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Historical QB Rankings

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75. Jake Plummer (Arizona Cardinals 1997-2002, Denver Broncos 2003-2006)
5th Place Cardinals QB and 5th Place Broncos QB
Career Record 72-71-0 (50.35%) 64th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 60-16-0 (78.95%) 43rd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 12-55-0 (17.91%) 96th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 76/143 (53.15%) 44th out of 102 (-32)

Wins above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (-0.025)

Image result for jake plummer


Jake the Snake Plummer is certainly a name that fuels nostalgia in my mind. In addition to being the last player on this list in the negatives, he's also the first long time Broncos QB to make it onto this list. His is basically a tale of two careers, but Jake Plummer never took the stage for the third act, choosing to retire in his prime. I have no doubt that if he had played even a season longer, he would been in the positives on this list. Plummer began his career as the second round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, who were a snake bitten franchise who needed a spark at the QB position that they never had. Unfortunately for them, Plummer didn't quite help them get over the hump, because they needed a lot more than just a QB. Still, he was able to drag the Cardinals to .500 records early on in his career, but slumped in 99 and 2000. He rebounded with efficiency and another .500 record in 2001, but in his last year in Arizona he struggled and was replaced by the rookie Josh McCown. He was often known for choking and throwing interceptions at the worst possible time, and while this trend continued in Denver, he wasn't the sole playmaker on the team so he could play proficiently when the pressure wasn't on his back. The Broncos made playoff appearances in 03 and 04, and while they were met with early exits the needle was trending up for them. In 2005 the Broncos made the playoffs at 13-3, Plummer had his most efficient season, and he and the Broncos ended the Patriots 11 game postseason winning streak... however Plummer choked big time against the Steelers in the AFC Championship game, the Broncos drafted his replacement in Jay Cutler, and after a mediocre 7-4 start, the Broncos decided to pull the plug on the Plummer experiment. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2007, but he decided that he would rather retire than play for Jon Gruden. And so he ended his career at the age of 32.

Plummer is basically the guy you'd want if NFL games were only three quarters long. In games where his defenses showed up, (aka most of his Broncos career), he was proficient and deadly winning nearly 79% of his games. If his defense decided to take a nap... well he would throw some costly interceptions and end the game, his 12-55 record in those games is near the worst out of all QB's in this measure, and the reason why he ends up just a fraction below average. 

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74. Bernie Kosar (Cleveland Browns 1985-1993, Dallas Cowboys 1993, Miami Dolphins 1994-1996)
2nd Place Browns Quarterback
Career Record 55-57-1 (49.12%) 71st out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 39-17-1 (69.30%) 80th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 16-40-0 (28.57%) 47th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 57/113 (50.44%) 63rd out of 102 (-12)

Wins Above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (0.000)

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Bernie Kosar gets to be the definition of average in my giant sample size. Exactly (well it's off by a few hundred thousandths, but shhhh) 0 games above average. Kosar is more of a joke than an actual well regarded player, but the last time the Browns had a real modicum of success were the Schottenheimer / Kosar years where they would make the playoffs consistently, only to get beat out by the Broncos. The Drive, The Fumble, all at the expense of Kosar's Browns. If we take just his years in the 80's into account, Kosar would have probably ended up ranked in the top 20, and that's not a joke. If we just took Bernie Kosar in the 90's he would have been just barely ahead of Archie Manning with a rate of -2.502 games below average per season. The divide is so wide it's sort of unbelievable. However a combination of injuries and alcoholism took it's toll on Kosar, and Belichick wanted nothing to do with him after becoming head coach in 1991. He was traded to the Cowboys in 1993, and was able to win a super bowl as a backup, before wiling away the rest of his days as Dan Marino's backup in Miami. His defenses have never been spectacular, nor have they been abysmal, always towing the 50% line. Kosar was 13-20 in the 80's when his defenses played poorly, and he dropped to 3-20 in the 90's. He was 28-7-1 when his defenses played well in the 80's, and dropped to 11-10 when they played well in the 90's.

He didn't get to be the best Browns QB on this list, but I won't lie to you when I say he was really damn close. However he just played too long after concussions and injuries and never could reclaim the magic of 5 straight playoff appearances in his first 5 seasons. Some players just weren't meant to have long careers, and Kosar was one of them.

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73. Dan Pastorini (Houston Oilers 1971-1979, Oakland Raiders 1980, Los Angeles Rams 1981, Philadelphia Eagles 1982-1983)
4th Place Oilers/Titans Quarterback
Career Record 59-66-0 (47.20%) 79th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 44-11-0 (80.00%) 40th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 15-55-0 (21.43%) 89th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 55/125 (44.00%) 81st (T) out of 102 (+7)

Wins Above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (0.051)

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Dan Pastorini, NFL QB, Mets draft pick, backup punter and a winning Drag Racer? What an odd set of skills. In any case, Pastorini was the QB of the Oilers for most of the 70's, but he didn't get off to a very good start, struggling in his first three seasons and going 5-25 in his first 30 games. Throwing more int's than TD's was expected in the era, but his raw numbers were pretty bad too. Still, the Oilers kept their faith in him, and the Oilers started to win games in the 70's once they settled on Bum Phillips as their head coach. The Oilers didn't start getting pieces around him until 1978, where investments in the offensive line and hall of famer Earl Campbell meant the Oilers finally made the playoffs. With a reputation for comebacks and 4th quarter heroics in 78 and 79, the Oilers made the AFC Championship game twice, but was dismantled by the Steel Curtain in both attempts. He was traded to the Raiders for Ken Stabler in 1980, but broke his leg after a few mediocre starts and was quickly replaced by Jim Plunkett, who happened to win a super bowl for the Raiders. He went to the Rams after that, but was benched after throwing 14 picks in 5 starts. He turned into a vintage age Nathan Peterman all of a sudden. He hung around the league as a backup before finally retiring in 1983, and moving to a profitable drag racing career. Yes, seriously. As an interesting trivia note, Pastorini was the first player to wear a flak jacket, so he gets to be the pioneer of something.

Pastorini was a guy who when he had everything working for him, could run the ship smoothly. When there was something wrong, he would collapse and try to make things happen, but he was about as adept at that as I am at cooking french cuisine. He was the third overall pick in the 71 draft behind Archie Manning and Jim Plunkett, and is definitely the forgotten guy of the bunch, but he played a long time for the Oilers and was about the definition of what you'd expect from a QB in the 70's.

