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100 Greatest NFL QBs


vcczar
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I thought I'd do a top 100 ranking just like I'm doing with the top 100 history ranking. This one is for NFL QBs, using the algorithm I created that I mention in another post. I've adapted this one a bit to measure raw#s and not just efficiency. This helps people like Marino and Fouts who piled up numbers but weren't necessarily efficient-per-pass. 

Anyway, here's #100

Frankie Sinkwich #100

  • Primary Team: Detroit Lions
  • 1st Overall Draft Pick in 1943
  • Career from 1943-1947
  • Born in Yugoslavia (Croatia)
  • College: Geogia
  • Technically a Tailback (forerunner of the RB) when often the TB would throw more passes than the QB. By today's standards, functioned as QB, RB, P, DB, PR, but he's only considered for his passing here. 
  • 1x 1st Team All-Pro
  • 1x Most Valuable Player

A rare Croatian NFL player. Badly injured his knee and had to sit out 1945. Was never the same again. His great season was his 2nd season when he was among the top in TD% per pass. He was a good QB in an era when more interceptions than touchdowns was normal. He had 19 TDs and 42 INTs in his short career. 

Georgia Bulldogs' Frank Sinkwich wins Heisman Trophy as well as being voted  top sports star by Associated Press

 

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#99: Jeff Hostetler 

  • Primary Teams: New York Giants and LA/OAK Raiders
  • 3rd Round pick in 1984
  • Never threw a pass until 1988 and never saw any sort of significant playing time until 1991. 
  • Career from 1984-1997
  • Born in Pennsylvania
  • College: West Virginia
  • Most notable for filling in when starter Phil Simms got injured out for the season in 1990 late in that season. Hostetler led the NYG to a SB upset victory over the Buffalo Bills.
  • Won 2 SB rings, one as the starter and one as the backup. 

I hadn't even heard of Hostetler until he went to the SB in 1990. He did not look like an NFL QB with his lanky build and pencil mustache. He looked more like a French low-level spy. He  He performed so well, he took Phil Simms's job the next year. Hostetler was just as good as Simms and much more mobile than him. He jumped to the Raiders and had a good career there as well. The biggest shame is that Hostetler had to wait 7 years to show what he could do. 

LISTEN: Jeff Hostetler Discusses Winning Super Bowl With Giants, Waiting  Years In Simms' Shadow - CBS New York

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4 minutes ago, Brunell said:

@vcczar You should unironically do a Football GM game after AMPU and the Shakespeare game; Madden franchise mode is utter garbage, and Front Office Football is rather outdated.

That's on my list of 30ish game ideas. It would be a purely simulation game though. 

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#98: Joe Burrow

  • Primary team: Cincinnati Bengals
  • Born in Iowa
  • College: LSU
  • 1st overall pick in 2020. 
  • Plays chess
  • Won Comeback Player of the Year after having been injured during his rookie season. 
  • His first full season saw him take his team to the Super Bowl (he lost) and being one of the most efficient QBs of the season. 

The Bengals have flamed out with most of their post-Boomer Esiason rookie QBs, but Burrow is obviously superior to Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, and Akili Smith. I actually didn't think he'd live up to his 1st overall draft pick status, and his rookie injury had seemed to confirm to me that he'd be the next Sam Bradford. However, I was wrong. I don't expect Burrow to be a Brady, Peyton Manning, or Rodgers, but I could see him as Brett Favre-type. That is, willing to take risks to take the team to the next level. One worrying sign is that he led the NFL in getting sacked (51 times) and in losing yards to sacks (370 yards lost). Nevertheless, I now predict that he'll be close to the middle of this top 100 list fairly soon. 

Column: Joe Burrow's poise put Bengals into Super Bowl qualifier - The San  Diego Union-Tribune

 

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13 minutes ago, pilight said:

With all due respect to Greg Cook's shoulder and the Throwin' Samoan, they flamed out with most of their pre-Boomer Esiason rookie QBs too.

Yeah, except Ken Anderson. Cook could have been Hall of Fame the rate he was going.

