Ranking the 27 modern-era quarterbacks in Pro Football Hall of Fame
Peyton Manning on Saturday will become the latest quarterback to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Manning finished with 71,940 passing yards and 539 TDs. The two-time Super Bowl winner is one of the most-prolific passers of all time. He also is the 27th Modern-Era quarterback to be inducted in Canton.
Where does Manning rank among the all-time greats? Quarterbacks are a source of endless debate, and Sporting News is happy to contribute to that conversation.
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Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are on the way, too:
Here is how we seated those 27 quarterbacks at the ultimate table heading into this year’s induction ceremony.
Longevity is Blanda’s calling card, and he’s best known for his days as a three-time AFL champion along with a career that stretched four decades because of his role as a placekicker.
Namath made “The Guarantee” before Super Bowl III, then went out and backed it up when the Jets beat the Colts. It still stands as perhaps the most iconic Super Bowl because of the AFL-NFL implications.
“The Snake” was inducted in 2016, after he passed away. Few quarterbacks had a more endearing, go-for-broke style, and Stabler used that to lead the Raiders to a victory in Super Bowl VI.
Jurgensen enjoyed a prolific 18-year career in which he passed for 32,224 yards, 255 TDs and 189 interceptions. Jurgensen spent the early part of his career as a backup before emerging as a star with the Eagles and Redskins.
Griese didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he was the leader of two Super Bowl-winning teams in Miami, including the undefeated 1972 team. Griese also was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.
Waterfield won two championships, one with the Cleveland Rams and another with the Los Angeles Rams. He also won an MVP award and was an all-around player who contributed as a kicker and punter.
Layne won three NFL championships with the Detroit Lions in a decade in which six future Hall of Fame quarterbacks were on the field. Layne also was selected for six Pro Bowls.
Dawson enjoyed a productive career with the Chiefs that included a victory in Super Bowl IV. Dawson was another efficient passer that legitimized the AFL-NFL merger.
Fouts helped bring Air Coryell to life, and he was a mainstay for the San Diego Chargers teams in the 1970s and 80s. Fouts didn’t make a Super Bowl, but he was prolific in the form of 43,040 passing yards and 254 TDs.
Moon put up monster numbers in Houston and a few other stops during a productive 17-year career that amounted to 49,325 yards and 291 TDs. He also helped make the run-and-shoot offense with the Oilers fashionable in the 1990s.
Warner was the ringmaster of the “Greatest Show on Turf” and won two MVP awards. Warner won a Super Bowl XXXIV with the Rams and reached Super Bowl XLIII with the Cardinals.
Kelly mastered the K-Gun in Buffalo and led the Bills to four Super Bowl appearances, and that amounted to 35,467 yards and 237 TDs through a productive 11-year career.
Tittle is one of the NFL’s post-World War II icons, and he finished with 26,920 passing yards and 212 TDs. That also included seven Pro Bowl selections.
Aikman won three Super Bowls and earned Super Bowl MVP XXVII honors as part of the Cowboys’ dynasty in the 1990s. Aikman also was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.
Starr helped the Packers win five championships during the Vince Lombardi era, and that included three straight titles from 1965-67. Starr also is best-remembered for the game-winning quarterback sneak in the “Ice Bowl” against Dallas.
Tarkenton, an innovative scrambler who could chuck the ball downfield, played in four Super Bowls for the Vikings and compiled amazing career numbers with 47,003 passing yards and 342 TDs over an 18-year career.
MORE: Peyton Manning’s rank among QB greats
Young was the 1990s version of Aaron Rodgers: an efficient passer who could make plays with his legs. Young finished with 232 TDs and just 107 INTs, and he won two MVP awards along with arguably the greatest Super Bowl performance ever, six TDs in Super Bowl XXIX.
Van Brocklin’s name still pops up once in a while, and it’s because he still holds the single-game passing record from that time he put up 554 yards on Sept. 28, 1951. Van Brocklin won two championships and is still considered a pioneer in the passing game decades later.
Bradshaw is one of two quarterbacks on this list with four Super Bowl championships, and he was the distributor for a dominant Steelers team in the 1970s. Bradshaw finished his career with 212 TD passes.
“Captain America” won two Super Bowls, reached six Pro Bowls and played with an improv style that made him impossible not to love — unless, of course, you were a Bradshaw fan. Staubach, however, remains the standard for Dallas quarterbacks to follow.
We’re cool with this spot for Graham, a three-time NFL champion and three-time MVP who helped modernize the passing game with Paul Brown in Cleveland. Graham’s talent stands the test of time.
Favre is the all-time ironman, and his streak of 297 consecutive starts might never be broken. The three-time MVP finished with 508 TDs and 336 interceptions and helped revive the Packers franchise with a victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
Could you imagine what his numbers would look like in the present day? Marino passed for 61,361 yards and 420 TDs, and that was good for nine Pro Bowl selections. Marino didn’t win a Super Bowl, but that’s merely a footnote given his accomplishments.
Go watch “The Drive” again. Could anybody groove it quite like Elway could? He won two Super Bowls, one MVP and threw 300 TDs. There might not be a more talented, all-around athlete to play the position.
Unitas threw for 290 TDs, more than any other Hall of Fame quarterback who started his career in the 1940s or ’50s. He’s the godfather of the modern-day quarterback, and the 10-time Pro Bowler won three MVPs and three championships.
Montana has a strong case for No. 1. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time Super Bowl winner and three-time Super Bowl MVP. If you have to win one game, would you take any other quarterback ?
Manning will hold this spot until Tom Brady arrives, right? Manning is a five-time MVP and 14-time Pro Bowl selection. He closed his career with a Super Bowl victory, too. Few have commanded the position at this level.
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