Top 10 Quarterbacks of All Time: Career Stats, Team and Achievements

By Casey
10 Min Read

The National Football League (NFL) has been graced with numerous talented quarterbacks throughout its history. In this detailed analysis, we explore the top 10 quarterbacks of all time, evaluating them on various criteria such as career statistics, leadership qualities, Super Bowl performances, and overall impact on the game.

Introduction to the NFL’s Elite Quarterbacks

The Role and Evolution of Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks are often seen as the most crucial players in football teams, significantly influencing the game’s outcome. Over the years, the quarterback’s role has evolved, adapting to the changing dynamics of the sport, from a mere game manager to a critical playmaker.

Significance of Quarterbacks in Team Success

The success of an NFL team is often closely tied to the performance of its quarterback. These players not only execute plays but also exhibit leadership, inspire teammates, and often become the face of their franchises.

Criteria for Ranking Quarterbacks

Career Statistics and Records

A quarterback’s career statistics are a vital aspect of their legacy. This includes passing yards, touchdowns, completions, and quarterback ratings. For instance, Tom Brady’s career stats are staggering, with 7,753 completions, 12,050 attempts, 89,214 passing yards, and 649 touchdowns.

Super Bowl and Playoff Performances

Performance in high-pressure situations like the Super Bowl and playoffs is a critical factor. A quarterback’s ability to lead his team to and win the Super Bowl significantly bolsters his reputation. Tom Brady, known for his clutch performances, has appeared in 10 Super Bowls, winning seven of them, which is a testament to his excellence in crucial games.

Leadership and Game Impact

The intangible qualities of leadership and the ability to impact games are crucial. A quarterback’s influence goes beyond just the physical skills; it’s about the ability to motivate the team, make critical decisions under pressure, and change the course of a game.

Read: Who is The Youngest Quarterback in the NFL? The Complete Details

The Top 10 Quarterbacks: A Glimpse into Greatness

Here is a look at the careers of each of these 10 quarterbacks, examining their journey, achievements, and what makes them stand out in the history of the NFL.

1. Tom Brady


  • Team: Primarily New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Notable Achievements: Widely regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Brady has won seven Super Bowls, more than any other player in NFL history. His longevity and consistency at a high level are unparalleled.
  • Career Stats: Over his illustrious career, Brady has thrown for over 89,000 yards and 649 touchdowns, with a passer rating of approximately 97.2.

2. Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

  • Team: Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos
  • Notable Achievements: Manning is known for his strategic mastery and cerebral approach to the game. He won two Super Bowls and was a five-time NFL MVP. He was renowned for his ability to read defenses and adjust plays at the line of scrimmage.
  • Career Stats: Manning completed his career with 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 65.3%.

3. Joe Montana

joe montana

  • Team: San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Notable Achievements: Montana, also known as “Joe Cool,” is celebrated for his incredible performances in high-pressure situations, particularly in the Super Bowl. He led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories and was named Super Bowl MVP three times. Montana was known for his precision passing and calm demeanor under pressure.
  • Career Stats: Montana threw for 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns in his career. He had a passer rating of 92.3 and set numerous records during his time, including the highest passer rating in a Super Bowl career (127.8).

4. Dan Marino

Dan Marino

  • Team: Miami Dolphins
  • Notable Achievements: Known for one of the quickest releases in NFL history, Marino retired holding numerous passing records. Despite never winning a Super Bowl, his influence on the game is undeniable.
  • Career Stats: Marino amassed 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns, and maintained a passer rating of 86.4.

5. Brett Favre

Brett Favre

  • Team: Primarily Green Bay Packers
  • Notable Achievements: Known as “The Gunslinger,” Favre was celebrated for his arm strength and durability. He won a Super Bowl with the Packers and was a three-time MVP.
  • Career Stats: Favre threw for 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns over his career.

