25 Greatest Quarterbacks in NFL History

Can you name the 25 greatest quarterbacks in NFL history according to a 2019 ranking by NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison?
Team = Team for which they played the most games.
Active players in bold.
Quiz by johnsonncn5
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Last updated: October 10, 2019
First submittedNovember 25, 2012
Times taken19,435
Rating3.71
4:00
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#
Team
Quarterback
1
Patriots
Tom Brady
2
49ers
Joe Montana
3
Colts
Peyton Manning
4
Colts
Johnny Unitas
5
Browns
Otto Graham
6
Saints
Drew Brees
7
Dolphins
Dan Marino
8
Cowboys
Roger Staubach
9
Broncos
John Elway
#
Team
Quarterback
10
Packers
Aaron Rodgers
11
Redskins
Sammy Baugh
12
Packers
Brett Favre
13
Packers
Bart Starr
14
Cowboys
Troy Aikman
15
49ers
Steve Young
16
Bears
Sid Luckman
17
Steelers
Terry Bradshaw
#
Team
Quarterback
18
Seahawks
Russell Wilson
19
Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger
20
Rams
Kurt Warner
21
Bills
Jim Kelly
22
Oilers
Warren Moon
23
Vikings
Fran Tarkenton
24
Chiefs
Len Dawson
25
Rams
Norm Van Brocklin
+1
Level 77
Jul 3, 2017
Great quiz. This should be featured & eligible for points.
+1
Level 60
Nov 8, 2017
Quiz Suggestions Nelly Furtado Discovery, Kim Wilde Discovery, Bonnie Tyler Discovery, Jordin Sparks Discovery
+1
Level 55
Nov 9, 2017
Already did Jordin Sparks, rest coming at some point.....
+3
Level 81
Oct 10, 2019
¿Que?
+2
Level 79
Oct 11, 2019
someone2018 - I think the commenter meant to say "discography" rather than discovery. The maker of this quiz, johnsonncn5, has made over 3500 quizzes on this site, including numerous ones focused on the filmography or discography of popular actors/artists.
+1
Level 81
Oct 11, 2019
She should be an impeccable source for one of those quizzes.
+1
Level 8
Nov 28, 2017
Where's Steve McNair?
+4
Level 57
Dec 18, 2019
Griffith Cemetery in Mississippi.
+2
Level 53
Dec 28, 2017
Broken list!! Why is Jimmy Garoppolo not on this list?!? He is clearly the best of all time! :)
+3
Level 58
Jan 22, 2018
Otto Graham & Sammy Baugh are two QBs who are fun to research. Though from the "Dark Ages" these two were something else. Consider championships PRE-Super Bowl and look at Graham. Baugh was so versatile he led the league as a PUNTER in yards per punt five times, and one season led in interceptions with 11---THAT'S AS A DEFENSIVE BACK. Per the NFL record book his yards per punt of 51.4 during the 1940 season still stands as an NFL record as of 2017. Don't knock these old guys just because you may have never heard of them: Look 'em up.
+2
Level 64
Dec 9, 2019
Stats for more recent quarterbacks are also relatively inflated because of how offenses have changed, and especially because of how pass interference rules have changed. Football used to be a run-first game, but now it's pass-first, especially if you have a really good QB. And passes succeed much more often because what used to considered defense is now a spot-penalty.
+5
Level ∞
Oct 10, 2019
My opinion of this new list is that it's mostly good. Russell Wilson and Troy Aikman are probably too high.
+2
Level 88
Oct 10, 2019
Agreed, Aikman did well because of those around him more than because of his own talent; far better than mine, but I don't think he's as good as anyone else on this list. Donovan McNabb tends to be looked at in the opposite way. But maybe that's just the old Philly fan in me...
+1
Level 65
Oct 11, 2019
I would argue the opposite. Aikman was the most accurate passer ever, anyone who ever played with his will tell you. If he did not have the best running back ever on his team his stats would have been much better. A QB's job is to win Superbowls, Aikman is only behind Brady, Montana and Bradshaw. He should actually be higher.
+2
Level 77
Dec 8, 2019
AdamD: "Aikman was the most accurate passer ever."

Aikman's career completion % was 61.46. For his era, that was very good. But Steve Young, Joe Montana and Brett Favre had higher career completion percentages. Outside of his era, even Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Ryan, Stafford, Wilson, Rivers, Alex Smith, Flacco, Peyton, Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler and Tony Romo, to name a few, had higher completion percentage.

