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RazorStar

Historical QB Rankings

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Honestly I kind of think that having a group of decent WR's and a strong running game is a lot better than having dominant receivers. Makes your offense less predictable. Defenses know that 1/3 of your pass attempts are going to TO if you have a guy like that.

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42. Brad Johnson (Minnesota Vikings 1992-1998, 2005-2006, Washington Redskins 1999-2000, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2001-2004, Dallas Cowboys 2007-2008)
5th Place Vikings QB, 4th Place Redskins QB and 2nd Place Bucs QB
Career Record 78-54-0 (59.09%) 29th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 66-16-0 (80.49%) 37th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 12-38-0 (24.00%) 74th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 82/132 (62.12%) 14th out of 102 (-28)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.722)

Image result for brad johnson

42, the answer to life, the universe... everything. Also, the ranking of super bowl champion and veteran journeyman Brad Johnson. Johnson comes from humble beginnings, a 9thround draft pick in the 92' draft, Johnson started his career as the third string behind Rich Gannon and Sean Salisbury. Nobody really expected much from him, but he hung around the team, and started taking some snaps as a backup in 94' and 95' as Warren Moon's backup. Johnson finally got his time to shine in 1996 after Warren Moon suffered an ankle injury in the first game of the season. Johnson came on in relief and threw the game winning TD to Cris Carter. He would switch with the often injured Moon and ended up going 5-3 in 8 starts. Dennis Green decided to ride the hot hand, and Johnson was named the starter for the 1997 season. Johnson played efficiently, throwing for 3000 yards, 20 TDs and only 12 interceptions, but failed to finish the season after suffering a neck injury in week 14. The Vikings snuck into the playoffs that season under Randall Cunningham, and actually won a playoff game. Then the 1998 season. Historians and many football fans remember just how stacked the Vikings offense was, but many forget it was Brad Johnson who started the first two games of the season. However, he sprained his ankle late in the week 2 game against the Bucs, and Randall Cunningham was once again set to take over. Denny Green rode the hot hand of Cunningham, so Johnson only came in for relief situations for the rest of the season. Johnson proved he could ball with the Vikings, but he was ready to move on to a place where he knew he could start. Minnesota traded him to the Redskins for a first, second and third round pick. Brad impressed in the 99' season, starting all 16 games, pulling off a 10-6 record, along with 4000 yards passing and 24 TD passes to 13 INT's. Johnson made his first playoff appearance, and helped beat the Lions in the wild card round 27-13, before losing to the Buccaneers in a 14-13 defensive struggle. Johnson started again in 2000 but faced struggles as he threw to the other team more often than he threw touchdowns, and found himself benched for Jeff George at multiple points during the season. The Skins went 8-8, and decided they'd rather have the cannon of Jeff George than the finesse of Brad Johnson. The Redskins probably regret that decision to this day.

Johnson found himself a new team, the Tampa Bay Bucs who had been building a vicious defense under Tony Dungy. Johnson stepped right in as the immediate starter, and with efficient but not spectacular play, he took the Bucs to a 9-7 record, but was quickly dispatched by the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round after throwing four interceptions. Johnson came back in 2002, under the tutelage of new head coach Jon Gruden, and his offensive mastermind seemed to work. Johnson threw 22 TDs to only 6 TDs in 13 games that season, and Tampa's defense played with fire and fury as the Bucs stormed out to a 12-4 record and a first round bye. Then Johnson and the Bucs handily dispatched their postseason competition, dominating the Garcia 49ers 31-6, then taking the Eagles to the woodshed in the NFC championship and winning 27-10, before facing Gruden's old team in the super bowl and walking all over a team that apparently did not change their offensive playcalls whatsoever and won 48-21. Brad Johnson was a super bowl champion, and the Bucs were poised for success... but as we all know, Jon Gruden is a tornado that wrecks everything he touches. While Johnson improved his raw numbers in 2003, the Bucs went 7-9 and missed the post season entirely because the defense was starting to unravel. The Bucs started 0-4 in 2004, and Gruden decided to pull the plug on Johnson, instead installing the rookie Chris Simms into the fold. When Simms got hurt, rather than go back to Johnson, Gruden instead decided to start Brian Griese, making sure Johnson didn't want to come back to Tampa. So he left to join the Minnesota Vikings once again as their backup QB.

That was the plan anyway, but Daunte Culpepper tore up his knee halfway through the 05' season, so Brad Johnson was once again called upon to lead the Vikings. Johnson went 7-2 down the stretch, and if not for the poor start with Culpepper, the Vikings might have snuck into the playoffs that year under Johnson's efficient play. But the second honeymoon did not last, as in 2006 Brad suddenly decided he could not find a checkdown that he didn't love, easily leading the league in passes short of the first down marker on third down. He's always had a propensity for the safe pass in his career, but he felt downright gunshy in 2006. He was replaced with the rookie Tarvaris Jackson at the end of the season, and was cut soon after that. Johnson wasn't ready to hang up the cleats just yet, and joined the Dallas Cowboys as a veteran backup behind the young Tony Romo. He only took some snaps in relief in 2007, but he had a three game stint starting for the Boys after Romo injured his pinky partway through the 08' season. Johnson went 1-2, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, and eventually had to be benched for the third stringer because he was just that bad in relief. Romo came back a week later, and Johnson never saw the field again. Johnson was released in the offseason, and announced his retirement not long after that.

Brad Johnson had a very inconsistent career, ranging from one of the best passers in the league some years, to a guy who liked the checkdown more than he liked his wife. Johnson has a remarkable winning percentage as a starter, and managed to win a super bowl with a stacked defense. Johnson has been quite fortunate to be blessed with tough defenses during most of his time starting. He had a very conservative game play style to him, and on the right teams, that style was a boon because it kept the team from losing games that the defense had well in hand. However in pressure situations, Johnson would often wilt, making poor throws deep despite having the big arm to make them. He managed to have success wherever he went, though his career took a long time to get started, not many players on this list don't have a start until their 5th season in the league. Johnson will always be remembered as a game manager QB, but he's definitely not in the same category as Trent Dilfer, and probably shouldn't be compared to him as often as he is. 

Edited by RazorStar
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41. Dan Fouts (San Diego Chargers 1973-1987)
2nd Place Chargers QB
Career Record 89-85-1 (51.14%) 61st out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 55-21-1 (72.08%) 72nd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 34-64-0 (34.69%) 19th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 77/175 (44.00%) 81st (T) out of 102 (+40)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.738)

Image result for dan fouts

Dan Fouts, successor of the San Diego Chargers legacy, and the second highest Chargers QB on this list, though the first did most of his work with another team. Fouts was drafted in 1973 to be the replacement to John Hadl. He was taken in the third round to join a QB room with hall of famer Johnny Unitas. However despite having two hall of fame QB's on the roster, the Chargers were terrible for most of the 70's, because Unitas was past his prime, and Fouts was still finding his place as a rookie. The Chargers went through two head coaches in his rookie year, and ended up with the second worst record in football, just ahead of the one win Oilers. Fouts continued to struggle in 74', 75' and 76', throwing more interceptions than touchdowns each season, and leading the Chargers to a losing record each time. He was even demoted to the third string by 1977, but because of injuries, Fouts found his way back into the starting lineup for the last four games of the season. After going to a 7-7 record, their best of the decade at the time, the Chargers cut ties with Tommy Prothro, and brought in someone who would change the Chargers for the better. Don Coryell had left the Cardinals, and brought his Air Coryell offense to life in San Diego. Jim Hart may have been the progenitor, but Dan Fouts brought Coryell's ideas to life in a much more vibrant and explosive fashion. Fouts would throw for 3000 yards, 24 TD's to 20 INT's (the first time in his career he threw more TD's than picks), and the Chargers would progress to a 9-7 record. The combination of the Mel Blount rule plus the new coach brought Fouts to life. He went from a nobody to a star, and 1979 was the year that put him on the map. He led the league in yards and completion percentage as he slung it down the field like a mad bomber. His propensity for interceptions followed him, as did his propensity for needing to outscore the other team rather than choke them out methodically. However, the Coryell Chargers were actually winning despite their defenses, and the Chargers finished 12-4, and first in the AFC West. However, their playoff run ended abruptly as the Houston Oilers seemed to have all the answers for Fouts offense, winning in a 17-14 game that featured five interceptions from Fouts. The Chargers would continue to build on their success, adding weapons like Kellen Winslow, John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner to the mix. Fouts would break his passing yardage marks in 1980 and 1981, throwing for 4715 and 4802 yards respectively. The Chargers would make it to the AFC Championship game in 1980 after beating the Buffalo Bills with a 4th quarter comeback in the divisional round. However, they could not contain Jim Plunkett's Raiders who put up 28 points in the first half, and cruised to a 34-28 victory. 1981 would also see the Chargers in the postseason with a 10-6 mark, and after surviving the Miami heat and winning 41-38 in one of the longest games in history, they were subdued by the arctic air in Cincinnati, losing in one of the coldest games of all time 27-7.

The team's offense was built for success, but their defense always let them down in critical moments. So needless to say, it was rather devastating when they lost their best pass rusher to the San Francisco 49ers for nothing. The Chargers were still a fiery offense, but their best chances were slipping away fast. The strike shortened 82' season meant Dan Fouts could not try to break his yardage record again, but he did have an incredible 8.7 YPA as the Chargers got into the 16 team playoff at 6-3. They would beat the Steelers in a 31-28 shootout in the wildcard round, but they couldn't do anything to a Miami team hellbent on revenge, as Dan Fouts once again threw five interceptions in a big game. He giveth, and he taketh away. Fouts struggled with injuries in 1983, and the Chargers went 6-10 on the season, 5-5 with Fouts starting, 1-5 with his backup. He would fail to complete an entire season for the rest of his career, but put up over 3000 yards from 84'-86', and 2500 yards in 87'. However, the Chargers would fail to make the playoffs in any of those seasons, and the struggle with injury and age eventually caught up to Fouts. He retired after the 87' season second on the all time passing yardage list behind Fran Tarkenton (he has since moved down to 16th).

