NFL

Ranking The NFL’s Greatest Hall Of Fame Quarterbacks

Darren - August 16, 2021
NFL

Ranking The NFL’s Greatest Hall Of Fame Quarterbacks

Darren - August 16, 2021
Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

22. Warren Moon

Moon was the first African-American quarterback to receive an induction to the NFL Hall of Fame. He was a true pioneer but make no mistake, he earned his place. He took the bold step of starting his professional career in Canada with the Edmonton Huskies. After winning the Grey Cup, he returned South of the Border to enjoy 10 seasons with the Houston Oilers, where he made his name.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Moon was an exceptional passer. Indeed, he fell just short of 50,000 total yards before his retirement in 2000. The nine-time Pro Bowl enjoyed the best part of his career in the early 1990s. That’s when he won the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards. He also led the league in passing yards for two years in a row. A truly brilliant player.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

21. Bob Griese

The Miami Dolphins have two amazing quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame. If the 1980s were all about Dan Marino, Griese took over the 1970s. He led them during the most successful era in franchise history and helped them to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Miami won two of those games and Griese sealed his place in the annals of Canton.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Griese was one of the smoothest operators in the league. His offense was clinical and ruthless and he was exceptionally efficient. The quarterback didn’t always go for long passes but was a great game-manager. The results speak for themselves but Griese’s passing stats are also very good. The six-time Pro Bowler led Miami in their unbelievable perfect 1972 season.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

20. Y.A. Tittle

Has a Texan ever been more popular in New York than Tittle? He spent 17 seasons in the NFL with three franchises. First, he played for three years with the Baltimore Colts before joining the Forty Niners. Tittle enjoyed 10 years of success in San Francisco where he blossomed into an elite quarterback. However, a title eluded him, and they traded him to New York in 1961.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Everybody thought that Tittle was washed up at this point but he proved the world wrong. This is where he set his Hall of Fame credentials in stone. His numbers went through the roof and he won the league MVP award for his amazing efforts. Tittle completed 36 touchdown passes in 1963 with a 60.2 completion rate. Meanwhile, he passed for almost 30,000 yards in total over his football career.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

19. Jim Kelly

Kelly’s massive shadow hung over the Buffalo Bills for generations before Josh Allen finally broke out as a franchise quarterback. He helped the Bills to four successive Super Bowl finals but didn’t win one of them. However, this doesn’t define his career because he was one of the league’s top signal-caller throughout this period. Incredibly, he chose to play in the USFL before agreeing to join the Bills.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

He became a four-time Pro Bowler after signing for Buffalo. Over 12 seasons he completed over 35,000 passes and achieved 237 touchdown passes. It’s unbelievable that he didn’t win at least one ring in Buffalo but he did lead the NFL in passes in 1991. Kelly made it difficult for his predecessors because he was so effective in the position. He made the Hall of Fame in 2002.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

18. Norm Van Brocklin

Van Brocklin spent the majority of his career with the Rams before three great seasons in Philadelphia. His Hall of Fame credentials was clear after his exceptional performances for Los Angeles. The Flying Dutchman won an NFL Championship with both of his franchises before retiring from the sport. He was a fantastic quarterback and even ousted Bob Waterfield as the Rams’ starter.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

The Rams weren’t sure about signing Van Brocklin because of his military commitments. However, it proved to be a phenomenal decision. After an amazing few years in California, Van Brocklin retired from football. But he changed his mind and came back to enjoy an Indian summer in Philadelphia. That’s when he won his second championship and also the league MVP award.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

17. Sammy Baugh

Baugh’s passing range was the stuff of legend. He led the NFL in completions a record eight times and outclassed all of his rivals. The quarterback spent his entire playing career with Washington before a brief foray into coaching. After starring for the TCU Horned Frogs, Baugh turned pro and proceeded to change the sport. It’s not an exaggeration to say he was a true innovator.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

The Redskins barely used the forward pass before Baugh proved how lethal an offensive weapon it could be. It may seem bizarre now compared to contemporary football, but this was the reality of the day. However, Baugh’s accuracy was phenomenal. By the end of his time in Washington, everybody was doing it. He was also a prolific punter in addition to quarterback.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

16. Kurt Warner

Warner’s rise to the top of the NFL was the definition of a Cinderella story. After he went undrafted, he played Arena Football before a foray into NFL Europe. Finally, the St. Louis Rams picked him up as a free agent but he didn’t hold much hope of making an impact until Trent Green suffered a massive injury. Then, Warner became QB1 and he didn’t relinquish the position.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Rams became the Greatest Show on Earth with Warner making plays. He inspired the franchise to two Super Bowl appearances and was also a two-time MVP in the process. Over the course of 1999 and 2000 he was unstoppable. That’s when Warner led the league in most passing categories and showed his Hall of Fame credentials. He came late to the NFL but finished as an all-time great.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

