The quarterback position is the most important spot on the field for teams to be successful. Having a franchise quarterback is often looked at as the absolute number one thing for having success in the NFL. But who has done this the best in their team’s history?
Today, I pulled each team’s best three quarterbacks, and ranked them accordingly based on how much history they have and just how good they have been at this position.
NOTE: The TOP 3 are NOT in order.
We’ll start from the bottom and work our way up.
32. Jaguars – Blake Bortles, David Garrard, Byron Leftwich
The Jaguars are the worst team in quarterback history. They haven’t been around as long as other teams, but man. You’d think they’d have someone on here. Bortles led Jacksonville the furthest they have ever been in franchise history, but that was mostly because of the defense, anyways. Then he was cut one offseason later. Bad history that maybe Minshew Magic can change.
31. Lions – Matt Stafford, Bobby Layne, Scott Mitchell
The only reason I could not get myself to put Detroit in last is because of Matt Stafford. He is a pretty good quarterback for what it’s worth, he’s just been plagued by injury and horrible management his entire career. Didn’t exactly help when his franchise receiver quit early, too. I’d be lying if I said I knew who Layne and Mitchell were before writing this. That’s how bad their QB history is.
30. Buccaneers – Jeff Garcia, Jameis Winston, Trent Dilfer
We continue to move up the list from “horrible” to a new category called Tampa. Our lowest team on the list that has won a Super Bowl, Tampa has some weird history. Brad Johnson won it all with the Bucs in 2002, yet he doesn’t even make the Bucs top three. Garcia and Dilfer were known “decent” starters during their career. Dilfer actually won a Super Bowl with the Ravens. But to have Jameis Winston hold most of your franchise records is pretty sad, so they get stuck down here.
29. Texans – Matt Schaub, Deshaun Watson, David Carr
Schaub was great during his time in Houston. He did just enough to get by and make them a half-decent team that would make the playoffs occasionally. Were they great? No, but better than others, and Schaub was responsible for a good amount of it. And now their second-best is…Deshaun Watson? Really? Again, this team doesn’t have a lot of history. Watson is going to be their best of all-time soon, as long as BOB doesn’t trade him, too.
28. Cardinals – Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, Jim Hart
For Kurt Warner to be the Cardinals best quarterback in franchise history is a little sad. Not because he wasn’t good, he just didn’t do much for them. The Cardinals have never won a Super Bowl in franchise history, and could be lower on this list. However, Warner got them to the big game and if it weren’t for Santonio Holmes, Arizona would not be as title barren as they still are. Palmer was impressive during his time and got them to the NFC Championship game, but fell to Carolina.
27. Panthers – Jake Delhomme, Cam Newton, Kerry Collins
You could make an argument that both Delhomme and Newton are the best quarterback in Panthers history. I mean, they both made it to a Super Bowl. Carolina has only been around for about 25 years now, and they really do not have many quarterbacks beyond this.
26. Ravens – Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson, Steve McNair
Flacco won the Ravens a Super Bowl and that’s why Trent Dilfer does not make this list. Ray Lewis and that defense won the first one. Joe had a great year and deserved that title. He just failed to rise to the task after. I don’t think Ravens fans mind all that much though. Lamar is shaping to be quite the replacement, and is already the 2nd best quarterback in their short history. McNair played one season with the Ravens, but his talent can’t be ignored. For these guys to be the top three isn’t terrible, but no legends that were here long-term.
25. Eagles – Donovan McNabb, Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham
It’s weird that the guy who won the Eagles’ only Super Bowl doesn’t even crack the top three. McNabb took the Eagles to the promised land, but didn’t quite capture the trophy. He has probably been their most impressive quarterback. Jaws is up there as well, along with Cunningham, who was an exciting dual threat player who could find ways to move around the ball nicely.
24. Titans – Warren Moon, Steve McNair, Dan Pastorini
Not much to the Titans history at the QB spot. Warren Moon was impressive for the Houston Oilers. The journeyman could be considered their most successful QB ever. McNair, however, did get them to the Super Bowl, and was one yard away from potentially being a champion. Titans fans will never forget that loss to the Rams.
