The Quarterback position is arguably the most important position in all of Professional Sports. When an NFL team has the right Quarterback, they are a team that is built for long term success because the Quarterback is essentially the CEO, Captain and Leader of the team. Finding one that can handle the mental, and physical grinds of a potential 10 – 15 year career, is a rare find. That is why Quarterback has a high bust rate in NFL drafts. There are teams that go decades without finding their next “guy” at the most important position.
This list of most overrated Quarterbacks of all –time is in no particular order. The Quarterbacks on this list have all been praised, received hype, have been undeservedly inducted into the hall of fame, and or, are remembered as being better than they actually were.
Phil Simms: Simms won a Super-Bowl and Super-Bowl MVP during the 1986 season when the New York Giants won the Super-Bowl. But make no mistake about it; he was carried by those great Giant defenses throughout his career, especially the Super-Bowl year. Put John Elway, Dan Marino, or Jim Kelly on those Giant teams of the 80's and the Giants definitely win more than 2 Super bowls with those hall of fame Quarterbacks, and a monstrous defense. To make matters worse Simms lost his starting job to Jeff Hostetler, a career backup, who also won a Super-Bowl for the Giants as the starter throughout the playoffs during the 1990 season. When people mention Simms as the second best Quarterback to ever play for the New York Giants, behind only Eli Manning, I scratch my head and wonder why. Simms was a fine player, or to be more specific, very ordinary and average at best.
Jay Cutler: Cutler is on this list for the sole fact that he had just one playoff win, and appearance throughout his 12 year career. Normally lack of playoff success can be offset by great regular season numbers. But even statistically, Cutler was very average. He had only four seasons of 3500 yards passing or more, just one season of 4000 yards passing or more, failed to throw for at least 20 touchdowns four times, and only three seasons with a winning record. He was completely average but because he was a talented thrower who had all the tools, he kept getting chance after chance with no results, yet still was rewarded with a ridiculously expensive contract extension of 7 years $126 million in 2014. Cutler lasted just 3 years out of the 7 before the Bears realized their mistake. Go figure.
Matthew Stafford: The fact that the Lions have still not moved on from Stafford is astonishing. He has an atrocious record against teams with a winning record, and has yet to win a single playoff game in 10 seasons as the Detroit Lions starter. He also has a career losing record as a starter overall. If Stafford doesn't start making the playoffs or get a playoff win in the near future, the Lions would be crazy to stick with Stafford well into his 30's.
Sam Bradford: Bradford is the epitome of an athlete who made money for "flashing" potential. Sam Bradford is the richest Quarterback to never win, or appear in a playoff game. He has an atrocious career record as a starter, is injury prone, and in nine seasons in the NFL has never had a winning season, or thrown for more than 21 touchdowns in a season. Bradford has made an astonishing $134 million in career earnings. Not bad for a Quarterback who has accomplished close to nothing throughout his underwhelming career as a former Number 1 Overall Draft Pick in 2010.
Archie Manning: It's amazing how when we think of the Manning’s we think of football royalty, and legendary Quarterbacks who were all great players in their prime. Well, if we're talking about Peyton and, Eli Manning, you may have a point. But Archie was an average to below average Quarterback who has the worst winning percentage of any Quarterback in NFL history, with enough starts (at least100) to qualify. Though he did play for an expansion team, there was no excuse for his horrific stats. In 11 seasons; he only finished with more touchdowns than interceptions twice. He never had a winning season, and threw for 48 more career interceptions than touchdowns. It's jaw dropping how people say Eli, and Peyton Manning "got it" from their father (Archie).
Matt Ryan: Some may be surprised to see Matt Ryan on this list. Don't be. I'm not saying Matt Ryan isn't a Franchise Quarterback, or that he's not a really good player. He's a former MVP for crying out loud. From a statistical standpoint, Ryan is always one of the better Quarterbacks in the league. But when it comes to big moments when you need him the most, he chokes. Look at the Super-Bowl vs. The New England Patriots 2 seasons ago as a way to choke away a game. Ryan is great at compiling meaningless stats. In 11 seasons, Ryan has just 4 Playoff wins.
Steve Young: No doubt from a statistical standpoint, Steve Young was a superior Quarterback, and definitely deserves to be in the hall of fame. However, when people have him or put him on their 10 best Quarterbacks of all-time list, they're vastly overrating him. For someone who took over as talented a roster like the 49ers in the 90's, to only win 1 Super-Bowl, is ridiculous. Give Dan Marino, Troy Aikman or John Elway the 49er teams in the 90's, and they win multiple Super-Bowls with that loaded roster. Young was a player who aside from his 1 Super-Bowl run fell short in the post season. I cringe when I see lists of top 10 all-time best NFL Quarterback lists, and see Young’s name on there.
Kurt Warner: Aside from 3 years in St. Louis, and 3 years in Arizona, Warner didn't really do much in between his two stints to warrant hall of fame consideration. He is the "Mendoza line" for hall of fame Quarterbacks, and him getting in lowers the bar for future hall of fame Quarterback candidates. Warner had a great career for an undrafted player. But his inclusion in the hall of fame is a joke. He is easily amongst the worst Quarterbacks to make it to the Hall of fame. His time in Arizona was also extremely overrated as he started out as the back-up and had a losing record as a starter for them. Not to mention Warner, was replaced 3 times in his prime. That's not something that happens to hall of fame Quarterbacks. If Warner is a hall of fame Quarterback, so is Donovan McNabb who had a much longer sustained period of success.
