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Historical QB Rankings

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29. John Brodie* (San Francisco 49ers 1957-1973)
(Misses the first 9 years of his career due to era cutoff)
3rd Place 49ers QB
Career Record 46-42-6 (52.13%) 54th out of 102

Record with Good Defense 30-7-1 (80.26%) 38th out of 102
Record with Bad Defense 16-35-5 (33.04%) 27th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 38/94 (40.43%) 89th out of 102 (+60)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.071)

Image result for john brodie

"Who?" That may be a fair assessment, but John Brodie was an incredible player for his era, and even more impressive still to end up on this list despite me not counting the first 9 years of his career. Brodie was a 49er his entire playing career, beating out the legendary Y.A. Tittle for the starting role. So by 1966 he was well entrenched as the 49ers starter, and was coming off of a season where he threw for 3100 yards and 30 TD's. None of that counted for this list, but Brodie was no one trick pony. Throughout the 60's, the 49ers would be one of the teams that most heavily relied on the passing game, and while they weren't competing with the best teams of the conference due to poor defensive play, Brodie would be sure to keep his teams within striking distance. 1970 would mark Brodie's best season, and a year in which he won league MVP, completing 59% of his passes for nearly 3000 yards, 24 TD's and only 10 INT's, which would be great numbers in the 90's, let alone the advent of the dead ball era. He was also sacked a whopping 8 times all season long as the 49ers went 10-3-1 and made the postseason for the first time since Brodie's rookie year in 1957. They would beat the Vikings in the divisional round, but fall short to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game. Brodie would see his efficiency drop significantly in 1971, but the 49ers still made the playoffs at 9-5. They would handle the Washington Redskins, but had no answers for the Dallas Cowboys, whose stifling defense had all the answers for the 36 year old in a 14-3 loss. Brodie would struggle with injuries and would spend most of the 1972 season sitting behind Steve Spurrier, but came back for the playoffs, just in time to lose to the Dallas Cowboys once again, this time in a 30-28 offensive shootout, capped off by a 15 point comeback by Roger Staubach. Brodie's last season would be in 1973, a year in which injuries and poor play led the 49ers to a 5-9 record, and the twilight of a legend's career. He retired in third place for career passing yards, only behind Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton.

Brodie's splits are both above average, and it really showed how much the 49ers relied on his output while he was there. He only played in the playoffs three times in his career, and each time he was taken out by the Dallas Cowboys, which is just sort of unfortunate timing. I'd say those losses really marked the beginning of the 49ers / Cowboys, that only grew in scale with their duels in the 80's and 90's. He ends up being one of the biggest overachievers compared to his defensive play, which is probably the best thing you can say about him. He was also one hell of a golfer, and a Scientologist. Life certainly takes you places, that's for sure.

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28. Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens 2008-2018, Denver Broncos 2019-Current)
1st Place Ravens QB
Career Record 102-66-0 (60.71%) 23rd out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 84-16-0 (84.00%) 23rd out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 18-50-0 (26.47%) 58th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 100/168 (59.52%) 23rd out of 102 (-5)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.086) (0.925 after the 2018 season)

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The ever auspicious Joe Flacco is the last Raven to grace this list, and I really hate that he's so high on here. Granted, his career isn't over yet, and lots of active guys are currently benefiting from not adding the twilight years of their career to this list, but Joe Flacco is definitely on the downswing, as his replacement by Lamar Jackson shows. In any case, Flacco was a first round pick in 2008, and was coach Harbaugh's stamp on the team he inherited from Brian Billick. Flacco's talent level was definitely higher than most players to ever wear the uniform, and combined with the Ravens defense and a reliance on the run game, the Ravens went 11-5 in his rookie season, and defeated both the surprise division winning Dolphins, and the Tennessee Titans in a defensive showdown, before falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 23-14 loss. A game in which Flacco threw three interceptions, including a pick six to Troy Polamalu. 2009 would see Flacco's numbers improve, but finish with a worse at 9-7. This was still enough to sneak them into the wild-card round, and even beat the New England Patriots handily despite only throwing 10 times, before getting crushed by the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round 20-3. 2010 and 2011 would mark back to back 12-4 seasons for the Ravens, but they would both end in the playoffs, as the Ravens blew a 21-3 halftime lead against the Steelers in 2010, and Lee Evans dropped the game winning touchdown along with Billy Cundiff missing an easy 32 yard field goal to send the game into overtime against the Pats in 2011. I suppose fate decided they owed the Ravens one, and the 2012 season happened.

I still have nightmares about Jacoby Jones, and Rahim Moore failing to drop back into coverage. The Ravens went 10-6, ekeing into the playoffs under a remarkably similar performance from years past by Flacco, some 60% completion percentage, 22 TD's to 10 picks, and 3800 yards or so, the typical performance from him. Ray Lewis announced that this would be his retirement tour and I guess everyone laid down and died so he could have a ring? I dunno, don't ask me to explain 2012, I don't get it either. They manhandled the Colts, now running the offense with rookie QB Andrew Luck and making him look like a rookie in a 24-9 victory. They faced the Broncos in the divisional round and outscored the Broncos 38-35 in a game capped off by a Peyton Manning interception. Then they faced the tormentors of the AFC in the New England Patriots in the conference championship and made sure the game wasn't going to end on a field goal or a miracle drive by Touchdown Tom, winning 28-13. They came up to the Super bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, and once again, Joe Flacco did not care that he was facing a great defense, he put his boot to their asses and won 34-31, in a game that was only close because the power went out and the Ravens lost all of their momentum after going up 28-6 to start the second half. I should mention that Flacco played out of his mind in that postseason, going 73/126, 1140 yards, 11 TD's and zero turnovers. It was absurd and I don't know where he pulled that performance from. If he had gone on to dominate the league after that, I might have believe 2012 actually happened, and wasn't just some weird fever dream. In any case, Flacco did not go on to dominate the league, in fact, the Ravens failed to make the playoffs in 2013 as Joe Flacco threw 22 interceptions in his first year after getting mad bank. 2014 would mark the last time Flacco would take this team to the playoffs, setting his career high in yards (3986) and TD's (27) in the regular season. They even beat the Steelers in the wild-card round, but failed to overcome the Patriots in a 35-31 offensive shootout. 

2015 would mark the Ravens worst season yet under Flacco, as he went 3-7, with every win being a 4th quarter comeback, and he suffered a season ending knee injury against the Rams in week 11. The Ravens would have middling seasons of 8-8 and 9-7 under Flacco as we reached the end of the data cut off point. Flacco's replacement was drafted in 2018, and just 9 games into the 2018 season he was officially benched for Lamar Jackson, and set packing in the very next offseason. Time will tell what Flacco can do for Denver, but he's been on a decline for a few seasons now as his deep passing has taken a significant hit in the past few seasons. His splits are still very good, and he makes the most of what his defense gives him which is why the Ravens were able to sustain success for so long in those early years with Flacco. I still don't think we'll be seeing him this high when his career ends though.

Edited by RazorStar
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27. Fran Tarkenton* (Minnesota Vikings 1961-1966, 1972-1978, New York Giants 1967-1971)
(Misses the first 5 years of career due to era cutoff)
4th Place Vikings and 1st Place Giants QB
Career Record 107-75-3 (58.65%) 30th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 78-16-2 (82.29%) 31st out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 29-59-1 (33.15%) 26th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 96/185 (51.89%) 51st (T) out of 102 (+24)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.157)

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This was not a player I was expecting to see so soon on the list, but when it comes to the best of the best, the margins are razor thin. Fran Tarkenton retired with the NFL record for completions, attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns, rushing yards for a quarterback and interceptions. If you wanted a player who could do it all, Fran was your man. He was the first quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, and went through all the lumps of working with an expansion franchise, suffering a lot of losses in his early seasons. Luckily for him, most of those are cut off by the period of the study. He was traded to the New York Giants in 1967, because while Tarkenton was putting up good numbers, the Vikings weren't breaking past .500, and he often clashed with his head coach for being a scrambling QB when Van Brocklin wanted him to be a field general. He was traded for four draft picks, two of them becoming stalwarts of the Vikings offensive line (Ron Yary and Ed White). Tarkenton did great work for the Giants, putting up multiple 2500+ yard seasons with 20+ TD passes, and his INT's were low for the era as well, but the team struggled to get past .500 in the 60's. 1970 would mark the Giants best season with Tarkenton, as the team went 9-5 thanks to multiple game winning drives from the man, but the team would regress in 71' as Tarkenton threw 21 picks in his worst season with the Giants. The Giants decided they wanted to move on, so he ended up being traded back to Minnesota for Norm Snead, Vince Clements, and Bob Grim (who was actually one of the players taken with the Giants draft picks from the previous Tarkenton trade.)

There were some growing pains when Tarkenton came back to Minnesota, as the Vikings struggled to a 7-7 record, but he meshed a lot better with Bud Grant than he ever did with Van Brocklin, and by 1973, Tarkenton had finally made it to the postseason dance, leading the Vikings to a 12-2 record as he completed 61% of his passes and had a passer rating of 93.2... in the 1970's. They defeated the Redskins in a 27-20 shootout where they were matching score for score right until the end of the game. Then they took down Dallas in the conference championship. However, they couldn't handle the Miami Dolphins defense and lost 24-7 in the super bowl. Undeterred, the Vikings came right back, going 10-4 in 1974, winning the Central division once again. They took out the St. Louis Cardinals in the divisional round 30-14, then played in a defensive struggle with the Los Angeles Rams, just holding on to a 14-10 victory. However, the super bowl would elude Tarkenton once again, as the Pittsburgh Steelers brought the Steel Curtain down upon them, winning 16-6, where the Vikings only points came off a blocked punt. Tarkenton barely threw for 100 yards, and turned it over four times in the loss. The Vikings would continue to be a dominant force in 1975, as Tarkenton had another amazing season, completing 64% of his passes for 2994 yards, 25 TD's and 12 INT's (again in the dead ball era). However, the dream of three straight super bowl appearances would die, as Drew Pearson came to lay on egg on them in the game that coined the term 'Hail Mary'. The Vikings weren't deterred long, and their success would continue for one more season as they would go 11-2-1 and take the Central division once again. This time they didn't have to play the Cowboys, so they beat up the Redskins 35-20 in the divisional round, and bullied the Rams 24-13 in the conference championship on their way to their third super bowl in four years. However once again in the super bowl, the Vikings offense would fall flat on their face. Punt, Punt, Fumble, Punt, Punt, Punt, End of Half, Punt, Punt, Touchdown, Interception, Pick Six, Turnover on Downs, bring in the backup to end the game. Tarkenton would play for two more seasons, but he was injured halfway through the 77' season, and 1978 would see him throw 32 interceptions on the way to a 8-7-1 record. Which to their credit, was still good enough to make the postseason in the woeful Central division, but the Vikings would get steamrolled by a much hungrier Rams team. Tarkenton would retire after that 1978 season, and the Vikings would never reach a super bowl after that.