Fouts' legacy is primarily defined by his passing prowess. He was never a physical freak, or very fast, but he had a big arm and a propensity to survive hits that would leave weaker men brain dead. You can sometimes see the toll of the hits he took on the games he broadcasts on CBS. CTE is a very real and tragic epidemic... but that's another discussion for another time. Fouts' arm would define the Chargers of the late 70's and 80's for good or for ill. If Brad Johnson never met a checkdown he didn't like, Dan Fouts never met a bomb he didn't like. Some days the man would make Brett Favre look conservative with the way he slung it down the field. His play led to a lot of scoring, but it also led to a lot of interceptions, and that play would cost them in important games. But Fouts more or less had to do so, the defense the Chargers had were almost always abysmal, you can see he had the 81st best defense out of the pack, which is quite poor for someone this far up the list. However, because he was always looking to score, always looking to be aggressive, his win percentage in games with bad defense puts him in the top 20. Winning over a third of those games is incredibly rare, and speaks to how you could never count those Chargers out of a game. He also managed to stay on the same team his entire career, though he was almost a Baltimore Colt because a contract dispute combined with John Elway refusing to play for Baltimore. I think it's a good thing we live in this timeline. Fouts may have scored a lot higher on this list if he was with Don Coryell for his entire career and not just starting from his 6th season onward, but that's just how these things break sometimes. The dude was still a beast, and worthy of his hall of fame induction.

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Did not remember Unitas played for the Chargers lol

Edited by seanbrock

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Fouts so low it, it hurts

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What Chargers QB am I missing when Fouts and Rivers are already on the list?

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4 hours ago, Vin said:

What Chargers QB am I missing when Fouts and Rivers are already on the list?

drew-brees-chargers-mcdonough.jpg?itok=5

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giphy.gif?cid=19f5b51a5cf583b22f7348416f

I forgot. Surely it's not him tho. Surely...

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Before we get into the top 40, let's talk about some QB's who either didn't quite qualify for this list, or are probable to end up here rather soon. Some players had important careers, but they were cut short by time, other just chipped away as backup/starters for years and years and just fell short of the 90 starts necessary (80 in dead ball era).

 

Probable Additions:

Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts 2012-Current)

If I had taken the data points at the end of the 2018 season, Luck would have qualify with his 86 regular season starts and 8 post season starts. Luck has been to the postseason in four of his six years, and the defenses he had early in his career have been roughly non-existent. Luck still has a lot of years to go left in his career, one would assume, and the team around him is growing in talent. Luck has a lot of potential to scrape into the top 20 of this list, if not grow even further past it. Dude just wins the games.

Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins 2012-2018, Tennessee Titans Current)

Ryan Tannehill has 88 regular season starts unadjusted, and is playing behind Marcus Mariota, a QB who has not played a full season in his four year career. It is quite likely that Tannehill gets to 90 starts, and he could easily do so this season. Tannehill has not been quite as successful as his runningmates in the 2012 draft, he hasn't won a super bowl like Wilson or Foles (or carried to one like Brock Osweiler), and he isn't putting up Luck's or Kirk Cousins' numbers either. The Dolphins may not have been impressive with him on the field, but Tannehill has shown he can at least play at an average starter level, and that's about where I'd expect him to be before crunching any numbers.

Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders 2014-Current)

Carr has 74 starts under his belt, and provided things go well with Jon Gruden, he could get up to 90 by the end of the season. He's missed three games in his career due to a injury late in 2016 that also ended the Raiders playoff that season. Jon Gruden has also never met a QB he liked since Rich Gannon, so there's a very fair chance that his relationship will go sour soon. Carr only has one winning season in his career, and his team has been in two separate rebuilding phases since he started there, so it's not likely that he'll show up highly on this list. The Raiders still look bad, and I don't trust Gruden to keep all of these egos in check once September rolls around.

Kirk Cousins (Washington Redskins 2012-2017, Minnesota Vikings 2018-Current)

Kirk Cousins has 73 NFL Starts, and is in year 2 of his three year guaranteed contract with the Vikings. They can't get rid of him, and to be honest they probably shouldn't. Cousins puts up numbers every year, but the big slight against him is that his teams always tend to finish 7th or 8th in the NFC, rather than at least 6th and warm and cozy in the playoffs. Cousins has avoided injury his entire career, including playing in the hell that is Washington's stadium, and he'll only be 31 when the season starts, so he likely has another contract coming after his time in Minnesota. 

So Close, and yet so Far:

Jeff Hostetler (New York Giants 1984-1992, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders 1993-1996, Washington Redskins 1997-1998)

With 83 regular season starts, and 6 postseason starts, Hostetler was this close to actually qualifying for the list. However even with adjustments, he fell just short of the mark. The starting QB for the Giants in 1990 super bowl against the Bills, Hostetler spent most of his time as Simms' backup and it took 9 years and the advent of real Free Agency to get him onto a team where he could start full time. Hostetler was very effective as an efficient passer for four seasons in Oakland before going to Washington to take a big contract and get benched after three games. Hostetler definitely left a mark on the NFL, he was just leaving behind the skid mark that is Phil Simms is all.

Kordell Stewart (Pittsburgh Steelers 1995-2002, Chicago Bears 2003, Baltimore Ravens 2004-2005)

The man formerly known as Slash, Kordell did everything. QB / RB / WR/ KR / DB? Put him on the field and he'd make magic happen. That was the conceit anyway, but Stewart was not a very good passer and despite his high athleticism, he just didn't have what it took to dominate the field around him. The Steelers surrounded him with the Bus and some great defenses so he was able to make a few postseason appearances, but threw 2 TDs to 8 INTs in 4 games and was a sub 56% passer for his career. 

Chad Pennington (New York Jets 2000-2007, Miami Dolphins 2008-2010) 

Chad Pennington was a two time comeback player of the year, which sort of tells you a lot about his condition. If he played in an even numbered year, he tended to do well. If he played in an odd numbered year, he was probably injured and playing, or on the IR by the halfway point of the season. Pennington is also the only other QB to win the AFC East in the Tom Brady era, winning in 2002 and 2008. He was the QB when the wildcat was introduced, and he's probably most famous for having a noodle for an arm. Still he had an effective career when he could stay on the field, and I'd be interested to see where he would have ended up on this list. He had 81 regular season and 6 post season starts.

David Carr (Houston Texans 2002-2006, Carolina Panthers 2007, New York Giants 2008-2009, San Francisco 49ers 2010, New York Giants 2011-2012)

The older Carr brother, David was the very first pick of the Houston Texans, taken first overall in 2002. He looked like a stud in college, but the Texans forgot to give him any sort of protection whatsoever, so he spent his time getting sacked repeatedly until he was too gun shy to QB properly. He ended up bouncing around the league as a backup, and even managed to get a ring as a member of the New York Giants in 2011. He's known as one of the biggest busts of the modern draft era, and for good reason. It would have been interesting to see just how far down he would be on this list.

The Longshots:

Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams 2010-2014, Philadelphia Eagles 2015, Minnesota Vikings 2016-2017, Arizona Cardinals 2018)

Sam Bradford has never met a franchise he couldn't rob of their hard earned cash. After winning rookie of the year in 2010 (somehow), teams thought he was good, and that mindset did not seem to change until 2018, despite all of the evidence otherwise. Bradford struggled with injuries, struggled with throws deeper than five yards, and yet because he was drafted first overall he got opprtunity after opportunity until he managed to procure 83 starts in 9 seasons. The Cardinals cut ties with him early just to save a few million dollars in cap room, and he's been floating as a free agent ever since. He's probably waiting for another team to get desperate and fleece them out of 20 million a year. Of course, he'll probably never play again if he demands that much money.

Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars 2014-2018, Los Angeles Rams Current)

Blake Bortles managed to start 74 straight games (including playoffs) for the Jaguars between 2014 and 2018, but the Jaguars only had one winning season with him at the helm, and needed to move on from the QB who liked partying and throwing it deep too much to take a cursed franchise to the next step. Bortles seems unlikely to get playing time behind Jared Goff, but a stint in Los Angeles could be the trick to spur his development into a QB who isn't so hot and cold all the time. Or he could spend the rest of his days as a backup and get mad bank to chill on the bench and occasionally give a mean pep talk.

 

There are a lot of young QB's who could be in the mix as well for the next few years, from the 2015 draft class onwards we have Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, and a whole smattering of rookies and second year players who could be well on their way to qualifying. But time is the cruelest mistress of them all, and there are no guarantees in the NFL, short for Not for Long. Enjoy your successes while they come, they may disappear before you know it.

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Alright, let's kick off the top 40.

