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Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time: 21-30

21. Troy Aikman- Dallas Cowboys (1989-2000)

troy aikman
Regular Season: 94 Wins – 71 Losses (.540) – #22
Playoffs: 11-4 (.733)
3 NFC Championships
3 Super Bowl Championships
6 Pro Bowls
1 SB MVP
Regular Season Statistics
32,942 YP – 165 TD – 141 Int – 61.5%
Playoff Statistics
3,849 YP – 23 TD – 17 Int – 63.7%
While Troy Aikman may have been a big statistical quarterback for another team, as the quarterback of the nineties Dallas Cowboys, he was asked to run first and run  near the goalline often. This philosophy did Aikman and the Cowboys very well as they won three Super Bowls in four years. It made Emmit Smith one of the greatest running backs of all-time, however it  left Aikman with average numbers for the quarterbacks of his era.  Yet at the same time, Troy Aikman was named to the Pro Bowl six times in twelve seasons, so he was still considered amongst the best of his era.
It is in the playoffs where Troy Aikman really improves his ranking. For starters, he posted an 11-4 mark in the playoffs and 3-0 in the Super Bowl. In his three Super Bowl performances he threw for 689 yards, completing 70% of his passes and threw 5 TD’s to just 1 Int. He also won one Super Bowl MVP. Troy Aikman’s playoff record and performances makes him one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
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POSITIVE
Troy Aikman went 0-11 in his rookie year, yet Aikman would persevere and lead the Cowboys to a dynasty which won three Super Bowls in four years.
NEGATIVE
Aikman never won the NFL MVP, nor did he ever put up big stats. As much as Emmit Smith he helped him win three championships, Smith hurts Aikman’s credit because Emmit Smith, deservedly, gets so much of it, and we will never know if Aikman had the ability to carry a team and put up big numbers.
CONSIDER THIS
# 17 Len Dawson threw 73 more TD’s than Troy Aikman. Longevity always wins.

22. Bob Griese – Miami Dolphins (1967-1980)

Bob_Griese
Regular Season: 92 Wins – 56 Losses (.619) – #23
Playoffs: 6-5 (.545)
3 AFC Championships
2 Super Bowl Championships
6 Pro Bowls – 2 AFL All- Stars
Regular Season Statistics
25,092 YP – 192 TD – 172 Int – 56.2%
Playoff Statistics
1,467 YP – 10 TD – 12 Int – 53.8%
Bob Griese wasn’t the flashiest quarterback, but he was one of the great quarterback brains of all-time. Any quarterback who goes to three straight Super Bowls, wins two and has an undefeated season is doing something very right. Yes the Dolphins had a great defense, they could run the ball, and had the great Don Shula as a coach, but it was Griese who called his own plays throughout his career that deserves much of the glory. He was the team leader. Leader/Game Manager sounds boring, and that probably hurts his rankings a little, but when it produces strong results it is hard to argue with Griese’s game.
His six Pro Bowls and two AFL All-Stars show how well he compared to his peers in his era. The only thing keeping Griese from moving up higher is low passing totals or an NFL MVP. He never threw for more than 2,500 yards or 22 TD’s.
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POSITIVE
Griese called his own plays which helped led his team to a .619  lifetime winning percentage.
NEGATIVE
He only started five games in the 1972 undefeated season (though he did win the Super Bowl). This is some evidence for the argument against quarterbacks who play on great teams from being ranked too high.
CONSIDER THIS
Bob Griese and Jim Kelly are the only starting quarterbacks to lead their teams to three consecutive Super Bowls.

 