Tarkenton splits the middle when it comes to his defense's performances, but it's basically a tale of having bad ones when he was a Giant, and great ones as a Viking his second time around. His splits with good and bad defense are both above average, which you'd come to expect from a hall of famer like Fran. Though the Vikings never did win the super bowl when he was at the helm, he constantly put them in great positions to win games and helped make the Vikings one of the best teams of the 70's, though the lack of a title would put them behind the Cowboys, Dolphins, Raiders, and especially the Steelers of the era. He had to toil on some bad teams for a long time, but the third act of his career was one of the best we've ever seen.

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I kind of thought Tarkenton would be higher on the list. He was like Russell Wilson before Russell Wilson even thought about being Russell Wilson. 

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To be fair, Razor did say he cut off the first 5 years of his career. It’d be interesting to see if those five years would’ve helped or hurt his ranking though.

Also, never insult Mr. Tarkenton like that again. He deserves better than Russell Wilson comparisons. Kappa

Also, Flacco being at 28 may just invalidate this entire list — what a joke lol! 

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I also hate Joe Flacco being this high on the list, but I've got one or two more players who feel absolutely egregious, like they gamed my system... I'll get to them later of course.


26. Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh Steelers 1970-1983)
2nd Place Steelers QB
Career Record 120-55-0 (68.57%) 7th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 104-22-0 (82.54%) 29th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 16-33-0 (32.65%) 29th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 126/175 (72.00%) 1st out of 102 (-25)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.186)

Image result for terry bradshaw

It feels like Terry Bradshaw has been a crotchety old man all of his life. Of course I wasn't alive when the steel curtain dawned upon the NFL, but judging by the playing images, you can't tell me Terry Bradshaw hasn't been at least 50 years old for his entire life. As you would expect from the quarterback behind the Steel Curtain, he has the best defenses out of everyone in this study, with his teams holding opposing offenses to 20 or less points in 72% of his outings. However, it's far too easy to look at the great defense and say that's the reason why Scary Terry won four super bowls with them, but the evidence shows that his splits are actually really good as well, landing in the top 30 for both games with good and bad defense. The Steelers were talented all over, but Terry earned his spot on the team, and earned those four super bowl rings.

Bradshaw was taken first overall by the Steelers in 1970, in an attempt to turn around a team whose entire role was to dwell in the basement of the NFL, and never taste a modicum of success. Chuck Noll was trying to build a dynasty, but those take time and patience to build. In his rookie season splitting time with Terry Hanratty, he threw 24 interceptions in just 8 starts, but the Steelers improved on their 1-13 record from the year prior, so Bradshaw took the reins in his sophomore season. The interceptions still flew like pigeons, but 1971 saw Bradshaw complete more passes, throw more touchdowns, and bring the team to a 6-8 record. 1972 would mark the year that the Steelers finally arrived, and following a more conservative gameplan, they went 11-3 and found themselves in the playoffs. They were able to beat the Oakland Raiders 13-7 thanks to the immaculate reception, and cemented themselves into NFL Lore, even if they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in the conference championship. The tide was rising for the Steelers as most of their defensive studs were 26 or younger, and they continued to ride. However 1973 would see Terry Bradshaw suffer a seperated shoulder midway through the season, and for an injury that would end seasons today, Bradshaw only missed a few weeks, but the Steelers limped into the playoffs at 10-4, and found themselves outmatched against the Oakland Raiders in the rematch in 1973, as Bradshaw threw three interceptions in a 33-14 loss. The controversy at quarterback would continue as in 1974, Bradshaw lost his job to Joe Gilliam for a few weeks, but the Steelers were doing something incredible, and Gilliam looked flat despite the team going 4-1-1 with him, which prompted the change to Bradshaw. The Steelers closed out the season 6-2, and found themselves atop the AFC Central. despite Bradshaw having one of his worst seasons at the position. He got his shit together in the postseason though, as they crushed the Bills 32-14 in the divisional round, then took revenge on the Raiders in the AFC championship, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter as both Harris and Rocky Bleier nearly rushed for 100 yards. Then the defense brought the pain to Fran Tarkenton, winning 16-6. The Steelers relied on their running game to get most of the yards, but Terry stayed steady and didn't give the ball up in the victory, and drove the dagger in when the Vikings made it 9-6.

Terry would improve as a quarterback after that season, almost like a spark was lit in him, and he was probably at his best in 1975, completing 57.7% of his passes for 18 TDs and only 9 interceptions on the way to a 12-2 record and another Central division title. He'd save his turnovers for the postseason, but his defense would match in creating them as they beat up the Colts in the divisional round after taking out their starting quarterback 28-10. Then they set their sights on the Oakland Raiders and won 16-10 in a game where Bradshaw threw three picks, and his team fumbled four more times. Of course the Raiders also gave the ball up 5 times in a Steelers victory. Gotta love Dead Ball football, right? In any case, the Super Bowl against the high flying Dallas Cowboys was a battle of the bombs as Staubach and Bradshaw fought for control. In the end, Bradshaw's 2 TD's and 209 yards trumped Staubachs 2 TD's, 204 yards with 3 turnovers that were very nearly 6. 1976 held hopes for a Steelers three peat, but Bradshaw suffered injuries to his neck and wrist that caused him to miss about half the season, and when he came back for the playoffs, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier were lost to injury in the divisional round against the Colts. The Steelers still beat them 40-14, but they had no gas against the Black Hole, and lost 24-7. So in a season where they spent 8 of the last 9 weeks holding teams to less than 7 points ended just short of glory. 1977 would see the Steelers sneak into a central division title at 9-5, but the steel curtain was misaligned all season, and they couldn't stop Craig Morton and the Denver Broncos in the divisional round, losing 34-21 in the mile high air.

The rule changes of 1978 would come into effect, largely in an attempt to stop the Steel Curtain's dominance. All it really did was introduce the world to what a mad bomber could do when you took him out of prison. The Steelers offense would set the league alight, with Bradshaw throwing 28 TD's, completing 56% of his passes and nearly throwing for 3000 yards on the way to a 14-2 record, tops in the league that season. They got payback against the Broncos, beating them 33-10 in Three Rivers. then they took out Earl Campbell and the Houston Oilers 34-5 in the conference championship. Which brought them to another Super Bowl date with the Dallas Cowboys. One of their linebackers insulted Terry's intelligence, and Terry went ham and cheese on the Dallas defense, going 17/30 for 318 yards and four touchdown passes in a 35-31 offensively driven shootout. This should have been the game that ended the 'just a game manager' talk... but people's memories are short. The Steelers would ride Terry's arm in 1979 going a more modest 12-4 as Terry found a few more interceptions to throw that season. Still, they walked through the AFC, handily beating the Dolphins and the Oilers in the playoffs, and outmatching the surprise Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, thanks to a few Terry Bradshaw bombs in the 4th quarter to end the game. 

The Steelers would win 4 super bowls in 6 years, but all good things come to an end. The Steelers struggled with injury and close losses in the 1980 season, going 9-7 and missing the playoffs entirely. Bradshaw would get hurt in december in 1981, and the Steelers would lose their last three on their way to a .500 record. 1982 would mark the last time Terry Bradshaw would see the playoffs, and struggling through a nagging elbow injury the Steelers went 6-3, but when faced against the Air Coryell offense, the Steel Curtain simply was out of time and out of place in a 31-28 loss. 1983 would be Terry's last season, one in which he only played a single game before his elbow popped and he had to leave. His retirement was sudden to some, but the writing was on the wall for a player struggling with pain throughout the 80's. The Steelers actually had a golden opportunity to select Dan Marino to continue the Steelers legacy, but refused because they believed Dan Marino needed an opportunity to grow outside of Pittsburgh. This is now widely regarded as a dumb move, as it should have been in 1983, but hindsight is everything these days. Bradshaw was one hell of a winner though, and worthy of the top 30 spot he finds himself in.

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25. Sonny Jurgensen* (Philadelphia Eagles 1957-1963, Washington Redskins 1964-1974)
(Misses the first 9 years of career due to era cutoff)
1st Place Redskins QB
Career Record 39-37-5 (51.23%) 60th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 22-7-1 (75.00%) 61st out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 17-30-4 (37.25%) 13th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 30/81 (37.04%) 98th out of 102 (+73)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.219)

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Let's kick off the top 25 with the oldest player on this list, Christian Adolph Jurgensen, better known as Sonny was a gunslinging quarterback for both the Eagles and Redskins. His time with the Eagles wasn't considered for this list however, as he was traded to Washington in 1964 for Norm Snead and Claude Crabb. Jurgensen barely made this list on starts, owing entirely to the 80 starts in the dead ball era caveat, but it turned out for the best, as when compared to his relative defensive strength, Sonny ends up being the highest overachiever on this list, willing some woeful Redskins teams to wins they probably wouldn't have mustered otherwise. He would often lead the league in attempts in the 60's, as his teams would struggle to muster below .500 records. The Redskins had their best season under coach Vince Lombardi in 1969 as they went 7-5-2, and Jurgensen would have a great season with 3102 passing yards, a 62% completion percentage and 22 TD's. This was actually modest by Jurgensen's standards as he had the best career passer rating pre 1978 with an 82.6, and would often have seasons throwing for 30 TD's in the 60's. Unfortunately for Jurgensen, coach Lombardi would pass away before the 1970 season, and 1970 would also mark the last season Jurgensen would start full time. The Redskins would again go 6-8 in 1970, but their fortunes would change when coach George Allen would take over the team. However, Sonny was mired in a QB controversy with the slightly younger Billy Kilmer (37 to 32), and would only start a few games here and there, until he finally retired in 1974 at the age of 40.

