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Awards: Nine Pro Bowls, three All-Pros, 1987 NFL MVP.
Stats: 51,475 yards, 300 touchdowns, 226 interceptions, 56.9 completion percentage.
John Elway at No. 9. Blasphemy! Yeah I know, I originally had him at No. 3, but then I looked at the stats and saw his career as a whole. I came away less than impressed, and while I still feel that Elway was a great player and Hall of Famer, I just can't put him any higher than nine.
Elway had a lot of hype coming out of college. He was an All American and Heisman finalist, and thus was selected first overall by the Baltimore Colts, who then traded him to the Denver Broncos.
He never lived up to the hype in his first 10 years. Although he led his team to three Super Bowls, which he lost, during this time he was inconsistent. He wasn't a good passer in this era of his career. During the first 10 years of his career, he had a passer rating over 80 only once, threw for more than 20 touchdowns once and never had a 4,000 yard passing season. He also threw more interception than touchdowns four times during this time, including the only year he had 20 touchdowns.
What saves Elway, though, is the last six years of his career. During this time, he threw for 20 touchdowns in all but one year, had his only 4,000 yard season and never threw more interceptions than touchdowns. He also completed a higher percentage of his passes and had a much better quarterback rating. Oh, and he won two Super Bowls.
Still, the final six years of his career don't bump him up higher than No. 9 in my book. He still finished his career 44th on the all time passer rating list and only led the league in any passing category twice, completions and yards in 1993.
Don't get me wrong. Elway deserves to be on this list, just not as high as some people say he should be.