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72. Jeff Garcia (San Francisco 49ers 1999-2003, Cleveland Browns 2004, Detroit Lions 2005, Philadelphia Eagles 2006 and 2009, Tampa Bay Bucs 2007-2008)
6th Place 49ers QB and 3rd Place Bucs QB
Career Record 58-63-0 (47.93%) 74th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 44-13-0 (77.19%) 50th (T) out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 14-50-0 (21.88%) 84th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 57/111 (47.11%) 73rd out of 102 (+1)

Wins Above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (0.075)

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So a fun fact about Jeff Garcia, he's the only player I've ever actually met on this list. Back in his days before the NFL, he played in the CFL for the Stampeders, and he was a very strong replacement for Doug Flutie. He and Allen Pitts were kind of like the Young and Rice connection of the CFL, at least for a few seasons. In any case, the team came to my elementary school one day and I got to shake his hand. I was not expecting a moist and limp wristed shake, but that's what I got. Funny how those things stick with you. Anyway, players who do well enough in the CFL often get at least a passing chance in the NFL. Garcia took his and ran with it. He joined the 49ers as their dynasty was ending. Jerry Rice was on his way out, Steve Young had succumbed to concussions, and that praise worthy defense kept losing pieces to free agency or retirement. Still, Garcia was able to keep the motor running, even if the engine was a bit shaky to start. He was press ganged into the starting role in San Fran after signing there as a backup after winning a Grey Cup for the Stampeders. While his rookie season was rough, he showed the mental toughness to keep the job even after the 49ers drafted two QB's in the 2000 draft, and began to flourish as a passer, throwing for 4000+ yards, 31 TDs and only 10 INT's. The team was still shaky around them, but the 49ers had something at QB for a few seasons. The 49ers made the playoffs in 2001 and 2002, and he had one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history, coming back from down 38-14 against the Giants to win 39-38. However, the pressure got to Garcia as he couldn't continue the legacy that entitled 49ers had hoped for, and was released at the end of the 03' season. He struggled with injuries, a DUI and playing for the Browns and Lions in back to back seasons before getting a little mini career revival in Philadelphia as Andy Reid's backup, another inheritor of the Bill Walsh offenses. He took over after McNabb suffered a season ending injury, and drug the Eagles from below .500 into the postseason. He couldn't clear the Saints, but his play was good enough for him to get a starting job elsewhere... under Jon Gruden. He took the Bucs to the playoffs for the last time in their history in 2007 (as of this writing), but Gruden's awful tendencies with QB's and desire to funnel money out of their championship defense led them to blow up in 2008, and left Garcia jobless once again. He closed out his career with the Eagles, but was released when Michael Vick came back into the league. He stuck around the league for a few years but never saw the field again and retired in 2011.

Garcia's numbers are very up and down, and while that led him to a certain midpoint on this list, his career was definitely marked by ups and downs. Terrell Owens called him gay multiple times to the media, he often felt like he had to put too much on his shoulders when the situations were rough, and like Pastorini before him, those decisions didn't always pan out. Still, he made quite a few pro bowls, made a few good playoff runs, and did run the WCO with proficiency, even if he didn't really find a niche anywhere else. Not bad for a guy deemed to small to play in the NFL. 

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71. Warren Moon (Houston Oilers 1984-1993, Minnesota Vikings 1994-1996, Seattle Seahawks 1997-1998, Kansas City Chiefs 1999-2000)
3rd Place Oilers QB and 7th Place Vikings QB and 4th Place Seahawks QB
Career Record 105-105-0 (50.00%) 65th (T) out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 80-28-0 (74.07%) 64th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 25-77-0 (24.51%) 70th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 108/210 (51.43%) 54th out of 102 (-17)

Wins Above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (0.081)

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Huh? What the fuck Razor? Warren Moon this low? I demand a redo, your list is busted, everything is wrong! This is one of the spots that requires a bit of explanation, so let me try my best, because Warren Moon definitely had an interesting career. Like Garcia before him, he wasn't deemed the right fit for the NFL coming out of college, and found the CFL and Edmonton Eskimos calling his name. This wasn't because he was too small, like Garcia and Doug Flutie were thought to be, no this was just the league not wanting to take a chance on Black quarterbacks in the 70's. So he spent 6 years in the CFL, winning 5 Grey Cups in his first 5 seasons, and the Most Outstanding Player award in his 6th. After that ludicrous success, the NFL came knocking as his former head coach in the CFL though 'damn this guy is really good, let's get him in Houston'. And so Moon's legacy begun. However, the NFL is a different beast, and Moon struggled to pull of victories in his first three seasons. His personal numbers were spectacular, but his defenses were often giving up 27+ points a game, so he started his career 12-33. He flashed potential, but it wasn't until Jerry Glanville got a hold of him in 1986 that he was able to utilize Moon's skillset to it's greatest potential. They started having winning seasons in 1987, Moon started compiling his passing records, and they spent the next 6 years as postseason mainstays who could never get over the hump. Whether it was due to the greatest comeback of all time, rifts between coaches and players, defensive collapses, or offensive collapses, something always went wrong in the postseason. At the end of the 93 season, the Oilers decided to part ways with their franchise QB at age 37. He went to the Vikings where he played decently for a couple of seasons before getting hurt and benched for Brad Johnson. Deciding not to take a paycut to be his backup, he found his way to Seattle for two seasons, before spending the twilight of his long career as a backup in Kansas City.

Moon's story is a lot of what ifs. If you were just to take his 7 year prime in the NFL between 1987-1993, Moon would shake up among the top 20 in this list, I have no doubt. However, Moon didn't get his first foray into the NFL until he was 28, and he didn't get his first winning season in the league until he was 31. Most quarterbacks have a lot more success earlier in their careers than that, but Moon basically did all of his work in his 30's and a little bit in his early 40's as well. Of course, that doesn't count him dominating the CFL, because of course a guy with an arm like that dominated the CFL. He started 210 games, which is 10th most on my list, and the only players ahead of him are hall of famers, future hall of famers, and Vinny Testaverde. The argument could be that he played for too long, and that's why he ended up being just a hair above average on this list, why his career record is .500, and why his defenses were just a shade above average. Nonetheless, Moon had a very fruitful career, but this list took the whole scope of it, not just his incredible prime. You'll find that there are some players on this list who only played in their primes who got to stay a lot higher than Moon did.

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70. Alex Smith (San Francisco 49ers 2005-2012, Kansas City Chiefs 2013-2017, Washington Redskins 2018-Current?)
5th Place 49ers QB and 6th Place Chiefs QB
Career Record 90-67-0 (57.32%) 36th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 79-23-0 (77.45%) 47th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 11-44-0 (20.00%) 92nd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 102/157 (64.97%) 9th out of 102 (-61)

Wins Above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (0.091) (0.042 with 2018 in the books)