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#97: Ken O'Brien

  • Primary team: New York Jets
  • Born in New York
  • College: UC Davis
  • 24th overall pick in the famous 1983 draft
  • For two season, was top 3 in Comp% and Low Int %

Through the 1986 season, was on the trajectory to be worthy of the draft class that also had Marino, J Kelly, and Elway. Possibly the 2nd best Jets QB of all time. By 1988, he slunk into mediocrity.

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Ken O'Brien | New york jets football,  Jets football, Nfl football players

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#96: Brian Griese

  • Primary team: Denver Broncos
  • Born in Miami, Florida
  • College: Michigan
  • 3rd Round Pick in 1998
  • For three seasons, was top 3 in Comp%. Led the league in QB Rating in one season. 
  • Won a SB ring as a backup QB to John Elway early in his career. 
  • Son of Hall of Fame QB Bob Griese

I first remember Griese as the QB for Michigan, which seemed to always produce good NFL QBs. I remember being shocked that he wasn't drafted until the 3rd round. He took over as QB for the Broncos when Elway retired and did really well much of the time. In 2000, he seemed like he was on the trajectory for a Hall of Fame career. However, he started to play like a 3rd round QB by 2002 and was released or traded the next year. Part of this was due to an ACL injury. Except for one great season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was never the same again. 

How Good Was Brian Griese as a Football Player?

 

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#95: Neil O'Donnell

  • Primary team: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Born in New Jersey
  • College: Maryland
  • 3rd Round Pick in 1990
  • Led his team to a SB (he lost).
  • Was in the top 3 for low INT% for 4 seasons

The fact that he was a good QB didn't really materialize for me until after he retired when I looked at his career stats. He always seemed like a should-be-backup who game managed a good Steelers team. I do remember thinking he was arguably the top backup later in his career. His career 2.1 INT% is shockingly great for the era he played in, but like many low INT% QBs, his TD% was also low. That is, he game managed. Despite the low INT%, he tossed 2 INTs to the Dallas Cowboys in the SB following the 1995 season, which is the kind of mistake O'Donnell rarely made. After the season, he decline to resign, and went with the Jets, which turned out to be a mistake as he never was as productive on the Jets, Bengals, and Titans. After five years as a great backup for the Titans, he retired with what was then the lowest INT% in NFL history. Maybe @MrPotatoTed, a Steelers fan, has some memories too. 

Amazon.com: NEIL O'DONNELL PITTSBURGH STEELERS 8X10 SPORTS ACTION PHOTO (A)  : Sports & Outdoors

 

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6 minutes ago, vcczar said:

#95: Neil O'Donnell

  • Primary team: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Born in New Jersey
  • College: Maryland
  • 3rd Round Pick in 1990
  • Led his team to a SB (he lost).
  • Was in the top 3 for low INT% for 4 seasons

The fact that he was a good QB didn't really materialize for me until after he retired when I looked at his career stats. He always seemed like a should-be-backup who game managed a good Steelers team. I do remember thinking he was arguably the top backup later in his career. His career 2.1 INT% is shockingly great for the era he played in, but like many low INT% QBs, his TD% was also low. That is, he game managed. Despite the low INT%, he tossed 2 INTs to the Dallas Cowboys in the SB following the 1995 season, which is the kind of mistake O'Donnell rarely made. After the season, he decline to resign, and went with the Jets, which turned out to be a mistake as he never was as productive on the Jets, Bengals, and Titans. After five years as a great backup for the Titans, he retired with what was then the lowest INT% in NFL history. Maybe @MrPotatoTed, a Steelers fan, has some memories too. 

 

 

Nope, never heard of him!  I didn't really start paying attention to the Steelers until probably 2008.  I was too wrapped up in weekend extracurriculars as a kid/teen, and as a young adult I was mostly living oversees in the military in timezones that weren't conducive to watching football games live.  

But since 2008, I've been a massive fan.  Just bought two seat licenses this year so that we can start getting season tickets.  (It was my intention to sell the tickets each year for a profit, but my wife has suddenly become super excited about seeing the games live in person, so I might just eat the cost.)