And a awesome running game doesn't make a QBs stats worse. If anything, it makes them better, as teams have to stack more players in the box, leaving WRs to be covered by fewer DBs and making play-action infinitely more effective.
+1
Level 79
Oct 11, 2019
Russell's alright. Perhaps he doesn't put the points or stats in the same level as Brees.
But his scramble abilities are otherworldly! I mean, any other QB behind those awful O-Lines either would have been sacked 100+ times a season, or would have been straight KIA.
And he keeps making the plays! Just look at that ridiculous TD pass to Lockett against the Rams (Oct 3, 2019)!

But, of course, this list will be rendered obsolete in 2-3 years if Mahomes keeps mahoming the league...
+1
Level 31
May 28, 2020
Bradshaw is to low, he won 4 super bowls.
+2
Level 77
Oct 11, 2019
Russell Wilson lolololololol he doesn't belong anywhere near this list
+5
Level 65
Oct 16, 2019
Obviously you don’t watch football
+1
Level 64
Dec 8, 2019
I know this is impossible to quantify, but he is one of a few guys (the others are all on this list) that I fully expect to win when he gets the ball back down 4 with two minutes remaining. Wilson plays his best when his team needs it most. He's like the anti-Matt Stafford. He'd also be the front runner for MVP this year if it weren't for the incredible things Lamar Jackson is doing in Baltimore.
+2
Level 77
Dec 8, 2019
Russell Wilson has the 2nd-highest TD-to-INT ratio in NFL history, trailing only Aaron Rodgers. (once Patrick Mahomes gets a few more seasons under his belt, at his pace, he'd be #2 ahead of Wilson)

Russell Wilson has the 3rd-lowest Interception % in NFL history, trailing only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Wilson's numbers are better than Brees, Manning, Elway, Marino, Young, Unitas, Warner, Montana...well, everybody. Except Rodgers and Brady.
+2
Level 50
Dec 8, 2019
His inclusion devalues the list. Wilson may end up there by the end of his career, but #18 All Time right now is a joke.
+1
Level 50
Dec 13, 2019
Super Bowl Champion, League MVP candidate, top 5-8 quarterback over the last 5 or 6 years, and has been a consistent pro bowler for all 8 years of his career, has yet to have a losing season as a starting quarterback. Maybe a bit high, but Wilson has definitively earned a spot in the conversation of top 20-25 of all-time, and I wouldn't be remotely shocked if he ends up being considered a top 10 all-time quarterback by the time he retires.
+1
Level 57
Dec 18, 2019
Are you loco?
+1
Level 69
May 28, 2020
Russel Wilson single-handedly got the Seahawks to the divisional round last year, and nearly the #1 overall seed. You've got to give him some credit for that.
+2
Level 44
Dec 8, 2019
Adam D: In what way is Troy Aikman the 'most accurate passer ever?' He is 38th all-time in completion percentage. The testimonials from his former teammates don't outweigh actual statistics. Aikman played well in big games, but the fact is that he's closer to Eli Manning than to anyone else on this list - and Eli's not there. Both never made first team all-pro. Aikman has one more Super Bowl win than Eli does (3 for Aikman, 2 for Eli), while Eli won 2 SB MVP awards to 1 for Aikman. Neither ever won regular season MVP awards. And while Aikman has the extra title, he ALSO was far less durable and played far fewer seasons that Eli has.
+2
Level 64
Dec 8, 2019
Chad Pennington is second all-time in completion percentage. I still love you, Chad!
+2
Level 44
Dec 8, 2019
This analyst's list is pretty weak. How on earth is Brett Favre so low, for instance? How is he behind Dan Marino? Marino never won a Super Bowl and won 1 MVP. Favre won a Super Bowl and started 2 of them, and he won 3 MVP awards. Also, how are Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger both rated ahead of someone like Eli Manning? Neither Russell nor Ben have regular season MVPs, while neither has a Super Bowl MVP, either. Ben and Eli have both won 2 championships, and Wilson's won 1 Super Bowl, but only Eli - with 2 - has a Super Bowl MVP award. Wilson has a chance to win a regular season MVP this year, but until he gets one or wins another ring, it's tough to have him this high. Meanwhile in comparison to the historic durability of Eli, Ben's repeated inability to play all 16 games in a season is a strike against him.
+1
Level 64
Dec 8, 2019
Probably because both Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson are ten times better than Eli Manning. I like Eli, but he has had more than a few seriously dreadful performances and his last few years have been awful. He'll be remembered for two of the most incredible playoff runs in league history, but he was not a great quarterback. Having two really great (and, honestly, pretty lucky) six-week runs does not make him better than two guys who were otherwise better than him for their entire careers, even if Eli has more trophies. Eli's Super Bowl MVP's were a crock. The D-line deserved it in both those games and everyone knows it, but whenever there isn't one clear-cut Super Bowl MVP, they just give it to the QB. Russell Wilson is a fair bet to win another Super Bowl before he retires. He's still in his prime; his team is excellent; and Tom Brady is finally (finally!) losing it. Even if he doesn't get another, he's still better than Eli.
+3
Level 77
Dec 8, 2019
Football is a team sport. Super Bowl appearances required a great TEAM. Put Joe Montana or Tom Brady on the '76 Buccaneers, and guess how many Super Bowl appearances they'd have. I'll give you a hint: it's less than 1.