23. Bengals – Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, Andy Dalton
The Bengals are another team on this list without a Super Bowl win. Anderson and Esiason each got them there, but got beat by San Francisco both times. I went back and forth between Palmer and Dalton here, but Dalton stayed healthier during his time and, overall, was slightly more reliable than Palmer.
22. Browns – Otto Graham, Bernie Kosar, Brian Sipe
Otto Graham was an amazing quarterback, don’t get wrong. But beyond him, Cleveland is where quarterbacks go to die. Kosar and Sipe being the next great guys for the Browns doesn’t exactly scream wow. If anything it’s more of…yikes. Graham shoots the Browns up higher than most people probably think.
21. Vikings – Fran Tarkenton, Daunte Culpepper, Joe Kapp
The Vikings made three Super Bowls under Tarkenton and one under Kapp. Of course, they still have not won the big game and haven’t been back since the late 70s. Culpepper was very impressive until his departure for Miami, where his career came to a very sudden halt. Any quarterback to win it all in Minnesota will cement their legacy as the best…Cousins, you there?
20. Rams – Norm Van Brocklin, Kurt Warner, Jim Everett
The Dutchman is the guy who really keeps the Rams from being lower here. A Hall of Famer, Norm Van Brocklin holds the NFL record for yards in a game with 554, a record that has stood for almost 62 years. That is insane. Brees, Brady, Manning, Montana, or anybody else has not cracked the record yet. Warner won them their only Super Bowl with “The Greatest Show on Turf” in 1999, and Everett was an alright player as well.
19. Bears – Jim McMahon, Sid Luckman, Jay Cutler
Was McMahon the reason the Bears won in 1985? Maybe not, but he was there for it. Luckman is another old name that was considered one of the best to play in the very, very early years of the league. Cutler holds plenty of records in Chicago, but only got to the NFC Championship, only to just barely fall to Green Bay. McMahon’s Super Bowl builds up his legacy to push the Bears higher up this list.
18. Jets – Joe Namath, Ken O’Brien, Mark Sanchez
Hollywood Joe took Jets fans on a fun ride to the Super Bowl that they will never forget. Well, the ones that were alive to see it happen. They haven’t been back since. Ken O’Brien could never get them there, and Mr. Buttfumble was close, but couldn’t get past Manning or Roethlisberger.
17. Bills – Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Perhaps the second greatest quarterback to never win a Super Bowl behind only Dan Marino, Jim Kelly really deserved a title and it’s a shame he never got it. He took Buffalo to four straight Super Bowls (unheard of!!) but could not get them to the finish. The rest of the Bills’ history is a blur beyond those glory years.
16. Falcons – Matt Ryan, Michael Vick, Steve Bartkowski
Matt Ryan is very impressive, and if it weren’t for blowing a 28-3 lead in 2017, the Falcons would have a title and would be further up this list. However, they don’t and land back here. Vick was a franchise-altering player until his dog-fighting incident took him out of the league, so we will never know how good he could have been. Bartkowski was always iffy, as well.
15. Raiders – Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett, Rich Gannon
The Raiders are definitely the definition of a middle-ground ranking team. Stabler and Plunkett combined to win the Raiders’ three Super Bowls, while Gannon took them there against the Bucs in the early 2000s. None of them have really ever been considered amazing, however, and land right in the middle of NFL QB history.
14. Seahawks – Russell Wilson, Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg
Russell Wilson will one day be in the Hall of Fame. Let’s get that out there. He won Seattle’s lone Super Bowl and took them there back-to-back years. Don’t be shocked if he’s back soon either. Hasselbeck also took them there once, and Krieg had the honor to play with the legend Steve Largent, which definitely made him look better.
13. Saints – Drew Brees, Archie Manning, Aaron Brooks
This is one team that a lot of people would expect to be higher. But does anyone remember how bad the Saints were before Drew Brees left San Diego and came to NOLA? They were awful. One of the worst teams in NFL history to that point. The father of Peyton and Eli was their second-best guy, while Brees’ predecessor, Aaron Brooks, was decent but could never get them to the playoffs after his first year.