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Alex Smith. The saviour that never was. Few QB's have had the maligned start Alex Smith was subject to. He and Rodgers were the top two guys in their class, and the general consensus was that Aaron Rodgers was the correct choice to go first overall, but first year head coach, and OC Mike McCarthy liked Alex Smith a little bit more, and they took a chance on the small school guy who was a little bit more raw. Well, I can't say it worked well for Nolan, but Mike McCarthy got to win a super bowl with the other QB in this draft class, so onions to that. Smith spent his first few seasons battling injuries, having difficulty reading defenses, and throwing a lot of misinformed picks, leading to the 49ers being a revolving door at the position for the 00's. Trent Dilfer, Troy Smith, Shaun Hill, JT O'Sullivan and I swear there was someone else I'm failing to remember all took starting time when Smith was there. However, things changed for Smith once he got an offensive minded head coach. Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary couldn't get anything out of Smith, but Harbaugh could. Smith may take the definition of game manager, but his mobility in the pocket was utilized properly by Harbaugh, and conservatism combined with a smothering defense put the 49ers in the conference championship in 2011, only falling short in overtime thanks to a Kyle Williams muffed punt. Things were looking up for Smith in 2012 as they retained their stars and got even better... but he got concussed in the middle of the season, and his job was taken by the phenom Colin Kaepernick. Smith hadn't quite shed his bust label despite one and a half successful, efficient seasons under Harbaugh, so no one really batted an eye when Kaepernick took over, and drove the 49ers to a Super Bowl, falling just short to Ray Lewis' retirement tour. Smith was done in San Fran after that, as Kaep was supposed to be their QB of the future, and Smith went to Kansas City to thrive under new head coach Andy Reid. He put up 5 winning seasons with the Chiefs, undoing pretty much all of the bad juju of his first 6 seasons in San Fran, but once again found himself replaced by a new young gun who looks like he's going to take over the league. Despite making the playoffs 4 times, Smith was only able to win one game for them. He might have been subject to two of the worst defensive collapses in post season history, and two losses suffered under Andy Reid clock management.txt but no one remembers that. He went to Washington after his stint in KC, and his Redskins career may have been cut painfully short by the worst injury I've seen since Monica Seles got stabbed on the tennis court.

Smith's career is largely defined by the great defenses he's had. Even when his career was just starting out, the 49ers were a very hard nosed team with strong secondaries and linebackers. When Smith was getting it together in the Harbaugh era, the 49ers ranked among the best in the league on Defense. When he went to the Chiefs, they played astoundingly well, with great pass rushers, a strong front 7, and an incredibly safety in the back end. Smith's defenses are so good that he ranks among the top 10 on this list, which makes him a pretty big underachiever when you think about it. But this list takes the entire scope of his career into account, and his first six years were incredibly weak. Smith's career probably ranks as a tragedy, considering the amount of misfortune he's suffered, but despite all that has happened to him, he has a solid career and one to be proud of. 

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69. Brian Sipe (Cleveland Browns 1974-1983)
1st Place Browns Quarterback
Career Record 57-54-0 (51.35%) 59th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 39-19-0 (67.24%) 91st out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 18-35-0 (33.96%) 23rd out of 102
Percentages of Games with Good Defense 58/111 (52.25%) 49th out of 102 (-20)

Wins Above Average Starter in a 16 Game Season (0.115)

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And just like that, the Browns are out of representatives on this list. The woes of having a team with all of their success pre super bowl era. Brian Sipe's career started off on a very bumpy road. As a 12th round pick in 1974, Sipe wasn't expected to do much with the role, but found time as a reliever in his first couple of seasons, but neither he nor the team was very good at the time. He was better than his contemporaries, but Sipe struggled to outscore opposing offenses early on, and didn't really start getting the knack of things until 1977 where he developed a reputation as a comeback artist. He was very interception prone, but so many of the QB's in the 70's were, it's not surprising. The end of the dead ball era changed things for Sipe, as he started to really develop his tools as a passer, and even won an MVP award in 1980 for his role as the leader of the Kardiac Kids. However, a team on the verge of a heart attack will eventually die, and Sipe's lone playoff appearance was ended by an untimely pick, only known in Browns lore as Red Right 88. The Browns never got another chance with Sipe, his game breaking heroics could only do so much when those same traits were the reason why they ended up down in the first place. Eventually, at the end of the 83 season, Sipe was benched for McDonald, and never returned to the NFL. He bounced around the USFL for a couple of seasons before leaving football forever.

Sipe was something of a 4th Quarter QB, perhaps the progenitor of the legacy continued by guys like John Elway and Eli Manning. Someone who was rough in the first three quarters, but got his act together for the 4th and made amazing plays seem routine. However sometime Sipe dug the hole too deep, or he couldn't get the heroics to work at the right time, which is why he was so awful when his defense actually did their jobs every now and again. The Browns may not have had great defenses in his time, but they were average, and you'd expect to win a few more games than Sipe did. The counterpoint is that he was in the top quarter when his defense gave up more than an average amount of points, and that's why he balances out as a hair above average. The Sipe giveth, and the Sipe taketh away. That means no more Browns for the rest of the list!

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Was randomly thinking about Jake Delhomme :ninja:

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Memebers of the Hydra don't count. (I generally like having a guy play a full 16 games for a team before considering him as a QB on that team)

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68. Ken Anderson (Cincinnati Bengals 1971-1986)
4th Place Bengals Quarterback
Career Record 91-81-0 (52.91%) 49th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 72-21-0 (77.42%) 48th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 19-60-0 (24.05%) 73rd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 93/172 (54.07%) 39th out of 102 (-29)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.147)

Image result for ken anderson bengals


All hail the 70's Porn Stache man. Ken Anderson had a long and illustrious career with the Bengals, and is often on the cusp of several hall of fame discussions because of the numbers he put up in the early 80's, and his role in turning the West Coast Offense to a offensive mainstay in the league for a long time. Because you see, Bill Walsh's offense didn't originate with Joe Montana and Dwight Clark, no the roots of his offensive gameplan were planted in Ohio. As a student of the game, he developed the WCO to work around a QB who didn't have a big arm in Virgil Carter, but Ken Anderson was the guy who really took his philosophies to the fore. Anderson led the league in completion percentage in 4 of his seasons, including 1982 where he held the league record for nearly 30 years with a 70.6% completion (since broken 4 times by Drew Brees, and once by Sam Bradford of all people). You would think a player with a resume like that would be a lot higher, however for all the ups in Anderson's career, there were a fair share of downs to even it out. While Anderson found success early in his career as a beneficiary of Walsh's offensive scheme, with Paul Brown retiring and Walsh leaving, (instead of just inheriting the job from Brown because of a petty feud) Anderson struggled under different offensive coordinators, and was finding the ball in the hands of opposing players more often than not. It wasn't until 1981 where Anderson got the rails back on track and returned to the promise he showed so early in his career. A fun fact is that he was almost benched for the season, because he got pulled in week 1 after throwing a couple picks, and his replacement Turk Schonert stormed back and won the game. Forrest Gregg decided to stick with Anderson, and he never looked back, leading the Bengals to a 12-4 record, an AFC Central title, and a super bowl appearance... against his former offensive coordinator Bill Walsh. The Bengals offense stalled early, and couldn't overcome a 20 point halftime deficit against the new dynasty 49ers. Anderson had his record setting completion percentage year in 1982, but the Bengals were bounced early after being drubbed by the Jets, and Anderson struggled for the next two years before being replaced by Boomer Esiason in 1985. Anderson is a fascination QB from a historical point of view, combining the cerebral vision and scrambling ability evident in so many of the great WCO QB's to ever play the game. He really serves as the blueprint for what you would look for in a Quarterback back in the days when the WCO was the new hotness. Some of those traits are still evident in today's spread game, but a quarterback who can operate with the entire width of the field is always an asset for teams.