Judging a QB's quality based upon SB appearances, or worse, SB wins, is misguided, IMO. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl. Warren Moon never played in one. Is there any sane person on this planet that would argue that Dilfer was on any level better than Moon?
+1
Level 44
Dec 9, 2019
Absolutely agree. If SB wins is the metric than Dilfer is a better QB than Marino and I think we can all agree that's not true. Brady is a product of an amazing system and possibly the greatest coach ever. Hall of Famer? Sure. Best of all time? Not even in the top 5.
+2
Level 77
Dec 8, 2019
To further illustrate the impact that the team on which a QB plays has on his stats & post-season prowess, compare Steve Young's 2 seasons in Tampa Bay with his 13 seasons with San Francisco:

STAT..................TB.......SF
QB rating:.........63.1....101.2
TD/Int Ratio:.....0.52.....2.51
Int. %:................4.19.....2.41
Yds/Attempt:....6.42......8.20
Completion %...53.3.....65.8

Put a great QB on a lousy team, and he's not going to any Super Bowls. In '85 and '86, Tampa Bay went 4-28. Using a fanboys' criteria, Steve Young was an awful QB. People who understand football, however, know this was simply the case of a great QB being on a terrible team. Unfortunately, sometimes a great QB does not get the chance to move from a terrible team to a great one, like Young did. Then you have to look beyond the surface to properly assess just how good a QB actually was. Like Marino, or Russell Wilson.
+1
Level 50
Dec 13, 2019
If anything, this seems like evidence that championships aren't the main consideration. Going off rings alone, Peyton and Eli are the same quality, but that's not remotely true in reality. Brees only has one Super Bowl, never won MVP, and he's nearing the end of his career. Based on those two things alone, you wouldn't put him in the top 10, but you have to look at more than a handful of accomplishments. Looking past those two simple things, you see that he's in the top 3-5 in every major passing category in history, he's been to 12 pro bowls, he's made playoff runs and gotten close to the Super Bowl again a handful of times, and a bunch of other accolades. Marino never won a Super Bowl and had one MVP, but he was considered a top 5 quarterback pretty much his entire career and was dominant for years. Looking at championships alone provides a very narrow, insufficient window to judge a quarterback's career through.
+1
Level 79
Dec 8, 2019
What about Bernie Kosar?
+1
Level 77
Dec 8, 2019
A case could definitely be made for Bernie being on this list. He has some better numbers for some same-era QBs on here.
+1
Level 36
Dec 8, 2019
No Joe Namath?
+1
Level 57
Dec 18, 2019
No way.
+3
Level 77
Dec 8, 2019
I liked Namath, but he has got to be, IMO, the single-most overrated player in AFL/NFL history. He threw for 4,000 in 1967 and beat the Colts in Super Bowl III. That's it. And in '67, he still threw more INTs than TDs. For his career, he had a Completion % of 50.13. That is awful for any era. He threw 173 TD and 220 INTs, for a TD/INT ratio of 0.79 and an INT% of 5.85. That ranks him right at the bottom of any list of "great" QBs you can come up with.

Here are some QBs that had better TD/INT ratios AND better INT%s than Namath....Bernie Kosar, Jay Cutler, Matt Hasselbeck, Roman Gabriel, Sonny Jurgensen, Dave Krieg, Len Dawson, Ken Anderson, Don Meredith, Daryle Lamonica, Jim Everett, Earl Morrall, Billy Kilmer, Craig Morton, Steve DeBerg, Milt Plum, John Brodie, Greg Landry, Charley Johnson, John Hadl, plus EVERY marginally good QB that's played in the NFL since 1985.

