Tim Tebow and the All-Time Top Left-Handed QBs of the NFL

Tim Arcand@@TArcandCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2010

DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos rolls out and looks to deliver a pass against the Houston Texas at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

There has been a lot hype regarding Tim Tebow.

Drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos with the overall 25th pick in the 2010 draft, his selection was much lower than some people expected, yet higher than others predicted.

Drafting quarterbacks in the first round always seems to be a crapshoot (see Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, or JaMarcus Russell).

There are concerns about Tebow’s delivery and whether or not he will be successful in the NFL.

From just one look at the way he throws a football it is immediately obvious what is wrong—he’s left-handed!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a part of the seven to 10 percent of the population known as "Southpaws," who are said to be in their right-mind.

There are numerous references that suggest being left-handed is less than desirable.

It’s not a good thing to have two left feet, or be given a left-handed compliment.

The English word sinister comes from the Latin word sinestra , which originally meant "left" but took on meanings of "evil" or "unlucky."

The opposite of left is right, which has all kind of positive connotations attached to it.

So what does all this mean for Tebow?

There have only been 27 left-handed quarterbacks in the NFL. If 10 percent of the population is left-handed, and there are three quarterbacks on each NFL depth chart, that computes to nine left-handers that should be in the league at any given time.

There must be a reason for the disparity. Could it be another slight from a right-handed world?

The answer could simply be that with the majority of quarterbacks being right-handed, teams naturally take on a right-handed approach.

Typically, the best tackle is placed on the left side of the line to protect a right-handed quarterback’s blind side.

Plays are designed to roll a quarterback to the right, as this is easier than rolling to the left and having to throw back across one’s body.

The odds appear to be stacked against Tebow from the start.

I looked into the careers of the 27 lefties that have thrown a pass in the NFL. Eight were drafted in the first round, averaging the eighth pick overall. Their careers averaged 5.1 seasons, spanning one to 15 years.

Oakland and Chicago have each drafted three left-handed QBs.

Only three left-handed quarterbacks have ever played in the Super Bowl, with two of them winning the game. 

Here’s a look at the top seven southpaws to ever sling a football.

No. 7: Frank Albert

Drafted by San Francisco in the first round, 10th overall. Playing career: 1946-1952.

Albert played in 90 games over seven seasons and is credited with a 13-19 record.

He threw 115 touchdowns and 98 interceptions for 10,795 yards. His quarterback rating is 73.5.

He was selected to the 1950 Pro Bowl, a season in which he piloted the 49ers to a 3-9 record.


No. 6: Scott Mitchell

Drafted by Miami in the fourth round, 93rd overall: 1991-2001.

In 1993 Mitchell parlayed seven games playing for an injured Dan Marino into a fulltime gig in Detroit. He threw for 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions, going 3-4 for the Dolphins.

He never lived up to the hype, or hope of the Detroit Fans. In five seasons with the Lions he started all 16 in 1995 and 1997, his best two of his career, going 10-6 and 9-7.

The Lions have had only one other season above .500 since his departure.

Mitchell finished with a 32-39 record, throwing 95 TDs and 81 interceptions. His QB rating was 75.3

No. 5: Michael Vick

Drafted first overall by Atlanta: 2001-2006.

While a member of the Falcons, Vick electrified crowds with his running ability as much as anything.

In six seasons he rushed for 3,859 yards, averaging 52.1 yards per game, while throwing for 11,505 yards.

In 2004 he led the Falcons to an 11-4 record and the NFC South Division Title. His quarterback rating is 75.9.


No. 4: Mark Brunell

Drafted by Green Bay in the fifth round, 118th overall: 1994-2009.

Brunell only threw 27 passes for the Packers and was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars before the ’95 season. In 1996, his second season with Jacksonville, he led the team to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the New England Patriots.

This was the first of four straight playoff appearances for the Jaguars.

Since Brunell’s departure after the 2002 season, the team has only made the playoffs twice.

He has a career record of 175-78 over nine seasons.

He has thrown for 31,928 yards, 182 TDs, and 107 interceptions. His career QB rating is 83.9.

No. 3: Boomer Esiason

Drafted by Cincinnati in the second round, 38th overall: 1984-1997.

With a given name like Norman Julius, you know he must have been picked on as a child.

Esiason is the first of three left-handed quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl and is the only one to lose the game.

In 1988 the Bengals led the league in scoring at 28 points per game and had a 12-4 record.

Under Esiason’s leadership the Bengals made only their second Super Bowl appearance.

He matched up against Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII. Montana led the 49ers to a fourth quarter come from behind victory, with a touchdown pass to John Taylor with only 35 seconds left in the game.

Esiason played 10 of his 14 seasons for the Bengals finishing with a 62-61 record.

For his career he threw for 37,920 yards, 247 TDs, and 184 interceptions. His QB rating was 81.1.

No. 2: Ken Stabler

Drafted by Oakland in the second round, 38th overall .Career 1970-1984.

In 10 seasons playing for the Raiders, Stabler led the team to the playoffs four times, winning the Super Bowl Championship in 1975.

Nicknamed “The Snake,” Stabler fit the mold of the Oakland Raiders' tough guy image of the '70s.

He made his mark in 1972 in a playoff game against the Steelers. He scored the go-ahead touchdown in relief of Darryl Lamonica late in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers would eventually win the game on the “Immaculate Reception” by Franco Harris.

He finished his career playing for Houston and New Orleans, with an overall record of 96-49-1.

He threw for 27,938 yards, 194 TDs, and 222 interceptions.

His career QB rating of 75.3 may not be deserving of second place overall, but the winning of a Super Bowl is something only two lefties have accomplished.


No. 1: Steve Young

Drafted number one in the 1984 USFL Supplemental Draft by Tampa Bay. This was after two seasons playing in the USFL.

After a disappointing 3-13 season for the Buccaneers, he was deemed a bust and traded to San Francisco where he backed up Joe Montana for four seasons.

In 1994 he led San Francisco to a 13-3 regular season record, and a Super Bowl Championship.

In the game he broke Montana’s record for touchdown passes, throwing six against the San Diego Chargers.

Not only was Young a great left-handed quarterback, he is one of the best quarterbacks to ever have played the game.

He holds many records including: highest career QB rating at 96.8, most seasons with a passer rating over 100, most consecutive passing titles at four, and most passing titles with six, just to name some of his records.

Young had the luxury to play on a team rich with a winning tradition, and followed a Hall of Fame quarterback in Montana.

There’s no such luck for Tebow.

Like many young quarterbacks today, they are thrown in too soon, and not given enough time to develop, before being labeled a bust and end up playing in the CFL or AFL.

For the Broncos, don’t expect too much from Tebow; if history tells us anything the odds are stacked against him.

Perhaps the thought of moving him to H-back is a good idea.


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