Terry Bradshaw: Bradshaw will go down in history as the worst Quarterback to have won multiple Super bowls. His stats as well as the "eye" test, tell the whole story. If he didn't play for the defensively talented Steelers of the 70's, we probably wouldn't know who he is today. The Steelers and the defense in particular won in spite of Bradshaw, the turnover, "gun slinging" signal caller. He had 6 seasons in which he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns. He had 5 seasons where he completed less than 50% of his passes, and he finished his career with only 2 more touchdowns than interceptions. Along with Kurt Warner, Bradshaw is one of the worst players at the Quarterback position to make it to the hall of fame. However, because he won 4 Super-Bowls, he gets a pass for being a historically average to below average performer.
Dan Fouts: Fouts has two games in the post season where he threw for 5 interceptions in one game. He had 3 playoff wins for his entire career. Bottom line is, when you look at the talent that the Chargers had in the 80's, for Fouts to only have won 3 playoff games is crazy. Not to mention it took Fouts, 5 seasons to become a starting level caliber Quarterback. Getting that much time to develop, is unheard of in today's NFL. Fouts only finished with 12 more touchdowns than interceptions for his career. For those saying playoff wins is a "team stat", consider that for his postseason career, Fouts threw 12 touchdowns to 16 interceptions, he only completed 55% of his passes, and had an atrocious QB Rating of 70 (a full 10 points lower than his regular season career QB Rating). He was nothing more than a great stat compiler for about a 5 year period, and somehow rode that all the way into the hall of fame.
Kirk Cousins: If you just look at his numbers, Kirk Cousins is actually one of the better Quarterbacks in the NFL today. But the problem with Cousins has never been putting up numbers, it's been stepping up in big moments when his team needs him the most. I don't want to make this a bashing of Kirk Cousins. He seems like a really good person, a great teammate, hard worker, and all around just seems like a likeable person. However, I'm here to give an objective opinion regardless of whether I like the players on this list or not. Kirk Cousins truthfully can play on my team any day. But would I pay him $84 Million in guaranteed money? Absolutely not. The bottom line with Cousins is that he has so much potential to be an elite Quarterback, but if he wants to be one, he has to start getting to the playoffs, and making an impactful run for his team.
George Blanda: Blanda has always amazed me, but not in a good way. I'm amazed by how such an inept Quarterback can make it to the hall of fame. I'm also amazed by how when we talk or hear about Blanda, we hear about what a great all around football player he was. I mean the man played from age 22 to 48. He played 2 positions, Kicker and Quarterback. However, he was not a really good Quarterback. In fact, from the 1962-1965 seasons, he led the NFL in interceptions, including one year in which he threw a whopping 42 in 1962, and still somehow made the pro-bowl. That’s unbelievable to me that a man can be so bad at his job, and throw 42 interceptions in one season (something that will never happen again). Had Blanda played in the 80’s or 90’s, let alone today, he wouldn’t be the starting Quarterback long enough to throw as many interceptions as he did. For these aforementioned reasons, I give Blanda the distinction as the worst Quarterback to ever make it to the NFL Hall of fame.
Doug Flutie: For as much admiration as Flutie receives from Bills fans, you would think he put up fantastic numbers, won a playoff game, or at least appeared in a Super-Bowl. Well he didn’t do any of those things for the Bills. But being that at the time the Bills had made Rob Johnson their “golden boy”, for comparisons sake, Flutie was a better option. Being better than Rob Johnson is not saying much though. The Bills gave Flutie every chance to be the answer, but he put up mediocre numbers and was injury prone. The hype around Flutie was just that, hype.
Rich Gannon: For the first 11 season of his career, Rich Gannon was a mediocre journeyman Quarterback. Then he has a 4 year stretch with the Raiders, where he was great. In fact from 1999-2002 Gannon averaged 26 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and had a passer rating of 93.2. That’s really good. But the fact that it took him until he was 34 to become a great Quarterback is a shame. When you look at his career as whole it has to be one of the more disappointing, and overrated careers in NFL history. Not too many Quarterbacks get 11 seasons to prove they are worthy of being a starting NFL Quarterback. Gannon did.
Jim McMahon: With the way McMahon is remembered or talked about to this day, you would have thought; “man this guy must have been a great player” only wait a minute, he wasn’t. In fact McMahon rode the coattails of a historically great 1985 Bears Defense to the Super-Bowl. McMahon was never the guy to carry the Bears team. He was asked to limit mistakes, use his legs, and make a couple of throws. His career numbers with the Bears indicate that to a “T” as he threw for 67 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions, with a passer rating of 80.4. He was an injury prone Quarterback who left Chicago after the 1988 season, and was really never a factor or heard of again after leaving. If McMahon didn’t play for that 1985 Bears team we wouldn’t be talking about him today. He never played a full season, he never threw more than 15 touchdowns in a season, and he never threw for even a mere 2500 yards in a season. That is atrocious for any Quarterback in any era let alone the 80’s when Quarterbacks were regularly passing for at least 3000 yards.