As for his placement on this list, Anderson's high certainly net him a lot of points, but he had some drastic lows as well. A career of peaks and valleys will put you near the middle of the pack, and that's unfortunately where Anderson ends up. He had a lot of games with strong scoring defenses as well which can be a hindrance on these rankings if you aren't winning consistently because of them. His win rates with good and bad defenses skewed pretty much towards the average starter, or just a little bit better than, so he doesn't end up in the same stratosphere as a lot of guys in the hall of fame who crowd the top of the list. All in all, a talented player, a fascinating discussion point, and a very slightly above average winner.

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67. Jay Cutler (Denver Broncos 2006-2008, Chicago Bears 2009-2016, Miami Dolphins 2017)
4th Place Broncos QB and 2nd Place Bears QB
Career Record 75-75-0 (50.00%) 65th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 57-18-0 (76.00%) 56th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 18-57-0 (24.00%) 74th (T) out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense (50.00%) 64th (T) out of 102 (-3)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.165)

Image result for jay cutler don't care bear


I don't care to do a writeup.

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Ok let's do an actual writeup for Jay Cutler because there are a few things I'd like to note about him. First of all, those numbers are just straight up nice. .500 winning record, exactly 75 games with a good defense and 75 games with a bad defense. The reason why being straight down the middle like this is simply because the divide for average points can't be set on a non-whole number, so the average QB actually only wins 49% of their games when their defenses are perfectly even, at least in the Golden Age of Passing. but yeah, all in all, Cutler ends up being basically what the baseline is for the average QB in my study and it's pretty sweet.

Cutler started out his career being the guy expected to take Mike Shanahan's team over the top, since Jake Plummer failed in the role in 2005. Problem was, the Broncos may have been too quick to act, dumping Plummer the second they lost two games in a row. Cutler became the starter in the last 5 games of 2006, and carried the role for a few seasons, but could never get the Broncos over .500 so they fired Shanahan. Josh McDaniels wanted nothing to do with the 4th year QB so he jettisoned him to Chicago, and his star receiver to Miami. Cutler took the Bears to the postseason in his second season in Chicago, and took them to the AFC championship game, but suffered an unfortunate injury and the Bears could not overcome his loss and fell to the eventual SB champion Packers. Cutler never got another chance at the postseason with the Bears, suffering an injury in 2011 and having the backups lose 5 of the last 6 games of the season, and in 2012 they missed the postseason on tiebreakers. By that point the rest of the Bears defense crumbled around them and they were stuck in rebuild mode until Cutler decided to retire in 2016. The retirement didn't last long, as Cutler got a call to play for the Dolphins by his former offensive coordinator Adam Gase. He played there for a season, did his usual don't care fare before retiring into the sunset. Or whatever that reality show he's on is called.

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66. Bert Jones (Baltimore Colts 1973-1981, Los Angeles Rams 1982)
2nd Place Colts QB
Career Record 46-50-0 (47.92%) 75th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 31-10-0 (75.61%) 58th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 15-40-0 (27.27%) 54th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense (42.71%) 84th out of 102 (+18)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.218)

Image result for bert jones

It's time for another blast from the past, and we're looking at the guy who had to succeed Johnny Unitas today. Bert was a first round pick for the Colts in 1973, just three years removed from their super bowl victory over the Dallas Cowboys. No longer the top dogs in their division, they had to compete with the fierce Dolphins and their stifling defense and the Buffalo Bills' powerful rushing attack headed by OJ Simpson. He took his lumps in his first two seasons, going 2-11 in 13 starts before really taking the reins of the AFC East in 1975, leading the Colts to three straight 10 win seasons, putting up incredible passing numbers for the Dead Ball Era and even winning the MVP award in 1976. Each postseason appearance was met by a one and done, as the Steelers took him out of the game in his first appearance, then picked him off twice and put up 40 points in their second appearance. In his third, he was stuck in a tight overtime matchup with the Oakland Raiders, but came up short as the Raiders closed the game out in the classic Ghost to the Post game. Things were set to be looking up for the Colts... but Jones got his shoulder shredded in 1978, and never was the same guy, missing most of the 78 and 79 season due to injuries. He wasn't the same guy in the 80's, his injuries had slowed him down, he threw a lot more interceptions, and he got sacked a lot more. He went 8-22 in his last 30 games with the Colts, and ended his career as a Ram, playing 4 games before finally hanging up the cleats due to a neck injury. Bert Jones is a famous what if story in the league, and Bill Belichick gives him a lot of credit as one of the best pure passers he's ever seen. 

Jones had a very short prime in the league, but he was dynamic despite all of the adversity he dealt with in his career. His defenses rank in the bottom 20 for all of the guys in this study, and he still managed to nearly pull off a .500 record. He was only one of three QB's in the 70's to throw for a 100+ passer rating, and the other two guys will be making appearances on this list later, don't worry. He may not have taken the Colts to a championship like his predecessor, but considering the Colts various attempts to find that glory, he was a very good successor to Unitas' legacy.

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65. John Hadl* (San Diego Chargers 1966-1972, Los Angeles Rams 1973-1974, Green Bay Packers 1974-1975, Houston Oilers 1976-1977)
(Loses first 4 years of career due to era cutoff)
4th Place Chargers QB and 3rd Place Packers QB
Career Record 68-66-5 (50.72%) 63rd out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 51-12-3 (79.55%) 41st out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 17-54-2 (24.66%) 68th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 66/139 (47.48%) 71st out of 102 (+6)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.238)

Image result for john hadl


Yes, that was legitimately the dudes football card in the 70's. Looks like a tall Danny Devito or something I swear... In any case, John Hadl did not bring joy to millions of fans like Danny Devito did, he was just the face of the fledgling AFL Chargers and their first real QB after being drafted in 1962. He split time at the position with Dick Wood (yes people in the 60's didn't understand phrasing, I know) until becoming the full time starter in 1966. The name of his game was really simple, throw it to Lance Alworth and have him make stuff happen. And while those early chargers never had much success with winning, oh boy could they sling the ball down the field. He was traded to the Rams at the end of the 1972 season, and made the postseason for the first time since becoming a full time starter. However he stood no chance against the Cowboys and their defense. He went into 1974 as the Rams starter as well but his vaunted big arm was gone, and he was basically limping through the season. He was benched in a game against the Packers, but they must have seen something in him that they wanted because they got on the phones and three weeks later he was traded for two first rounders, two second rounders and a third round pick. This trade hastened the Packers collapse into mediocrity for the next ~20 years or so as the Rams became perennial contenders for the next few seasons thanks to the haul they got for the aging, doughy, John Hadl. Hadl threw 14 TDs and 35 INT's in his one and a half years in Green Bay and was promptly cut soon afterwards. He spent a couple of years in Houston as a backup to Dan Pastorini before finally retiring in 1977.

Hadl was a guy who could only do one thing well, and that was chuck it down the field. He wasn't particularly accurate, he wasn't always good at throwing to the right colour jersey, but man could he sling it down the field. And that's all you really could ask for from QB's in the 60's right? He loses a couple of his best seasons due to the era cutoff, so he's not really as bad as I'm making him sound, but Hadl is a classic case of a guy who could only operate in the era he was in. If he tried playing in today's NFL, he'd be benched in 2 games after throwing 10 picks. His Chargers weren't really blessed with great defenses, so his gunslinging nature wasn't as detrimental as it could have been for a team with strong defenses. Hadl was blessed with a long career, a hall of fame receiver (and perhaps one of the best to ever play the game), and a cannon for an arm. In the end that puts him just above the average QB in this league. Well done John.

