Who is the best quarterback of all time? Would you choose Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or someone else? As long as there is football, this will be a hot topic of discussion. I will answer this question in a different way by listing the best quarterbacks of all time by selecting one or two quarterbacks for each letter of the alphabet. This is my fourth best “A to Z” article. Enjoy, and as always, I welcome comments and debates on my selections.
A: Troy Aikman, 1989 – 2000
Troy Aikman was born on November 21, 1966, in West Covina, California. He was drafted out of UCLA by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. Aikman was named to 6 Pro Bowls, the All-Pro team in 1993 and lead the Cowboys to 3 Super Bowl victories. Troy Aikman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
B: Tom Brady, 2000 – Present
Tom Brady was born on August 3, 1977, in San Mateo, California. He was drafted out of Michigan by the New England Patriots in 2000. Brady has been named to 8 Pro Bowls, and was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2007 and 2010. Through the 2012 season, Brady has passed for nearly 45,000 yards and 334 touchdowns.
C: Randall Cunningham, 1985 – 2001
Randall Cunningham was born on March 27, 1963, in Santa Barbara, California. He was drafted out of UNLV by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985. Cunningham was one of the most exciting players in the league for several years. He was named to 4 Pro Bowls, and was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 1998. Cunningham passed for 29,979 yards, rushed for 4,928 yards and threw 207 touchdowns in his career.
D: Len Dawson, 1957 – 1975
Len Dawson was born on June 20, 1935, in Alliance, Ohio. He was drafted out of Purdue by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957. He was elected to 6 American Football League all star games and the Pro Bowl in 1972. The MVP of Super bowl IV, Dawson passed for 28,711 yards passing and 239 touchdowns in his career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
E: John Elway, 1983 – 1998
John Elway was born on June 28, 1960, in Port Angeles, Washington. Elway was drafted out of Stanford by the Denver Broncos in 1983. Elway was named to 9 Pro Bowls, was Most Valuable Player and First- Team All-Pro in 1987. In addition, he won 2 Super Bowl titles and passed for 51,475 yards and 300 touchdowns. John Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
F: Brett Favre, 1991 – 2010
Brett Favre was born on October 10, 1969, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Favre was drafted out of Southern Mississippi by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991. He was named to 11 Pro Bowls, and was First-Team All-Pro in 1995, 1996, and 1997. Favre lead the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory, and ended his career with 71,838 yards passing and 508 touchdowns.
G: Bob Griese, 1967 – 1980
Bob Griese was born on February 3, 1945, in Evansville, Indiana. Griese was drafted out of Purdue in 1967 by the Miami Dolphins. He was selected to 2 American Football League all-star games, 6 Pro Bowls, and was named First-Team All-Pro two times. Griese helped lead the Dolphins to victories in Super Bowls VII and VIII. He finished his career with 25,092 yards passing, 192 touchdowns, and was inducted into to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
H: Jim Hart, 1966 – 1984
Jim Hart was born on April 29, 1944, in Evansville, Illinois. Hart was drafted out of Southern Illinois in 1966 by the St. Louis Cardinals. Hart was selected to 4 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1974 through 1977. He finished his career with 34,665 yards passing and 209 touchdowns.
I: George Izo, 1960 – 1966
George Izo was born on September 20, 1937, in Barberton, Ohio. Izo was drafted out of Notre Dame in 1960 by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in only 26 games during his 7 year career for 4 different teams. George Izo retired with 1,791 yards passing and 12 touchdowns.
J: Sunny Jurgensen, 1957 – 1974
Sunny Jurgensen was born on August 23, 1934, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Jurgensen was drafted out of Duke in 1957 by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was selected to 5 Pro Bowls, and was named First-Team All-Pro 2 times. Jurgensen was backup quarterback on the Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship team. He retired with 32,224 yards passing, 255 touchdowns, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
K: Jim Kelly, 1986 – 1996
Jim Kelly was born on February 14, 1960, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kelly was drafted out of Miami in 1983 by the Buffalo Bills. He played for a few years in the United States Football League and began his NFL career in 1986 with the Bills. Kelly was named to 4 Pro Bowls and lead the Bills to 4 consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Jim Kelly retired with 35,467 yards passing, 237 touchdowns and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
L: Bobby Layne, 1948 – 1962
Bobby Layne was born on December 19, 1926, in Santa Anna, Texas. Layne was drafted out of Texas by the Chicago Bears in 1948. He was named to the All-NFL team in 1952 and 1956. Layne lead the Detroit Lions to the 1953 NFL Championship with a last second winning touchdown. Layne finished his career with 26,768 yards passing, 196 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and passed away on December 1, 1986.
M: Seemed unfair to exclude Manning or Montana, so including both.
Peyton Manning, 1998 – Present
Peyton Manning was born on March 24, 1976, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Manning was drafted out of Tennessee in 1998 by the Indianapolis Colts. He has been selected to 12 Pro Bowls, 6 times named First-Team All-Pro, 4 time league Most Valuable Player, and Super Bowl champion in 2006. Through the 2012 season, Manning has 59,487 yards passing and 436 touchdowns.