Jurgensen may not have had many opportunities to perform on the biggest stage, but he was an NFL champion as a backup to Norm Van Brocklin in 1960. The Redskins went through coaches like a desperate man in a wal-mart bathroom goes through one ply toilet paper. No matter what change occurred to the Redskins, Jurgensen was the stable and consistent factor that held them together. He struggled through a lot of adversity, and his splits show a player who was always willing to take a risk if it meant a shot at winning. Sometimes it would pan out, and sometimes it wouldn't, but when your team is held together by motor oil and duct tape, you need to do everything you can to stay competitive. Vince Lombardi famously said that if Jurgensen had played for the Packers, they would have never lost a game. I can almost believe it, coming from the great one himself.

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24. Rich Gannon (Minnesota Vikings 1987-1992, Washington Redskins 1993-1994, Kansas City Chiefs 1995-1998, Oakland Raiders 1999-2004)
3rd Place Vikings, 3rd Place Chiefs and 3rd Place Raiders QB
Career Record 77-59-0 (56.62%) 39th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 52-17-0 (75.36%) 60th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 25-42-0 (37.31%) 15th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 69/136 (50.74%) 59th out of 102 (+35)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.234)

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Man, remember when the Raiders were good? Remember when Jon Gruden was an offensive guru? Rich Gannon remembers. Rich Gannon remembers carrying a Raiders team on his back and watching them crumble to nothing just as quickly. Gannon's story is a long one, but an interesting one nonetheless. Gannon was drafted in 1987 by the New England Patriots, who had the great idea to turn him into a runningback. That wasn't gonna fly, and he was traded to Minnesota not long after that. He then proceeded to spend three year as the third string quarterback, learning the ropes behind Tommy Kramer and Wade Wilson. It took until 1990 for Gannon to finally get a chance starting, and he took a while to get going, but once he did, the Vikings had won 5 straight going into the end of the season. Too bad they sucked beforehand, but still. Despite playing well in relief of Wade Wilson in 1990, he was demoted back to third string in 1991 by coach Jerry Burns, and once again had to prove he was worthy of starting. He got his opportunity in week 5, relieving Wilson after he had thrown 3 interceptions against the Broncos. Gannon didn't screw up in relief, so he got to start the next week... and the week after that until the end of the season. Taking the Vikings to a .500 record, Gannon improved on his numbers from 90, getting sacked less and throwing less interceptions. Gannon beat out Sean Salisbury for the starting job in 92' and took the Vikings to an 8-3 record. However after suffering a knee injury a few weeks prior, his diminished play forced Dennis Green to play Salisbury for the rest of the season. The Vikings would finish the season 11-5, but fail to win the wild card round against the Washington Redskins. And so, Rich Gannon pulled a Kevin Durant and joined the team that beat him.

Gannon once again found himself on the third string behind Mark Rypien and Cary Conklin, but still managed to start a few games because Rypien got hurt, and Cary Conklin was hot garbage. He went 1-3 in his starts, and was replaced by the ailing Rypien in his 4th game against the Jets, one in which they lost 3-0. Gannon looked awful, and he didn't even see the field in 1994 because he had to undergo shoulder surgery. The Redskins released him, and he found his way to Kansas City. He spent 95' and 96' backing up Steve Bono, starting a few games here and there, but started a QB controversy in 1997, as the Chiefs went 5-1 in Elvis Grbac's absence. However, Coach Schottenheimer elected to go with Grbac during the playoffs, and the Chiefs lost their wildcard game to the red hot Denver Broncos. 98' would see Gannon split time with Grbac, and he would go 5-5 to Grbac's 2-4 as the Chiefs regressed from being a 13 win team. Gannon spent a lot of time bouncing around, but Oakland just happened to be the perfect storm for the man. He was signed by the Raiders as a free agent, and became the immediate starter. No controversy, no struggling from the third string to get reps, just here's the ball, now go.

Gannon would finally show the league what he could do, 13 seasons into his career. He'd throw for 3840 yards, 24 TD's and 14 INT's as he worked the West Coast Offense to perfection on the way to an 8-8 record. He'd only continue to improve with age, as the year 2000 had him go for 3430 yards, 28 TDs to only 12 INT's, and the Raiders would finish 12-4, giving Gannon his first real taste of postseason play, that wasn't just coming in to get slaughtered in garbage time. They'd stomp the Miami Dolphins, who had just seen Dan Marino retire the season prior, but fall in the conference championship to the mighty Ravens defense. Gannon would again take the Raiders to the postseason with his offensive prowess, going 10-6, completing 65.8% of his passes, and having a 3:1 TD:INT ratio. He'd put up a clinic against the New York Jets in the wild-card round, throwing for 3 TDs in a 38-24 victory. However the Raiders came up against the New England Patriots, and despite being in a tight defensive struggle, the Raiders defense made the most important play of the game, stripping the ball from the young sophomore QB, Tom Brady. Except that never happened, because it was an incomplete pass. Instead of being able to run out the clock up 13-10, the Raiders watched helplessly as Brady drove the Patriots into field goal range, watched Vinatieri kick a 45 yarder in the snow, and then lost the coin flip and watched the Patriots offense methodically drive the ball through their defense chunk by chunk and kick a 22 yard game winner in overtime. And so came 2002, Gannon's greatest year yet. Even though Jon Gruden had left for Tampa, Bill Callahan had left the offense pretty much the same as always and put the game on the shoulder of Gannon. He decided to go 418/618 for 4689 yards, throw 26 TDs to only 10 INT's and take the Raiders to an 11-5 record. Gannon would leave nothing to doubt in the AFC side of the playoffs, toasting the Jets in the Divisional Round 30-10, then pounding the Titans 41-24 in the conference championship. The only problem was, Gannon ended up face to face against his former coach... who had all of the Raider playcalls committed to memory. Gannon was thrown into the Gruden grinder, and threw 5 interceptions in the super bowl, including three pick sixes, the most in NFL history to this day, as the Raiders got beaten up 48-21.

Gannon would hit his twilight soon after that, suffering a shoulder injury half way through the 2003 season, and then having his career officially ended by the Buccaneers on a helmet to helmet collision in 2004. Gannon brought his A Game with the Raiders, often getting into offensive shootouts with the opposing teams, and being the gunslinger to come out on top. Though he spent so much of his early career going from place to place, just trying to get playing time and respect as a quarterback, he took a long road to end up a Raider, where for a brief 4 year period, he may have been the best QB in the game. However his career tends to get forgotten, falling in between the legendary heydays of the Aikman/Young/Elway/Favre/Kelly bonanza, and the Manning/Brady golden age that happened right as Gannon was trailing off into the sunset. 

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Some players just find a way to game the system, find every edge to get themselves a higher spot than they probably deserve. This is the ranking that probably confused me the most, or at least it's in the top 5. This player knew that the best way to do so would be to play at no time but their prime and get just enough starts to qualify. They would stay on the bench to develop in their first few seasons, and then stay as a backup to players who never get injured once the prime hit its ignominious end. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you Quarterback Number 23...


23. Matt Schaub (Atlanta Falcons 2004-2006, 2016-Current, Houston Texans 2007-2013, Oakland Raiders 2014, Baltimore Ravens 2015)
1st Place Texans QB
Career Record 49-44-0 (52.69%) 50th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 35-4-0 (89.74%) 4th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 14-40-0 (25.93%) 60th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 39/93 (41.94%) 86th (T) out of 102 (+63)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.266)


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That's right. Matt Schaub finishes higher than Ringless Rivers, Eli Manning, and several other QB's who have had legitimate hall of fame careers. Matt Schaub went 1-3 in his first three seasons as a backup to Michael Vick, but he impressed enough in that span to go to another team and start. The funny thing is, if Atlanta had anticipated Michael Vick going to jail, they probably would have held onto Schaub, and missed out on Matt Ryan. In any case, Schaub developed under new coach Gary Kubiak, but the Texans were still woefully inadequate on defense, leaving the team to struggle a lot of losses in 2007 and 2008, as the Texans new franchise QB missed about half of those seasons with injuries. They still managed to finish with .500 records in those seasons and their fortunes changed in 2009, where with Schaub surviving the entire season without injury brought the Texans to a 9-7 record, their first winning record in franchise history. Schaub had nearly 4800 yards on the seasons, with 29 TD's to 15 INT's, and the season ended on a 4 game winning streak. Schaub would continue to put on a passing clinic in 2010, but his defense regressed from being middle of the pack, to being bottom 5, and the Texans went 6-10 as a result, the defense giving up 24 or more points in all but 2 games that year. The Defense took a massive step forward in 2011 however, thanks to the introduction of rookie JJ Watt, and the development of other pieces around him. Things were looking great, as the Texans got off to a 7-3 start with Matt Schaub at the helm, but he suffered a season ending Lisfranc injury just before their bye week. While the Texans were able to limp into the postseason under the QB battery of T.J. Yates, Jake Delhomme and Matt Leinart, and even win their first playoff game thanks to a strong defensive performance against the Bengals, that battery of QB's stood no chance against the vaunted Ravens Defense.

