The quarterback often gets the most exposure and the highest level of fame as far as football players go. They are leaders of their team, or at least as far as the team’s offense goes. However, that can lead to some people finding the quarterback to be better than they actually not. This is a list of the top 25 most overrated quarterbacks to have ever played in the NFL. Now, that isn’t to say that any of these players are bad, just that they’re not quite as good as people seem to think they are.
25. Norman Esiason
Esiason, also known by the nickname “Boomer”, did have some impressive personal accolades. He made it to four Pro Bowls and captured the 1988 MVP award. However, he was also wildly inconsistent. In his entire career he threw 184 interceptions to 187 NFL games. He almost averaged one interception a game.
24. Daunte Culpepper
Culpepper was a fun to watch player, but not much more than that. He had three good years in his career followed by eight bad ones. He never got to have a winning season.
23. Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford isn’t an untalented player, but considering his showings he’s getting paid too much. When Stafford signed a five-year contract extension in 2017, the price of $135,000,000 was a league record. Again, he isn’t bad, but his stats don’t really show that he should be making that much money, or that he’s even that important as a quarterback.
22. Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, he led his team to the Super Bowl four consecutive years, after all. However, he isn’t particularly good on his own. Many of his seasons were plagued with high interception totals. He was lucky enough that he had an incredibly offense, with players such as Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas.
21. Carson Palmer
Palmer had a good arm and a few good seasons, but he never seemed to win when it mattered most. His number of interceptions was also pretty bad, throwing for over 20 of them in a few seasons. There was just never a sense he was truly an elite player.
20. Dak Prescott
Prescott receives a lot of press, being called a star mostly due to his affiliation with the Cowboys. He isn’t particularly more well-rounded as a quarterback than anyone else. He actually rarely throws downfield, which serves to restrict his team’s advance.
19. Trent Green
Trent Green has had a number of exceptional years, as well as just as many bad ones. In 2001 he passed 24 interceptions to 17 touchdowns. Despite having several all-pro teammates, his team lost horribly in the playoffs.
18. Joe Flacco
It seems as though Joe Flacco coasted through the rest of his time with the Ravens off of a single Super Bowl victory in 2013. He would rarely attempt to throw more than 20 yards at a time, despite his arm actually being above average. It’s not much of a reason why he’s with the Eagles now, and it seems as though Jalen Hurts is the starting quarterback for them as well.
17. Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning was one of the most prolific football quarterbacks when he still played. He had an expansive trophy collection, having won four MVP’s, went to 14 Pro Bowls, being named First-Team All-Pro seven times, and otherwise breaking several records. However, Manning is really bad when it comes to the post-season. Whenever it would start, all of his stats would drop considerably.
16. Dan Fouts
Fouts more so gets props from the Chargers for being an adequate quarterback during a period they only had bad ones. Since players such as Drew Brees and Philip Rivers have since given the Chargers more prestige in that category, Fouts is left looking even more mediocre than before.
15. Phil Simms
The Giants look fondly on Simms’ time as a quarterback, taking them to the Super Bowl twice. However, his stats are less than stellar. He has a completion percentage of only 55.4 and a touchdown to interception rate of 22 to 20.
14. Bernie Kosar
Bernie Kosar is recognized as a better player than he is because of the poor skill of so many of the other quarterbacks to play for the Browns. Kosar’s basic competence basically made him look like an elite player in comparison. Even so, he still had a losing record as a starter.
13. Brett Favre
Favre was a popular and skilled player. However, he was also well-known as a risk-taker. Because of his many risks, he was rather prone to fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions. He has one of the highest career interception numbers at 336.
12. Tony Romo
If Romo played anywhere else, he would’ve just been your ordinary quarterback. He wasn’t particularly unskilled, just average. The Cowboys being such a popular and televised team in the league simply put him on everyone’s mind and made him seem better than actually was. Considering his origin as an undrafted rookie probably made him even more popular to the masses as an underdog.
11. Ron Jaworski
People from Philadelphia often consider Jaworski to have been their best quarterback ever. However, this is quite strange, as he was outperformed by Donovan McNabb. Jaworski actually had mediocre to bad seasons. He only made one Pro Bowl during his career and a career completion percentage of 53.1.
10. Steve McNair
McNair was an excellent football player, but that didn’t mean he was particularly skilled. In his 13-year career he made three Pro-Bowls, but no All-Pro teams. In 2003 he ended up sharing the MVP award with Peyton Manning, but Manning still outclassed him in every statistic category.
9. Doug Flutie
Flutie was more well-known as a collegiate player than an NFL one. He had a good season with the Patriots before sitting out of football for 10 seasons. He came back briefly to play with the Bills, but other than that, he’s done nothing really worthy of merit.
8. Mark Brunell
Brunell always seemed to play second fiddle to Brett Favre, but finally got to show himself off when he ended up the quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played a 4,300 yard season in his second year with the Jaguars and led them to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. However, Brunell failed to get the Jaguars one winning season in his last four years with the team. He was traded to D.C. and faded into obscurity.
7. Donovan McNabb
McNabb had one outlier year where he played phenomenally. But after that, he was more so average. He never threw more than 4,000 yards in a season and he never threw more than 25 touchdowns either. His completion percentage was only 59 too.
6. Michael Vick
Michael Vick certainly had the athleticism to be an elite quarterback. He was rather popular up until his scandal involving dogs. However, his stats were only average at best. His completion percentage was only 56.2. And he only won ten more games than he lost.
5. Bart Starr
Bart Starr was the quarterback of the Packers when they won the first two Super Bowls. During his 16 year long career, he won seven championships. His accomplishments can’t be ignored, but his stats shouldn’t really be either. His completion percentage was 57.
4. Eli Manning
Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl champion. The Giants were a rather meager team while he was quarterback, and it was Manning himself that helped bring them up that extra level to get them those two victories. However, outside of those historic seasons, Manning’s painfully average at best. He doesn’t play anywhere near an elite level and that had cost the Giants more games than they had won.
3. Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw is considered one of the most successful quarterbacks in history. Bradshaw helped the Steelers win four Super Bowls in a six year span. This sounds impressive on paper, but Bradshaw wasn’t the only person on the team. The Steelers’ had a rather stacked team, both on offense and defense. Bradshaw himself was painfully average on his own. His touchdown to interception ratio was almost one to one.
2. Joe Namath
During Namath’s seven-year career, his biggest claim to fame is predicting the Jets’ victory over the Colts at the third Super Bowl. Not to mention, due to injuries, he rarely ever played a full season. In seven of the seasons he did play, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. His career was really marked with mediocrity.
1. Archie Manning
Archie Manning is a two-time Pro Bowler and has entered the New Orlean Saints’ Hall of Fame. However, if you look at his stats, you begin to wonder why. During his career he threw for 125 touchdowns, but also 173 interceptions. His completion rate was 55.2%. Not to mention, he lost a considerable number of games as a starter. He actually has the lowest winning percentage of any starting quarterback in league history.