23. Dan Fouts – San Diego Chargers (1973-1987)

dan_fouts
Regular Season: 86 Wins – 84 Losses (.506) – #31
Playoffs: 3-4 (.429)
6 Pro Bowls
1 AP Offensive Player of the Year
Regular Season Statistics 
43,040 YP – 254 TD – 242 Int – 58.8%
Playoff Statistics
2,125 YP – 12 TD – 16 Int – 55.6%
What Dan Fouts did from 1979 to 1981 was arguably the greatest three year stretch of any quarterback statistically in history. Only #22 Kurt Warner, #20 Warren Moon, #10 Dan Marino, and #7 Drew Brees come to mind. Dan Fouts threw for 4,082 yards in 1979 breaking the legendary Joe Namath’s all-time record.  When you realize he followed that up with 4,715 yards in 1980, then 4,802 yards in 1981, and he was on pace for over 4,800 more yards in the 1982 strike-shortened season, you see four years off the greatest regular season quarterback that then NFL had ever seen to that point.
Fouts played well, but not spectacular after those amazing years, partly due to adjusting defenses and interceptions, partly due to injury.
While the Charger defense faded over the Dan Fouts era, attributing to Fouts losing more than he should have, the Chargers did feature one of the best receiving crews in NFL history.  Receivers Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson, and later Wes Chandler were teamed up up with arguably the greatest tight end in history, Kellen Winslow, and created nightmares for defensive coordinators around the league.  The Chargers later added James Brooks and Chuck Muncie to have a good run game as well. So Fouts had plenty of help in achieving his monster statistics.
Dan Fouts gets credit for being the quarterback who helped change the NFL offense into more of a passing game. The innovative “Air Coryell” offense designed by coach Don Coryell revolutionized the game.
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POSITIVE
Dan Fouts and Don Coryell changed the game of football before Bill Walsh and Joe Montana and when Dan Fouts retired, he had the second most passing yards in NFL history behind Fran Tarkenton who played many more games.
NEGATIVE
The bottom line for Fouts is his poor playoff stats, not necessarily his losses or lack of a championships, which keeps him out of the top twenty.
CONSIDER THIS
Would you rather have Aikman leading the Cowboys from 1991-1995 or Dan Fouts? One is guaranteed to get you three Super Bowl Championships in four years and the other will put up good regular season stats.

24. Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers (2005 – Present)

 Aaron Rodgers
Regular Season: 70 Wins – 33 Losses (.680) – #52
Playoffs: 6-5 (.692)
1 NFC Championship
1 Super Bowl Championship
2 MVP’s
1 SB MVP
4 Pro Bowls
Regular Season Statistics
32,344 YP – 208 TD – 128 Int – 65.5%
Playoff Statistics
3,952 YP – 31 TD – 14 Int – 66.5%
Aaron Rodgers is the youngest quarterback to make the list at #24, and is likely on his way to challenging the quarterbacks of the top ten within the decade. Statistically Rodgers is the most prolific passer to play the game. His rocket arm is nearly flawless, and he has the mobility to make plays happen. He has been elected to four Pro Bowls and has already won two NFL MVP’s.
When it comes to clutch play, Rodgers is once again among the best. He has completed 66.5% of his passes in the playoffs and has a better than 2-1 TD-Int ratio at 31-14.  His playoff play has kept many the average Packer team in playoff games and has lead others to win including one Super Bowl championship and a Super Bowl MVP.
The only knock on Rodgers in the post season is his 6-5 record. It is more due to Rodgers leading good team to fall just short of greatness, nevertheless, it is the one chink in his armor as he fights his way up the list of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
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POSITIVE
He already has two NFL MVP’s, more than most of the quarterbacks ahead of him.
NEGATIVE
He has a 6-5 lifetime playoff record.
CONSIDER THIS
He has only been a starting QB for seven years.  The top ten might want to start making room, especially if Rodgers can win another Super Bowl.

25. Ken Stabler – Raiders, Oilers, Saints (1970 – 1984)

 ken-stabler
Regular Season: 96 Wins – 49 Losses (.661) – #17
Playoffs: 7-5 (.583)
1 AFC Championship
1 Super Bowl Championship
 4 Pro Bowls
 1 MVP
 1970s All-Decade Team
Regular Season Statistics
27,938 YP – 194 TD – 222 Int – 59.8%
Playoff Statistics
2,641 YP – 19 TD – 13 Int – 57.8%
Ken Stabler is one of the more underrated NFL quarterbacks of all-time.  It is possibly due to his end of career stints with the Oilers and Saints or maybe his high interception rate, which are almost the same thing.  Before ending his career with sub-par teams, Ken Stabler and the Oakland Raiders rivaled Terry Bradshaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the best AFC team of the seventies.  While the Steelers bested the Raiders, Stabler was better than Bradshaw statistically.  Stabler had a very solid 150 TD to 143 Int ratio with the Oakland Raiders in the seventies and more importantly he excelled in the playoffs.  “The Snake”  posted a 7-4 career playoff mark.
He was well-known for his on the field leadership and his ability to rally his team in the clutch.  He posted an excellent 19 TD to 11 Int ratio as a Raiders when it counted the most.  Doubt the dominance of the Dolphins and Steelers in the AFC, Stabler did get one Super Bowl win.
Stabler won the 1974 NFL MVP after throwing 26 TD’s and he went to four Pro Bowls in seven full seasons as a starter with the Raiders. He helped make the Raiders one of the best teams of his era and along with #8 Roger Staubach and # 12 Terry Bradshaw, Stabler was named to the 1970s All-Decade Team.
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POSITIVE
Ken Stabler has the 7th best career winning percentage of any quarterback in history (.661).
NEGATIVE
You can’t ignore his years in Houston and New Orleans, nor his overall poor 194 TD to 222 Int ratio.
CONSIDER THIS
Stabler and the Raiders lost three games to the eventual Super Bowl champs and the other to the future AFC champ.

