizing the Vince Young style offense in Nashville. The Heisman winner of 2014, in his fourth year in the league, has made contenders of the Titans, and continues to grow and fill giant shoes in the south. But perhaps his greatest accomplishment is being part of the steadily growing Hawaiian-born list of players to make it to the mainland to play in the big-time. Things are heating up in Tennessee, and plenty are excited to see where Mariota can take the Titans. (Football Wikia)
Part of the refreshed, and Romo-less Cowboys, Dak Prescott has got fans riled up in the Big D. Alongside the talented and difficult Ezekiel Elliot, Prescott has brought some hard-fought victories to the star-spangled Cowboys. There may be some struggles to come in the next couple of years for the team in Dallas, but as Prescott and company continue to learn and grow, there is a franchise to be expected in here somewhere. It’s difficult to put a team on the shoulders of a young QB, but Prescott is a good bet.
Despite having whole lot of really cheesy guest roles in popular media, Joe Montana has one of the most prestigious, legendary records in football history. Montana, drafted by the San Francisco in the late 70’s, brought years of excellence to the Bay Area, as “the Comeback Kid” claimed four Super Bowl titles during his time with the red and gold. The eight-time Pro Bowler, and three-time Super Bowl MVP left behind an empty shell in SF, one that is still reeling to this day. (pro-football-reference.com)
It’s possible that no quarterback in the history of the sport had bigger shoes to fill than Andrew Luck did. Luck, was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, and immediately became the team’s franchise starter (pro-football-reference.com). This was in an attempt to forget the previous year and replace the epically grand Peyton Manning, whose legendary path as a Colt is still looming today. Luck luckily (sorry for that), is franchise-worthy, and has (when remaining healthy) proven that he has the potential to land in the hall-of-fame.
Throughout his fifteen-year stint, John Elway almost single-handedly raised the Denver Broncos into the spotlight. Elway was a key figure in the league, being nominated for nine Pro Bowls, and winning two Super Bowls (and one Super Bowl MVP) (pro-football-reference.com). The now hall-of-famer remains a productive part of the Denver Broncos, currently serving as the team’s General Manager, and Executive VP of Football Operations. Upon his retirement, Elway left a gaping hole in the QB position in Denver, one that has yet to feel permanently filled.