10 Veteran NFL Quarterbacks Who Found Success with New Teams
Speculation is rampant about what the future holds for Peyton Manning as a member of the Denver Broncos.
No crystal ball can predict exactly what will happen to Manning, but the past can show us other quarterbacks who have found success after changing teams late in their careers.
Because for every star like Boomer Esiason or Johnny Unitas that struggled in a different uniform there is a guy like Joe Montana or Kurt Warner that made it work.
One trend that has emerged is QB's finding the golden road in Minnesota, but more on that later.
For now let's start the list at No.10 and examine the QB's who found the most success after changing teams late in their career.
10. Drew Bledsoe
Drew Bledsoe will always go down as the guy who made way for Tom Brady, but outside of that incident there was also a great career.
Bledsoe spent nine mainly successful seasons with the Patriots before making a late career transition to the Buffalo Bills.
During his tenure in New England, Bledsoe was named to three Pro Bowl teams and led the Patriots to a 1996 Super Bowl appearance. He was injured in 2001 and lost his starting role to Brady.
But after being traded to Buffalo, Bledsoe proved he could still be a franchise QB, if only for a short period of time.
He threw for over 4,300 yards in his first season with the team and earned his fourth Pro Bowl appearance.
Things quickly turned south after that, but Bledsoe's switch to the Bills has to be considered at least a mild success because of the 2002 season.
9. Norm Van Brocklin
Hopping into the wayback machine for a second we come to the tale of Norm Van Brocklin.
Early in his career with the Rams he split time with another quarterback named Bob Waterfield.
They platooned for a number of seasons and Van Brocklin was still able to earn one NFL championship and six Pro Bowl appearances during his time with the Rams.
But Van Brocklin's story continued when he was traded to the Eagles before the 1958 season at age 32.
The Eagles went 2-9-1 in his first season under center, but they quickly turned things around, beating the Packers in the NFL title game in 1960.
8. Warren Moon
Warren Moon's best years were undoubtedly in the CFL and with the Houston Oilers.
After a successful career with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in which he won five Grey Cups, Moon transitioned to the NFL and became an elite quarterback with the Oilers.
He was named NFL Offensive MVP in 1990 and made six Pro Bowls during his time in Houston.
However, his move from the CFL to the Oilers was not the team change that earned Moon placement on this list, rather it was his late career switch to the Minnesota Vikings.
In 1994, at age 38, Moon was traded to Minnesota and proceeded to throw for over 4,200 yards in 1994 and 1995.
He finished his Vikings career with a serviceable 21-18 record.
7. Michael Vick
The situation that has surrounded the latter-half of Michael Vick's career is, if nothing else, unique.
Here is a guy who revolutionized the quarterback position during his six-year tenure with the Atlanta Falcons and then spent two years away from the game entirely before returning with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Vick has resurrected a lost career by taking over the Eagles starting job and firmly re-establishing himself as one of the elite QB's in the NFL.
2010 and 2011 have been the best statistical passing seasons of Vick's career, and he has reduced his rushing attempts while maintaining a mind boggling 7.2 yards-per-rush for his career.
Vick's work ethic is now one to be envied rather than pitied, and he has shown nothing but remorse for the dog fighting charges that sidelined him for two years.
But no matter your opinion of the Virginia Tech product, off the field there is no denying that Vick has found great success since taking his talents to the city of Brotherly Love.
6. Joe Montana
Joe Montana had a Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers, which included winning four Super Bowl titles.
But the fact is that "Joe Cool" did not finish his career in California.
By 1993, he was aging and battling injuries, so he was pushed out of the way for the younger Steve Young and spent his last two seasons as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
However, Montana did not go to Kansas City and fade away quietly. Instead, he went 17-8 in two seasons as the Chiefs starter, making the postseason both years and earning an AFC title game berth in 1993.
5. Y.A. Tittle
Y.A. Tittle had a solid career with the San Francisco 49ers from 1951 to 1960, but then he was traded to the New York Giants in 1961.
The 35-year-old quarterback turned into an elite presence on the field and led the Giants to a 31-5-1 record over the next three seasons.
He threw 86 touchdown passes during that time and New York won three straight division titles.
They lost the NFL title game each of those seasons, but Tittle had already cemented himself as one of the best quarterbacks ever to change uniforms late in his career.
4. Randall Cunningham
Randall Cunningham was retired.
He had ended his amazing 11-year career with a 63-43-1 record and would go down in the record books as a quarterback who changed the game.
Yet, he was not content.
At age 34 he returned to the NFL in the 1997 season as a backup on the Minnesota Vikings (the Vikings will make a habit of being on this list) and started only three games.
By all accounts this comeback was nothing special. Then 1998 happened.
Cunningham and the Vikings offense, led by Cris Carter and youngster Randy Moss, lit up scoreboards and went 13-1 with No. 7 under center.
Minnesota went all the way to the NFC title game before losing to the Atlanta Falcons (cough...Gary Anderson...cough).
Cunningham played three more sub-par years with Minnesota, Dallas and Baltimore, but his comeback will always be remembered for that magical 1998 campaign.
3. Brett Favre
Yes, there was a circus that surrounded every move Brett Favre made late in his career.
But the circus that he created somewhat masked the fact that he had a couple of impressive seasons after leaving the Green Bay Packers.
The two-time MVP spent the 2008 season with the New York Jets. A year in which the team started 8-3 and Favre threw 20 touchdown passes before injuring his shoulder.
In 2009, he led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game and a 12-4 regular season record.
"The Gunslinger" will be remembered as a Packer, but his stints in New York and Minnesota certainly had their share of memories as well.
2. Kurt Warner
What a crazy story Kurt Warner's career turned out to be.
After going undrafted and being cut by the Green Bay Packers Warner spent time in the AFL and NFL Europe before finally getting back on an NFL roster with the St. Louis Rams.
He led the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a Super Bowl victory in 1999 and won league MVP that season as well. In 2001, the Rams made another appearance in the Super Bowl, this time losing to the New England Patriots.
If his career was not already enough of a roller coaster ride, Warner then spent time with the New York Giants as a stop-gap for Eli Manning before arriving in Arizona to close out his career.
And Warner sure did go out on a high note.
He spent five seasons with the Cardinals, including a 2008 campaign in which the team went all the way to the Super Bowl.
Warner threw for at least 3,000 yards three times with Arizona, and showed that his early success with the Rams was no fluke.
1. Fran Tarkenton
Fran Tarkenton is an interesting member of this list because his late career team change was actually a homecoming of sorts.
"Frantic Fran" began his career in Minnesota and played there for five seasons before being traded to the New York Giants in 1967 and spending five seasons with that franchise.
He had losing records with both clubs before being traded back to Minnesota in 1972 and really finding his rhythm.
Considered one of the pioneers of mobile quarterbacking, Tarkenton went 64-27-2 in his next seven season with the Vikings, a time frame that included three Super Bowl appearances.
He ranks fourth in career rushing yards by a quarterback and is one of only two quarterbacks to rush for at least 300 yards in seven different NFL seasons.
Clearly Tarkenton earned the nickname "The Mad Scrambler."
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