40. Troy Aikman (Dallas Cowboys 1989-2000)
4th Place Cowboys QB
Career Record 103-67-0 (60.59%) 24th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 88-23-0 (79.28%) 42nd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 15-44-0 (25.42%) 63rd (T) out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 111/170 (65.29%) 8th out of 102 (-32)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.748)

Image result for troy aikman

 

From CBS to FOX, it's time to knock off some announcers. And where better to start than three time Super Bowl Champion Troy Aikman, who somehow only managed to be 4th place out of all of the Cowboys in franchise history. Talk about a blessed ass franchise. Of course, Troy Aikman is cursed to always look like he's halfway to sucking a dick, and on some Fox Broadcast I kind of swear he is. Don't worry Troy, I won't tell your family about Joe, they already know. In any case, Aikman was drafted first overall by the Cowboys in 1989, as they moved on from longtime Head Coach Tom Landry, and long time owner Tex Schramm. Everything about the Cowboys was new that year, new QB, new coach Jimmy Johnson, and new oil baron owner Jerry Jones. Needless to say, the 89 Cowboys were a flavour of garbage so disgusting that they would almost be compared to the winless Lions of 2008 or the Browns of 2017. Aikman lost all eleven of his starts that year, and the Cowboys would have been winless if not for their backup (former Jimmy Johnson QB Steve Walsh). The team was rough, but there was hope to be had in some of the young offensive pieces, and the bevy of draft picks they obtained by trading runningback Herschel Walker at the deadline. The Cowboys had inadvertently walked themselves right into a pair of dynasty forming drafts, forming one hell of a team around Aikman.

In 1990, they drafted Walker's replacement, a little known runningback from Florida by the name of Emmitt Smith. Along with third year receiver Michael Irvin, the triplets were born. But that's selling the impact of those draft classes short, and the impact of the Herschel Walker trade. So let's just lay it down what the Cowboys picked up over the next three years using PFR's Approximate Value calculations to give you every player with 30 or more AV. Emmitt Smith RB, Jimmie Jones DT, Russell Maryland DT, Alvin Harper WR, Kelvin Pritchett DT, Dixon Edwards LB, Erik Williams OT, Leon Lett DT, Kevin Smith DB, Robert Jones LB, Darren Woodson S, James Brown OT and Jimmy Smith WR. Needless to say Aikman was surrounded by an incredible amount of talent, and to his credit, he didn't fuck it up which is the only thing the Cowboys needed him to do. Still, the team took some time to gel together, but they went from 1-15 in 89' to a respectable 7-9 record. Aikman still threw more interceptions than touchdowns, but they were finding ways to win games as Aikman led 6 game winning drives that season. 1991 marked the turning point for the Cowboys, as Aikman led the team to a 7-4 start, but suffered an injury against the Redskins, which led Steve Beuerlein to finish out the season. Since Beuerlein won the next four and took the Cowboys to the playoffs he remained the starter until the Lions thoroughly thrashed them in the divisional round, where Aikman came in to try and provide a spark in a lost game. He didn't, and the Cowboys went home.

1992 was different, as all of those pieces coalesced and gave their best performances yet. Aikman had a career best in yards (3445), Touchdowns (23), and most importantly wins. The Cowboys went 13-3, on the back of a heavy run game (373 carries by Emmitt Smith) and a stifling defensive performance (only 4 games allowing more than 20 points). This sort of performance would set the tone for what the Cowboys became in the 90's. They controlled the wildcard round against the Eagles winning 34-10, and they faced the previous dynasty of the 49ers in the conference championship and set them straight 30-20, never relinquishing the lead. They came face to face with the Buffalo Bills in the super bowl, who were making their third straight appearance, and molly-whopped them 52-17. Aikman completed nearly 70% of his passes in the postseason, threw 8 TD's and never turned the ball over. 1993 came, and the Cowboys pulled out the same tricks. a 12-4 record, efficient play from Aikman combined with stifling defense and a heavy focus on Emmitt Smith. They crushed the Packers in the divisional round 27-17, they beat the 49ers in the Conference Championship once again 38-21, and they faced the Bills in the Super Bowl again, and beat them 30-13. 

Things were great, but good things were not meant to last in this league. Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson had been butting heads for a while, and the camel finally broke the straw as they say. Jimmy Johnson decided to retire, and the Cowboys brought in notorious washout and drunk Barry Switzer to coach the team. Nobody liked Barry, but this team was still so talented that it went 12-4 without a coach effectively. However when placed in the crucible those without leadership will melt. The Cowboys took out the Packers again in the 94 Divisional round, but when faced with the San Francisco 49ers for the third time in as many years, the Cowboys could not keep pace with Steve Young, who played like a man possessed that year. Aikman threw a costly pick 6 early, and that set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Boys could not possibly play from behind, they simply weren't built that way. The Cowboys decided they needed one more piece to get them over the 49ers in 1995, and that piece was Cornerback / Wide Receiver Deion Sanders, who had just won the super bowl with the 49ers last year. The Cowboys once again went 12-4, and once again found themselves with a date in the divisional round against a team wearing Green. The Philadelphia Eagles proved no match for the Cowboys tight defense, and Troy Aikman did more than enough to secure a 30-11 victory. For the first time in the 90's, the Cowboys did not have to face the 49ers in the conference championship, instead facing those upstart Packers led by some gunslinging guy... I think his name was Jeff something... in any case, the Packers and Cowboys played a back and forth title bout, but eventually the wear and tear that Emmitt Smith put on them, and the lack of mistakes from Troy took the Packers out, and the Cowboys won 38-27. The third super bowl trip in four years put them up against their historic AFC rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Neil O'Donnell sure loved throwing to the wrong team and pretty much single handedly gave the Cowboys their third super bowl victory.

For those of you who want a happy ending to this story, you've got it. The Cowboys never met that kind of playoff success ever again, and the cracks were definitely starting to expand. Michael Irvin got high on cocaine (a lot), sexually assault a cheerleader and stabbed a guy with scissors (on different occasions), Aikman's struggles with concussions continued, and the rift between coach and players was only growing despite just having won the super bowl last year. The Cowboys struggled to a 10-6 record, still good enough for the wild-card round. And they were still good enough to thrash the Vikings in a 40-15 blowout. However, they had no answers for the expansion Panthers who in only their second season in the league, outmuscled Dallas and won 26-17 in a showdown of field goals. Aikman threw three interceptions, Emmitt Smith was contained to just 80 yards, and Michael Irvin only had a single catch all game. The levee broke in 1997, the offense was downright anemic and the Boys struggled to a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. Barry Switzer was fired, and the Cowboys hired Chan Gailey to take him place. 1998 marked a rebound for the Cowboys, as their defense was still as stout as ever, and despite missing 5 games with various injuries, Aikman and the Cowboys went 10-6, and made the third seed in the NFC. However, they were stunned by the Arizona Cardinals of all teams, who simply forced Troy Aikman to make plays throughout the game, and he never did. The Cowboys lost 20-7. Aikman played 14 games in 1999, but the defense had been taking steps back and weren't the same dominant front they once were. Michael Irvin suffered a career ending head and neck injury against the Eagles (which they loved), but the Cowboys barely eked their way to a 8-8 record, and somehow made the playoffs despite that. But their defense couldn't stop Jeff George, and Troy Aikman couldn't solve the Vikings. They lost handily 27-10, and Aikman played his last season in 2000, one in which he was in a revolving door with Randall Cunningham thanks to the myriad concussions he suffered during the season. Aikman decided to retire at the end of the season, for fear his brain would turn into some kind of gooey paste. To which I say it's too late for that, but he tried at least.

Aikman started for 12 seasons, played in 16 playoff games, and won three super bowls. That's a pretty great career, but it takes context to understand just how blessed Aikman was in his career. His defenses put him in the top 10 out of all the quarterbacks looked at on this list. Of those ten quarterbacks, 7 have won a championship, 9 have made it to a championship as a starter, and 6 of them have made it to more than one Super Bowl in their careers. Aikman also had the running back with the most career rushing yards in history as his backfield mate, a fact none of those other guys gets to claim (though they have had great runningbacks for periods of time, depending on the player.) Aikman's splits simply put him as above average. He was better, but he wasn't special like some other guys. And when your teams are special, being above average is good enough. I think the best thing you could say about Aikman is that he saved his best performances for when it counted. Though he couldn't keep the magic going later in his career, from 1992-1996 he was pretty much always on point, only playing poorly in losses to the 94 49ers (eventual SB champs) and the 96 Panthers. His defenses were the best in the middle of his career, and they sucked when he was at the beginning and at the very end of his days. He'll always be remembered as a Dallas legend, but anyone putting him as their best Cowboys QB... is flat out wrong.

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Do you think the Cowboys offense played a big factor in "good defense" since they were a ball control, run heavy team? I was surprised to see Aikman 8th in defense, I was just old enough to catch his final years and you never really hear about them apart from Deion, so I never thought his defenses were great or anything.

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Well I listed some of the names they picked up in the 90-92 drafts there, Darren Woodson has been mentioned in hall of fame talks but never made it past the semifinal voting, Russell Maryland was a solid consistent plug in the middle, Leon Lett was a hell of a steal for a 7th rounder, though he'll mostly be remembered for losing his damn mind in key situations and Kevin Smith was Dallas' best corner pre Deion Sanders. The other defenders I mentioned had some importance, but not as much as those ones. And then you get into the other guys they brought in. Deion Sanders, a top ten all time corner (and I sell him short because I'm an asshole), Charles Haley who in addition to winning two rings with San Fran prior had 33 sacks in 4 seasons with Dallas. There was Tony Tolbert, a consistent 6-7 sacks a year kind of player, Ken Norton Jr was there for a few seasons... so it wasn't like they were particularly lacking in talent or anything. From 1992-1999, Dallas defenses were consistently in the top 5 in points allowed, with only 1997 (when they were 17th and had given up on Barry Switzer) being the lone exception. 

So while I think being able to run the ball 30+ times a game really benefited the defense, I think it's far too easy to call that the whole story. Dallas' defense was just really good back then. 