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64. Boomer Esiason (Cincinnati Bengals 1984-1992, 1997, New York Jets 1993-1995, Arizona Cardinals 1996)
3rd Place Bengals QB and 3rd Place Jets QB
Career Record 82-90-0 (47.67%) 76th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 52-24-0 (68.42%) 84th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 30-66-0 (31.25%) 34th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 76/172 (44.19%) 80th out of 102 (+16)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.260)

Image result for boomer esiason


Yes, Boomer Esiason once played football in the NFL. Surprising, huh. He's more or less been relegated to being CBS' angry talking head complaining about the good ol days of football. Lo and behold, he was actually a somewhat decent player. He did make the super bowl once in his career after all. The Bengals made a very smooth transition from Ken Anderson to Boomer. He was actually the first QB selected in his draft class, taken 38th overall by the Bengals. Nowadays it'd take a minor miracle for the best QB of a draft class to fall to 38, even if you're literally drafting JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn. In any case, Boomer came into the league with a chip on his shoulder, and combining some of the philosophies of the West Coast Offense, the Bengals ran the no huddle offense to perfection in Esaison's time. The Bengals had some ups and downs early, but their greatest chance at winning a super bowl came in 1988, when after coming off of a 12-4 regular season, the Bengals and their offense bullied the Seahawks and Bills to make it to the super bowl. If not for the last second heroics of Joe Montana and John Taylor, Boomer would have had a super bowl ring. The Bengals never got another chance like that again. They snuck into the postseason as a 9-7 division winner in 1990, but by that time teams had figured out the no huddle and Boomer was starting to develop a penchant for throwing to the wrong team. The Raiders kicked them out in the divisional round, and the Bengals have not won a playoff game since. The Bengals started to disintegrate after that, and Boomer wasn't left with much help on offense or defense. Eventually the Bengals decided to go with a different direction at quarterback, shipping Boomer off to the Rich Kotite Jets. The 90's were basically just full of misery for Boomer as he had no help, and kept putting his team in holes he couldn't dig himself out of. He suffered a nasty concussion in 1995, and was probably the beginning of the league actually looking into the effects of concussions (and subsequently sweeping them under the rug). He went to Arizona as a free agent in 1996, and returned to the Bengals in 97, looking almost like his former self before taking another nasty concussion and being forced to retire.

Boomer has some of the worst defenses on this list, playing for the slumping Bengals for a good chunk of the 90's as well as the Kotite Jets, who might have given the Bengals a running for the worst team of that time period. Despite that, his record in games with bad defenses is actually really good, and part of the reason he can still stay above average despite having a really rough second half to his career. The issue was he was also prone to giving it away later in his career, no doubt due to all of the CTE he's endured throughout his career. One only needs to watch him on CBS to see how the game has affected his mind. Truly a tragedy, if the league never befell him, maybe he wouldn't be such an asshole.

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63. Jim Plunkett (New England Patriots 1971-1975, San Francisco 49ers 1976-1978, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 1979-1986)
3rd Place Patriots QB, 4th Place 49ers QB and 6th Place Raiders QB
Career Record 80-74-0 (51.95%) 55th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 61-18-0 (77.22%) 49th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 19-56-0 (25.33%) 65th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 79/154 (51.30%) 55th out of 102 (-8)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.286)

Image result for jim plunkett


Jim Plunkett was a former first overall pick in the same class as Dan Pastorini and Archie Manning. While that class doesn't have the gravitas of the 83 class or the 04 class of quarterbacks, it's still a healthy if not spectacular group of QB's. Plunkett however didn't get off to a quick start in his career. He was hot out of college due to his impressive arm talent, but he suffered a lot of injuries and offensive line problems early in his career. He suffered an injury in 1975, and the Patriots decided to roll with Steve Grogan instead, moving on from the former first overall pick. He had thrown 87 interceptions in his 4 and a half years in New England and never led the team to more than a 7-7 record in his time there. Luckily for the Patriots, they found a trade partner to fleece in the San Francisco 49ers who gave up a backup QB, three first rounders and a second rounder for Plunkett. And for a little while the change of scenery looked good for Plunkett, as he led the 49ers to a 6-1 start in 1976. Then things went south quickly, Plunkett lost 14 of his next 19 starts, and the 49ers opted to cut him in the next offseason, deciding to move on with Steve Spurrier. He went to the Raiders as a backup and sat for most of the 78 and 79 season, only throwing 15 times over the course of two seasons. If his career had just ended there, he'd have been a bust. Not a massive bust, but one none the less. However, fate has a funny way of changing lives, and when Dan Pastorini suffered an injury in 1980, it was Jim Plunkett who was called to take his place. While he looked awful in relief, throwing 5 interceptions, Tom Flores believed that Plunkett was a better option to lead the team than the rookie Marc Wilson. And then Plunkett caught on fire, going 9-2 for the rest of the season, and sneaking the Raiders into a wildcard spot. He had settled into a game manager role, but the Raiders just kept winning in the postseason. He outdueled the former Raiders QB Ken Stabler in Houston in the wild card round. Then they survived against the Browns thanks to poor coaching on their part. Then they got into an offensive shootout with the Air Coryell Chargers and outscored them 34-27. The super bowl came along and Plunkett may have had the best game of his career, putting up 3 touchdowns on the vaunted Eagles Defense and winning a super bowl MVP. Plunkett led the Raiders to the postseason again in the strike shortened 1982, but lost in the divisional round after throwing 3 picks. He was brought back as a backup in 1983, but after Marc Wilson got hurt, Plunkett once again led the Raiders to the postseason, dominated the competition, and won a second super bowl ring after trouncing the Redskins. He remained the backup for a few seasons after that, dealing with various injuries well into his thirties, before finally retiring just before the 1987 season. For a guy who looked like he'd be a bust after his first 9 years, he found a way to turn his career around, and play his best at the most important times of the season.

Plunkett really settled into a game manager role during his time with the Raiders, and that is often where he found his success. Early in his career he tried to do everything on his own, but the Patriots in the early 70's just didn't have the pieces around him to give him a fighting shot. And to be fair to his early coaches, early on you never would have expected to see what Plunkett did as a Raider. He won more championships for them than legends like the Snake, or the Mad Bomber, he was just an unassuming son of a Hispanic and German family, who had the talent, but needed the hardship and adversity to realize it. His stint with the Raiders was enough to balance out his struggles with the 49ers and Patriots, and in the end he finishes just above average. 

