Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Quarterbacks of the last 30 years

Who’s the greatest quarterback of the last 30 years? It’s a never-ending debate in the sports universe. What exactly is the criterion? Is it the guy with the best stats? Is it the number of Super Bowl titles? What about wins and unforgettable moments. Of course it’s got to be a combination of all of those things. Just because a guy like Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls doesn’t make him a better quarterback than say Dan Marino or Jim Kelly.

Over the next few days I will be ranking the best quarterbacks in the NFL dating back from 1980 up to now using my own FTQBR system, which is the Fanatical Truth Quarterback Rating system. I added the statistics that best show a quarterback’s value and subtracted the sum by the total of negative plays. Remember, the bulk of his career has to be played after 1980 (sorry Dan Fouts). Also, the quarterback had to be a starter for at least 9 seasons.

I used everything from touchdowns and championships to losses and interceptions. I weighted Super Bowl wins heavy, giving 5 points for each. I also gave the same amount of points for making First Team All-Pro as I did for MVPs. Like an MVP award, making 1st team All Pro means that you were the best quarterback in the NFL for that season.

On the other hand, I gave the lowest amount of points for Pro Bowl selections because the value of being a Pro Bowler isn’t as high as it used to be. I mean, who knows who actually was chosen for the game and who only got there as an injury replacement?

I also gave bonus points for Comeback Player of the Year awards and Hall of Fame inductions. Obviously making it in the Hall of Fame is huge and I liked that players got through some adversity and came back to perform at a high level.

Scoring is as follows:
Career wins – 50-80=2 pts, 81-100=5 pts, over 100=7 pts
Playoff wins – 1-5=2 pts, 6-10=5 pts, 11-15=7 pts
Touchdown Passes – 100=2 pts, 101-200=5 pts, 201-300=7 pts, over 300=10pts
Completion % - 55=2 pts, 56-60=5 pts, over 60=7pts
Passer Rating – 75-85=2 pts, 86-90=5 pts, over 90=7 pts
MVP awards – 1=5 pts, 2=7 pts, 3=10pts, 4=12 pts
1st Team All-Pro – 1=5pts, 2=7pts, 3=10 pts, 4=12pts
Pro Bowls – 1-3=1 pt, 4-6=pts, 7-10=3 pts, over 11= 4 pts
Super Bowl MVPs – 1=2 pts, 2=5 pts, 3=7 pts
Hall of Fame = 5 pts (bonus)
Comeback Player of The Year = 1 pt (bonus)
Losses – 50= -2, 51-80= -5, 81-100= -7, over 100= -10
Playoff Losses – 1-5= -2, 6-10= -5, 11-15= -7, over 16= -10
Interceptions – 50= -1, 51-100= -2, 101-150= -3, 151-200= -4, over 200= -5

Let the debating begin!

Young Guns
These are the guys who deserve to be mentioned on this list, but do not have the required years as a starter (9).

Ben Roethlisberger  FTQBR – 29
The two time champ does nothing but win

Aaron Rodgers  FTQBR – 20
The Super Bowl MVP last season. The arrow is pointing way up.

Phil Rivers  FTQBR – 20
He is a prolific passer and a big time leader.

Tony Romo  FTQBR – 18
When he isn’t busy dating actresses and singers, he’s putting up big numbers in Big D.

Mike Vick  FTQBR – 5
Vick is the most explosive quarterback in league history.
The List 

#16 Warren Moon     FTQBR – 11 
I had to include Warren Moon even though I intended to only rank the top 15. His 11 rating is a little miscued because it doesn’t include his career as a Canadian Football League (CFL) star. He came along at a time when the NFL hadn’t had many black QBs and had to go to Canada to continue to play the position. He ended his CFL career with 5 championships, an MVP, and 144 touchdown passes in 6 seasons.

Unfortunately, this is the best quarterbacks in the NFL since 1980. Warren Moon is the NFL’s first African American star quarterback. His rating was aided by his Hall of Fame (HOF) induction, 291 touchdown passes and his 102 wins. But his 101 losses, lack of playoff success and high interception total (233) heavily contributed to his low ranking.

#15 Randall Cunningham    FTQBR – 15
Randall dazzled Eagle and Viking fans for year and was once dubbed the Ultimate Weapon. He had a gun for an arm and the ability to run pass even the fastest defenders. He has an MVP award from The Sporting News but the only official MVP award is given by the Associated Press, so I couldn’t count it.

His 207 touchdown passes, first team All Pro selection (1) and bonus point for his Comeback Player of the Year award help is case. But his pedestrian 81.5 rating and only having 3 playoff wins in 10 seasons as a starter do him in.

#14 Boomer Esiason    FTQBR – 15
I give Boomer the tiebreaker over Randall due to his Super Bowl appearance.  He was gun slinging lefty who led the Bengals, yes the Bengals, to a Super Bowl in 1988. The second round pick out of Maryland was the 1988 NFL MVP and he was voted 1st team All Pro that same year. What hurts him is his 93 loses and, due to his gun slinging, 184 interceptions.

#13 Donovan McNabb    FTQBR – 16
Throw out last season and all Donovan McNabb has done is win football games. The Eagles were a mess when they drafted him and they’ve been to 5 NFC championship games since.

The underappreciated quarterback has won 7 playoff games and won 230 touchdowns in his 11 years as a full time starter. However, he falls because he was never an MVP, 1st team All Pro or a Super Bowl champion. 

#12 Phil Simms    FTQBR – 16
Simms owns the tie breaker over McNabb due to his Super Bowl title. Phil Simms, along with Bill Parcels and Lawrence Taylor, brought championship football back to the Giants. His 22-25 for 268 yards and 3 tds performance in Super Bowl XXI remains as legendary today as it was then.

Simms FTQBR was greatly impacted on his Super Bowl title and game MVP honors. But his completion percentage (55%) and passer rating (78.5) are just average.


  1. So Warrens at the bottom of the food chain!! Montanna must be the top!!!

  2. Was feeling you until you cracked on my boy Romo!

  3. KoolNupe - you will have to wait and see.

    Ran - I just made a formula that included everything and got the number and ranked them accordingly.

    Lilnatesmommy - your lucky I included your boy.