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39. Trent Green (San Diego Chargers 1993-1994, Washington Redskins 1995-1998, St. Louis Rams 1999-2000, 2008, Kansas City Chiefs 2001-2006, Miami Dolphins 2007)
4th Place Chiefs QB
Career Record 56-60-0 (48.28%) 72nd out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 35-10-0 (77.78%) 45th (T) out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 21-50-0 (29.58%) 42nd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 45/116 (38.79%) 94th out of 102 (+54)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.821)

Image result for trent green

So, we go from one of the most fortunate quarterbacks in NFL history... to one of the least. Ladies and gentlemen, the forever underrated Trent Green stands trial. And while Trent Green did get a super bowl ring for his finger, it was as a backup. But, that's jumping the gun a fair bit. Green started from humble beginnings after all. A player who never got a chance on his first team, and toiled in QB rooms with other guys who have shown up earlier on these lists, like Gus Frerotte and Brad Johnson. Green was a 8th round pick by the Chargers in 1993, nothing more than an afterthought really, as the Chargers built a team around physical punishing defense. Green spent two years with the Chargers, saw no playing time, and after being cut by the BC Lions in the CFL, he got a shot in Washington. He spent four seasons there, but didn't even touch the field until 1997 where he threw a single pass in garbage time. However 1998 gave him his first opportunity, and for a guy who was grinding in the league for five years to that point, he ran with it. After throwing for 3400 yards, 23 TDs and 11 INTs in his last season, he was suddenly the hottest commodity around as a free agent quarterback. Eventually he made a decision to sign with the St. Louis Rams. Things were looking great for Green... until the third pre season game. Rodney Harrison blitzed from the middle of the field and took down Green in a vicious hit that tore his ACL, ending his season before it could even begin. Green's backup Kurt Warner came in... and the rest was history. We talk a lot about Kurt Warner's story, but Green might have done the same thing Warner did with the Greatest Show on Turf, and his story would have been no less impressive for it. But we cannot live in the world of what ifs. Trent Green was a super bowl winner... in the same way Rohan Davey and Brock Osweiler were. Green got a chance to play a few games with the Rams in 2000, as Kurt Warner took his starting role, but missed a few games due to injury. In limited time, Green was 2-3, but threw for 2000+ yards, 16 TDs, 5 INT's, and 8.6 Yards per Attempt. This was a very common trend of Trent Green's career. His defenses gave up points like few others did, and were typically in the bottom five in points allowed. Green left St. Louis in a trade, but got another chance in Missouri, this time with the Kansas City Chiefs. And this is where the bulk of Green's career was, and the reason why despite his many stops, he's only listed as a Chief.

2001 was a rough year for Green, as he tried to force the ball way too often. Perhaps he was used to his receivers in St. Louis catching anything and everything, but Tony Gonzalez and a handful of scraps can only do you so much. He threw 17 TDs and 24 INTs, a very uncharacteristic stat line for him. He got himself back on track in 2002, helping the Chiefs to a .500 record, throwing 26 TD's, completing 61% of his passes and only throwing 13 INT's. His third year with the Chiefs was their best yet. Green's efficiency numbers stayed consistent, but with a defense that was in the middle of the pack rather than a pure bottom feeder, the Chiefs went 13-3, and got themselves a first round bye and a place in the divisional round. However despite putting up 31 points against the Indianapolis Colts, their defense gave up 38. Green would throw more than ever in 2004, passing for 4591 yards on 556 attempts, throwing for 27 TDs and 17 INT's, but the Chiefs defense regressed back to the bottom five, and the Chiefs struggled to reach 7-9 despite how well their offense was playing. Green would have one more winning season in Kansas City, as 2005 brought them to a 10-6 record. Green had been remarkably consistent during his time in KC, but the wins and losses ebbed and flowed on how their defense was playing. And for most of the time, their defense didn't seem to be playing the right sport. 10-6 was not enough to get into the playoffs in 2005, as the Steelers took the 6th seed at 11-5. Dick Vermeil would announce his retirement from football, and Green's connection to him was severed. Enter Herm Edwards, and Green's last year in KC. On the first game of the season, Green was severely concussed, in a play that probably would have been called a penalty in today's game, though the lineman had no choice but to hit Green due to his momentum. Green missed half the season, but kept the ship steady when he came back, and the Chiefs ended up 9-7, which was good enough for a postseason appearance. But when the appearance fee is to get wrecked by Peyton Manning and the Colts, it's almost like you never should have punched the ticket to begin with. Since Damon Huard did well enough in his backup duty, a QB controversy was brewing in KC, and Green, refusing to take a paycut, and was traded away. A move that had no winners in all honesty.

Green ended up going to South Beach in 2007, and after Daunte Culpepper was a flop for the Phins, they hoped they got it right with Green. They did not. The Dolphins lost the first four games of the season, and then lost Trent Green as he tried to block a 320 pound defensive tackle on a WR end around. He was severely concussed, and would never play another down for the Dolphins as they proceeded to lose almost every game that season. Green didn't call it quits just yet, and decided if teams still wanted his services, he'd play. So he went back to St. Louis, a team far removed from their greatest show on turf days, to back up Marc Bulger. Green started one game that season, and played in relief for a few more, but threw zero touchdowns and six interceptions on only 72 throws. The Rams cut him at the end of the season, and Green decided to pursue a career in broadcasting instead. It's working out pretty well for him, as he's on CBS' third team with Greg Gumbel.

What amazes me about Green's career is just how bad his defenses were. Almost consistently they were placing in the bottom five in points allowed, and almost consistently you'd see Green putting up 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns in a losing effort because his teams simply could not keep up. To his credit, he has been blessed with offensive talent for most of his career, between Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, few guys get to have that many great players to hand off to. His receivers in KC weren't as amazing, aside from TE Tony Gonzalez, it was Eddie Kennison and a bunch of gum you'd find under the seat in Arrowhead. Well, I think a wad of chewed up gum might catch a ball every now and again. Despite having a losing record, his splits were very good, being above average in both instances, and a fair bit better in games with poor defense. Which is a good thing since he had a lot of those games. Green may have never had playoff success, but he only had a couple of shots at it thanks to the defenses he was carrying throughout his entire career.

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38. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers 2011-Current)
1st Place Panthers QB
Career Record 65-50-1 (56.47%) 40th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 49-14-0 (77.78%) 45th (T) out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 16-36-1 (31.13%) 35th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 63/116 (54.31%) 38th out of 102 (0)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.840) (0.652 after the 2018 season)

Image result for cam newton

The youngest quarterback to qualify for this list, Cam still has a lot of game ahead of him, and plenty of time to change the perception he's under. Old white women in the south may clutch their pearls whenever Cam does... literally anything, but the guy has been a revolution on the field and plays the game in a hard nosed physical manner that just isn't really seen all that often. Newton was the first overall pick by the Panthers in 2011, immediately aborting the Jimmy Clausen experiment. Newton started his career hot throwing for 400 yards in his first two starts, but his teams were porous on defense and Cam finished his rookie year 6-10 with 4000 yards in the air and 700 on the ground. His second year wasn't much better in the win column, but he turned the ball over less, and they finished the season winning four straight games, so the future was looking bright for the Panthers. 2013 would resolve those hopes, as the Panthers went 12-4, Newton threw 24 TD's and led four 4th quarter comebacks on the way to a division title. However, Cam's first playoff appearance would end poorly, as he would throw two interceptions, and ended every possession in the second half without scoring. He didn't start 2014, due to dealing with some lingering ankle issues that required surgery, as well as a rib injury he suffered during the preseason. He played most of the 2014 season, even though he also got into a car crash midway through the season and fractured his back. Although he only went 5-8-1 as a starter, because the NFC South was so bad that year, the Panthers made the playoffs at 7-8-1. And because of that, we were subjected to one of the worst playoff games in history as the Cardinals brought out their third string QB to try  and do something against a team that couldn't even go .500. The Panthers won the wild card round, but fell to the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round, as Cam fumbled twice, and thew a couple of interceptions, including a 90 yard pick 6 to Kam Chancellor. 

2015 would be the Panthers best chance yet. As Cam wasn't dealing with a million injuries, and the defense was healthy and ready to ball out, the Panthers exploded to a 15-1 record, having the best offense in football. Cam threw for 35 touchdowns, and ran for 10, while combining for nearly 4500 yards through the air and ground. They cruised to the best seed in the NFC, and were well on pace to the super bowl that season. They faced their rival Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round and got revenge at home, winning 31-24, and basically taking the second half off after being up 31-0. They faced the Cardinals in the conference championship, and they crumbled under the lights, Carson Palmer threw 4 interceptions and the Panthers cruised 49-15. Cam didn't even need to break a sweat once they had gone up 17-0 in the first quarter. However, the dream died in super bowl 50, as they faced the best defense in the NFL. And when the best offense and best defense clash in the super bowl, the defense always wins. Neither Newton nor Peyton could get much going on offense, but the Panthers lost the ball four times (including two key Cam Newton fumbles), and the Broncos only gave it up twice.