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62. Jim Hart (St. Louis Cardinals 1966-1983, Washington Redskins 1984)
4th Place Cardinals QB
Career Record 87-88-5 (49.72%) 67th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 59-19-4 (74.39%) 63rd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 28-69-1 (29.08%) 46th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 82/180 (45.56%) 77th out of 102 (+15)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.294)

Image result for jim hart cardinals


Jim's career started where it the super bowl began, in the illustrious year of 1966. The Cardinals had not accomplished anything of note up to that point, and during Jim's time you could say it was simply more of the same. Nonetheless, by the standards of Cardinal futility, Hart was... well better than the usual fare. We've talked a little bit about the offensive innovations of legends like Bill Walsh, and how it was often their second quarterback who really reaped the benefits of the scheme (See Ken Anderson and Joe Montana). Well, for coach Coryell, Jim Hart was his first NFL protege. After spending the late 60's and early 70's struggling with poor teams with few stars, Don Coryell came into the fold and changed things immediately. Hart had developed a reputation as a long bomb specialist, including a 98 yard completion that did not result in a touchdown. It remains to this day, the longest non-scoring pass completion in NFL History. Coryell went and took his talents, and helped him develop the precision to become an pro bowl level talent. Of course, precision in the 70's was a 55% completion percentage, but you know, the eras were what they were. In his time with Coryell he was able to guide the Cards to three straight 10 win seasons, but a couple of early postseason exits and a .500 season in 1977 marked the end of the Coryell era in St. Louis, as well as Hart's most successful seasons. He remained the started until he was 37 years old, and found himself replaced by the rookie Neil Lomax in 1981. He stayed with the Cardinals as a backup in 82' and 83', before joining the Redskins as a backup in 1984. He retired after his age 40 season, and still finds himself holding many of the Cardinals franchise passing records, including yards, touchdowns, and interceptions.

Hart was a durable player, in both body and mind. The Cards of that era had few superstars, and were typically out competed by much stronger division rivals like the Cowboys and Redskins. Hart played a lot of games with bad defenses, but his talents kept him above the pack in those situations. He was right around average for the era in games where his defense performed up to par, which puts him near the middle of this list. He doesn't end up being the top Cardinal on this list, but the three guys ahead of him spent way less time with the franchise, and didn't stay the face of the Cardinals for nearly 15 seasons. No one will mistake Jim Hart for a hall of fame player, but his legacy on the Cardinals franchise and being the first disciple of the Air Coryell offense gives his career a lot of merit, historically.

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61. Craig Morton* (Dallas Cowboys 1965-1974, New York Giants 1974-1976, Denver Broncos 1977-1982)
(Loses first year of career due to era cutoff)
5th Place Cowboys QB, 4th Place Giants QB and 3rd Place Broncos QB
Career Record 90-65-1 (58.01%) 33rd out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 73-23-0 (76.04%) 55th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 17-42-1 (29.17%) 45th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 96/156 (61.54%) 17th out of 102 (-44)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.342)

Image result for craig morton denver broncos


Craig Morton is basically the first instance of the Broncos never being able to develop home grown QB talent. Originally the successor to Dandy Don Meredith in Dallas, his career took a few twists and turns before ending up in Denver. But let's talk about the journey, since no journey is defined by the ending point. Craig Morton was drafted by the Cowboys in 1965, a franchise that to that point never really knew how good they had it. Most fans still don't, but we tend to ignore those people. Morton spent most of his first four seasons on the bench, learning under Don Meredith, and watching his team fall to the Lombardi Packers several times in his time there. After Don's retirement at the end of 1968, Morton was set to take the reins and lead the Cowboys into the 70's. However, the Cowboys also picked up another QB that year, a veteran from the Vietnam war, Roger Staubach. He played extremely well in 69, leading the team to an 11-2-1 record, but was crushed by the Browns like Meredith before him. He took the Cowboys to the playoffs again in 1970, but was carried by the strength of his defense to the super bowl, and could not put out any offensive output whatsoever, losing to the Colts 16-13 is what was probably the worst offensive super bowl we've ever seen, if not for last year's snore fest. This was enough to get Landry sick of Morton, and he moved to Staubach to start the 1971 season. Staubach went 10-0 in the regular season, leaving Morton to play in spot starts, and give the Cowboys all of their losses that season. Staubach came back for the postseason, and with most of the same defense, crushed the competition on the way to the Cowboys first super bowl victory. The writing was on the wall for Morton, but because Staubach was injured in the preseason, Morton was made the starter in 1972. He had his arm back, and the Cowboys had another winning season. Staubach ended up healthy enough to play in the middle of the season, but Landry wanted to ride the hot hand out for the rest of the year. However, the Boys ended up down 28-13 in a playoff game against the 49ers and Morton was pulled. In a nearly hopeless situation, Staubach led the comeback and won, killing the last flickers of hope for Morton's cowboy career. He stayed on the roster as a backup in 1973, and eventually demanded a trade in 74, and ended up going to the division rival Giants. Morton sucked in his 2.5 years with the Giants. He didn't have the great defenses that the Cowboys did, he didn't really have much of anything, and the success he was used to was basically stripped from him, as he went 8-25 in his time there, throwing 29 TDs to 49 INT's. which while bad, was not as appalling and abysmal as it would be today. Still pretty shitty though, and Giants fans hated him. He was traded to the Broncos in 1977, but something changed for him. He got better. he was revitalized by a team with a much better defense, and he was able to take the Broncos to their first super bowl in 1977, beating both the Steelers and the Raiders on the way there. However, Morton's bad habits came to the fore when faced against his former team, and he threw 4 interceptions in a blowout loss to Staubach's Cowboys. The Broncos were contenders for the rest of Morton's time there, but he could never recapture the magic of 77, even when playing under his former teammate turned head coach, Dan Reeves.

Morton's career is basically defined by shining when all of the chips lined up just right, and both the Cowboys of the late 60's and early 70's and the Broncos of the late 70's had stellar defenses and let Morton settle into a game manager role with aplomb. He had the chops to play in tight games, but he didn't face those situations very often, and he wasn't nearly as good at making miracles happen as Staubach or Meredith was, which is why he's not really considered high up there among great Cowboy Quarterbacks. His time with the Giants in the 70's was basically just wasted years, the Giants spent the entire 70's never getting close to the postseason, even when they had talented quarterbacks like Morton, and another who will be appearing on this list. Morton was still a good quarterback, no player who takes two different teams to the super bowl can be all that bad, but he will always be remembered for being soundly trounced by Roger Staubach no matter where he went.