All things were pointing towards 2012 being the Texans season. Matt Schaub was healthy the entire year, the defense was improving at a fast pace, and he was surrounded by weapons like Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. Schaub put up another 4000 yard season as the Texans went 12-4, and won the AFC South for their second year in a row. The Bengals proved no obstacle the second time around, as the Texans won 19-13 in Schaub's first playoff start. However it was clear that the team simply could not go toe to toe with the New England Patriots in the divisional round, and lost 41-28 despite the offense's best effort to play catch up. And just as abruptly as the dream came to fruition for Schaub and the Texans, it died. 2013 would see Schaub hit a wall so fast you had to wonder if it wasn't intentional that he threw four pick-sixes in four straight weeks. He found himself benched for Case Keenum, only finishing out the season because Keenum could not. The Texans went 2-6 with Schaub starting, and 2-14 on the season as Gary Kubiak was fired early in December. Schaub has been floating around the league as a backup ever since, only starting a couple of games for the Ravens while Joe Flacco was out in 2015. Schaub is still an active QB in this league, and there is still time for his WAA to change, but this is probably the biggest outlier on the list. 

Schaub's prime was very good as he helped bring an expansion team into relevance with his arm, but the real kicker is just how well he played when his defenses were doing their job. Only three quarterbacks managed a better record when their defenses were playing well, and all three of them are either in the hall of fame on the first ballot or will be first ballot hall of famers when their time comes. His rate when his defenses played poorly were just a shade above average, and unfortunately for Schaub that was a lot of his games, as the Texans really didn't get their defense together until 2011. Because Matt Schaub's career is so wrong, and he spends so many years as a backup after establishing himself on this list, I made an adjustment that reflects his real wins above average. He spent 4 years as a backup, and averaged about 13 starts a season. Giving a backup a win rate of -0.5 games per season, Schaub's numbers drop to 0.591, just between Donovan McNabb and Andy Dalton at 48th place.

Edited by RazorStar
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22. Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins 1983-1999)
1st Place Dolphins QB
Career Record 154-103-0 (59.92%) 26th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 120-21-0 (85.11%) 18th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 34-82-0 (29.31%) 44th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 141/257 (54.86%) 36th out of 102 (+14)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.407)

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Now that we're heading towards the top 20, pretty much every guy you're going to see here are veritable legends of an era, the most talked about players of their times, if not today. Dan Marino was a thrower unparalleled in his time, and perhaps still without competition. Though the man was a statue, his release was so fast that rushers could never get a bead on him, and his arm strength so superior that nowhere on the field was untouchable for Dan the Man. So how in god's green earth does a talent like that fall all the way to 27 in the 1983 NFL Draft? Teams make mistakes all the time, but the Jets and the Steelers probably regret passing on Marino the most, considering the Jets never had a guy on Namath's level since he retired, and the Steelers spent 21 years waiting for their next true franchise quarterback. In any case, Dan was a beast, and a fact that he retired with nearly every passing record in the book is a testament to his skill and ability, and even 20 years after retirement, is still 5th all time in career wins. Marino's splits are both very good, hitting nearly 30% with bad defenses, and hitting the top 20 for winning percentage with good defenses. Luckily with coach Shula by his side for most of his career, good defenses were practically a given, at least early on.

Marino spent the first half of his rookie season learning behind Don Strock and David Woodley, the so called Woodstrock combination that took the Dolphins to a Super Bowl the year prior. He immediately showed exactly what someone of his talent could do, going 7-2 in his 9 starts, throwing only 6 INT's on 296 throws. However he suffered a knee injury against the Falcons in week 14, which led him to sit out the last two weeks of the season, only to come in cold in the postseason against the Seattle Seahawks. Marino threw a couple of interceptions, and the Seahawks won 27-20 in the divisional round. Marino's second year is considered by many to be one of the greatest seasons by a passer in NFL history, and for damn good reason. Sure the passing rules opened up a little after 1978, but they weren't up to the golden age standard we see today where DB's basically aren't allowed to breathe on opposing WR's lest they concede an automatic first down. Marino completed 64% of his pases for 5084 yards, 48 TD's and 17 INT's while only getting sacked 13 times on the way to a 14-2 record. Marino got revenge against the Seahawks in the divisional round winning 31-10, and then took out the Pittsburgh Steelers in the conference championship game 45-28, throwing for 4 TD's and 421 yards. The Dolphins looked unstoppable heading into Super Bowl 19... unfortunate for them, they faced the San Francisco 49ers, led by the toughest defense in the league. The game was close early on, and looked like we might get an offensive shootout, but the 49ers had all of the answers for Dan Marino and stifled him after the first quarter on the way to a 38-16 shellacking. And despite all of Marino's future accolades and prowess in the league, he would never see another super bowl after that magical season.

1985 would see Marino break 4000 yards passing again, but with 21 interceptions, they only finished 12-4. However they were the only team to successfully beat the Chicago Bears that season, thanks to a 3 TD performance by Marino. They would fall short in the conference championship game, losing to New England's ball control offense 31-14. Marino would have a great 1986 campaign, throwing for 44 TD's, and 4746 yards, but the team around him would start degrading as the Dolphins only finished 8-8 that season. 1987 would see Marino struggle with a dislocated index finger and miss a few games throughout the season because of it, as the team went 8-7. Marino would throw 606 times in 1988 and only get sacked 6 times, on the way to another 4000+ yard season, but the Dolphins only went 6-10, as Marino decided interceptions were the cool thing that season, throwing 23 of them. His efficiency was worse in 1989, but the Dolphins struggled to a .500 record. 

It'd take until 1990 for the Dolphins to make it back to the postseason, Marino deciding to lay off the interceptions was a big help, but the defense stopped playing like a bottom 5 group as well, only giving up 24 or more points in 3 games that year, on the way to a 12-4 mark. They would beat the Chiefs 17-16 in the divisional round, in a game where Dan Marino threw two touchdowns in the 4th quarter to keep them alive. However, they would face the juggernaut Bills in the conference championship, and despite putting up 34 points, the Bills put up 44, and saw the Dolphins sitting at home for the 1990 super bowl. 1991 was supposed to be better, but the defense once again reverted back to a bottom 5 defense, and the Dolphins struggled to a .500 record, including losing their last two games of the regular season, where a single win would have put them into the playoffs. 1992 would mark the year where Dan Marino willed the team to victories he didn't know they had, as he led 6 4th quarter comebacks, threw for 4000+ yards again, on the way to an 11-5 record and a first round bye. They would dominate the Chargers 31-0 in the divisional round, but when faced up against the Bills in the conference championship, Marino went cold, throwing 2 picks, and losing 29-10. 1993 would not fare much better for the Dolphins, as despite starting 4-1, Marino tore his achilles' tendon in a win against the Cleveland Browns, and the Dolphins would lose their last 5 games of the season to miss the playoffs entirely.

Marino would comeback with a vengeance in 1994, participating in one of the greatest shootouts in NFL history against the Patriots, and doing a fake spike in a victory against the New York Jets, as the Fish clawed their way to a 10-6 record. It took 10 years, but Montana finally got his revenge on Joe Montana for super bowl 19, beating the Chiefs 27-17 in the wild card round. However, the dream season would die, as the San Diego Chargers beat the Dolphins 22-21 in the divisional round, after coming back from a 21-6 deficit at halftime. The Dolphins kicker missed a 48 yard shot to take the lead at the end of the game, and the rest was history. 95 would see the Phins make the playoffs again, but after being put in a 27-0 hole by the Bills in the wildcard round, they couldn't muster enough to make a comeback in a 37-22 loss, and Don Shula's last game as the Dolphins head coach. 1996 would see the Phins miss the playoffs at 8-8, but at 9-7, they'd make it as a wild-card team in 1997. However, they stood no chance against the Patriots, who had swept them in the regular season, and Marino looked downright anemic in a 17-3 loss. The Dolphins would make the Playoffs in both the 1998 and 1999 seasons, but in each game they would get choked out in the divisional rounds, losing 38-3 to the super bowl winning Denver Broncos in 1998, and then getting absolutely wrecked 62-7 by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 99' as Marino had the very worst game of his career to cap it all off. The Dolphins refused to bring him back for the 2000 season, and after declining a few offers from other teams due to his concerns about his health, he decided to retire.

Marino was a beast of a player early on in his career, but it felt like the longer he played, the more teams had found out exactly what they needed to do to slow him down. Marino developed a reputation as a choker, but honestly outside of his first 4-5 seasons the teams around him just weren't that impressive, and the Dolphins were lucky to get into the postseason, as they would be fed to the more stacked teams in the conference. He had a great career, but never got to finish with a super bowl ring, despite a few really good chances.

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On the bright side, Schaub sitting at #23 is gonna make everyone forget about Flacco at #28.

Expected Marino to be higher, but that may just be a player's prestige clouding things.

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21. Len Dawson* (Pittsburgh Steelers 1957-1959, Cleveland Browns 1960-1961, Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs 1962-1975)
(Misses the first 9 years of career due to era cutoff)
2nd Place Chiefs QB
Career Record 70-38-5 (64.16%) 15th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 56-7-3 (87.12%) 10th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 14-31-2 (31.91%) 32nd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 66/113 (58.41%) 25th out of 102 (+4)

Wins Above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.451)

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Ah Len Dawson. Back in the days when one could just drink and smoke on the sideline, Len Dawson is one of the oldest players to qualify for this list, being a competitor in the very first super bowl between the Green Bay Packers and his Kansas City Chiefs. Dawson's path before the super bowl era was one of turmoil and struggle. He was unable to make a dent as an early draft pick for the Steelers, and after they traded for Bobby Layne in his second season, his time there was cut short. He was traded to the Browns soon after that, and once again could not beat out the opposition to get a start. Dawson would get his first real opportunity with the Dallas Texans, headed up by his old college OC, Hank Stram. The reunion was just what he needed, as the Texans won the league championship under Dawson's stewardship as he'd lead the AFL in YPA and TD's on the way to a 12-2 record. The team would move to KC, and struggle until 1966, where the data set actually begins. Dawson would consistently lead the AFL in completion percentage, touchdowns, and YPA, and 1966 was no different as the Chiefs went 11-2-1, and easily beat the Bills in the AFL Championship. However in the very first super bowl, the Chiefs found themselves outmatched against the Lombardi Packers, and suffered a 35-10 defeat. The Chiefs would have a winning record in 67' but fail to make the playoffs against the 13-1 Raiders winning the division. In 1968 the Chiefs would again find their playoff hopes dashed by the Raiders, despite going 12-2 on the season. 1969 would be the crown jewel of Dawson's career, as he battled through a severe knee injury to help the Chiefs to an 11-3 record, good enough for the second seed in the AFL West division, and good enough to sneak into the postseason that year. He'd throw the game winning TD against the New York Jets in the divisional round, and when faced against their nemesis, the Oakland Raiders, he played consistent ball control offense, and in the end the Chiefs turned it over less and won 17-7. In the Super Bowl, the Vikings offense looked completely lost against the Chiefs dynamite defense, and Len Dawson simply played effective ball control offense, bleeding the Vikings in a 23-7 victory. That would be the Chiefs last appearance in the big dance, as the 70's marked an era of upheaval for them.