Cam would respond in 2016, by going ice cold. He had his career worst completion percentage at 52.9, threw only 19 TD's to 14 INT's, and the Panthers went 6-10. He even missed the start against Seattle because of a dress code violation but he played the rest of the game after the first series so I counted it as a start for him. But the Panthers are anything but consistent, so naturally they started to win again in 2017. They went 11-5, as Cam got back on track continuing the run and throw the ball all over the field, but as they could not handle the Saints in the regular season, they could not handle them in the postseason either, taking the rare 3 losses to a team in a single season. Cam played well in the game against the Saints, but couldn't match their field goals to the Saints TD's and lost 31-26. That's where my data point ends, but as is true for the Panthers, they followed a winning season with a losing one. And at the half way point, they were 6-2. The issue was, Cam injured his shoulder and it was a serious injury but they kept playing him and it's entirely possible that it's fucked for good because they didn't just pull him when they were supposed to. Of course it does no good to speculate on the nature of injuries until time proves the extent of it, but the Panthers went 7-9 in 2018, with Cam only getting the plug pulled by the penultimate week of the season when they were officially out of contention. We'll need to see how the rehab goes, but if Newton continues to follow this trend, I entirely expect him to win the comeback player of the year award this year.

Going by his splits, we can see that while his defense is inconsistent from year to year, his defensive rank matches his rank on this list which sounds just about right for Cam. He plays very well in shootouts, winning 31.13% of his games, and his rate with good defenses is a hair above average. A part of this is due to his naturally inconsistent nature. Some days he's good for 400 in the air and 50 on the ground with a few TD's, other days he struggles to get 200 yards total. He's still in his prime, so there is still a lot left to write in this man's story and I'll be quite curious to see what he does after his shoulder injury. Will he still be the same dynamo, or will he have to adapt his game? I certainly can't wait.

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Cam is going to shoot up this list after next year, bet!

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37. Eli Manning (New York Giants 2004-Current)
2nd Place Giants QB
Career Record 119-107-0 (52.65%) 51st out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 91-14-0 (86.67%) 14th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 28-93-0 (23.14%) 76th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 105/226 (46.46%) 74th out of 102 (+37)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.884) (0.643 after the 2018 season)

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Sorry Blue, the bitch is dead. This makes the second player from the 2004 draft class to fall, with only two to go. Eli Manning carries the legacy of his father and brother, as well as his father's name. Turns out he's actually the fifth Elisha in his family. His family probably owned slaves or some shit. The only thing Eli Manning can claim to own is one Thomas Brady. Eli started his NFL career in 2004, drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers. However due to some interference from his agent, his dad, and depending on who you ask, Marty Schottenheimer, Eli wasn't long for San Diego as he moved in a draft and trade with Philip Rivers, who was taken by the Giants 4th overall. Always known for being cool under pressure and unflappable in nearly any situation, Eli started his career warming the bench for Kurt Warner as he grew and developed behind him. Kurt didn't last long in big blue, as he wasn't the same player he was for the greatest show on turf, and just 9 games into the season, Eli had come on and never looked back as the Giants' starter. Well, almost but we'll get to that. The Giants went on a big losing streak to finish 6-10, but the Giants liked Eli's hustle and were prepared to name him the starter, with no strings attached. Focusing on a run heavy offense with Tiki Barber, the Giants got hot in 2005, going 11-5 and making the playoffs, while Eli just calmly managed the game. However that strategy wouldn't work against the Panthers in the postseason who shut down Barber on the ground, and forced Eli into three picks on just 18 throws. Eli's numbers showed no great improvement in 2006, and the Giants finished with an 8-8 record, but thanks to the NFC being weak, the Giants were able to get into the dance as a 6th seed. Unfortunately, they came up short against the Eagles, who won on a last second field goal.

Then 2007 happened, a truly magical time in all of our lives. Eli's numbers stayed steady. Some 500 attempts or so, 23 TD's, quite a few interceptions, and a heavy reliance on the run game brought by Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward. The Giants went 10-6, losing the last game of the regular season against the Patriots, but giving them one of their closest shaves in a 38-35 shootout. They weren't playing for anything at that point, as they had already been locked into the 5th seed, but Coughlin decided to play his starters against them. This gave the Giants a lot of confidence going into the playoffs, and they went ham against their foes. Dispatching the Bucs in the wild card without sweating very much, they faced the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round. They stayed toe to toe with them, before finally pulling ahead in the 4th thanks to great field position and a timely Eli 4th quarter drive. The defense held up from there, Eli didn't give it away, and the Giants won 21-17, and had a date with the Packers in the NFC Championship. It wasn't going to be easy, especially since the Giants blew a chance to win in regulation when Lawrence Tynes missed a 36 yard field goal at the end of the 4th to pull ahead. However, their opponent was Brett Favre, and against Favre if he's not winning the game, he's losing the game. He threw a pick two plays into the overtime period, and after a few unsuccessful plays from the Giants offense, they kicked a 47 yard field goal and made it straight through, winning 23-20 in OT. All they had to do was slay the dynasty, and beat the undefeated. A simple task, for a simple man. Of course, the Giants defense did their part, harassing Brady, holding the offense down, and giving their team a chance to win it with two and a half minutes left. Eli showed his grit, making plays with his arms and legs to secure first downs, including the unbelievable helmet catch by David Tyree that somehow didn't get waved off as a sack because Eli was in the grasp of the Pats defense. Eli found Plaxico Burress in the end zone three plays later, and the Giants defense stopped the Patriots final attempt to force overtime. Eli reached the pinnacle, and we never thought he'd do it again.

Eli improved his numbers from there, bringing his completion percentage up to 60%, his touchdowns were up, interceptions were down, and the Giants were red hot, going 12-4 in 2008. However, the playoffs rolled around, and they dispatched by the cinderella Eagles, because when the Giants and Eagles meet in the Meadowlands, nothing sane happens. 2009 was looking like another playoff appearance for the Giants, as they were 8-6 going into the final weeks, but they choked badly in the last two games of the season and went 8-8 despite Eli's first 4000 yard performance. And this sort of set a trend for Eli, as he improved, the team around him got worse. 2010 had Manning playing hero ball a lot of the time, as they fought and struggled their way to a 10-6 record, but by this time that wasn't enough to sneak into a wild card, and they missed the playoffs again. Eli threw a career high in both passing TD's and INT's at the time, but it just wasn't enough. 2011 changed the script though. All of the close games seemed to go the Giants way, Eli threw far less interceptions, while putting up nearly 5000 yards in the air. The Giants needed every break they got, because they were not a strong team, and just barely snuck into the playoffs at 9-7. But sometimes, all you need to do is get your foot in the door to blow them away. The Giants blew em away. They very nearly shut out the Atlanta Falcons in the wild card round, only conceding a safety on an intentional grounding in the end zone, winning 24-2, and then they simply outscored the Packers in the divisional round, winning 37-20. They had a date with the San Francisco 49ers in the conference championship, and once again Eli's luck that season was unchallenged. The Giants and 49ers struggled and ended up tied at 17 going into overtime. Neither offense could get anything going in the period, but fortune favoured the Giants on a muffed punt by Kyle Williams. The Giants ran a few times to make the field goal closer, and won themselves another date with the New England Patriots. In a very close defensive struggle, the Giants once again led a game winning two minute drive, and didn't leave Brady with enough time on the clock to lead a comeback against them. Eli cemented his place as the hero of our generation.

Eli wouldn't make it to the big stage again, and with the way his career is going, he may never see it again They fired head coach Tom Coughlin in 2015 after gradually getting worse each and every season. Eli was inconsistent in his play, following up winning streaks with losing streaks, games with 4 TD's followed by games with 4 INT's. The Giants missed the playoffs for four straight years, and decided to bring a change. They brought in some guy named after a tiny morning shit. Still, it seemed to work, at least early on in 2016. The Giants offense was on fire thanks to the development of phenomenal receiver Odell Beckham, and the resurgence of their defense which had been sorely lacking since 2011. The Giants finished 11-5, and won a playoff berth against the Packers in Lambeau. This time, they couldn't pull it off in the frozen tundra, as they had no running game to rely on, their best receivers had hands of stone, and the Packers steamrolled them 38-13. Things just kept getting worse as the regression hit Eli hard. 2017 would mark the first time Eli missed a game. Not because of injury, dude has been untouched by the hands of fate in that regard, no he got benched because his owner is a bitch who wanted an excuse to fire his head coach who had the Giants at 2-8 at the time. The Iron man streak ended because of petty bullshit, and the Giants finished 2017 3-13. The writing was on the wall for Eli, as his arm strength seemed to disappear overnight, but he got another season to play in 2018. The numbers aren't official, but you can see how much of a decline he's had, as the Giants once again had a losing season in 2018, going 5-11. The Giants drafted his replacement in 2019, and the time we can see Eli play is drawing to a close. He's the tentative starter now, but with the way he's been playing it'll only be a matter of time before we can close his chapter in the annals of history.

Going by the splits, Eli was remarkable when his defense came to play. He'll go into hero ball mode when he needs to, but he's always been at his best when the game is under control, the pace is dictated by him and there isn't a need for improvisation. He's had quite a few comebacks in his career, but they aren't often in high scoring games. But if the game is in reach, he's one of the best all time at closing it out with a victory. When the defense doesn't show, then he's pretty much league standard. He'll win sometimes, but you can't count on it happening with any sort of frequency. His defenses were at their best on his super bowl runs, but he hasn't had that luxury for most of his career, and that's why despite the stellar career and fairly gaudy numbers, the Giants weren't often a playoff contender during most of his time there. May the rest of his career go smoothly, and his legacy remembered for stopping Brady from having 8 Rings.

Edited by RazorStar
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1 hour ago, RazorStar said:

However, their opponent was Brett Favre, and against Favre if he's not winning the game, he's losing the game. He threw a pick two plays into the overtime period, and after a few unsuccessful plays from the Giants offense, they kicked a 47 yard field goal and made it straight through, winning 23-20 in OT.