Edited by RazorStar

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60. Mark Brunell (Green Bay Packers 1993-1994, Jacksonville Jaguars 1995-2003, Washington Redskins 2004-2007, New Orleans Saints 2008-2009, New York Jets 2010-2011)
1st Place Jaguars QB and 7th Place Redskins QB
Career Record 83-75-0 (52.53%) 52nd out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 62-22-0 (73.81%) 66th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 21-53-0 (28.38%) 48th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 84/158 (53.16%) 43rd out of 102 (-17)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.350)

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That's Vin's BOY! :welp: That's this guy right here! Mark Brunell falls shy of making the top 50, but his career was certainly one to be remembered. Brunell was a draft pick of the Packers, not expected to ever start behind Favre, just to provide a warm body in the rare occasion he might miss a snap. He wasn't even the first QB drafted from his school in 1993, as Billy Joe Hobert (who?) went in the second round to the Raiders that season. He was originally going to be traded to the Eagles after the 94 season, but he didn't want to spend his career as a backup to Randall Cunningham, so the Packers decided to look elsewhere. Luckily for them, the expansion Jaguars were interested in getting some depth behind their veteran expansion pick in Steve Beuerlein. Turned out Brunell was able to win the starting QB job after Beuerlein crapped the bed in his first two starts, and Brunell led the team to 4-12 record. Not very impressive, but he led a couple of 4th quarter comebacks, and threw very efficiently. His job was basically set in stone from there. The 1996 season happened, and the Jaguars surprised everyone. After starting the season 4-7, and looking to be out of the race entirely, Brunell and the jaguars went on a tear, winning five straight games and sneaking into a wildcard spot in a crowded AFC race. They took out Jim Kelly's Bills in an offensive shootout, then they did the same to John Elway's Broncos the next week. However, they lost in the AFC Championship game to a tough Patriots defense and just missed out on a chance to have an Expansion vs. Expansion team Super Bowl (the Panthers also lost the conference championship game to the Packers). The Jaguars went to the playoffs again in 97' and 98', but were dispatched early on. Then came 1999, and the Jaguars looked like the best team in football. Brunell was still bombing it down the field, but the defense seemed to have all of it's ducks in a row too. Problem was, they had one achilles' heel, one team they could never beat. The Tennessee Titans. They went 14-0 in the regular season against teams not named the Titans. They made Dan Marino's retirement game look more like they were putting ol' yeller out to pasture. The Titans destroyed them in the divisional round, and the Jaguars never really had a window like that open for them again. Sure Brunell was still doing well for the next few seasons, but things changed in Jacksonville. The Steelers, Ravens, and Titans all starting to become powehouse defenses while the Jags offensive line was diminishing, and the defense couldn't quite recapture the magic. The Jags went through 3 straight losing seasons and decided to move on, firing Tom Coughlin, and drafting Byron Leftwich in the first round of the 03' draft. After starting the season 0-3, Brunell was done in Jacksonville. If his career had just been the span from 93-03, Brunell would have been up among the legends in the league, he was the mind who operated great weapons like Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell and Fred Taylor. But, Brunell wasn't done. The Redskins gave him a chance in 2004, as someone to motivate Patrick Ramsay to do better. Ramsay didn't do better and Brunell took the reins halfway through the season. Brunell had one more taste of success in 2005, leading the Skins to a 10-6 record, and a wild-card berth. They were able to fend off Gruden's Bucs, but fell well short to the Seattle Seahawks. Brunell found himself replaced in 2006 halfway through the season by rookie QB Jason Campbell, and his time as a floating backup began. He underwent surgery in 2007 and missed the entire season. He found himself in New Orleans in 2008 and 2009, and in the process won a super bowl ring as a backup. He spent 2010 and 2011 as the Jets' backup under Mark Sanchez before finally retiring at the age of 42. 

Brunell was a dog in shootouts, and spent most of his early Jacksonville career going shot for shot with some serious powerhouse teams in the AFC. He was the only Jaguars QB to start enough games for them to make this list (while the other expansion team had 4 guys make the list), it's safe to say that Jacksonville never really found their successor to Brunell. David Garrard had a period where he did fine in a pinch, but he was nothing more than a game manager for them, and highly drafted QBs Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert, and Blake Bortles all saw their way out after only a few seasons on the job. He's never really talked about as a great QB of the 90's, or a great QB of the 00's due to the way his career started, but true Jacksonville fans will never forget what he did for the franchise, and just how close he got them to glory.

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59. Neil O'Donnell (Pittsburgh Steelers 1990-1995, New York Jets 1996-1997, Cincinnati Bengals 1998, Tennessee Titans 1999-2003)
3rd Place Steelers QB and 2nd Place Jets QB
Career Record 57-50-0 (53.27%) 47th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 45-14-0 (76.27%) 54th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 12-36-0 (25.00%) 67th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 59/107 (55.14%) 34th out of 102 (-25)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.362)

Image result for neil o'donnell

Neil O'Donnell, the bloodcursed. Don't you dare speak his name in yinzer country or you will be nailed to a cross. Neil was a third round draft pick for the Steelers in 1990, but he didn't break into the starting lineup until 1991, where he replaced Bubby Brister halfway through the season. That was also the last year Chuck Noll spent as the head coach of the Steelers, coasting on his 4 super bowl rings from the 70's for about 5 years too long. Neil took the reins in 1992 and received his only pro bowl nod that year, despite not being anything more than a game manager who handed the ball off to Barry Foster nearly 400 times that year. His play was efficient, but the Steelers were knocked out in the wildcard round that year by the Bills. The Steelers snuck into the postseason in 93, but were ousted by the Joe Montana led Chiefs that year in overtime. 1994 was more of the same, O'Donnell using a run heavy offense and strong defense to go 12-4, and this time they made it all the way to the AFC Championship game before falling short on a big goal line stand by the Chargers defense. those Chargers got crushed in the super bowl, and the same thing would have certainly happened to the Steelers. Then 1995 came around, and this would be the primary reason why all Steelers fans who watched those early 90's teams hate O'Donnell, hate him like I hate waking up in the morning. Because the Steelers finally broke into the super bowl that year. The effort of defensive standouts like Rod Woodson, Greg Lloyd and Carnell Lake finally bore fruit. O'Donnell took a bit more of the offensive responsibility, no longer handing it off 30+ times a game, and the Steelers went 11-5, enough for a division title and first round bye. They took the Bills to task, putting up 40 on them. Then they beat the Colts in a thrilling AFC Championship game that almost ended in another huge goalline stand. Then the Super Bowl happened. They named Larry Brown the MVP, and Larry Brown was not the MVP of that game. Sure he caught two interceptions, but those interceptions were giftwrapped to him. in the biggest game of Neil's career, he choked like a girl giving her first BJ. By the end of the season, his contract was up. And while the Steelers offered to keep Neil on, he decided to chase the money, and join the New York Jets. Well, he didn't last very long with them. After starting 0-5, O'Donnell injured his arm in the 6th game and was out for the rest of the season. His 97' campaign started a little better, as he went 8-6 in 14 games, but he was in Parcells' doghouse, and after refusing to take a paycut, the Jets waived him. He spent a year with the Bengals and might have had his best season despite the Bengals putrid defense, but the Bengals didn't want to keep him because they needed room for the rookie Akili Smith. O'Donnell spent his last years as a Titan, playing backup to Steve McNair and getting a few quality starts here and there before finally retiring in 2003.

O'Donnell got to develop on the bench for his rookie year, which actually does a lot to help quarterbacks on this list, since rookie campaigns are often fraught with poor decision making and tough losses because of those poor decisions. He also happened to be on a team with a valiant defense and a very heavy focus on the run, often running the ball 30+ times a game, so O'Donnell really got to settle into a game manager role early. His fortunes changed drastically when he left the Steelers though, as neither the Jets, nor the Bengals would have anything resembling a defense in the years he was there. The Titans were good at least, but O'Donnell had settled into a backup role by then. O'Donnell may be the target of a lot of ire, but he was a solid game manager. The problem with those guys is, they can always get you so close, but the difference between 2nd best and the worst is absolutely nothing, the pinnacle is the only thing that matters in the NFL, and O'Donnell could never get the Steelers to the pinnacle. His record in games were bog standard for a game manager quarterback, both in games where his defense performed well, and when they performed poorly. His defensive ranking is pretty high, but if not for his years with the Jets and Bengals, he would have placed even higher on that front. Those 90's Steelers were stacked.