Edited by MrPotatoTed
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#94: Doug Williams

  • Primary team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers & Washington Redskins
  • Born in Louisiana
  • College: Grambling State
  • 17th pick overall in 1978
  • SB MVP: Backup QB who took over starting duties from the injured Jay Schroeder and led the Redskins to a SB victory over John Elway's Broncos.
  • 1st black QB to start and win a SB
  • 1st black QB to be drafted in the 1st round
  • Was never a top 3 efficient QB in any season

The season he won the SB with the Redskins (1987 season) is the first NFL season that I remember well. While his claim to fame comes from the SB, he played more seasons and started more often with his first team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was a sad time in his career because his team was routinely terrible. Somehow he led his team to a 10-6 season and to the NFC Championship game despite completing only 41.8% of his passes. He had little protection and few options to throw to. On top of this, mainly because of his race, he was paid less than many backup QBs despite being a starter and a 1st round draft pick. For this reason and others, he refused to resign with the Bucs and retired at age 27. After a year off, he joined the USFL but struggled in this new league unlike Jim Kelly, Steve Young, and Bobby Hebert. He joined the Redskins as a back after the league folded and the rest is history. After his blowout victory against John Elway, he took over as permanent starter for the Redskins but the entire team decline. He spent his final season (1989) as a backup. 

Part of me feels like I should post his picture of him with his Buccaneers uniform, but he's on this list because of his contributions as a Redskin

Doug Williams Bucs Jersey Shop, 59% OFF | www.colegiogamarra.com

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#93: Mark Brunell

  • Primary team: Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Born in Los Angeles, California
  • College: Washington
  • 5th Round Pick in 1993
  • Twice in the top 3 for Comp% and Low INT%. Once led the league in passing yards. 

I never heard of him until he took over the starting job for the Jaguars. He started out as a backup to Brett Favre on the Packers. Brunell is probably the greatest Jaguars QB of all time, unfortunatley he couldn't take them to the big game. He was a good QB for a full decade, and kind of dual threat QB. Played until his early 40s, spending his last 4 seasons or so as a quality backup in which position he earned a SB as the backup to Drew Brees. At the time of his retirement, he held the record for 22 consecutive completions in a single game, which has since been broken by Philip Rivers.

Former Jaguars great Mark Brunell to speak at Flagler College Crimson &  Gold Banquet

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

He was really good for three seasons. It will make more sense when you see the other 90+ people on here. 

He was good for about half of one season in 2000.  Otherwise he threw too many interceptions and always came up short in crunch time.  There's a reason he  never played a playoff game and every team that started him was constantly looking for an upgrade.

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24 minutes ago, pilight said:

He was good for about half of one season in 2000.  Otherwise he threw too many interceptions and always came up short in crunch time.  There's a reason he  never played a playoff game and every team that started him was constantly looking for an upgrade.

In 2000, he had only 4 ints. 1.2% low int% and also led the league in QB rating. That can’t be done with only one good half. Phenomenal year. I think the team failure was more than just him. A few years later he led in Comp%. His 45-38 career record is probably better than 15 to 20 on this top 100 list I’m posting. He was much better than average. He was at least low good to high average, which is about a 90ish spot in a top 100. He had some personal accomplishments in his career. Most QBs that start 5+ years don’t do as much as he did which is s why he’s on this list. I’d say 75-100 is mostly QBs with two Pro Bowl worthy years. He had two of those kinds of years  

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He only played 10 games in 2000 and only threw two passes in one of them.  That's about half of a 16 game season.

 

The W-L record is mostly a function of the team around them.  Look at 2000, his best season.  The Broncos were 7-3 when he started.  That includes the two pass game I mentioned above, so let's call it 6-3.  They were 4-2 when he didn't play and won the game he barely played.  They were just as good with Gus Frerotte as they were with Griese.  This was a team that had just won two straight superbowls and with Griese for four years they made the playoffs once, when he essentially missed the second half of the season.  After he left, Jake Plummer took them to three straight playoff appearances.  I'm not a huge Plummer fan but he was obviously a much better QB than Griese and he's probably not on your list.

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1 hour ago, pilight said:

He only played 10 games in 2000 and only threw two passes in one of them.  That's about half of a 16 game season.