15. Troy Aikman

A three-time Super Bowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys, Aikman is one of the franchise’s greatest-ever quarterbacks. His stellar career led to his Hall of Fame induction in 2006. Aikman is an example of a number one draft pick who lived up to his potential because he was great in Texas. He averaged a Pro Bowl appearance every other season with six selections.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Dallas went 1-15 in his rookie season but evolved into one of the franchise’s greatest teams. Aikman was a key cog in their machine because he passed for over 30,000 yards in 12 seasons. He was also the winningest starting quarterback of the ’90s. In the end, injuries took their toll on him but he still had the longest tenure of a Cowboys’ QB in history.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

14. Fran Tarkenton

Tarkenton didn’t fall into the Vikings’ laps until the third round of the 1961 draft but destroyed every expectation. Tarkenton is definitely the greatest QB in Minnesota’s history. He ensured that he held every franchise passing record before retiring from the sport. Tarkenton failed in his attempts to win a Super Bowl despite three appearances, but one man can’t do it alone.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

This shouldn’t take away from the rest of his accomplishments because he was a fantastic quarterback. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and passed for over 47,000 yards throughout his career. Tarkenton’s 80.4 passer rating was also high for the time. With over 3,700 rushing yards, he was a superb all-around talent. It’s too bad that the Vikings haven’t had anyone like him since.

Mandatory Credit: CNN

13. Bart Starr

The Green Bay Packers have struck gold with their quarterbacks through the decades. Starr was their first truly elite signal-caller and had an amazing Hall of Fame career. During the Vince Lombardi era, Starr helped the Packers to five titles, including two Super Bowls. He also holds the unique accolade of winning three back-to-back championships. Not even Tom Brady can claim that.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

The 1966 League MVP came to life in the postseason because he has the highest passer rating in playoff history. At 104.8, Starr was truly in a different class when it came to the business end of the football calendar. Meanwhile, fans remember him for the ‘quarterback sneak’ in the Ice Bowl against the Cowboys. Starr was charismatic, intelligent, and also tough as nails.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. Len Dawson

Patrick Mahomes will make the Hall of Fame one day. However, Dawson remains the gold standard of Kansas City quarterbacks after entering Canton in 1987. The former Purdue college star held every Chiefs’ QB record in the book before Mahomes broke onto the scene in 2018. He played a key role in one of the franchise’s greatest days when they won their first Super Bowl in 1970.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He also took home the MVP Award for his efforts that day in New Orleans. But that’s not the sole reason why he’s on this list. He still holds the franchise records for wins, passing yards, and touchdowns because he was elite. While Mahomes will probably overtake him, it must be remembered that Dawson did it before the league changed into what we know today.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

11. Terry Bradshaw

Few quarterbacks can claim to possess an arm as powerful as Bradshaw. He led the Pittsburgh Steelers on some of their greatest days and showed up when it counted. Bradshaw was the first quarterback to become a four-time Super Bowl champion before a certain Tom Brady came along and broke his records.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

But make no mistake, Bradshaw was brilliant in his own right. Those four rings came during a glorious six-year period and he became a two-time Super Bowl MVP in the process. He was the definition of a great leader because he called his own plays and produced decisive passes. A case in point came in Super Bowl X when Bradshaw had the winning touchdown pass.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Dan Marino

The Super Bowl eluded Marino throughout his long NFL career but that doesn’t matter. His 17 seasons in the NFL saw him post some of the most jaw-dropping passing statistics fans had ever seen. Marino was the first quarterback to pass the 5,000 passing yard mark in a single season but he set many more records. No player had ever passed a career total of 50,000 yards before Marino.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Then he went even further and drove his yards up to a sensational 60,000. Marino only played in one Super Bowl final but lost against the 49ers. It’s impossible to hold that against him because his numbers are better than the majority of quarterbacks on this list. The Miami Dolphins were incredibly lucky that he stayed with them throughout his Hall of Fame because he was a force of nature.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

9. Sid Luckman

The likes of Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles made Bears fans forget what it’s like to have an elite quarterback. Luckman stands apart as the greatest in Chicago’s history because of his glorious 12 seasons with the franchise. His craft and intelligence helped the Bears to four NFL Championships but they should have won another. Nonetheless, Luckman was an exceptional talent as his Hall of Fame status reveals.

Mandatory Credit: Sid Luckman

Luckman and his offense were pioneers of the T-formation. He was the first quarterback to make this tactic so effective. His passing numbers might not appear amazing at first glance, but it must be remembered that this was a different era. Luckman was still a very effective ball handler and signal-caller before the sport developed into what it is today.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Roger Staubach

‘The Dodger’ defined what it meant to be a franchise quarterback for ‘America’s Team. ‘The navy curtailed the Heisman winner’s career by drafting him before he could turn pro. Finally, the 27-year-old returned from Vietnam and joined Dallas. Then, he became the starter three years later. Staubach won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys and developed into an elite quarterback.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He deserves his high place on this list of Hall of Fame signal-callers because of his remarkable passing stats. Staubach led the league in most categories on several occasions and was a devastatingly effective scrambler. As well as breaking 20,000 passing yards, he also rushed for 2,264 with 20 touchdowns. The military may have been a positive influence on his discipline to help him earn a Hall of Fame spot.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Steve Young