Dawson was never quite the same once he turned 35 years young, but the Chiefs relied on him well until he was 40 years old. Dawson never finished a full season, never lead the merged AFL/NFL in TD's, or YPA like he used to, but he compiled enough starts to qualify for the list. 1971 would mark the Chiefs last playoff appearance with Dawson, as a 10-3-1 record won them the AFC West. However, they could not overcome the Dolphins, who beat them 27-24 in a double overtime showdown. Dawson did his best work when his defenses were on point. He's been known historically as something of a frontrunner, and he would play conservatively once his team had established a healthy lead. However, he was also quite effective in shoot outs, being cool under any sort of pressure imaginable. He falls just short of the top twenty on this list, but he was without a doubt a legendary player in this league, and the fact that he could do it drinking beers and smoking cigarettes on the sideline only adds to his mystique and raw power. 

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19. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons 2008-Current)
1st Place Falcons QB
Career Record 97-69-0 (58.43%) 31st out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 68-16-0 (80.95%) 35th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 29-53-0 (35.37%) 18th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 84/166 (50.60%) 61st out of 102 (+42)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.464) (1.363 after the 2018 Season)

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We go from arguably the most dynamic player in NFL history, to a man so generic looking, with such a generic name, that if you had told me Matt Ryan was a 30 something hedge manager who lived in the suburbs with his wife and 1.5 children, I wouldn't have even batted an eye. But Matt Ryan is far more than his generic name and stature would suggest. Ryan was the third overall pick in 2008, to an Atlanta Falcons team that probably did not think they were going to be picking a QB and picking that highly just one year prior. They had traded their backup, Matt Schaub, to the Houston Texans in the 07 offseason, and their starter Michael Vick was indicted for being in a dog fighting ring. That left the QB battery in Atlanta as the first round washout Joey Harrington, the career retread Chris Redman, and the Windup King Byron Leftwich at quarterback. With their hot new college coach skedaddling midway through the season, the Falcons finished 4-12. Luckily for them, neither the Dolphins or Rams picking ahead of them thought they needed to pick a QB early, so Matt Ryan became the immediate face of the franchise in 2008. With a new head coach in Mike Smith, and a workhorse running back with relatively fresh legs added to the team, the Falcons rolled with Ryan at the helm. In his rookie season, they made the playoffs at 11-5, relying on Michael Turner to take a heavy load, but still threw for 3440 yards and 16 TD's while being named Rookie of the Year. However the Falcons flamed out in the wild card round, as Ryan threw a couple of interceptions, took a safety, and had a fumble returned for a touchdown in a 30-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. But Atlanta was happy with the rapid improvement from 2007, just proving that a dead bird bounces higher when you throw it with more velocity against the pavement.

2009 would see Ryan take a little bit more of the offensive load, but he would miss two games with a turf toe injury and struggle a little with turnovers, and the Falcons would barely miss the playoffs at 9-7 because of it. 2010 would see Ryan explode into the public eye, as he took the Falcons to a 13-3 record, setting his best marks in completion percentage (62.5), touchdowns (28), and yards (3705), along with leading 5 4th quarter comebacks. The Falcons were poised for success, but in the divisional round against the Packers, Ryan killed their momentum, throwing a pick six at the very end of the first half to give the Packers a 28-14 lead in a game they would eventually win 48-21. It was a rough outing, but Ryan came back in 2011 and 2012 improving on his numbers each season, and starting a streak of 4000 yard seasons which hasn't been broken yet. However, the Falcons would again find playoff misery in those years, going 10-6 in 2011 meant a date with the  New York Giants, and Matt Ryan could find no offense, losing 24-2 in a game where the Falcons offense didn't even get on the board. 2012 would see the Falcons go 13-3 again, and on the back of Ryan's 4800 yard season, they had a home date with the upstart Seattle Seahawks, who were lead by the rookie Russell Wilson. After fending off a furious comeback from the Seahawks thanks to a 30 second, 41 yard field goal drive, Ryan had finally won his first playoff game 30-28. However, the dream would not last, as the Falcons faced the 49ers in the conference championship game, and when the Falcons needed Ryan the most, he had a couple of costly turnovers, and the 24-14 lead at halftime did not hold.

Still, this was enough to get Ryan a big contract extension as he became the richest QB in football for a short while. The Falcons as a result, regressed quite a bit despite Ryan continuing to put up stellar numbers. They went 4-12 as Ryan took 44 sacks and threw 17 interceptions. 2014 would see the Falcons continue to struggle and finish 6-10, but interestingly enough, they were in the hunt for the division title right to the end because the NFC South was just that bad that year. Coach Mike Smith was fired, and Dan Quinn was brought in to replace him. The Falcons would bump up two more wins in 2015, but 8-8 still does not a playoff contender make. The Falcons would make the final turn around the corner in 2016, in Matt Ryan's best year as a quarterback to this date. Leading the team to an 11-5 record, Ryan threw for 38 TD's, only 7 INT's, and completed nearly 70% of his passes, while still getting over 9 yards per pass attempt. Despite his defense giving up 24 or more points in all but 5 games that year, the Falcons were red hot on offense, and that made all the difference. They faced the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round and put up 36 points on the aging Legion of Boom in an easy 36-20 victory. They faced the Packers in the conference championship, and before the Packers knew it, they were down 31-0 in a game that ended 44-21. They were looking red hot, all the way up to about 8 minutes left in the third quarter of Super Bowl 51. They had stormed out to a 28-3 lead and then... forgot to play football? Like the Patriots did absolutely everything right in that situation to score 25 unanswered, send it into overtime, and then take another 6 after winning the coin toss, but the Falcons did everything wrong, neglecting the clock like it didn't matter, falling apart on defense, and failing to score a single point to put it away for good. In the Falcons second super bowl attempt in franchise history, they would fail once again.

2017 is the last year of this study, and the Falcons were competitive again, Ryan may not have had an MVP type of season, but he still took the team to a 10-6 record and another playoff berth. They would face the Rams in the divisional round, and out grind them 26-13, but when faced against the Eagles and the might of their defense, the Falcons could only fold in a 15-10 defensive struggle, where even though they were able to drive down to the Philadelphia 2 yard line with a minute to go, they simply could not punch it in. 2018 isn't on the study, but despite Ryan having a fabulous year, the Falcons could only go 7-9 as their defense took a major step back thanks to some early injuries to key players. Ryan still has a few years left in the tank, and he's still performing at a very high level. Because of this you can never really count the Falcons out as a threat to contend in the NFC. Ryan has very good splits in both games with good and bad defenses, as he can take over games when he needs to, and convert to a more conservative game plan when he's called upon to do so. Ryan has had the luxury of some real offensive playmakers in his time, but his defenses have been very hit or miss throughout his career, and they have been known to choke remarkably often on the biggest stages. Time will certainly tell what Ryan will do in this league, but it'd be a real shame for 28-3 to be the lasting mark on his legacy.

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18. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks 2012-Current)
1st Place Seahawks QB
Career Record 73-34-1 (68.06%) 8th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 64-9-1 (87.16%) 9th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 9-25-0 (26.47%) 57th (T) out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 74/108 (68.52%) 3rd out of 102 (-15)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.511) (1.701 after the 2018 Season)


It's time for the latest addition to this hall of quarterbacks to make his appearance. Drafted in 2012, he makes it just ahead of his contemporaries in his draft class, but they'd join him soon enough I'm sure. Russell Wilson's story is fascinating, and looking at it now, it's incredible that he fell all the way to the third round in the draft. His draft class was all about Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin the Third. Other guys in this class could be decent, but they were mostly after thoughts. Wilson had built up a reputation as an incredibly efficient passer in both NC State and Wisconsin, and a few scouts and coaches have gone on record saying he would have been taken a lot higher if he was just a few inches taller. However these things are often blessings in disguise, and Wilson fell to the Seahawks in the third round, a team building around an exuberant head coach and ball to the wall defense. The plan was to let him develop behind big free agent signing Matt Flynn, but as training camp went on, it was readily apparent that Russell was ready to make the Seahawks his team. Wilson was named the starter for the regular season, and he hasn't looked back since. Wilson has never thrown more than 11 interceptions on a season. Wilson has never had a losing season in the league. In every year except for 2017, the Seahawks have made the postseason since Wilson became the starter. Early on, Wilson wasn't asked to throw very often, as the Seahawks would establish the run with Marshawn Lynch, and then establish the Russ once their opponents were good and worn down. 

