It is one of the biggest arguments in professional football. Who is the greatest quarterback of all time? Many factors get tossed around all over the place. Some people think it's all about winning and the number of Super Bowl rings a player has accumulated. Others believe that stats provide the definitive answer. The true answer is probably a combination of the two.
However, there have been many great quarterbacks who never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. In fact, there are quarterbacks in Canton who have never won a Super Bowl. The Super Bowl has only existed through about half of the life span of the NFL. Therefore, no quarterbacks who spent most of their careers prior to the Super Bowl will be included on this list. This means guys like Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and George Blanda who did play during the Super Bowl era, but there best years were behind them.
The fact that these players never won it all does not make them any less great. It only gives people the opportunity to argue that they are not the greatest. It is hard to believe that anyone would say these passers were terrible, though.
There are many things that make a great quarterback other than the number of Super Bowl teams he was a member of. Things like yards and touchdowns are important, too. The number of times a player made the Pro Bowl is also a factor because it shows us how good they were in comparison to other players who were in the league at the same time. Of course, holding some records for the position is a definitely a big help as well. Helping your team win is also important, even if the quarterback could not lead a team to victory in the biggest game of the year.
10 Vinny Testaverde (1987-2007)
9 Ken Anderson (1971-1986)
8 Randall Cunningham (1985-2001)
7 Boomer Esiason (1984-1997)
6 Donovan McNabb (1999-2011)
5 Jim Kelly (1983-1996)
4 Warren Moon (1984-2000)
3 Dan Fouts (1973-1987)
2 Fran Tarkenton (1961-1978)
1 Dan Marino (1983-1999)
Number one was obviously going to be Dan Marino. Despite not having a Super Bowl ring, he is still arguably the best quarterback in NFL history. During his time with the Miami Dolphins, Marino made nine Pro Bowl appearances, was the 1983 Rookie of the Year and 1984 league MVP, and led the team to Super Bowl XIX. He currently holds 31 Dolphins team records. He retired with the most passing yards and passing touchdowns of all time. Those records have since been broken, but he still ranks second in career passing yards and third in career passing touchdowns. In 1984, he became the first quarterback to ever throw for over 5,000 yards in a season. This was long before the modern passing game. Back then 4,000 yards was a huge accomplishment; 5,000 was completely unthinkable. He was also the first quarterback to throw for over 40 touchdowns in a season. He did this twice. Marino was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
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