This perfectly encapsulates the careers of both Eli and Bert. lol

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36. Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons 2001-2006, Philadelphia Eagles 2009-2013, New York Jets 2014, Pittsburgh Steelers 2015)
2nd Place Falcons and 2nd Place Eagles QB
Career Record 60-53-1 (53.07%) 48th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 44-10-0 (81.48%) 34th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 16-43-1 (27.50%) 53rd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 54/114 (47.37%) 72nd out of 102 (+36)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.890)
 

Image result for michael vick

 

Michael Vick, the revolution, the X Factor, the Ron Mexico himself. A lot of the underlying narrative behind the NFL was that black quarterbacks were no good, and that prevalent racist theory stayed that way for quite a long time. It took people like Warren Moon, Doug Williams, and Randall Cunningham to shatter that misconception. Michael Vick brought the game into the next century, and did his part to drown out that noise. When Vick was on the Falcons, he was the most popular player in the NFL, the player most fans would vote as the most entertaining, and just brought the kind of running ability you'd never expect from a quarterback. His impact on the game cannot be ignored, and his story can't be either. For every high, there is a low, and Vick's career is one hell of a ride.

He was drafted first overall by the Falcons, so desperate to make this move that they traded up in the 2001 Draft to get him, giving up the fifth pick, a third rounder and a second rounder in the 02 draft to get him. He didn't play much in his rookie season, only taking reins when incumbent Chris Chandler was hurt, but his legs gave him a leg up, and the coaches decided he was ready to start in his second season. He set records with his arms and his legs, and took the Falcons to the playoffs in 02 with a 9-6-1 record. He proceeded to run all over the Green Bay Packers, but was stopped in his first postseason run by the stout Eagles Defense. 03 would not go so well, as Vick fractured his fibula in the preseason, and only came back onto the field in December. The Falcons won three of their last four games, and finished with a 5-11 record, a far cry from their playoff aspirations. 2004 would see Vick truly break out, after suffering the Madden Curse's effects. He would go 11-3 in the first 14 weeks of the season, setting his best mark with the Falcons for completion percentage at 56.4%, throwing for 2300 yards and rushing for another 900, as the Falcons took the NFC South and the 2nd seed in the conference. Vick proceeded to put a clinic on in the postseason, rushing for 119 yards against the Rams, and throwing 2 TD's in a 47-17 romp. However, Vick still had no answers for the Eagles and their defense and lost 27-10. 2005 and 2006 would see him continue to electrify the league with his legs, including a 1000 rushing yard season in 06, but the Falcons failed to make the postseason as they simply did not put much of a team around Vick besides running backs. At this time, Vick was getting in trouble with the law, for stealing, for distributing marijuana, and though he did not know it, he was under investigation for his illegal dog fighting ring that he was running. All of this came to a head in 2007, where after firing coach Jim Mora Jr, the police had enough evidence to indict Vick for his crimes. Vick took a plea bargain, and was sentenced for 23 months. Many thought he would never play a down of football again, but this is a sport of second chances, and apparently if you're drafted early enough, someone will give you that second chance in this league.

Vick signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, and after serving his NFL suspension, acted as Donovan McNabb's backup. Many people hated the Eagles for doing this, but they had the support system in place to make it work, and Vick never regressed back to his mistaken ways. 2010 offered Vick an opportunity to play, as McNabb's time with the Eagles came to an abrupt end, and only mid round draft pick Kevin Kolb was on the roster with him. Vick got his shot in week 4, replacing Kolb after he suffered a concussion and his play that season was unprecedented. Vick had always beat teams with his legs first, but he was hyper efficient with his arm that season, completing 62.6% of his passes, throwing for 3000+ yards, 21 TD's and only 6 INT's, as the Eagles went 8-3 with him starting and 10-6 on the season. This included a game in which the Eagles came back from 21 points down with 8 minutes left against the New York Giants. However they could not get their offense going against the Packers, and lost 21-16. Hope was high in Philadelphia in 2011, as they started themselves the dream team and the pick of destiny. They were... not. Vick missed a few games down the stretch, and the Eagles started cold at 4-8. Despite winning out in december, 8-8 was not enough to make the postseason. The decline was hitting Vick hard and fast, and it came to a head in 2012, as the Eagles went 4-12, and Vick found himself replaced by rookie Nick Foles at times. This was enough for the Eagles to fire Andy Reid and start anew with college coaching phenom Chip Kelly. Coach Kelly announced there would be a QB battle, and Vick won to start the season. However, Vick struggled and after going 2-4 in the first games, he was replaced by Nick Foles who never looked back, and had one of the best passing seasons in NFL history. Vick was an afterthought, and was sent to purgatory to ride out his career. He went to the Jets to be part of a QB controversy with Geno Smith that never really amounted to much. He played a few games there, before going to Pittsburgh to back up Big Ben for a season. He got a chance early, but suffered an injury himself, and by the time he was healthy enough to go again, Big Ben was healthy to go again, and no one was starting an aging Vick over Big Ben. The steelers let his contract run out, and Vick retired after spending an entire year as a free agent. 

Vick's splits are very solid, but he spent a lot of time carrying some very weak Falcons teams, which is why he has a lot more games with bad defenses than good. His fortunes changed in Philadelphia and he won a lot more as a result. As a weapon he was very difficult to stop, which is why his splits with good defense were really good, and his splits with bad defenses were a fair bit above average. Despite being a player with a cannon arm, Vick was very good at avoiding a lot of interceptions. However his scrambling style of play also raised his fumble count, fumbling just under once a game (102 fumbles in 114 starts). He may have lost some years of his prime due to his bad decisions, but I think it was because of those choices that he was able to revive his career and appear so highly on this list.

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Man, if Donovan McNabb saw this list he would be salty as fuck lol

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And here we are, the last QB of the Above Average tier, everyone else from here on out is in the franchise QB tier or better.

35. Steve Grogan (New England Patriots 1975-1990)
2nd Place Patriots QB
Career Record 76-62-0 (55.07%) 41st out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 55-12-0 (82.09%) 32nd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 21-50-0 (29.58%) 41st out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 67/138 (48.55%) 68th out of 102 (+33)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (0.989)

Image result for steve grogan

A late round pick for the Patriots that rose to prominence after taking over the starting role from the first round pick taken a few years prior... that's right, history has an odd and tragic way of repeating itself. Though Bledsoe was never as bad as Plunkett was for the Patriots, and Grogan will never be mistaken for the GOAT, but whatever the case may be, Grogan just latched onto the starting role, and staved off all manner of competitor season after season. He officially took the starting role in 1976, after starting half of his rookie year thanks to Plunkett's injury. He proceeded to start for the next four seasons, and despite high interception rates and low completion percentages, the Patriots were winning with him at the helm, ending the 70's with four straight winning seasons, and they made the postseason twice. Each time was a one and done exit however, as Grogan couldn't help these heavy running teams get over the hump. The 80's marked Grogan's struggles with injuries, as he was replaced by backup Matt Cavanugh multiple times from 1980-1982. The team would proceed to collapse in 1981, going 2-14 as they went through their stable of quarterbacks, but they made the postseason in the strike shortened 1982, only to get run over by the Miami Dolphins. 1983 would mark the year the Patriots tried to draft Grogan's replacement in Tony Eason, and Eason even started the last four games of the 83 season. 1984 would see Eason take over the starting role, after Grogan suffered an injury that took him out for the rest of the season early in week 3. It should have marked the end for Grogan, but 1985 would see him take the field after the Patriots started 2-3. He would proceed to win 5 straight games before breaking his leg and missing the rest of the regular season. The Patriots snuck into the super bowl that year, only to be fed to the hungry Chicago Bears. Grogan had recovered enough from his injury to play in the super bowl after Eason was benched, but he couldn't do anything against that Bears defense either. Grogan would proceed to come off and on from the bench for the next 5 seasons, before finally retiring in 1990. There's no part of Grogan's body that wasn't battered, bruised, or broken by the time he retired. Dude was a tough SOB, and despite his propensity for interceptions, he had a very high success rate on his deeper passes.

Going by his splits, he was a fair bit above average no matter what situation the defense put him in, and the defense tended to put him in a lot of bad ones. He was willing to move the chains early in his career with his running ability, and he was able to adjust to the live ball era and throw it more efficiently when the time came to do so. I was honestly surprised Grogan ended up so high, but I cannot argue with how the numbers played out. I made a fair bit of adjustments to his numbers, but despite 10 changes overall, his record didn't actually change, just where he got those wins and losses from. I guess that makes Grogan the old timey Michael Vick? I may just be projecting with that conclusion though.

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34. Joe Namath (New York Jets 1965-1976, Los Angeles Rams 1977)*
(Loses first year of career due to era cutoff)
1st Place Jets QB
Career Record 61-62-3 (49.60%) 68th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 40-6-0 (86.96%) 12th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 21-56-3 (28.13%) 50th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 46/126 (36.51%) 100th out of 102 (+66)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.002)

Image result for joe namath

 

Oh sweet lord jesus, it's a brand new tier. That's right, we've broken into the franchise QB tier, and it starts with the man who many consider to be the least worthy hall of fame member. First of all, y'all are wrong, second of all, let's break this down a bit, get the full story here. Or at least try to. Namath was highly sought after by both the AFL and NFL coming out of college at Alabama. Taken first overall by the Jets, and 12th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals, Namath opted to go to the Jets, due to a much better salary offer. Despite playing his entire career with a bad knee, and an even worse defense, Namath slung it across the yard, often leading the AFL in TD's, Yards, and Interceptions. The Jets were an awful team when he wasn't in the game, but when he was, magic happened. Sometimes it was amazing, sometimes it was disastrous, but it was always entertaining. Namath was the first QB to throw for 4000 yards in a season, and though he only got two chances at the postseason in his career as a starter, he made the most of it, boasting in 1969 that the Jets would beat the Colts in the third Super Bowl. Of course, they did, and Namath's bravado was forever immortalized in football lore. However, once the AFL/NFL merger happened, Namath sort of became an afterthought. His knee injuries kept him out of most of the 1970 and 71 seasons, and despite putting up 2800 yards and 19 TD's in 1972, the Jets defense was one of the worst in football. He struggled through the rest of the 70's as the team around him failed to improve, and a combination of the game evolving and his style not being up to par meant the Jets could only wallow in mediocrity for the next few seasons. He was released in 1977 and signed by the Rams, who only started him for a few games before deciding to pull the plug on the vet who had just overstayed his welcome in the league.

