Tim Tebow and the 5 Best Left-Handed Quarterbacks of All Time

Hayden Bird@haydenhbirdCorrespondent IJune 16, 2011

Tim Tebow and the 5 Best Left-Handed Quarterbacks of All Time

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    As the NFL has taught us throughout its existence, there definitely isn’t one “type” of player who is predisposed for success over another.

    From Maurice Jones-Drew to Harold Carmichael, they certainly come in all sizes. And that same idea applies to players on more than just height disparity.

    One area where NFL players have been surprisingly lacking has been in a certain quarterback category. I'm referring of course to those who throw lefty. The southpaws.

    This is a particularly relevant topic for Denver football fans, as they survey their team's chances with Tim Tebow likely to feature prominently at some point.

    The former Florida star is still a relatively unknown quantity in the NFL, so he'll certainly have a chance to put himself on this list. But make not mistake, he's far from it right now.

    And now a look at some of the lefties he'll have to emulate (because for every success story there's more than a few failures.)

    It's important to realize that this is a top five because there really aren't that many great lefties out there. There were some tough cuts (Frank Albert who was dominant in his day) and some easy ones (I'm sorry, but Scott Mitchell just couldn't make a "Best" anything list, unless it was "Best Generic Names" list).

No. 5: Mark Brunell

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    A one-time backup to Brett Farve, Brunell found a home in Jacksonville with the newly formed Jaguars. When given a chance to start, he flourished.

    In only his second year as a consistent starter (1996), Brunell lead the league in passing yards with 4,367.

    After leading the Jags to several winning seasons, he went on to become a productive player in Washington before finally winning a Super Bowl ring as a backup to Drew Brees in New Orleans in 2009.

No. 4: Mike Vick

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    Yeah I realize he probably should be higher on the list, but there just seems to be so much more with Vick that's yet to happen.

    And other than his astonishing rushing totals as a quarterback, the numbers aren't overwhelming with the exception of last year (where he was, admittedly, amazing).

    He'll catapult up this list if he can put some more years together like he had in the 2010 season. I hate that he plays for the rival of my Giants, because he's certainly fun to watch play football.

No. 3: Boomer Esiason

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    Boomer had the misfortune of playing the era when the NFC won many, many consecutive Super Bowls. The talent gap between the conferences was never more pronounced.

    Even still, it took some serious heroics from Joe Montana in the closing moments of Super Bowl XXIII to steal away a Super Bowl ring from Esiason and the Bengals.

    After leaving Cincinnati for the Jets, Boomer's continued consistency couldn't right the New Yorker's ship.

    Yet he was an extremely good quarterback for his era, and was actually one of the first quarterbacks to harness the "No-Huddle" as a full gameplan. 

No. 2: Ken Stabler

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    This is an aggressive choice, no doubt. I realize that cases could be made for Boomer and Vick to go above Stabler, but I'm judging him on the whole picture.

    "The Snake," as he was known in Oakland, played on a Raiders team that was perpetually clashing with the best teams in the AFC for playoff superiority.

    And he was known as a clutch performer. John Madden would say that "when the game wasn't close, Ken could call the play in the huddle and forget what it was by the time he got to the line. But if the game was close, Ken was ready to play."

    That, plus his Super Bowl win put him over Esiason in my opinion. He played in an era when defenders could man-handle receivers, yet he still posted multiple seasons over 60 percent completion percentage.

    As Stabler once said, "too many third-and-longs will make you sleep on your side of the bed." That might explain his accuracy, but it runs totally counter to the fact that he averaged less sleep than any of his teammates.

    "I'd read the playbook by the light of the jukebox," Stabler said. He fit right into the Raiders of that era. And he fits as the number two on this list.

No. 1: Steve Young

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    You knew he had to be the guy at the top of this list. Other than current players who are lefties, everyone remembers one historical lefty. And unless you're a fan of a team who had another guy on this list, chances are you think of Steve Young.

    His unusual story befit a lefty quarterback (itself unusual), since he started out in the USFL, went nowhere in Tampa (not his fault though) before ending up as Joe Montana's backup in San Francisco.

    And by 1990, in his fourth full season behind one of the NFL's legends, it didn't look as if Steve Young would amount to much more than an average quarterback.

    With Montana's injuries, though, Young got his chance. And he seized it with the enthusiasm that became his trademark.

    But despite success in 1991-1993, Young and the 49ers of his era fell short. Fans were used to Joe Montana coming through in the clutch, yet Young seemed to lack that championship caliber.

    1994 put all of that to rest. In that one year, Young had one of the greatest seasons by any quarterback ever, completing more than 70 percent of his passes, 35 touchdowns passing and seven more rushing.

    In Super Bowl XXIX that season, he passed for a record six touchdowns. I remember watching that game and, even as a small child, was able to discern perfectly that "this guy is locked in!"

    He retired as the highest rated passer ever. He continues to be an inspiring story for men like Mike Vick, who've been told they're just a "runner" and not a "thrower." No one had more athletic gifts in his day than Steve Young at the quarterback position.

    But in the end, it was when he combined that ability with his intelligence and knowledge of a football system that he hit his full potential. And when that happened, he was fun to watch.