26. Sonny Jurgensen – Eagles, Redskins (1957 – 1974)

Sonny Jurgensen
Regular Season: 69 Wins – 73 Losses (.487) – #54
Playoffs: 0-0 (.000)
5 Pro Bowls
NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
 
Regular Season Statistics
32,224 YP – 255 TD – 189 Int – 57.1%
Playoff Statistics
78 YP – 0 TD – 3 Int – 50%
Statistically, Sonny Jurgensen was one of the greatest quarterbacks in history.  His numbers for his era (two eras) are quite remarkable.  He retired with 32,224 yards passing,  255 TD’s and 189 interceptions.   In 1961 he threw for 3,723 yards and 32 TD’s (Unitas was 2nd with 2990 yards and Billy Wade with 22 TD’s). So with Unitas-like numbers, why is Jurgensen down at #26? Simply put, the lack of hardware. Yes the Redskins where a lousy team for much of his career, but that’s the story of most quarterbacks who aren’t in the top twenty. The cupboard is not completely bare, Jurgensen does have five Pro Bowls and he is on the highly respected 1960’s All-Decade Team with Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr. Take it from Vince Lombardi who said, “He may be the best the league has ever seen.  He is the best I have seen.
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POSITIVE
His 255 TD to 189 Int ratios is absolutely amazing for his era.
NEGATIVE 
No MVP’s, no championships, no playoffs, and a losing record.
CONSIDER THIS
How good would Jurgensen have been with a great team surrounding him?  40,000 great? Multiple championship great?  Unitas-like great?

27. Donovan McNabb – Eagles, Redskins, Vikings (1999 – 2011)

Donovan McNabb
Regular Season: 98 Wins – 62 Losses (.612) – #14
Playoffs: 9-7 (.545)
1 NFC Championship
 6 Pro Bowls
Regular Season Statistics 
37,276 YP – 234 TD – 117 Int – 59% – 3,459 YR – 29 TD
Playoff Statistics
3,752 YP – 24 TD – 17 Int – 59.1% – 422 YR – 4 TD
Donovan McNabb is a quarterback just on the cusp of being one of the top twenty greatest quarterbacks of all-time, but he just misses 40,000 yards passing and fell just short of a Super Bowl championship.  Many think of McNabb as a running mobile quarterback first, which is understandable with his 3,459 yards rushing, but he was a much better passer than a runner. For a quarterback who really never had a top receiver to his disposal, McNabb put up great numbers including a 2-to-1 TD to Int ratio.  The year the Eagles did give him a great receiver (Terrel Owens), he had a career year and took his team to the Super Bowl losing to Tom Brady 24-21.
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POSITIVE
He was 9-7 in the playoffs throwing for 3,752 yards, 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
NEGATIVE
Lack of hardware.  No MVP’s, Super Bowls, or milestone career numbers.
CONSIDER THIS
His 2.2 interception ratio is one of the best (#4) in NFL history.