12. Chargers – Philip Rivers, Dan Fouts, John Hadl
While the Chargers have never won it all, Rivers and Fouts are both top 25 QBs all-time and it really is a shame that each of them have never won. Fouts reached it and could taste it, but fell short to the LOADED San Francisco 49ers. Hadl was also a decent quarterback for them, which throws them up ahead of the Saints’ weak history, disregarding Brees.
11. Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes, Len Dawson, Alex Smith
That’s right. Patrick Mahomes is already the greatest quarterback in Chiefs history. With more overall talent than Len Dawson ever had, Mahomes won his first Super Bowl as a second-year starter, becoming the first Chiefs quarterback to match Dawson in half a century. His long, legendary career ahead will bump the Chiefs further up this list.
10. Patriots – Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe, Steve Grogan
Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and there is no disputing that at this point. Better than Montana, Manning, Marino, Brees, or anyone. Six Super Bowls does that. The Patriots, however, are not the best quarterback team in history. Bledsoe and Grogan are the two next best Patriots QBs, and that is saying very little.
9. Redskins – Joe Theismann, Mark Rypien, Doug Williams
Some may be surprised to see the Redskins here in front of the Patriots, but their overall history over New England can’t be ignored. These three guys all helped guide the ‘Skins to their three Super Bowls. They all hold very high places in the hearts of Washington fans and the fact they had three QBs do this puts them in the top 10.
8. Broncos – John Elway, Peyton Manning, Jake Plummer
Elway grabbed two Super Bowls with the Broncos, where he has spent the majority of his life at this point, and Peyton got one, too. However, Peyton’s defense really propelled him there, and their next best guy is Jake Plummer. Drew Lock has a lot of potential to one day make this list, but in the meantime, Broncos get seeded between DC and the…
7. Dolphins – Dan Marino, Bob Griese, Ryan Tannehill
Marino never won the Lombardi Trophy but is considered by many as one of the greatest ever. Until guys like Manning, Brady, and Brees came into the league, Marino ruled with the most yards and touchdowns in NFL history. Griese won the Dolphins only two championships, and Tannehill had some good seasons to get the Fins to the postseason. Dolphins ranked a little lower than expected due to lack of a third guy, and Marino’s lack of a title.
6. Steelers – Terry Bradshaw, Ben Roethlisberger, Neil O’Donnell
The Steelers are another one of those teams where if they just had one more guy, they could be at the top. Bradshaw and Roethlisberger have combined to make the Steelers one of the winningest franchises in NFL history. And then there’s…Neil O’Donnell? That’s rough.
5. Cowboys – Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo
Beyond Hall of Famers Staubach and Aikman, who won their five Super Bowls, there’s not much to Dallas’ highest-paid position. Prescott could rise to the top three if he stops being greedy and takes the $35M Jerry is offering him. He has a very talented team around him and they could help him rise to the top.
4. Giants – Eli Manning, Phil Simms, Y.A. Tittle
Eli is beloved by Giants fans forever for owning Brady in both Super Bowls he got them to. Simms won two, as well, and while it may be a surprise to see them this high, Tittle is in the Hall as well. A three-time NFL passing touchdown leader, Tittle is very underrated and was a staple of the league in the 50s and 60s.
3. Colts – Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Andrew Luck
Peyton Manning won Indianapolis’ first Super Bowl. He is considered immortality there forever and, by many, is looked at as the best quarterback behind only Tom Brady. Unitas in the early days was observed as one of the best to play the game when the Colts played in Baltimore. Luck looked like he would finish as one of the greats before GM Ryan Grigson ruined his career.
2. 49ers – Joe Montana, Steve Young, John Brodie
If the 49ers had one more impressive quarterback, I would easily rank them as the best team. But they just don’t crack the top because beyond Montana and Young, they have pretty much nothing. Brodie, Smith, and maybe even Colin Kaepernick could be considered the third-best. That’s….meh. But the outstanding success of Montana, the third-best quarterback in NFL history, and Young’s five Super Bowls land them in the two spot, right behind the…
1. Packers – Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Bart Starr
The Packers are the most impressive team in NFL quarterback history. They have three quarterbacks that you could argue to put in the all-time top 15 QBs. That is crazy. Favre and Rodgers each won one Super Bowl compared to Starr’s two, but in terms of overall talent, Favre and Rodgers are considered two of the greatest to ever play the game. The Packers easily take the top spot here.