 

The W-L record is mostly a function of the team around them.  Look at 2000, his best season.  The Broncos were 7-3 when he started.  That includes the two pass game I mentioned above, so let's call it 6-3.  They were 4-2 when he didn't play and won the game he barely played.  They were just as good with Gus Frerotte as they were with Griese.  This was a team that had just won two straight superbowls and with Griese for four years they made the playoffs once, when he essentially missed the second half of the season.  After he left, Jake Plummer took them to three straight playoff appearances.  I'm not a huge Plummer fan but he was obviously a much better QB than Griese and he's probably not on your list.

Plummer only has 2 pts in my algorithm. He had 1 season in which he won 75% or more of his teams games that year. That's one point. Then he gets a point for being in the top 3 for Low INT%. In total, all his points come from 1 season. 

Brian Griese has 6 pts (3 times as many as Plummer). He has three seasons in which he was top 3 in the league in Comp%, including leading the league once. 1 time in which he was top 3 in Low INT%, including leading the league in that category once. 1 time in which he was top 3 in adjusted yards per attempt. 1 time in which he was top 3 in rating, including leading in rating one year. In total, all his points come from 3 seasons. 

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#92: Babe Parilli

  • Primary team: Boston Patriots
  • Born in Pennsylvania
  • College: Kentucky
  • 4th overall pick in 1952
  • 1x All Pro
  • Led the league in yards and TDs once

Something of a latebloomer. Drafted by the Packers who rarely used him, except as a punter, and then he played a season in the Canadian Football League before returning to the NFL. He didn't flourish until he was 31, when he joined the Patriots. His 31 TDs in 1964 was the Patriot's team record until Tom Brady surpassed it in 2007. Spent his last two years as the backup to Joe Namath on the Jets, where he earned a SB ring. Something of a dual threat QB as he ran for 23 TDs in his career, which is a lot when you consider he didn't play much until age 31. 

cd748459db4b06e6a9bdac248b2eed2c.jpg

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17 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Plummer only has 2 pts in my algorithm. He had 1 season in which he won 75% or more of his teams games that year. That's one point. Then he gets a point for being in the top 3 for Low INT%. In total, all his points come from 1 season. 

Brian Griese has 6 pts (3 times as many as Plummer). He has three seasons in which he was top 3 in the league in Comp%, including leading the league once. 1 time in which he was top 3 in Low INT%, including leading the league in that category once. 1 time in which he was top 3 in adjusted yards per attempt. 1 time in which he was top 3 in rating, including leading in rating one year. In total, all his points come from 3 seasons. 

I think your methodology is flawed

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#91: Randall Cunningham

  • Primary team: Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings
  • Born in California
  • College: UNLV
  • 2nd round pick in 1985
  • 1x All Pro
  • Twice was in the top 3 for TD%
  • Led the league in QB rating once
  • 4,928 rushing yards and 35 rushing TDs
  • Punted the ball 20 times, including once for 91 yards

I have a lot of memories of Cunningham since PHI played DAL twice a year. No QB within the divisiion scared me more than Cunningham because his swiftness occasionally allowed him to make plays that others could not make. However, he also frequently undermined his team due to a low completion % and the fact that he led the league in getting sacked five times and yards lost to sacks 6 times, and three times leds in fumbling. In fact, even with his copious rushing yards, if you subtract yards lost to sacks, he would have a net positive of only about 700 yards rushing. He was seriously injured in 1995, but I was still stunned when he retired at age 32. He came out of retired after a year off to join the Vikings. This is when I thought Cunningham was really great. At this point he was mostly a pocket passer, but by staying in place he was much, much more efficient. I thought the 1998 Vikings were one of the most exciting teams and they were easily the best team that year, although they lost the NFC Championship. He ultimate was a backup for the last three season. Cunningham is the definition of the high-risk, high-reward QB. Some may argue that he won games where other QBs couldn't, while others say he may have squandered an Eagles team that had a legendary defense. It should be noted that Cunningham is also a legend in the Super Nintendo game Super Tecmo Bowl as being the only player without a name, "Eagles 12." This QB is so fast he can run circles around a defense and then bolt forward for a 50 yard rushing TD! Despite some of my critique above, he's one of my favorite QBs. 

Former Eagles QB Randall Cunningham speaks about his life in new book -  nj.com

 

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