And the Jets didn't beat the Colts because of Namath. It was Matt Snell and Colt turnovers.
+1
Level 72
Dec 8, 2019
I think Sonny Jurgensen should actually be on this list. I'm not sure who I'd remove, but he should be on the list. Wilson maybe, just because I don't think he has done enough yet to justify being on the list.
+1
Level 50
Dec 13, 2019
I'd have to disagree on that, just because of his consistency. I think Wilson's probably higher than he should be, likely because he's expected to be top 10 before his career is over, so people like to jump the gun, but he's never had a losing record in his 8 years, he's consistently been a top 5 quarterback in the league for the last 6 or so years, he has a bit of the Brady effect, where every receiver who plays with him looks like a pro bowler, (his top target for the last two years has been a slot receiver, and this year he started off with a blocking tight end nobody had ever heard of being a main target, and he was putting up borderline pro bowl numbers, and he's made this team a Super Bowl contender despite no elite weapons, and a pretty average defense.) I think he'll be higher by the time he's done, but I think he's more than earned a spot on the list.
+1
Level 64
Dec 9, 2019
I'm a Jet fan, and I think even most Jet fans agree with this.
+1
Level 81
Dec 9, 2019
I would be interested to see the comparison of Roman Gabriel to Norm Van Brocklin. They seem pretty close to me but it is difficult to differentiate between those eras.
+1
Level 64
Dec 8, 2019
The answer is no. I cannot name the 25 greatest quarterbacks in NRL history. Any of them.
+1
Level 72
Dec 8, 2019
I think I found your problem. You were trying to name quaterbacks in the NRL instead of the NFL. My rugby knowledge is nearly non-existent but I don't think they have quarterbacks.
+1
Level 64
Dec 11, 2019
Fair point.
+1
Level 78
Dec 8, 2019
I'm not great at sports quizzes so I was happy to get seven. Tried Namath, Gabriel, Meredith, and Landry, too. I watched football in the '70s and when Warner was with the St. Louis Rams. My sister-in-law had a huge poster of Roman Gabriel on her wall which is how I remember him. (She also had posters of Donny Osmond and Barry Manilow, so what did she know?)
+1
Level 57
Dec 18, 2019
I'm surprised Roman Gabriel is not in the hall of fame. He seems to have been a crappy person, even by his own admission, so maybe that is why.
+1
Level 60
Jan 1, 2020
There is a serious difference between "most-accomplished" and "greatest" quarterbacks. This is certainly more respective of a most-accomplished list. Brady would barely crack the top 10 on a greatest quarterbacks list, with Favre, Marino, Brees, Rodgers, Manning, and Unitas easily ousting him. His arm strength easily trails Rodgers, Mahomes, and Favre; Rodgers would easily kidnap the accuracy crown, and Brady has been supported by loaded teams in arguably the worst division in sports for the past 20 years. Qualities one looks for in a quarterback usually are intelligence, arm strength, resilience, clutch, accuracy, mobility, escapability, charisma, and legacy. The only two categories Brady would have a chance at winning are intelligence and legacy, simply because of his six super bowls. Other quarterbacks have not allotted nearly as much controversy as Brady due to his team's corrupt, malicious ways.
+1
Level 60
Jan 1, 2020
Quarterback intelligence is entirely subjective, and I would seriously hesitate to put Brady at the top, technically due to the Wonderlic Test, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the most-intelligent quarterback of all time, and as most can observe with that case, intelligence does not necessarily convey logic or success. Brady would sink below Rodgers, Favre, and Mahomes in terms of arm strength. His resilience is subpar when one looks at his offensive line, Favre, Eli Manning, and Marino all were less frail. "Clutch" should not be determined by one game, against a playoff-inexperienced falcon team in which he was down 28-3, and one could make the case that Rodgers, Brees, and Andrew Luck are more clutch. Tom Brady's accuracy is inferior when compared to that of Russell Wilson, prime Rodgers, and Brees. His escapability and mobility reach the bowels of the seething patheticness humanity can produce. He may be the least charismatic individual ever to take the NFL field, and only his legacy holds true
+1
Level 28
Feb 3, 2020
Eli, Danny Dimes, Phil Simms, Jeff Hosteler, Fran Tarkenton, and Kerry Collins go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
+1
Level 69
May 28, 2020
Uh, no
+1
Level 25
Jun 24, 2020
WHY ISN"T BOB GRIESE HERE?
+1
Level 56
Jul 4, 2020
This is a good list but it is missing Dan Fouts.