Golden Arms: The Best Passers in NFL History
Welcome friends to a different kind of top 10 quarterbacks list.
This is not a list of the "greatest" quarterbacks in NFL history (although all the quarterbacks on this list are great).
This is a list of the greatest passers.
The guys that could fit a pass into double coverage, even triple.
The guys that could read a defense in their sleep.
The guys that could throw 70 yards off their back foot.
Ladies and gentlemen: The greatest passers in NFL history.
10. John Elway
John Elway could be the greatest quarterback in NFL history. However, his reputation was based on his knack for the dramatic and pulling wins out of his butt.
Elway had a bullet arm until the latter 5 years of his career. His accuracy was legendary and amassed huge numbers over his career.
Elway's mobility is what propelled him to the tops of a lot of "Top 10 Greatest Quarterbacks" lists.
Elway's Greatest Passing Moment-
That touchdown pass to finish off The Drive to send his Broncos to the Super Bowl.
9. Steve Young
Steve Young, the best lefty to ever touch an NFL football.
Young's accuracy led to one of the highest quarterback ratings in NFL history (not that it means anything...)
Like Elway, his reputation came on his mobility rather than his arm strength.
If you wanted to make Young perfect, you would have given him a huge arm and a longer career.
Young's Best Passing Moment-
OWENS! OWENS! OWENS!
Or one of those SIX touchdown passes in the Super Bowl.
8. Len Dawson
Dawson is the best quarterback in Chiefs history.
Based on books I've read telling of Lawson's skill, he was the most accurate passer when he was playing.
He used mobility and accuracy to perfect his game.
Dawson led the Chiefs to the first ever Super Bowl, they lost to the Packers.
Three years later he won the first Super Bowl title for the Chiefs, being named MVP.
I wish I had lived during his time, the man can REALLY throw the ball.
I'd put him higher on the list, but his arm strength was lacking.
Dawson's best passing moment-
A 31-yard touchdown pass to Otis Taylor to tie Super Bowl I. This signified that the Chiefs were for real, as well as the AFL
7. Johnny Unitas
Johnny U was widely considered the best quarterback of his time.
His peers admitted this fact.
Behind true grit and toughness, Unitas led the Colts to a Super Bowl title.
Unitas was one of the best quarterbacks to ever throw the deep ball.
His passes would float and fall right into the lap of his receivers.
Johnny Unitas was another one of those "field generals."
As shocking as it is, Unitas' passing was not his best quality.
Unitas' best passing moment-
How about 47 of them? Unitas threw a touchdown pass in 47 straight games, still a record.
6. Joe Montana
Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
He was a perfect performer in the biggest games he ever played in.
His mark of 11 touchdowns and 0 picks in the Super Bowl will never be broken.
I consider him the greatest pressure performer in NFL history.
His passing was deadly and he never cracked.
In terms of accuracy he was top five.
In terms of arm strenght, less so.
Montana never had a huge arm, and as he got older it caught up with him.
Montana's best passing moment-
Game winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXIII.
5. Brett Favre
Brett Favre is probably the best blend of improvisation, pin point accuracy and arm strength any of us have ever seen.
The thing that keeps Favre back is his terrible decision making in the second half of his career.
Favre's arm is without a doubt the strongest in NFL history, his accuracy is deadly (when he wants it to be).
In 2007 Favre was still throwing jaw dropping passes.
To make Favre perfect you would take away those ill-advised throws he makes every game.
Favre's best passing moment-
Favre has too many to name just one. Personally the best pass I've ever seen Favre make was his first touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXII.
However, his greatest would have to be the touchdown that broke Dan Marino's all-time record for touchdown passes.
4. Jim Kelly
Kelly is possibly the craziest quarterback to ever play.
His teammates have always called him the quarterback with a linebacker mentality.
Oh yeah, he could throw the ball too.
Kelly's no huddle offense was the most feared and effective unit in the NFL while he played. Kelly was probably the best "field general" in NFL history. He always knew what the defense was bringing.
Most impressively- he called his own plays. There really was no need for an offensive coordinator.
Jim Kelly lit up the AFC leading his Bills to FOUR STRAIGHT SUPER BOWLS.
Yeah, they lost them all.
Kelly was often injured but when he was on the field he was always effective....except the four biggest games of his life.
Kelly's Best Passing Moment-
Could I really pick just one? Kelly was before my time, but it seems like his career was defined by a tactic, not a play.
3. Dan Fouts
Is it too crazy to say Dan Fouts is the most underrated quarterback of all-time?
Not at all.
Because he never won a championship nor had huge numbers, he is often forgotten.
however, in terms of pure passing, he has no match.
Fouts played on a mediocre team but performed at championship level.
Fouts rarely played out of shotgun which makes his deep passing that much more impressive.
To make Fouts perfect, you would have given him a better team around him.
Oh and you would have made him faster than a turtle.
Fouts' best passing moment-
Fouts outduels Don Strock in a 1982 AFC playoff game. Fouts threw for 433 yards and 3 TD's.
2. Peyton Manning
The thing that I always hated about Peyton Manning was that he was always SO DAMN GOOD.
This year was the first time I remember seeing Peyton Manning miss a receiver. His accuracy and quick release is unbeatable.
His failures in the playoffs certainly are detrimental to his legacy. But, his passing could be the best of all the quarterbacks that came before him.
Manning did have two amazing receivers throughout his career, but he had to get them the ball.
To make Manning perfect, you would make sure he never traveled to Foxborough in January....
1. Dan Marino
Dan Marino is the greatest pure passer in NFL history.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind.
His arm is THE golden arm.
He had the strength of Favre, the accuracy of Fouts, and the decision making of Montana.
He is the perfect quarterback.
I really don't need give any explanation for this, because there is no way anyone could throw the rock better than Marino.
Marino's best passing moment-
Anytime he threw the rock.
In top ten list there are always snubs, there are always a name that just didn't make the cut.
I considered a lot of quarterbacks for this list. Here are the ones that fell just short, in no particular order.
Norm Van Brocklin