Joe Montana, 1979 – 1994
Joe Montana was born on June 11, 1956, in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. Montana was drafted out of Notre Dame in 1979 by the San Francisco 49ers. He led the 49ers to 4 Super Bowl victories, and was named Super Bowl MVP 3 times. He was selected to 8 Pro Bowls and 3 times was First-Team All-Pro. Joe Montana retired with 40,551 yards passing, 273 touchdowns and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
N: Joe Namath, 1965 – 1977
Joe Namath was born on May 31, 1943, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Namath was drafted out of Alabama in 1965 by the New York Jets of the American Football League and by the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL. Namath signed with the Jets and lead them to a victory in Super Bowl III. He was American Football League Player of the Year in 1968. Joe Namath struggled with injuries throughout his career, but finished with 27,663 yards passing and 173 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
O: Neil O’Donnell, 1991 – 2003
Neil O’Donnell was born on July 3, 1966, in Morristown, New Jersey. O’Donnell was drafted out of Maryland in 1990 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 1992 and was quarterback for the Steelers in the Super Bowl in 1995. O’Donnell finished his career with 21,690 yards passing and 120 touchdowns.
P: Jim Plunkett, 1971 – 1986
Jim Plunkett was born on December 5, 1947, in San Jose, California. Plunkett was drafted out of Stanford in 1971 by the New England Patriots. He was the winning quarterback in Super Bowl XV while with the Oakland Raiders. Jim Plunkett retired with 25,882 yards passing and 164 touchdowns.
Q: Brady Quinn, 2007 – Present
Brady Quinn was born on October 27, 1984, in Columbus, Ohio. Quinn was drafted out of Notre Dame in 2007 by the Cleveland Browns. Through the 2012 season, he has started 20 games and thrown for 3,043 yards and 12 touchdowns.
R: Although Rodgers hasn’t played as long as Roethlisberger, it’s difficult to keep him off this list.
Aaron Rodgers, 2005 – Present
Aaron Rodgers was born on December 2, 1983, in Chico, California. Rodgers was drafted out of California in 2005 by the Green Bay Packers. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl 3 times and was First-Team All-Pro in 2011. Rodgers was MVP in the Packers victory in Super Bowl XLV. Through the 2012 season, Aaron Rodgers has 21,661 yards passing and 171 touchdowns.
Ben Roethlisberger, 2004 – Present
Ben Roethlisberger was born on March 2, 1982, in Findlay, Ohio. Roethlisberger was drafted out of Miami (Ohio) in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been selected to 2 Pro Bowls and won 2 Super Bowls. Through the 2012 season, Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 29,844 yards and 191 touchdowns.
S: Roger Staubach, 1969 – 1979
Roger Staubach was born on February 5, 1942, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Staubach was drafted out of the Naval Academy by the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League, and by the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Due to his military obligations, Staubach’s rookie season was 1969, at the age of 27. He was a 6 time Pro Bowler and 2 time Super Bowl champion. Roger Staubach retired with 22,700 yards passing and 153 touchdowns. Roger Staubach was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
T: Fran Tarkenton, 1961 – 1978
Fran Tarkenton was born on February 3, 1940, in Richmond, Virginia. Tarkenton was drafted out of Georgia in 1961 by the Minnesota Vikings. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 9 times and was First-Team All-Pro in 1975. One of the best scrambling quarterbacks of all time, Tarkenton retired with 47,003 yards passing, 3,674 yards rushing, and 342 touchdown passes. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
U: Johnny Unitas, 1956 – 1973
Johnny Unitas was born on May 7, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Unitas was drafted out of Louisville in 1955 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was released prior to the 1955 season and signed with the Baltimore Colts in 1956. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 10 times and 5 times was named First-Team All-Pro. Unitas retired with 40,239 yards passing, 290 touchdowns, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. Johnny Unitas passed away on September 11, 2002.
V: Norm Van Brocklin, 1949 – 1960
Norm Van Brocklin was born on March 15, 1926, in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Van Brocklin was drafted out of Oregon in 1949 by the Los Angeles Rams. He was selected to 9 Pro Bowls and was First-Team All-Pro in 1960, his final season in the NFL. Van Brocklin lead the Philadelphia Eagles to 1960 NFL Championship. He retired with 23,611 yards passing, 173 touchdowns, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Norm Van Brocklin passed away on May 2, 1983.
W: Kurt Warner, 1998 – 2009
Kurt Warner was born on June 22, 1971, in Burlington, Iowa. Warner was undrafted out of Northern Iowa, and played in the Arena Football League until 1998. In the NFL, Warner was a 4 time Pro Bowler and 2 time First-Team All-Pro. Kurt Warner was the MVP in the St. Louis Rams victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. He retired with 32,344 yards passing in the NFL and 208 touchdowns.
Y: Steve Young, 1985 – 1999
Steve Young was born on October 11, 1961, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Young was drafted out of Brigham Young University in 1984 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a 7 time Pro Bowler and 4 time First-Team All-Pro. Young won 2 Super Bowls and a Super Bowl MVP as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He retired with 33,124 yards passing, 4,239 yards rushing, and 232 touchdowns. Steve Young was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Z: Jim Zorn, 1976 – 1987
Jim Zorn was born on May 10, 1953, in Whittier, California. Zorn came out of Cal Poly-Pomona in 1976 and began his career with the Seattle Seahawks. He passed for over 3,000 yard in a season in 1978, 1979, and 1980. Jim Zorn finished his career with 21,115 yards passing and 111 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Terry Bradshaw, Drew Brees, Bobby Douglass, Boomer Esiason, Dan Fouts, Otto Graham, Eli Manning, Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Ken Stabler, Phil Simms, Bart Starr, Y.A. Tittle