28. Jim Kelly – Buffalo Bills (1986-1996) – USFL Houston Gamblers (1984-1985)

 Jim Kelly
Regular Season: 101 Wins – 59 Losses (.631) – #13
Playoffs: 9-8 (.529)
4 AFC Championships
1 USFL MVP
5 Pro Bowls – 2 USFL All-League Teams
Regular Season Statistics 35,467 YP – 237 TD – 175 Int – 60.1% – USFL – 9,842 YP – 83 TD – 45 Int – 63.3%
Playoff Statistics
3,863 YP – 21 TD – 28 Int – 59.1%
Jim Kelly had an incredibly consistent 11 year NFL career along with two standout years in the USFL. He is the only quarterback to lead an NFL to four consecutive American Conference Championships, but of course Jim Kelly is infamous for being on the losing side of all four Super Bowls. The Super Bowl is where Jim Kelly failed to reach true greatness. Every game of the four consecutive Super Bowls he played below what anybody would call good. He was better in the playoffs, but overall threw 21 TD’s and 28 Int and he was one of the reasons the Bills never won the big one.
Unfortunately Kelly doesn’t get any help from his USFL playoffs where he lost both of his playoff games.
While not a total innovation, Jim Kelly’s no-huddle “K-Gun” offense was the most successful “hurry up” offense used as a standard offense to that time, and possibly till the present day.
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POSITIVE
Four consecutive conference championships with the same quarterback may never happen again.
NEGATIVE
Jim Kelly was not a good playoff quarterback.  He played bad in the USFL playoffs and below average in the NFL playoffs.
CONSIDER THIS
In four Super Bowls Jim Kelly threw two touchdowns and seven interceptions.

29. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers (2004 -Present)

Ben Roethlisberger
Regular Season: 106 Wins – 52 Losses (.652) – #11
Playoffs: 10-5 (.667)
3 AFC Championships
2 Super Bowl Championship
3 Pro Bowls
Regular Season Statistics
39,057 YP – 251 TD – 131 Int – 63.7%
Playoff Statistics
3,418 YP – 21 TD – 19 Int – 66.5%
Ben Roethlisberger can be argued at a higher ranking or maybe not in the top forty at all. Of course it depends on the criteria, and by our criteria, this is where Roethlisberger belongs.
Big Ben had the best year of his career in 2014 when he threw for 4,952 yards, 32 TD’s, and 9 Int. He has now thrown for 39,057 yards lifetime, meaning he will top the magic 40,000 yard mark in 2015 and should eclipse 300 TD’s by 2016.
Roethlisberger’s playoff performance is really where the controversy lies with his ranking. His performance in Super Bowl XL was possibly the worst in history. He completed just 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions; his 22.6 quarterback rating was the lowest ever by a Super Bowl winning quarterback. His lifetime 21 TD to 19 Int ratio is the worst among modern top 50 quarterbacks. The one positive for Roethlisberger’s playoff performances is his record (10-5) and let’s not forget his his game-winning drive and TD pass in Super Bowl XLIII.
In the end Ben Roethlisberger has no league MVP’s, no Super Bowl MVP’s, and only three Pro Bowls. This is balanced against his three AFC Championships, two Super Bowl Championships, and an excellent statistical career which is positive enough to give Big Ben a top thirty ranking.
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POSITIVE
Roethlisberger’s .652 regular season winning percentage and his .667 playoff winning percentage are among the best all-time.
NEGATIVE
Big Ben is 55 of 91 for 742 yards, 3 TD and 5 Int in his three Super Bowls.
CONSIDER THIS
Eli Manning and Big Ben will be the only two quarterbacks with two Super Bowl Championships and 40,000 yards passing not in the top five.

30. Y.A. Tittle – Colts, 49ers, Giants (1948 – 1964)

 YA Title
Regular Season: 78 Wins – 52 Losses (.596) –  #41
Playoffs: 0-4 (.000)
1 NFL MVP
 7 Pro Bowls
Regular Season Statistics
33,070 YP – 242 TD – 248 Int – 55.2%
Playoff Statistics
874 YP – 4 TD – 14 Int – 44.6%
Y.A. Tittle was one of the biggest names in football and played that way…until he made it to the playoffs. While his lack of a championship keeps him out of the top fifteen, it is his awful play in the playoffs which almost knocks him out of the top thirty.
Tittle had a great career with the San Francisco 49ers in the fifties establishing himself as one of the best despite being on a rather lowly team.  When he was traded to a much better team in 1961, the NY Giants, Tittle took it up a notch and dominated the league.  He threw for 8,641 yards and 86 touchdowns in three years with the Giants.  That would be almost 37 touchdowns and 3,700 yards passing in 16 game season, in a way different, and more difficult, passing era.  His fourth year with the Giants was a complete bust and he retired with zero playoff wins, leaving a mixed legacy.
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POSITIVE
Over 33,000 yards and 242 touchdowns in Tittle’s era is fantastic.
NEGATIVE
Tittle was 0-4 in the playoffs and he played lousy throwing just four touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
CONSIDER THIS
He threw for 69 touchdowns in a two year span (1962-1963) and went 23-4 for arguably the greatest two seasons by a quarterback in history.
Back: Greatest Quarterbacks 11-20

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