The Colts couldn’t believe their luck when Luck fell into their laps in 2012. This came after Peyton Manning missed the entire year because of neck surgery. They went 2-12 and finished with the worst record in the NFL. Meanwhile, Luck had decided to finish his degree at Stanford before entering the NFL Draft (via ESPN).
Suddenly, Indy had the perfect successor to their franchise icon. There’s no denying that Luck was a brilliant player and he made four Pro Bowl appearances. He also led the league in passing yards in 2014. But they wasted his amazing talent by failing to protect him and he shockingly retired right before the 2019 season at the tender age of 29.
Earlier we spoke about Matt Leinart and the terrible quarterback draft class of 2006. The Titans made Young the third overall pick that year after his amazing exploits at Texas. His performances for the Longhorns arguably made him the greatest quarterback in their history. Finally, Tennessee had a genuine franchise quarterback to bring them forward.
Everything went well in Young’s rookie year as he made the Pro Bowl and won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. But he was an interception machine and it increasingly became a problem. Meanwhile, Young had problems off the field and lost his $35 million fortune. Psychological problems affected the young star and unfortunately, his life fell apart (via Bleacher Report).
Unlike most of the players on this list, Brees is on this list because he was brilliant. He was one of the best NFL quarterbacks for 20 years and became a New Orleans icon. The Saints fans couldn’t believe that it was the end of an era when he finally retired. It also left a gaping hole in their offense.
Brees was the best pure passer in the NFL when he was in his prime. He set a ridiculous number of passing records and won a Super Bowl with the franchise. Meanwhile, he broke hearts again when he confirmed that he was stepping away from football. He had no interest in becoming a coach one day (via Essentially Sports).
The Cleveland Browns have had some terrible luck drafting quarterbacks over the years. However, the warning signs were already flashing before they drafted Manziel in 2014. The former Aggies’ prospect had an outstanding college career but he loved partying and drugs. Meanwhile, some coaches found his arrogance to be more than they could handle.
Despite this, the Browns made him a first-round pick and invested their future in him. Unfortunately, he joined the ranks of Heisman Trophy winners who flopped after they turned pro. It hurt the fans because they hoped that they’d turn a corner with Manziel under center. Instead, he was out of the NFL after just two seasons (via Sportskeeda).
It’s easy to forget that a significant minority of analysts thought that Leaf had more long-term upside than Peyton Manning before the 1998 NFL Draft. The Chargers secured Leaf as the second overall pick after Manning went to Indianapolis. However, these NFL quarterbacks had contrasting careers as Leaf experienced the worst of lows.
Leaf was one of the biggest busts in history because he never reached his full potential. Yes, a wrist injury damaged his prospects but there were massive problems before this. His immaturity and personal issues made him a nightmare for coaches to deal with. Leaf’s career was over before he inevitably walked away from the NFL (via Deadspin).
Foles will always be a hero in Philadelphia after his incredible Super Bowl MVP performance. However, Jacksonville fans prefer to pretend that he doesn’t exist. The franchise signed him to one of the worst contracts in history in 2018 with $50 million guaranteed. They couldn’t predict that he’d only play four games for them.
Foles had a nightmare in Florida but spare a thought for their front office because this was shocking. Injuries and poor form limited his performances to less than a handful. In the end, they traded him to the Bears where he reverted to backup status. This one hurt the fans because it was a lot of money spent foolishly with no return (via SBNation).
The New York Jets continued their fruitless search for a franchise quarterback in 2021. They controversially opted for BYU star Zach Wilson over the likes of Trey Lance, Mac Jones, or Justin Fields. Critics observed that Wilson played against limited competition in college. They saw the move as a risk but he was still a top prospect (via The Mirror).
In the end, it was Wilson’s garbage performances that told fans everything. The brash young star threw interceptions like nobody’s business and made dumb decisions. During the offseason, he broke up with his girlfriend after allegedly sleeping with her mother. His immaturity and poor play made him one of the worst busts in the Jets’ history.
Denver fans were ultra-optimistic when the franchise successfully lured Wilson to Mile High City in 2022. He was one of the most consistent NFL quarterbacks for a decade in Seattle. They believed that the perennial MVP contender would bring them back into contention. But Wilson broke their hearts because his form fell off a cliff after he left Pete Carroll.
It didn’t help that rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett couldn’t teach a dog to bite a postman. However, Wilson posted career-record lows across every metric and disappointed everyone. Meanwhile, he annoyed his teammates with his alleged arrogance behind closed doors. This wasn’t what fans expected at all (via Seattle Sports).
Favre remains one of the greatest quarterbacks in Green Bay history. But the Cheeseheads don’t have the same emotional attachment to him anymore. That’s because he damaged his relationship with the franchise after he departed in a rage. They wanted to move on with Aaron Rodgers after Favre’s millionth retirement.
It hurt the Packers fanbase when Favre allegedly told his coaches about his old playbook. But it stung them more when he ended his career with the Vikings. This move was too much for many Green Bay natives and they never forgave him for this. It’s a shame because he achieved a lot during his time in Wisconsin (via Daily Beast).
It’s fair to say that Vick changed the sport when he played for the Atlanta Falcons. He wasn’t the first rushing quarterback but he was the best that fans had ever seen. The former Virginia Tech star was brilliant during his time in Georgia and was on course for a Hall of Fame career. But then a federal investigation uncovered his notorious dogfighting ring.
Vick broke his fans’ hearts on and off the field. Diehard football fans couldn’t believe that he betrayed the franchise and left them in the doldrums. Meanwhile, decent people thought that his behavior was horrific and couldn’t support him anymore. Vick made an NFL comeback but there was always an asterisk next to his name (via MSN).