Young had the unenviable task of replacing Joe Montana as the 49ers’ leader but he proved that he was up to the task. After landing in San Francisco from Tampa in 1987, he had a tough road to the starting spot. However, Young overcame injuries as well as the challenges of Joe Montana and Steve Bono to become the franchise QB1. The decision caused Montana to force an exit and put pressure on Young’s shoulders.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

But it didn’t faze him. He went on to become a three-time Super Bowl winner with the Niners. Meanwhile, he developed into one of the most clinical passers the NFL has ever seen. Young led the league in completed and touchdown passes, as well as breaking passer ratings. In the end, he stood beside Montana as a franchise icon after a Hall of Fame career.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

6. Otto Graham

Most Cleveland fans won’t remember Graham because he played in the ’40s and ’50s. But old-timers remember him with fondness because he was an all-time great. His place in the Hall of Fame was never in dispute after he inspired the Browns to 10 straight title games. This probably looks like a typo because of Cleveland’s recent history, but there’s no mistake.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Graham spent 10 seasons with the Browns, leading them from the AAFC to the NFL. A three-time NFL Champion and NFL MVP, his influence on the franchise was profound. This was true of his entire career because he continued to inspire Cleveland late in his career. His performance against the Rams in his final game saw him toss a pair of touchdown passes as well as two rushing touchdowns of his own.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Brett Favre

It’s easy to forget life before Aaron Rodgers, but Favre was equally brilliant. He played in 302 games over the course of 20 seasons before finally retiring in 2010. Arguably Favre should have won more than a single Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers but his personal achievements are ludicrous. He was the first QB to break the 70,000 passing yard mark as well as throw for 500 touchdowns.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Favre was also a machine of an athlete. He played in 299 consecutive games before finally missing one. The three-time NFL MVP retired as the league’s all-time leading passer. Furthermore, he was the first signal-caller to defeat every other NFL franchise. Favre’s career fizzled out in New York and Minnesota but his previous achievements sealed his Hall of Fame status.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. John Elway

Make no mistake, Elway is the king of Denver after spending his entire 16-year NFL career with the franchise. Then, to seal his love affair with the team, he entered their front office. Elway’s career statistics are breathtaking as he broke all kinds of records. He sealed his place in immortality with back-to-back Super Bowl wins but has already guaranteed his place in Canton.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Elway threw for over 50,000 yards with 300 touchdown passes. Fans also loved him because he was a powerhouse of a quarterback. The Broncos QB scored rushing touchdowns in four different Super Bowls. Elite running back Thurman Thomas was the only other player to achieve this feat. Elway places high on this list because of his personal statistics and franchise achievements.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Peyton Manning

Finally, Manning entered the Hall of Fame in 2021. This was inevitable because he was the best quarterback of his generation. A two-time Super Bowl winner, Manning inspired the Colts to victory in 2006. Then, the aging superstar repeated the same feat with the Denver Broncos in 2013. Meanwhile, he’s the only QB in history to lead two franchises to two Super Bowl appearances each.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Statistically, Manning’s record speaks for itself. The 14-time Pro Bowler broke records in passing yards, career passing touchdowns, and single-season passing touchdowns. He also has the most MVP award wins in NFL history. He set a whole bunch more but we don’t have space to celebrate all of his achievements here. Manning was truly a force of nature.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

2. Johnny Unitas

It’s fair to say that Unitas was the first true modern quarterback. The Baltimore Colts icon won four championships with his team, including Super Bowl V. Unitas threw more touchdown passes than any other quarterback of his era with 290. He was also a 10-time Pro Bowler and threw for over 40,000 passing yards throughout his glorious career.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

People talk about Tom Brady’s late draft selection but Unitas took it to another level. The Pittsburgh Steelers picked him in the ninth round before cutting him. However, Unitas made a mockery of the Steelers after making a name for himself on the semi-pro scene. The Colts came in and he made his second chance count.’ Mr. Clutch’ was also one of the first true NFL superstars.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

1. Joe Montana

Fans of a certain vintage argue that Montana, not Tom Brady, is the greatest NFL quarterback ever. This is difficult to say, but it’s reasonable to call him the best in the Hall of Fame. ‘Joe Cool’ spent 15 seasons in the NFL and won Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers before a spell with the Chiefs. One of his most amazing records is the most Super Bowl passes without an interception. But he held many more.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Montana didn’t just produce fantastic numbers, he was a true gamechanger. Fans fondly remember his game-winning touchdown pass against Dallas in 1981. The legendary QB also maintained a 93.3 passer rating and produced numbers that stacked up against his greatest rivals. The three-time Super Bowl MVP tops this list because of his profound influence upon the Niners’ most dominant era.

Advertisement