Broadway Joe was built for the AFL, and I think on some other teams, like the Raiders or Bills, he would have been a force to be reckoned with in the league and not doubted as much as he was. Despite all that, I am surprised at just how highly he ranked. I did not think his defenses were that bad, but they were. Namath's splits are impressive, as he could be counted on to handle business during the times his defense showed up. And he made a large number of comebacks in his career, because he was just given so many opportunities to do so. With all of that, he just barely sneaks into the 1+ win per season group. If only he could have been that sneaky with Suzy Kolber.

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32t. Jay Schroeder (Washington Redskins 1984-1987, Los Angeles Raiders 1988-1992, Cincinnati Bengals 1993, Arizona Cardinals 1994)
2nd Place Redskins and 4th Place Raiders QB
Career Record 61-40-0 (60.40%) 25th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 52-9-0 (85.25%) 16th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 9-31-0 (22.50%) 81st out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 61/101 (60.40%) 20th out of 102 (-13)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.056)

Image result for jay schroeder

We've got a tie. I didn't think it was possible, but I ended up with one somehow. To be completely fair, if I were to round to 5 digits, the next QB would be very slightly ahead, but let's not do that because that feels really excessive. Jay Schroeder was supposed to be the inheritor of the Redskins offense, following in Joe Theismann's footsteps once the older QB retired. He was drafted in 1984 in the third round, but found his opportunity to start in just his second season, as Theismann suffered a brutal career ending injury. Schroeder came on in relief and finished the 1985 season with a 5-1 record, despite very pedestrian numbers. It wasn't enough to get the Redskins into the playoffs that year, but Gibbs felt confident in Schroeder to take over for the Redskins. He would proceed to throw for 4000 yards, 22 TD's and 22 INT's with a marginal 51% completion percentages. However he would lead several 4th quarter comebacks that season, and elevate the Redskins to a 12-4 record, good enough for the first wildcard spot. They were able to beat the Rams, and the defending champion Bears, but the Redskins had no answers for the New York Giants all season, and couldn't find one in the postseason that year, putting up a big goose egg against them in the NFC Championship. 1987 would mark injury troubles for the gunslinger, as he found himself often replaced by the veteran Doug Williams during the season. The Redskins went on a super bowl run, but Schroeder watched it all from the sidelines as he was supplanted by the more popular Williams. After the season ended, Schroeder was traded to the L.A. Raiders. 

The rest of the 80's did not go so well for Schroeder, as he was constantly in and out of the lineup due to inconsistent play, shoulder injuries, and a capable backup in Steve Beuerlein was splitting time with him. However, 1990 gave him another shot at glory, and he ran with it as best he could. He had his most efficient year as a passer, completing over 54% of his passes, throwing only 9 interceptions and managing a 8.5 YPA as the Raiders got red hot and went 12-4 thanks to his throwing ability, and the combination of Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson on the ground. The Raiders would proceed to beat the Bengals in the divisional round 20-10, but when it came to facing the Bills in the AFC Championship, Schroeder pulled off his worst performance of the season, throwing 5 interceptions in a 51-3 loss. Schroeder would lead the Raiders to another winning season in 1991, but he was pulled in the final game of the season for Todd Marinovich (remember him?) and even though the Raiders snuck into the postseason at 9-7, Schroeder didn't get to play. He started the 92 season as Marinovich's backup, but replaced him for the second half of the season when it was clear the dude had no business being on an NFL field. Schroeder was waived after the season, and found himself drifting to Cincinnati for a season, and then to Arizona, before retiring in 1995.

Schroeder's career is really interesting because he's had a lot of opportunities for success, but when it came to the playoffs, he found himself replaced not once, but twice after taking his team to a conference championship game the year prior. And while the guys that replaced him had vastly different levels of success during those runs, it still remains an interesting curiosity. Schroeder did his best work when his defenses were operating at capacity, and being on the near-dynasty Redskins early in his career gave him a lot of those games. He was below average when his defenses didn't come to play, but he had a lot of grit and is just sort of forgotten by NFL history despite his talent and level of success in the league.

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32t. Joe Theismann (Washington Redskins 1974-1985)
2nd Place Redskins QB
Career Record 82-50-0 (62.12%) 19th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 63-20-0 (75.90%) 57th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 19-30-0 (38.78%) 11th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 83/132 (62.88%) 13th out of 102 (-19)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.056)

Image result for joe theismann

 

And here's the second player to be ranked 32nd, Joe Theismann. Yeah, another hog. This was really uncanny, it basically meant coach Joe Gibbs didn't have any drop off or improvement between Theismann and Schroeder once the swap happened. In any case, Joe Theismann is probably most famous for two things. The first being changing the pronunciation of his name so that it'd rhyme with Heisman (so he could eventually win the trophy), and the second being Lawrence Taylor breaking his leg like a kit-kat bar. We'll get to that one later. As I mentioned, Theismann won the Heisman, and was drafted by the Dolphins in the third round, even though they already had a QB in place. Negotations between Theismann's camp and the Dolphins broke down, and he ended up in the CFL, playing for the Argonauts for three seasons before getting a chance to step on an NFL field. The Redskins acquired his rights from the Dolphins, and Theismann came back to the NFL, though he didn't get to start a game until 1976, and didn't take the starting role from Billy Kilmer until 1978. So Theismann basically avoided most of the dead ball era, but still got plenty of experience in other leagues, as well as a few starts in relief of Kilmer. His first year starting was rough, as they lost their last 5 games of the season to miss the playoffs after a 8-3 start. Theismann would ease into the starting role in 1979, throwing for more TD's than INT's for the first time in his career, throwing for 20 TD's, and leading the Redskins to a 10-6 record, just narrowly missing the playoffs because of a loss to the Cowboys in the final week of the season where they came back from a 34-21 deficit. 1980 would mark another losing season for the Redskins, as well as the firing of coach Jack Pardee. This would mark a turning point in the 32 year old's career, as they brought in Coach Joe Gibbs.

The beginning was rough, as the Redskins started 1981 with a 1-6 record. However Theismann and the rest of the Skins got acclimated to the coaching style, and finished the season 8-8. Then came the strike shortened season of 1982, where the Redskins blitzed through the competition and finished with an 8-1 record, good for the first seed that year. Which meant they still had to play four post season games because they let 16 teams into the dance that year. The Redskins killed the Lions 31-7, ran a train on the Vikings 21-7, and then faced the Cowboys in the conference championship. They bullied them with John Riggins and took QB Danny White out of the game which made it an easy 31-17 for them. They found themselves in the super bowl against the Miami Dolphins, and once again relied on Riggins running the ball to eventually wear down the Dolphins defense and take the game over in the fourth quarter.  Theismann and the Redskins only got better in 1983, as he was voted league MVP for his performance in taking the Redskins to a 14-2 record, completing 60% of his passes for 3700 yards, 29 TD's and 11 INT's. The Skins had the best offense in the league and forced an utterly insane 61 turnovers. The Redskins cruised through the Rams in the divisional round, winning 51-7, and then the Skins held off a furious Joe Montana comeback in the conference championship to win 24-21. However, they faced the Raiders in the Super Bowl and for whatever reason everything that could go wrong for them went wrong. Theismann gave the ball up three times, including a pick 6, the special teams gave up a fumble in the end zone, and Marcus Allen ran all over the Redskins defense in a 38-9 loss. Theismann would again lead the Redskins to a winning season in 1984, but their playoff run was cut early when the Chicago Bears bullied them in the divisional round. 1985 would be Theismann's last season, and he was slowing down dramatically, taking a lot of unnecessary sacks throughout the past couple of seasons. The one that ended his career wasn't unnecessary, it wasn't even preventable. Lawrence Taylor came down on him, coming off the edge, and broke him. Yes he was 36 at the time, but that kind of injury would end anyone's career. It's unlikely you'd ever come back the same from a fracture like that. 

The Redskins had always had good defenses under Joe Gibbs, and Theismann is one of the great beneficiaries of that defense. In addition to that, he had the workhorse in John Riggins to handoff to, and he would often do that 25-35 times a game. We saw how well that worked for Troy Aikman, and it also worked for Joe Theismann. However, what separates the two is how Theismann operated in high scoring games. Joe was calm and composed in the pocket, and like hanging onto the ball as long as he could to give his receivers just a little extra time to get open and get deep. His record with bad defenses is very nearly in the top 10 out of every QB in the study, which is pretty high praise. He was, however just league average in games where his defense played well, and that's why he isn't higher on the list. He had a very topsy turvy career, but he'll be remembered as one of the greatest Redskins to ever play, unlike the guy he's tied with.