In his rookie season, the Seahawks went 11-5, and found themselves in the wild-card round against the last QB to be mentioned, Matt Ryan. If not for a last minute field goal drive, Wilson would have led a 20 point comeback in his very first playoff game. It was not meant to be, but that game gave the Seahawks a renewed desire to close out games. They would do so, going 13-3 and securing the top seed in the NFC. They would use Marshawn Lynch to bully the Saints in the divisional round and win 23-15, and then in a game considered by many to be the real super bowl of 2013, the Seahawks fought off their mirror image in the San Francisco 49ers and won 23-17 thanks to some 4th quarter heroics from DangerRuss himself, that Colin Kaepernick could not replicate on the other end. The super bowl... well I honestly think I could have won the super bowl playing QB for the Seahawks in 2013, because the Broncos gave up from the very first snap of the game. 2014 had the Seahawks hungry for a repeat, and after ripping off 6 straight wins to end the regular season, the Seahawks were 12-4 and once again on top of the NFC. They would beat the Panthers in the divisional round 31-17, a game sealed by a Newton pick 6, and were set to face the Packers in the conference championship. Things looked bleak early on, as Wilson threw three interceptions in the first half, as the Pack took a 16-0 lead into halftime. The Seahawks were able to get some traction in the third quarter, and score a TD to make it 16-7 thanks to a fake field goal attempt. However Wilson threw his 4th interception in the 4th quarter, and the Packers bled the clock down all the way to 4 minutes after going up 19-7. Of course, Wilson had been making a reputation for 4th quarter heroics at this point, and he pulled one of the greatest horseshoes out of his ass here. Driving down the field, the Seahawks scored a touchdown just ahead of the two minute warning, and made a successful onside kick attempt thanks to one Brandon Bostick of Packers Infamy. The Seahawks made another quick drive down the field, capped off by a Marshawn Lynch TD, and Wilson two point convert to take a 22-19 lead. To the Packers credit, they forced overtime in the last minute, but the Packers failed to win the coin toss, and Wilson bombed it down the field to seal the game 28-22. The Seahawks were set to repeat, looking like a team of destiny, and even playing the New England Patriots in a tight struggle, but when the horseshoe giveth, the horseshoe taketh away. The Seahawks blew a 24-14 lead at the end of the third, and on a two minute drive, needing a touchdown and on the two yard line, the Patriots defense read Wilson's eyes as he threw a pick straight to Malcolm Butler to seal the game.

Wilson would get paid in 2015, which would start to mark the end of the great defenses that Wilson had been surrounded with. Wilson would take a greater offensive load as Marshawn Lynch began to miss time with injuries, but the Seahawks would still finish with a 10-6 record. Once again, Wilson would lead an incredible comeback in the frigid -6F weather, pulling a horseshoe out of his butt in a 10-9 win, more famously remembered for Blair Walsh missing a game winning field goal than anything else. The Seahawks would then get the stuffing pounded out of them by the Panthers, but Wilson would once again try to lead a comeback from down 31-0, and came kind of close in a 31-24 defeat. Wilson would again lead the Seahawks to a 10 win season in 2016, but suffered a couple of minor injuries hampering his mobility as he threw for over 500 times for the first time in his career. The Seahawks would beat the stuffing out of the Lions in the wild card round 26-6, but fail to match the Falcons point for point in the Divisional round in a 36-20 loss. 2017 would see most of the legion of boom stripped, his offensive playmakers diminished, and nearly everything put on his shoulders, as he willed the Seahawks to a 9-7 record, leading the league in touchdown passes, but failing to make the playoffs for the first time in his career. That's where the study ends, but Wilson still has a lot of time to craft his narrative in this league, and he's already looking like one of the greats. 2018 saw his WAA actually increase, despite the only marginal 10-7 record. 

Wilson has leaned upon great defenses for most of his time in the league, and as such, only two quarterbacks on the survey have had it better than him in that regard. Wilson also does his best work when the run and the russ have been firmly established, winning games with efficiency and not volume unlike many other players. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does on the football field in the coming seasons, even if he is utterly sanctimonious off the field.

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17. Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys 2003-2016)
3rd Place Cowboys QB
Career Record 80-51-0 (61.07%) 21st out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 58-14-0 (80.56%) 36th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 22-37-0 (37.29%) 14th out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 72/131 (54.96%) 35th out of 102 (+18)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.523)

Image result for tony romo

We're really getting on a run for these QB's of the late 2000's and 2010's, and Romo is the next contestant on the rank is right. Now the uninformed have shat on Tony Romo for basically his entire career, and I'm here to say that shit is undeserved. Romo was a beast, and one of the great Cowboys we've ever seen, he just didn't have the luxury of being surrounded by hall of famers all over the field like the rest of the Cowboy QB's on this list. Romo was undrafted out of 2003, and drawn to Dallas out of a connection between him and then offensive coordinator Sean Payton being from Eastern Illinois, and a request from coach Bill Parcells who knew that he didn't really have a franchise quarterback, so this kid would have a fair shot to take over. And while he didn't surprass Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson in his rookie season, or Vinny Testaverde or Drew Henson in 2004, he stayed on the roster, and made a living as the Cowboys holder. Romo jumped to the second string by 2005, and in 2006, with Sean Payton finding a head coaching job, he wanted to trade a third rounder for Romo. Jerry Jones said no, it had to at least be a second rounder. So Romo stayed put, and in his 4th season in the league, he got his opportunity to shine. He replaced Drew Bledsoe at halftime in a game against the Giants, and despite throwing three interceptions, the offense was moving, so Parcells named him the starter and rolled from there. Romo would go 6-4 down the stretch, and sneak the Cowboys into a wild-card spot in a weaker NFC. However, Romo's first playoff game would end in tragedy, as the Cowboys blew a 20-13 4th quarter lead thanks to a ill-timed fumble by Terry Glenn on a short pass that ended in a safety, and eventually a touchdown on the Seahawks next possession. Down 21-20, Romo drove the Cowboys all the way to the 2 yard line for what should have been an easy 19 yard field goal. But a bad snap and a bad hold killed the attempt, as Romo desperately scrambled to make it to the first down marker, but fell just short. His reputation as a choke artist would never leave him no matter what he did. Coach Bill Parcells would retire, and Wade Phillips would come in to replace him.

But Romo was still impressive, and still entrenched as the starter, so he made magic happen in 2007, breaking all of the Cowboys single season passing records on the way to a 13-3 record, and the top seed in the NFC. The playoffs would not bode as well for Romo, as the Giants defense helped keep him in check, and with an opportunity to lead a touchdown drive down 21-17, Romo instead found the hands of R.W. McQuarters in another disappointing Cowboys loss. 2008 would see the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs, as Romo suffered an injury that kept him out three weeks in the middle of the season, and the Cowboys lost their last two games of the season in a rather disappointing fashion to end up 9-7. Romo came back healthy in 2009, and even though the start was rough, the Cowboys won their last three games of the season to finish strong at 11-5, including beating the undefeated Saints, and the division leading Eagles at the time. They would then beat the Eagles again in the wild-card round, with Romo throwing for 244 yards and a couple of TDs in a 34-14 win. However the success streak for the Cowboys would end abruptly when faced up against the resurgent Brett Favre and the vicious Vikings Defense. The Boys lost 34-3 in a game where Romo struggled to stay upright, losing the ball three times and getting sacked 6 times. Romo struggled mightily in 2010, trying to make too much happen all by himself, and in his haste, he suffered a clavicle injury in week 6, taking him out for the rest of the season, and giving him an injury that would nag him for the rest of his days.

The Cowboys spent the next three years going .500 under new head coach Jason Garrett, and despite Romo's best efforts, the team around him failed to perform. Romo led 4 fourth quarter comebacks in 2011 that would have been 6 if not for a couple of blocked field goals. He led 5 in 2012, and led 4 game winning drives in 2013 that his defense immediately squandered. The Cowboys were not a good team, but Romo was putting them practically on his back to get them just to mediocrity. If not for suffering a herniated disk at the end of the 2013 season, he might have snuck the Cowboys into another postseason attempt by beating the Eagles, but it was not meant to be. Romo's story was set in ink, at least for every member of the media and in the minds of several people I've had the pleasure of knowing. Someone once said straight to my face that Romo was the worst starting quarterback in the league without any hint of sarcasm. I'd like to think 2014 proved them wrong, but when people are set in their ways, they tend to stay to way. Romo and the Cowboys reeled off a 6-1 start, and when Romo got hurt and replaced by Brandon Weeden, they lost their next two, before Romo came back healthy and went 6-1 to close out the season. He led the league in yards per attempt, completion percentage and passer rating on the way to a 12-4 record, and the third seed in the NFC on tiebreakers. The cowboys would win in the wild card round against the Detroit Lions after coming out cold, and winning 24-20. However, the football gods would not be so kind to the Cowboys a second time around, and in the divisional round against the Green Bay Packers, down 26-21 with 5 minutes to go, Romo throws a game leading touchdown to Dez Bryant... that is overturned, because Bryant didn't have possession of it when he bounced off the ground. Called incomplete, the Packers offense ran the last 5 minutes off the clock, ending the Cowboys hopes once again. Little did we know, the end of Romo's career was nigh. He suffered a collarbone injury early in 2015, and despite being trotted back onto the field midway through the season, the Cowboys were well done without him and they put him back on the shelf after four more games. In 2016, Romo didn't even see the field after suffering a back injury in the preseason. And after seeing what Dakota Prescott could do with Zeke Elliot and that new look offense, the team decided to move on, and Romo decided to retire to become CBS' number one announcer.

Romo's career is filled with controversy, trials and tribulations, because the Cowboys of his time just couldn't lose a game, it had to be a big deal every single time it happened, because Romo was just that electric on the field. I think the memory I most associate Romo with is a play in 2007 against the St. Louis Rams. The centre snapped it well over his head, but Romo scooped it up 35 yards behind the LOS, and instead of just falling on it, he ran to the other side of the field, dodging defenders and eventually making a 5 yard gain on the play. He probably ran for about 100 yards on a 5 yard gain, and that's really what felt like the microcosm of his entire career. Romo's rates in shootouts and games where his defenses show up are both very impressive, but because he had never taken the Cowboys to a super bowl, let alone an NFC Championship Game, really tints the colour of his legacy in many Dallas fan's eyes. The Cowboys never had a losing season where he played the entire season, but when the team was left to the hands of Matt Cassel, Jon Kitna or Brandon Weeden, they struggled mightily in his absence. 

