Top Ten NFL Quarterbacks: What NFL Greats of Past and Present Make The List?

Dan DeckerContributor ISeptember 25, 2010

Top Ten NFL Quarterbacks: What NFL Greats of Past and Present Make The List?

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    Since the NFL was established in 1920 it has brought much excitement to its fans and followers. Considered to be the most prestigious position in the game is the Quarterback position. What makes it prestigious position is the high demand for leadership, skill, talent, athleticism, good decision making, and a great knowledge of the game. Here is a list of my top ten NFL Quarterbacks ever to play the game.

10. Jim Kelly (1986-1996)

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    Starting off the list at number ten is former Buffalo Bills great, Jim Kelly. He led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls and five consecutive Divisional Championships from 1989 to 1995. Unfortunately he was not able to win one of the Super Bowls. Even with the championship less blemish, he still played outstandingly in his eleven season NFL career. He threw for 35,467 yards, and finished his career with an 84.4 rating. Not only did he have great statistics, but he was considered to establish the first "no-huddle" offense which they called, "K-Gun". This would not give the opposing defense time to make substations. The NFL would eventually change the rules into giving the defense more time because of Jim Kelly and his quick style of play. In 2002, Jim Kelly was eligible for the Hall of Fame, and on his first try was inducted. 

9. Warren Moon (1984-2000)

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    Warren Moon was widely known for his great NFL career at the Quarterback position for 17 seasons. From his first season as the Houston Oilers Quarterback, he through for a franchise record, at the time, 3,338 yards in 1984. When Moon retired, he was in the top five all-time in passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass attempts, and pass completions. After his 17 season career in the NFL with four different teams (Oilers, Vikings, Seahawks, and Chiefs) he threw for 49,325 yards and 291 touchdowns. TO this day he still holds the record for most passes completed at 404. Also he played in nine different Pro Bowl games. Since he has been retired, the former Oilers franchise, Tennessee Titans have retired the number one. In 2006, he was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame.

8. Roger Staubach (1969-1979)

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    Roger Staubach is more then just a great NFL Quarterback, he is also a legacy to the Dallas Cowboys franchise. After he assumed complete control of the position for the Cowboys in 1971, he led the Cowboys to ten consecutive victories which includes the franchise's first Super Bowl victory over the Miami Dolphins. In four different seasons he led the league in highest passer rating. What also sets him apart from many Quarterbacks was when most are on there decline at the end of their career, Staubach had himself a career high season in his final one with 267 completions, 3,586 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes, and just 11 interceptions. He was in the Pro Bowl six times was also considered a great rushing Quarterback with a career total of 2,264 yards and 21 touchdowns on 410 carries. Roger Staubach would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. What brings him to this list is mainly his great clutch ability with 23 game-winning drives and 15 of them being comebacks. The amazing stat here is that 17 of these drives were under the two minute mark in the fourth quarter.

7. Steve Young (1985-1999)

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    What if Joe Montana never got injured and gave Steve Young a chance to play? Then it would have been very difficult for Young to achieve the passing titles in six different years. It mainly started in the 1993 season when Young played so well, it got Joe Montana traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. This season ended for the 49ers in the NFC Championship game in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But in 1994 Steve Young took his team to there first Super Bowl since 1989. In this win, he broke an NFL record with six passing touchdowns. Steve Young holds numerous records such as highest career rating at 96.8. He also holds the record for most rushing touchdowns by a Quarterback with 43. In 2005, the first ever left-handed Quarterback was enshrined in  to the Hall of Fame. The San Francisco 49ers would have the number eight jersey retired in his honor. 

6. Terry Bradshaw (1970-1983)

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    Terry Bradshaw is rated high on my list because of his four Super Bowl victories which was an NFL record at the time. In his 14 seasons in the NFL he was Super BOwl MVP two times, Pro Bowl selection three times, and threw for 27,989 yards. In his first year of eligibility, Terry Bradshaw was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.

5. Dan Marino (1983-1999)

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    In Marino's first season as the main starter, he broke six NFL passing records and leading the Miami Dolphins to a 14-2 record by the end of the regular season. Dan Marino was a statistical monster. In his career he threw for 61,361 yards, and threw for 420 touchdowns. he still holds over thirty Miami Dolphin team records, and numerous NFL records in example most yards thrown in a season (5,084). With a career 86.4 rating Dan Marino was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005 and his number thirteen was retired by his Miami Dolphins. 

4. John Elway (1983-1999)

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    John Elway played all of his NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos. He would start in a record five Super Bowl games and win two of them, while being the MVP for one. IN 1987 he was the NFL MVP, and appeared in the Pro Bowl nine times. In his career he threw for 51,475 yards and 300 touchdowns. Today, John Elway still hold the record for most offensive yards with 51,475 by air, and 3,407 rushing for a total of 54,882 total offensive yards. The Denver Broncos retired his number 7 jersey out of respect for his great leadership and Quarterback talent. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

3. Brett Favre (1991- )

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    It seems as if Brett Favre has been playing forever. When in fact he his just beginning his 20th season as an NFL Quarterback. He is on this list because of the numbers he has been able to put up and the records he has broken and now hold. Favre holds the record of most thrown touchdowns (498), most passing yards (69,725), and most completions (6,098). These are just a few of his numerous NFL records held or shared. Although he has one only one Super Bowl, he his an eleven time Pro Bowl Selection and sure to be iducted into the Hall of Fame once his illustrious NFL career comes to an end.

2. Johnny Unitas (1956-1973)

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    Johnny Unitas, nicknamed "the golden arm", was truly just an overall great Quarterback. He was the first Quarterback ever to surpass 40,000 Passing yards in one season, and threw  touchdown in 47 consecutive games, which is an NFL record that still stands today. He was a two time NFL World Champion, and a one time Super Bowl Champion. With his ten time Pro Bowl selections he won the Man of the Year award in 1970. His number 19 jersey has been retired by the Colts. He is in the Hall of Fame and is still remembered as one of the greatest.

1. Joe Montana (1979-1994)

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    Finally, the number one Quarterback on the list is unveiled, and it is the NFL great, Joe Montana. This Quarterback is a four time Super Bowl Champion, and a three time Super Bowl MVP. Not two mention a two time NFL MVP award winner. Sports Illustrated in their "Football's Greatest 100 Players" he ranked third, and was also ranked number one in most clutch Quarterback of all-time. In his career he threw for 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns. His number 16 jersey was retired by the 49ers and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the year 2000.