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31. Steve McNair (Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans 1995-2005, Baltimore Ravens 2006-2007)
2nd Place Oilers and 2nd Place Ravens QB
Career Record 93-64-0 (59.24%) 28th out of 102


Record in Games with Good Defense 73-18-0 (80.22%) 39th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 20-46-0 (30.30%) 38th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 91/157 (57.96%) 26th out of 102 (-5)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.064)

Image result for steve mcnair

Just narrowly missing out the top 30 is an Oilers and Titans legend, Steve McNair was the greatest thing that ever happened to Jeff Fisher's career. Drafted 3rd overall by the Oilers out of Alcorn State, McNair wasn't immediately thrown into the role of starter, instead spending most of his first two seasons as Chris Chandler's backup, only coming in late during the season to take a few snaps here and there. Bud Adams announced the team moving after his rookie year, so he didn't actually start the season as a starter until 1997, by which time they had moved to Tennessee. The Oilers played to minuscule crowds as they went 8-8 in both 97 and 98. McNair was already working his magic with the perpetual 7-9 Jeff Fisher. Combining a steady running attack lead by Eddie George, and McNair improving his passing game each and every season, the Titans broke out as they completed their move to Nashville and renamed themselves the Titans. McNair went 9-2 as a starter as the team went 12-4 and took a wild-card berth in a stacked Central division. They proceeded to win their first playoff game, despite McNair's poor play thanks to an illegal forward... sorry, the Music City Miracle and the Doug Flutie Curse. McNair wasn't much better in a battle of field goals with the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round, but not turning the ball over meant the Titans could win 19-16. He then killed the Jacksonville Jaguars with his legs in the conference championship, and managed to pull a three game sweep of a team that had only lost three games all season. Then came the super bowl against the Greatest Show on Turf. The Titans fell in a 16-0 midway through the 3rd quarter, and looked to be outmatched against the Rams, but slowly led a methodical comeback in three drives to tie it at 16 with three minutes to go. The Rams offense immediately scored on a deep bomb to Isaac Bruce, and McNair just did not have enough time, enough distance to lead the Titans back down the field, getting stopped one yard short by a Mike Jones tackle of Kevin Dyson. We should thank him for preventing Jeff Fisher from ever winning a ring.

McNair came back in 2000 hungry, and led the Titans to a 13-3 record, once again combining passing and rushing prowess. However, this playoff dream died when faced up against the 2000 Ravens Defense. 2001 saw McNair continue to improve his numbers, and break 20 passing touchdowns for the first time in his career, but this Titans team went 7-9. 2002 marked a rebound, as McNair continued to improve as a passer and took the Titans to an 11-5 record. After winning a 34-31 offensive shootout with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round, the Titans were manhandled by the Oakland Raiders in the conference championship 41-24. McNair would have his best season in 2003, the gradual accumulation of his ability led to a 3215 yard passing season, 24 TD's with only 7 INTs, paired with another four touchdowns on the ground. He shared a Co-MVP with Peyton Manning that season, as the Titans went 12-4, just barely missing out on the division thanks to tiebreakers. Despite throwing three interceptions, including a pick six, the Titans beat the Ravens in the wild-card round 20-17, and won themselves a date with the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick happened, and the Titans lost 17-14.

Things got rough in Nashville after that season. McNair missed half of 2004 thanks to a sternum injury, and Eddie George retired after puttering down the field his last few seasons. McNair missed the last few games of 2005 as well after going 4-10, and this poor play and propensity for injury overall prompted the Titans to make a change at QB. Of course, they did in the most classless way possible, locking McNair out of the team facility without letting him know first, because if he suffered a work related injury, they'd be on the hook for his cap number (which had ballooned to an unreasonable amount for the time, 24 million). The Ravens showed interest in McNair, and after drafting Vince Young in the 2006 draft, the Titans were ready to move on, only holding onto McNair to force the best deal possible for themselves (a trade for a 2007 4th rounder). McNair spent his next two seasons in Baltimore, but the early indication was that it was a match made in heaven. McNair started every game in 2006, going 13-3 and winning the second seed in the AFC. But the playoff dream died quickly, as the Ravens were mildly upset at home by the raging Indianapolis Colts and became the second victim of Bob Sanders that postseason, in a 15-6 battle of field goals. 2007 was a bad season for McNair as he was constantly in and out of the lineup due to all of the injuries that had piled up over his career. The man always seemed to have some ailment slowing him down, and it all caught up to him in 2007. He announced his retirement after the season. Sadly in 2009, he was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds, as his mistress committed a murder-suicide.

But don't let that downer note be the end of his tale, because Steve McNair was far more than a tragic headline. He carried mediocre coach Jeff Fisher to his highest heights, he made Tennessee a believer in football, and he continued to show that there was room for black quarterbacks in the NFL. His splits were above average across the board, showing that he had the ability to win in any situation and always gave his team a fair shot at it. Whether he needed to play a manager role, or put the team on his back with his arm or his legs, he could  adapt to any situation fluidly. He was blessed with strong defenses for most of his career, and had one hell of a workhorse to lean on in Eddie George. McNair was a freak of nature, and he will be missed by this game.

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30. Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins 1967-1980)
2nd Place Dolphins QB
Career Record 102-59-3 (63.11%) 16th out of 102


Record with Good Defense 84-15-2 (84.16%) 21st out of 102
Record with Bad Defense 18-44-1 (29.37%) 43rd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 101/164 (61.59%) 16th out of 102 (-14)


Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.069)

Griese_Bob50_Dolphins.jpg

A two time super bowl champion, a multiple time pro bowler, and the leader of the Miami Dolphins, Bob Griese had a long and storied career as one of the quarterbacks on one of the stacked teams in the dead ball era. In the West you had the Oakland Raiders, in the central, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and in the East, the Miami Dolphins reigned supreme in the American Football Conference. But Griese's career didn't start off all sunshine and roses, and he'd probably want to forget most of the 60's if possible. He took the starting job early on as the incumbent quarterback suffered an injury early in 1967, letting Griese take the reigns and never look back. He put up big numbers for the era, but wins were hard to come by as the Dolphins finished with three consecutive losing seasons. However, the 1970's marked a great change as the leagues merged, and the Dolphins poached a young head coach from the Baltimore Colts, who had just lost the super bowl two years prior. The culture immediately changed, and the Dolphins went from losers, to a 10-4 record, best in the AFC East. The Dolphins would rely on the backfield of Larry Czonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris for the next few seasons, and with a stout defense, the Dolphins were playoff contenders year in and year out. in 1970, they lost to the Raiders as they couldn't stop the mad bombs of Daryle Lamonica. 1971 saw the Dolphins finish with a 10-3-1 record, as Griese threw 19 TD's to only 9 INT's. His ability to protect the ball in the dead ball era gave the Dolphins an edge against the lesser teams in the AFC. 1971 would see them make it to the super bowl, after surviving a long game with the Chiefs in the divisional round and stealing an OT win, followed by a defensive shellacking of the Colts where Griese only needed to throw the ball 8 times all game. However, they came face to face with the Dallas Cowboys who would not take losing for an answer, and dominated them 24-3, forcing a couple of turnovers from Griese.

1972 happened, the Dolphins had a perfect season, but Griese didn't even play for most of it, breaking his leg in the 5th game of the season. However Earl Morrall kept the team steady through the regular season, and when Griese was needed the most, he stepped in during the postseason. And while he didn't throw very much (just 19 attempts in one and a half games), he didn't make crucial mistakes and the Dolphins handled both the Steelers and Redskins on the way to a super bowl victory. 1973 saw Griese play almost the entire season, going 12-1 as a starter, (12-2 on the season), and again playing efficient football, throwing 17 TDs to only 8 INT's. They would continue to rely on their running game as the Dolphins steamrolled the Bengals, Raiders and Vikings on their way to their second super bowl in three seasons. Griese and the Dolphins would fail to win another super bowl, but they remained playoff competitors through most of the 70's. 1974 would see them in the post season again, but suffer a crushing defeat in the Sea of Hands game, as Ken Stabler found Clarence Davis in the endzone to snag a 28-26 victory. Griese would break his foot midway through 1975 in a loss to the Colts, and despite the Fish going 10-4, it wasn't enough to make the postseason that year, because they lost to the Colts. 1976 would see Griese put up his first losing record of the 70's, as the Fins were plagued by injury and lost a lot of close games.

The Fins would rebound in 1977, as Bob Griese discovered the power of wearing glasses on the field. He led the league in TD passes and Passer rating, but a 10-4 record just wasn't enough as they were bounced once again by the Baltimore Colts on tiebreakers. 1978 would see the Dolphins return to the playoffs, as Griese started to miss more and more time with injuries, but they got in with an 11-5 record, but couldn't figure out the Oilers and their defense. Injuries slowed Griese down in 1979, but they were still able to make the postseason before suffering a mercy kill to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Griese started a few games in 1980 and came off the bench in a few, but yet another injury, (this one to his shoulder) marked the end of his playing career.

The Dolphins were a consistent contender under Griese. With a powerful running game, incredibly strong defense, and one of the greatest coaches to ever live coaching their team, Griese had little to want for. Though his attempts per game were considerably lower than many of his highly touted contemporaries, Griese matched them in efficiency and intellect. He would call his own plays at the line, and was unflinchingly unselfish, preferring to let his pro bowl running backs take the majority of the work. And when a bomb needed to be thrown, Griese would be there to make it happen. His splits were both very good, and he definitely benefited from some incredible defensive performances, ending up with the 16th best defense on this list. The Dolphins had the best winning percentage in the 70's, and Griese is a large part of that success.

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