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16. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers 2004-Current)
1st Place Steelers QB
Career Record 149-72-0 (67.42%) 10th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 126-22-0 (85.14%) 17th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 23-50-0 (31.51%) 33rd out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 148/221 (66.97%) 6th out of 102 (-10)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.539) (1.517 after the 2018 Season)

Image result for ben roethlisberger


Big Ben, the final QB of the 2004 draft to fall on this list, and just shy of the top 15 overall. Ben has been the Steelers starter since he was drafted, and has only missed a few games here and there due to injury, though he has taken a lot of injuries throughout his career. As a rookie, he was accustomed to winning, as he was surrounded by incredible talent on defense along with a very strong run game to rely on. Asked not to make mistakes in his rookie season, he went 13-0 as a starter, but along the way led 5 game winning drives. His numbers were modest, throwing only about 22 times a game, but the Steelers took home field advantage throughout the postseason because of it. They barely beat a struggling Jets team 20-17, that scored on an INT return and a punt return TD, and were in position to kick a game winning field goal in the last two minutes, but missed it, forcing overtime. The Conference Championship showcased the young QB's struggles further as he threw three interceptions to the defending champion Patriots on the way to a 41-27 loss. That year gave them the formula for success though, and 2005 would see them sneak into the playoffs at 11-5, as Roeth struggled with knee injuries throughout the year. They beat the Bengals in Cincinnati in the divisional round, in large part due to Carson Palmer getting his leg shredded on the first drive of the game. Their divisional round matchup would take them to Indianapolis, where they almost lost thanks to a Jerome Bettis fumble, but Ben got back in time to make a touchdown saving tackle. The Colts drove down to the Steelers 30 yard line, but a missed field goal let the Steelers survive 21-18. They would beat up the Denver Broncos handily in the conference championship, and face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Roethlisberger had a terrible game, completing less than half of his passes, and throwing two interceptions, but the Steelers defense shut down Hasselbeck and Alexander, and both Willie Parker and Antwaan Randle El made key TD scores to keep the Seahawks out of the game. Roeth became the youngest QB to win a super bowl at the age of 23.

Things were looking great for the Steelers, but Ben crashed his bike in the offseason, and between that injury and a few that piled up throughout the season, the Steelers finished 8-8 as Ben threw 23 picks on the year, and out of the postseason chase. Bill Cowher decided to resign as the Steelers Head Coach, and Mike Tomlin was brought in to replace him. 2007 would also see this team become Ben's team, as he really took the reins of the offense. He would have multiple games with 3 or more TD passes, including a game against the Ravens where he threw 5 in the first half. The Steelers would go 10-6 and take the AFC North that year. However the success would be short lived, as the Steelers were upset by the Jaguars in the Wild Card round after Ben threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble. They almost made a comeback from being down 28-10, and took a 29-28 lead, but the defense couldn't get a last stop and Josh Scobee kicked a GW field goal to go up 31-29. The Steelers would ride the best defense in the league in 2008 to a 12-4 record, and a first round bye. The offense would take over in the postseason, putting up 35 points against the Chargers in the divisional round. Against the Ravens, it was a defensive affair, as the Steelers bullied young Joe Flacco and came up with a 23-14 victory. Super Bowl 43 would give us one of the most entertaining showdowns in league history, but the game was decided by a perfect pass from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes in the endzone, to take a 27-23 lead with less than a minute left. Ben was a two time champion in his first five seasons. Ten years later, he'd still be a two time champion.

Roethlisberger slowly took over more and more of the offense, becoming one of the few players with multiple 500 yard passing games, a 5000 yard season, and several 30+ passing TD seasons. The Steelers would get close to a super bowl victory in 2010, after missing the playoffs entirely in 2009, and Ben serving a personal conduct suspension for the first four games of 2010. Leading them to a 12-4 record, with a tiebreaker on the Ravens, the Steelers were awarded a first round bye. They would face those Ravens in a divisional round showdown, but seal the game on a 4th quarter drive from Roethlisberger to win 31-24. They would face the surprising Jets in the AFC Championship instead of the hated Patriots, and would very nearly give up a 24-0 lead, if not for Big Ben and Antonio Brown doing just enough to keep the clock running on the last drive of the game. They would get into a shootout with the Packers in the Super Bowl, but after going down 14-0 thanks to an untimely Roethlisberger interception, the Packers never gave up the lead in a 31-25 victory. The Steelers had a chance to make a TD drive in the last two minutes, but the drive sputtered before it could really even begin. 2010 would mark their last super bowl appearance in Roethlisbergers' time. 2011 would see the Steelers make the playoffs again at 12-4, but they were unable to stop the magic of Tim Tebow and lost in the wild-card round to the Denver Broncos. They would see their offensive coordinator Bruce Arians leave for Indianapolis, and begin to struggle from that point forward. The Steelers would miss the playoffs in 2012 with an 8-8 record, and they needed to win the last three games of the 2013 season just to match that mark.

The Steelers would rebound in 2014 thanks to the emergence of Le'Veon Bell in the backfield. It seemed like the Roethlisberger / Haley connection was finally starting to work as the Steelers went 11-5, Roethlisberger threw for 4952 yards, 32 TD's and only 9 interceptions. However, the Steelers would be upset in the wild-card round as the Ravens bend but don't break strategy kept them from scoring TD's on the way to a 30-17 loss. Ben would sprain his MCL in 2015 and miss 5 games, but the Steelers still had enough gas to make the wild-card round at 10-6. They would survive against the Cincinnati Bengals in one of the stupidest games I have ever seen (and went to at length in Andy Dalton's writeup), but simply could not find the offensive firepower to overcome the stingy Denver Broncos defense in the divisional round, losing 23-16. in 2016, the Steelers would rip off 7 straight wins at the end of the season to make the playoffs at 11-5. They would easily handle the Miami Dolphins in the wild-card round, winning 30-12. Then they were the beneficiaries of Andy Reid Clock Management in the divisional round, winning 18-16, on a game where they only kicked field goals. That crap wouldn't fly against the Patriots though, and Tom Brady took them to the woodshed in a 36-17 beating. 2017 really looked like the Steelers best chance to win it all, they went 13-3 in the regular season, the killer B's were dominating on offense, and the defense had taken a step forward, only allowing 19.3 points per game, but they ran into an opponent they could grossly underestimate, and they let Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars put up 45 points on them in the divisional round. Enough said. 2018 didn't count for the data points in this study, but the Steelers barely missed the playoffs despite Ben putting up 5000 yards through the air. 

Ben has one of the best defenses all time when going through this study, as is often the case for these guys who have played with the Steelers for a long time. James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are hall of fame caliber players, and then you have massive contributors like Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Joey Porter, James Farrior and Ike Taylor to add to the collection as well, and you see that these Steelers defenses were stacked. Still, Ben isn't only the product of his defenses, playing well in any situation, and developing from a player who is merely a game manager to one who can drive the entire offense through. The Steelers have done their part to surround Big Ben with talent, and he has mostly answered the call, but surprisingly he doesn't have a reputation as a playoff choker despite playing poorly in many of his playoff games throughout his career. Perhaps getting those championships out of the way early is the real ticket to success. He hasn't hit an obvious decline like Eli or Matt Schaub has from his draft class, but with his two best offensive weapons leaving this season, concerns about his brand of leadership have been called into question and worries are forming whether he can really take this team to a third title in his remaining time left. His talent however, is undeniable at this point in time, and he's probably well on the way to the hall of fame once he does decide to end his career.

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15. Jim McMahon (Chicago Bears 1982-1988, San Diego Chargers 1989, Philadelphia Eagles 1990-1992, Minnesota Vikings 1993, Arizona Cardinals 1994, Cleveland Browns 1995, Green Bay Packers 1995-1996)
1st Place Bears QB
Career Record 70-31-0 (69.31%) 6th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 60-11-0 (84.51%) 19th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 10-20-0 (33.33%) 24th (T) out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 71/101 (70.30%) 2nd out of 102 (-13)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.705)


Image result for jim mcmahon

Jim McMahon was a great player for the Bears. Is he deserving of this high a ranking? Probably not, but he suffers from the same affliction that got Matt Schaub so high, when he sucked, he just got to be a backup. In addition to that, the teams he played with had excellent defenses on the whole, which is why he has the second best defensive rating out of all the players on this list. And to go a step further, his defenses weren't just above average, they were historically great. The 85 Bears and the 91 Eagles are often in discussions for the greatest defenses of all time, so McMahon does well to be a beneficiary of all those factors. McMahon was the fifth overall pick in 1982, and pretty much immediately clashed with Mike Ditka's no nonsense style and the legacy of the Bears. Regardless, McMahon was named the starting QB two games into the strike shortened 1982 season and nearly took the Bears to the playoffs that year. 1983 gave McMahon greater control of the offense, though he often did it without the coaches consent. The Bears stumbled to a 8-8 record, just shy of missing the playoffs once again. 1984 saw the Chicago Bears defense really start to break out onto the scene, but McMahon would watch the second half of the season from the sidelines after suffering broken ribs and a lacerated kidney against the LA Raiders. The Bears would take McMahon's 7-2 start to a 10-6 record, but the team would fail to score a single point on the 49ers in the conference championship game. 1985 would see McMahon continue to direct an offense that just needed the QB not to completely foul it up, and McMahon did his part, going 11-0 in games he started, although he spent some games of that season not starting because coach Ditka hated him that much. The Bears locked up the first seed in the playoffs, held the Rams and Giants to zero points in the NFC, and only allowed a touchdown to the Patriots late in the 4th quarter of a 46-10 thrubbing. The Bears would go undefeated with McMahon under centre in 1986 as well, but due to a dirty hit separating his shoulder, the Bears offense could only falter under 4th string rookie QB Doug Flutie in the postseason. Injuries would again shorten McMahon's seasons in 87 and 88, but he was able to see the end of 1987 as he couldn't overcome the Washington Redskins in a 21-17 loss where he threw three interceptions. McMahon was taken out midway through 1988 in a loss to the Patriots, but was able to comeback for the NFC Championship against the 49ers where the Bears lost 28-3. And that would mark the end of McMahon's time as a bears starter, as he drifted around the league for the next few seasons.