6. John Elway

John Elway

  • Team: Denver Broncos
  • Notable Achievements: A dual-threat quarterback, Elway led the Broncos to two Super Bowl victories. His ability to make plays both in the air and on the ground was revolutionary.
  • Career Stats: Elway passed for 51,475 yards and 300 touchdowns.

7. Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach

  • Team: Dallas Cowboys
  • Notable Achievements: A two-time Super Bowl champion, Staubach was known for his leadership and clutch performances. He helped establish the Cowboys as “America’s Team.”
  • Career Stats: Staubach threw for 22,700 yards and 153 touchdowns.

8. Drew Brees

Drew Brees

  • Team: Primarily New Orleans Saints
  • Notable Achievements: Brees was instrumental in leading the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory. Known for his accuracy, he retired as the all-time leader in passing yards and completions.
  • Career Stats: Brees racked up 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns.

9. Otto Graham

Otto Graham

  • Team: Cleveland Browns
  • Notable Achievements: A pioneer of the league, Graham was a three-time champion in the NFL and a five-time Pro Bowler. His versatility as a runner and passer was ahead of his time.
  • Career Stats: Graham threw for 23,584 yards and 174 touchdowns.

10. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

  • Team: Green Bay Packers
  • Notable Achievements: Rodgers is known for his exceptional talent, efficiency, and ability to create plays. A Super Bowl champion and multiple-time MVP, his career is marked by a remarkable touchdown-to-interception ratio.
  • Career Stats: As of the last update, Rodgers has accumulated 59,055 passing yards and 475 touchdowns.

This list represents a diverse range of talents and eras in the NFL, each quarterback bringing their unique style and skill set to the game, profoundly influencing the sport’s history and development.

Read: Top 10 TE in the NFL 2023: Stats and Analysis

Evaluating the Impact of Quarterbacks Beyond Stats

While statistics are a tangible measure of a quarterback’s performance, their impact extends far beyond numbers. Quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have exemplified exceptional leadership, significantly influencing their teams. Their ability to read the game, make quick decisions under pressure, and inspire their teammates has set them apart as much as their on-field skills.

Beyond the field, quarterbacks often become cultural icons. Their public personas, endorsements, and community involvement contribute significantly to their legacy. For instance, figures like Joe Montana and John Elway are not just remembered for their impeccable playing style but also for their charisma and influence in popular culture.

The legacy of a quarterback is a blend of their on-field achievements, leadership qualities, and off-field impact. This multifaceted impact cements their place in NFL history, transcending the boundaries of the sport.

The Debate of Era Comparisons

Comparing quarterbacks across different eras presents unique challenges. The NFL has undergone significant changes over the decades, including evolving game strategies and rules. These changes can significantly impact how a quarterback’s performance is evaluated.

For instance, rule changes aimed at protecting quarterbacks and receivers have altered offensive strategies, potentially inflating passing statistics in modern times compared to earlier eras. Comparing a quarterback like Otto Graham from the 1950s with today’s quarterbacks requires an understanding of these context differences.

This debate is complex, as it involves considering the evolution of the sport, the changing physicality of players, and advancements in training and strategy. It’s a discussion that requires careful consideration of numerous variables to ensure a fair assessment across different football eras.

The Takeaway!

The debate over the top 10 quarterbacks of all time is as dynamic as the game of football itself. While the list includes names that have significantly impacted the NFL, it’s important to recognize that this is an ongoing conversation. As the game continues to evolve, so will the criteria and metrics for evaluating player greatness. This article aims to celebrate the achievements of these quarterbacks while acknowledging the fluid nature of such lists in sports.

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By Casey
Casey is a seasoned NFL aficionado with years of dedication to observing and analyzing the intricacies of American football. As the mastermind behind "NFL Schedule", Casey offers a treasure trove of insights ranging from detailed analyses of team schedules to the cultural nuances within the sport. His website is a testament to his passion, showcasing articles on diverse topics like team logistics, player experiences, and the financial aspects of the game. Casey's expertise is not just in the statistics and strategies of football, but also in its cultural and human elements, making him a comprehensive guide to the world of the NFL.
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