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58. Gus Frerotte (Washington Redskins 1994-1998, Detroit Lions 1999, Denver Broncos 2000-2001, Cincinnati Bengals 2002, Minnesota Vikings 2003-2004, 2008, Miami Dolphins 2005, St. Louis Rams 2006-2007)
6th Place Redskins QB
Career Record 46-49-0 (48.42%) 71st out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 29-14-0 (67.44%) 88th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 17-35-0 (32.69%) 28th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 43/95 (45.26%) 77th out of 102 (+19)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.367)



... Man what the fuck. I have to do a write up on Gus Frerotte this late into the rankings? Dude almost made the top 50, how the balls? Let us explore the journey of a real journeyman quarterback. Frerotte was the 7th round pick of a Redskins team still looking for the successor to Joe Theismann. They had plenty of success with other guys, but no one who really took the reins as their franchise QB. They didn't retain Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams was a flash in the pan for them, and Mark Rypien's days were mired with inconsistency. Heath Shuler was expected to be that guy, taken in the first round in 1994, but halfway through the season, Frerotte took the job and never looked back. His days in Washington weren't exactly anything to marvel at, the Skins failed to make the playoffs in 95, 96, or 97, and by the time 98' rolled around, the Skins moved on with Trent Green instead of keeping the Frerotte experiment going. The thing Frerotte will be most remembered for in his Washington days is headbutting a stadium wall and spraining his neck, knocking him out of the game. He ended up being the Lions backup in 1999, but thanks to Charlie Batch's wavering health, started for about half the season, including a playoff appearance in 99' where he lost to the Redskins after throwing 2 picks and getting sacked 5 times. He took a trip to Denver in 2000, but once again ended up starting in the back half of the season, walking into a playoff berth, and then getting his ass walloped by a maryland team. Frerotte hopped around to the Bengals in 2002, the Vikings in 03 and 04, and somehow got another shot as a starter for the Dolphins in 2005. Something must of clicked for him, after the Phins started the season 3-7, he won 6 straight for them to close out the season 9-7. The Phins didn't retain him however, opting to try on the Daunte Culpepper experiment instead of a career backup journeyman. So Frerotte played backup in St. Louis for a couple of seasons, getting a few starts in relief of Marc Bulger, before ending up in Minnesota once again, this time actually supplanting the starter a few games in, and going 8-3 before an unfortunate back injury ended his season, and eventually his career. Frerotte was never a statisically impressive player, but whereever he went he had this weird knack of pulling wins out of his ass. As a career journeyman, he rarely had good defenses to work with, but Frerotte seemed to shine most when the pressure was on and he needed to make the big play. That may be why a 7th rounder out of Tulsa was able to hang around in the league for so long despite having rather pedestrian numbers. No one should confuse him as a great QB just because he did well on this list, just that he took advantage of his opportunities when they came, and didn't need to start when he was struggling, he just got pulled instead.

I made quite a few adjustments for Frerotte over his career. He wasn't the most adjusted player on this list, but there were quite a few games where he either got pulled early in a start, or the other guy got pulled early in their start. Frerotte never really played as a backup behind a legitimate number one, or when he did it wasn't for a very long time, which is why he had so many opportunities. The closest times would have probably been when he was behind Marc Bulger with the Rams at the end of his career, or when he was Daunte Culpepper's backup for the Vikings. In both of those cases, he only saw the field in injury relief duty. There will be other QB's higher on this list who score highly because they never played outside of their prime, and QB's who score lowly because they had to play outside of their prime simply because there was no way you could pull the plug on them. Frerotte is an interesting case study, and a real important reason why you always need to analyse the numbers to understand what they're telling you.

Edited by RazorStar

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57. Neil Lomax (Arizona/St. Louis Cardinals 1981-1991)
3rd Place Cardinals QB
Career Record 47-54-2 (46.60%) 84th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 27-12-2 (68.29%) 85th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 20-42-0 (32.26%) 30th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 41/103 (39.81%) 92nd out of 102 (+35)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.368)

Image result for neil lomax


We're coming straight out of Dr. Seuss to introduce you to the Lomax. Neil Lomax, the Cardinals QB for most of the 80's. Though his career wasn't very long, it was eventful, especially as the Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Arizona in this turbulent time. Lomax was something of a legend in college football before ever stepping on the field for the Cardinals, setting 90 NCAA records during his time in Portland State, including a game where he threw 7 TDs in the first quarter. College football is a weird beast. In any case, despite his heroics in college, he was merely a second round draft pick for the Cardinals, and the second QB taken overall. He took the reins from the incumbent Jim Hart early on in the 81 season and showed some serious gusto going 4-3 in his 7 starts, and officially taking the starting role from Jim Hart. In the strike shortened season of 1982, he made the post season, but the Cardinals were quickly wiped out, and because the talent on the Cardinals was so bad, Lomax never got another shot at the dance. He put up great numbers in 83 and 84, throwing for 4600 in 84 and making the pro bowl, but the Cardinals could never quite sneak past the 9-7, 8-8 mark and make the playoffs. He continued to put up numbers in 85' and 86' but the rest of the team declined drastically as the Cardinals were making plans to move out of St. Louis. And to Lomax's credit he was keeping them in a lot of games, but when you have no coaching, and almost no talent, it's hard to succeed in this league. Injuries started to take their toll on the young gunslinger in 86, but he was still putting up seasons with 3000 yards passing, 2 to 1 TD to INT ratios, and more importantly, a 7 or higher Yards per Attempt. The cardinals had no talent around them in the 80's. At least Jim Hart had guys like Jackie Smith to throw to, Dan Dierdorf blocking, and Roger Wehrli on the defense, Lomax had nothing. I could list the names of guys he had played with, but you'd think I was making them all up. He went 7-7 in his final season when the team finally moved to Arizona, but the injuries and his arthritic hips were just too much to continue playing. Lomax retired in 1991 though he never saw the field again after 1988, and left us all wondering what could have been. He never had a season where he was sacked less than 31 times, and he played a strike shortened 9 game season.

So it comes as no surprise that Lomax is one of the greater overachievers on this list compared to what his defense did for him. The 80's Cardinals were abysmal, putting Lomax in tough situations over 60% of the time. Only 10 QB's on this list have had defenses worse than his, and we've seen all but 4 of them to this point. So while he's not the greatest over achiever, he's definitely high up there when all is said and done. In fact, he retired with the second highest passer rating in NFL history, but has obviously been passed in this golden age of gun slinging. So never forget the Lomax, he was a lot better than he was given credit for, but suffered the cruelest fate of them all, being stuck on a team with no desire to win.

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