He would spend a year in San Diego, and after a 4-8 start and his rocky disposition making enemies with the coaching staff, he was benched for Billy Joe Tolliver and released soon after. He went to backup Randall Cunningham at the invitation of former DC and new Eagles HC Buddy Ryan. With Cunningham getting injured in 1991, McMahon started most of the season behind another incredible defense, but couldn't finish it out, and the team only went 10-6 and missed the playoffs entirely. He went to the Vikings in 1993, and took over the job from Sean Salisbury, and was able to take the Vikings to the playoffs, but failed to perform in the wild card round against the Giants. After that, he simply bounced around the league, getting a second super bowl ring as Brett Favre's backup in 1996, and retiring soon after that. McMahon's numbers were never impressive, even for the era, but he was blessed with some of the greatest defenses of all time, and made it work as best he could. The injuries he struggled with throughout his career meant that he never started a full season for any of the teams he played for, and his abrasive attitude meant that he was never able to find a coach who had much faith in him, even with a super bowl victory under his belt.  McMahon is now a chronic alcoholic, a sufferer of early onset dementia, and recently kicked a painkiller addiction thanks to medicinal marijuana. He may not be living his best life now, but he was one of the all time winners in the NFL. Adjusting for the fact that he was a primary backup for 5 seasons after establishing himself as a starter, using the same process I did for Matt Schaub, his new ranking would place him 37th, between Cam Newton, and Eli Manning.

Edited by RazorStar

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A run on modern QBs before Jimmy Mac, and I'm honestly not surprised to see any of them up here.

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I feel like you should have started over when you got to Flacco. Throw the project in the trash when McMahon ends up above Ben. Something is wrong here.

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14. Drew Brees (San Diego Chargers 2001-2005, New Orleans Saints 2006-Current)
1st Place Chargers and 2nd Place Saints QB
Career Record 149-111-0 (57.31%) 37th out of 102

Record in Games with Good Defense 101-15-0 (87.07%) 11th out of 102
Record in Games with Bad Defense 48-96-0 (33.33%) 24th (T) out of 102
Percentage of Games with Good Defense 116/260 (44.62%) 79th out of 102 (+65)

Wins above Average in a 16 Game Season (1.777) (1.892 after the 2018 Season)


And now we come to the reason I ended up making this list in the first place. How much better would Drew Brees have been if he had Tom Brady's defenses? Well while he isn't as high as Tom Brady, he's in the same category as some of the greatest players to ever play this game, and with his 2018 numbers, he would jump all the way up to 11th place unofficially. With nearly 2 wins above the average starter he probably would have won every division title that the Patriots won this century, with a probable exception to the first two in 2001 and 2003, because it did take a while for Brees to find his place in the NFL. Brees was drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers, as an attempt to move on from the horrid Ryan Leaf era that had plagued the franchise. He sat and learned behind Doug Flutie his rookie year, and got some idea on how to operate as a smaller QB in a league that was not forgiving to players of their stature. He was named the starter in 2002, and played marginally well, but lost the last four games of the season to finish 8-8. He continued to struggle mightily in 2003, going 1-7 before getting benched for Flutie, only to come back and lose the last three games of the season as well. The Chargers made a move to draft his replacement, as they had the first overall pick in the stacked 2004 QB class. And for a time it seemed like the writing was on the wall for Brees. But with the pressure mounting, and Rivers chomping at the bit behind him, Brees started to go off, and become the guy we all know him to be, a passing dynamo who can always find the open guy. He took the Chargers to a 12-4 record, sitting out the last game of the season to rest for the playoffs, while the Chargers put in Flutie instead of the rookie Rivers, since Marty was not fussed about Rivers being brought in to replace his guy. In any case, Brees lost in his first playoff game, one where he came back from down 17-7 against the Jets to bring it into overtime, and even got his kicker in position to make a 40 yard game winner, but Kaeding shanked it, and the Jets eventually won at the end of the first overtime. Brees was named the starter for the 2005 season, and he took a greater command of the offense. However with a loss to the Chiefs in week 16, the Chargers weren't officially eliminated from the playoffs and weren't playing for anything in week 17. Rather than put out Philip Rivers for a meaningless game, Schottenheimer was adamant on playing Drew Brees. And that decision cost them, as Gerard Warren came down on top of Brees and broke his shoulder on a sack fumble. With Brees injured and heading into the end of his contract, and with a young QB chomping at the bit behind him, Brees time in San Diego came to an end.

The injury was severe enough that teams were scared of taking a chance on him. The Dolphins decided that they would rather take a chance on Daunte Culpepper with his shredded ACL than try anything with Brees. The Chargers offered him a backup level contract loaded with incentives. However, someone did give him a chance, even if he didn't get his first option in Tony Romo. Sean Payton decided the Saints needed a quarterback, and Aaron Brooks wasn't doing the job, so he took a chance on Drew Brees and told him he would be the starter if he was healthy for training, and paired him with the most electric running back in college history in Reggie Bush. The rest is history. Brees eclipsed 4000 yards for the first time in his career, and would keep that streak going for 12 seasons. The Saints went 10-6 and won the NFC South. They beat the Jeff Garcia Eagles 27-24 in the divisional round, before getting walloped by the Chicago Bears 39-14 in the conference championship. Brees would continue to be the keystone for the team, but the team would struggle with abysmal defenses in 2007 and 2008, going 7-9 and 8-8 respectively. 2009 would mark a change in operations, as while the defense was still not amazing, they did a very good job at forcing turnovers with the cornerback tandem of Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter, and the ball hawking safety Darren Sharper. The Saints would go 13-3, and lock up home field advantage in the NFC by week 16, Brees would eclipse the 70% completion percentage mark, and the Saints would roll. The put up 45 points on the defending NFC Champion Cardinals, and then got into a shootout with Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings, a game far more famous for the talks of putting a bounty out on Brett Favre than anything that actually happened, but as you would expect, the game was sealed by a Brett Favre interception in the 4th quarter that would have put them in position to kick a game winning field goal. Brees led the team down the field in the first OT possession, and they kicked a 40 yard field goal before the Vikings could touch the ball. They would go on to super bowl 44 against the Indianapolis Colts, and thanks to the brilliant onside kick to start the second half, the Saints took the momentum, and were able to take a 24-17 lead while giving Peyton Manning the ball with 5:30 left. The Colts looked like they might drive it down the field, but Manning threw an untimely pick to Tracy Porter, who took it back all the way for a touchdown, sealing the game for the Saints and giving Brees his first and only super bowl ring. Because karma came back to bite the Saints hard, and it's still biting to this day.

2010 would see Brees throw 22 interceptions as his run game dissolved into nothing, but the Saints scoring defense improved immensely, and the team went 11-5 as a result. However they were the road team against the 7-9 Seahawks, and fell victim to the Beastquake in a 41-36 loss. Brees would put the league on notice in 2011, completing 71% of his passes, throwing for 5476 yards, 46 TD's and only 14 INT's on the way to a 13-3 record. That wasn't enough for a first round bye in a stacked NFC, so they beat up the Lions in the wild-card round 45-28. And when they needed their defense to make a stop up 32-29 against the 49ers with only 1:37 left in the game... they failed. Alex Smith drove the 49ers down the field and scored the game winning touchdown ending the Saints run 36-32.

2012 would see bounty gate come to light as Sean Payton was suspended for an entire season, and with a new interim head coach, and new defensive coordinator, the Saints stunk. Brees was still amazing, but the defense was bottom 5 in scoring, and gave up 23 or more points in all but three games that season on the way to a 7-9 record. Spags would get fired, Payton would come back as HC, and Rob Ryan was brought in to be the new DC. And for 2013, it all seemed to work. The Saints went from bottom 5 to top 5 in scoring defense, Brees would have his third straight 5000 yard season, and the Saints would win the NFC South at 11-5. They faced a tough showdown against the Nick Foles Eagles in the wild card round, scraping by with a 26-24 win on a last second field goal. However they were crushed by the Legion of Boom in the divisional round, losing 23-15. The Saints would spend the next three years going 7-9, as despite Brees best efforts, his defenses were some of the worst in the league with Rob Ryan revealing his true form, and Dennis Allen revealing his soon after. 2017 would finally see the Saints defense rebound as they spent most of their draft capital developing it. With a top ten scoring defense, Brees showed the league that he was still the same beast that could not be contained, and went 11-5, securing the NFC South on tiebreakers. They would challenge Cam Newton and the Panthers in another offensive showdown, one where the defense actually prevented a last minute comeback by the Panthers. The Saints would proceed to lose in heartbreaking fashion in the divisional round though, after Brees led a game winning field goal drive with only 1:25 left on the clock, and only giving the Vikings 25 seconds to operate a drive to get them into field goal range, Stefon Diggs gets open, evades the corner going for the big hit instead of the wrap up tackle, and is unmolested on the way to the end zone. Despite Brees' best efforts he is subject to heartbreak. The data point ends there, but 2018 was more of the same, despite Brees' effort, a controversial no call forced overtime against the Rams in the conference championship, letting the Rams eventually win that game. 

Drew Brees is probably one of the most clutch performers we've ever seen in the playoffs, however his defenses are likely the most anti-clutch we've ever seen. There have been multiple opportunities in Brees' career where he has done enough to win key games, only to see his defense squander it away. It has to be difficult to watch. When it comes to playoff losses you can reasonably put on his shoulders, he has two, a loss to the 2006 Bears and their defense and a loss to the Legion of Boom in 2013. Otherwise he's had to deal with his kicker missing a field goal in overtime after leading a ten point comeback, The Beastquake run by Marshawn Lynch, Alex Smith leading a game winning drive with a minute left in a shootout, The Minnesota Miracle, and I don't think we have a name for what happened in 2018 other than BS. Drew Brees doesn't end up being the highest overachiever on this list compared to his defenses, but he's pretty damn close. He's the Sonny Jurgensen of our time, but at the very least he's getting the respect he deserves. 

Edited by RazorStar
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There's a higher ranked Saints QB left. :ooo:

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