Michael Vick and the 5 Best Left-Handed Quarterbacks in History

Matt TruebloodSenior Analyst INovember 16, 2010

Michael Vick and the 5 Best Left-Handed Quarterbacks in History

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    LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass against the Washington Redskins on November 15, 2010 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Michael Vick is unique in NFL history for his rare combination of arm strength, field vision and speed.

    He is dangerous because he can beat opposing defenses with his legs and his arm, getting the ball to any spot on the field.

    Vick is also unusual, though, because he throws left-handed.

    There are certain apparent advantages to that trait: Teams often put their best pass rusher on the blind side of a right-handed quarterback, so a lefty can sometimes get a better look at the rush.

    For whatever reason, there have been very few elite left-handed quarterbacks in the league's history.

    Given his performance this season, Vick is now among the best three.

    Who ranks above Vick? Who comes up short? Who comes in at No. 1?

    Read on.

5. Mark Brunell

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Mark Brunell #8  of the New York Jets calls signals against  the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. The Jets won 38-14. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Brett Favre had Brunell's road to stardom pretty well blocked in Green Bay circa 1994, so Brunell was shipped off to Jacksonville.

    By the end of 1996, when Brunell led the league with 4,367 yards passing and 7.8 yards per attempt, the Jags felt pretty good about that acquisition.

    Brunell never quite lived up to the hype thereafter, but he did make three Pro Bowls and eclipse 3,000 yards passing in six different seasons.

    He remains active at age 40, though he has started only one game since the start of the 2008 season.

4. Boomer Esiason

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    4 Dec 1994:  Quarterback Boomer Esiason of the New York Jets looks to pass the ball during a game against the New England Patriots at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  The Patriots won the game, 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    In 1988 and 1989, Esiason combined to throw 56 touchdowns passes against only 25 interceptions.

    He won the 1988 NFL MVP Award, and he retired with 247 touchdowns for his career.

    Esiason's best seasons were with the Cincinnati Bengals, although he also made the Pro Bowl in 1993 with the New York Jets.

    Unlike the others listed, Esiason was a classic pocket passer who just happened to throw left-handed.

    He actually shares much in common with the next man on this list.

3. Ken Stabler

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 16:  Defenive end Lawrence Pillers #65 of the San Francisco 49ers attempts to bat down a pass thrown by quarterback Ken Stabler #16 of the New Orleans Saints as NFL referee Tom Dooley #6 watches the action during a game at Candle
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Stabler was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and one-time All-Pro passer.

    He led the league in touchdowns and adjusted yards per attempt in 1974, and again in 1976.

    He won the 1974 MVP and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory after the 1976 season.

    For his career, Stabler went 96-49-1. He had a fascinating season in 1980, when his Houston Oilers went 11-5 despite 13 touchdowns and 28 interceptions by Stabler. He threw for over 3,200 yards that year.

2. Michael Vick

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass under pressure from Keyunta Dawson #96 of the Indianapolis Colts on November 7, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Get
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The mitigating circumstances take this tidbit from wildly impressive to bittersweet at best, but Michael Vick has not thrown an interception since 2006.

    In 2010, he could win the MVP, putting him in league with Esiason and Stabler.

    Vick came into the NFL as a direct-snap running back—a bit erratic with his passes and a bit too impatient before taking off downfield.

    Now, he seems ready to assume elite status as an NFL passer.

    He already has 110 total touchdowns for his career, and has tossed only 52 interceptions.

    The man can do everything.

1. Steve Young

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    12 Sep 1999:  Steve Young #8 of the San Francisco 49ers moves with the ball during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the 49ers 41-3. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Young's career path, (USFL to Tampa Bay to backing up Joe Montana in San Francisco before blossoming, finally, at age 30) is hardly advisable for Hall of Fame hopefuls, but he managed to do it.

    Young won MVP awards in 1992 and 1994, and was Vick before there was Vick: He ran for over 400 yards in five different seasons and teams knew they had to come up with a wholly different game plan to slow down Young's legs and arm. 

    Young was a more efficient version of Brett Favre in the early 1990s.

    Vick will not surpass Young's greatness, although his career path (he is hitting it big at age 30) looks eerily familiar.