16. Dave Krieg
Dave Krieg was a 3-time Pro-Bowl quarterback, who spent a majority of his seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Krieg had a great career, and despite not winning a Super Bowl, he was a winning quarterback with a record of 98-77. He was incredibly durable, playing 19 NFL seasons, in which he threw for 261 TD passes. Krieg played in nine different playoff games, and was able to lead his team to two AFC Championship games. However, both of those games ended in losses, and he was never able to make a Super Bowl appearance.
15. Vinny Testaverde
Vinny Testaverde was an NFL journeyman who played for seven different teams in 21 seasons. This former No. 1 overall draft pick went to two different Pro-Bowls. Testaverde’s best season came in 1998, when he threw 29 TD passes and only 7 interceptions, and he led his team to an AFC Championship game. However, the season ended there, when his New York Jets came up short against John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Testaverde had a long career, but had an overall losing record, tallying 123 losses, which is still the most of any quarterback in NFL history.
14. Rich Gannon
Rich Gannon made it to the Super Bowl in 2002, but the Tampa Bay Bucs trounced his Oakland Raiders by a score of 48-21. Despite winning the NFL MVP that year, Gannon had a miserable game in the Super Bowl, throwing five interceptions. That game proved to be the beginning of the end for Gannon, as he only started 10 games in the next two years combined. He may not have won a title, but Gannon had a great career, making the Pro-Bowl four times, and being an All-Pro twice. Gannon played for a few different teams, but his best years were spent as the leader of the Raiders, and he was amongst the league’s best QBs from 1999-2002.
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13. Ken Anderson
Ken Anderson played all 16 of his NFL seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. And despite the Bengals being known as a losing franchise, Anderson was a winning quarterback with an overall record of 91-81. He threw for 197 TDs in his career, and the four-time Pro-Bowler also won the NFL MVP in 1981. In that MVP season, Anderson led his team all the way to the Super Bowl. And despite keeping the game close, Anderson was edged out by Joe Montana and the 49ers by a score of 26-21. Anderson played great that day, but it was not enough, and he was never able to make it back to the big game.
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12. Tony Romo
Despite being known as an oft-injured quarterback, Romo was great when he was on the field. The four-time Pro-Bowler threw for 248 TDs in his career, versus just 117 INTs. He completed over 65% of his passes, and had an overall record of 78-49. But as great as Romo was, he gained a reputation as a choke artist in the playoffs. He most notably botched the hold on a field-goal attempt against Seattle, which would have put the Cowboys in the lead with just about a minute remaining in the Wild-Card game. Romo may have a bad rap for some of his mishaps, but overall he was a great quarterback, and who knows what might have happened in the playoffs last year if he had been on the field instead of Dak Prescott. Dak was sensational during the regular season, but Romo’s experience may have been an X-factor in the playoffs. I guess we will never know what could have been.
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11. Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers is one of the greatest quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl. I was just as surprised as you when I found out he was worthy of making this list. But if you check the numbers, Rivers has been an absolute beast in the NFL. He has thrown 314 TDs to just 156 INTs in his career, and he has started every single game since becoming the Chargers’ starter in 2006. Rivers also has five separate seasons in which he threw over 30 TDs, and he has eight different seasons throwing for over 4,000 yards. He is a six-time Pro-Bowler, and although he’s never played in the Super Bowl, it’s hard to blame the Chargers’ struggles on him. He did make it to the 2007 AFC Championship game, but fell short against Tom Brady’s Patriots. But then again, unless your name is Eli Manning, everybody seems to fall short against Brady. Philip Rivers has been incredibly impressive in his 13-year career, and if the Chargers can catch fire playing in L.A., maybe Rivers can take his name off this list and bring home a Lombardi Trophy. There is still some time for the 35-year-old quarterback, but he may need a better supporting cast if he’s going to lead the Chargers to the Promised Land.
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10. Randall Cunningham
Randall Cunningham was a dynamic quarterback who was a threat both through the air and on the ground. Cunningham rushed for 4,928 yards in his career, which was a quarterback record before Michael Vick came along. And when airing it out, Cunningham was able to pass for over 200 TDs, and just under 30,000 yards. The four-time Pro-Bowler had his best year in 1998, when he was an All-Pro, and threw for 34 TDs versus just 10 picks. He threw for over 3,700 yards that year, and lost by just three points to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. Cunningham was never able to claim a Super Bowl appearance, but he will forever be remembered as a great quarterback, and as one of the innovators of the dual-threat QB.
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9. Steve McNair
Steve McNair fell just one yard shy of winning Super Bowl 34. In one of the greatest Super Bowls ever, McNair threw a pass to Kevin Dyson on the last play of the game. And despite Dyson’s desperate attempt to extend to the end zone, Mike Jones of the St. Louis Rams (Who? Mike Jones!!), tackled him one yard short. Even though McNair never won a Super Bowl, he had an excellent career that included three Pro-Bowl selections and a co-MVP award shared with Peyton Manning for the 2003 season. He was an elite quarterback in the early 2000s, and he went on to an overall winning record of 91-62. McNair finished his career with over 30,000 passing yards and 174 passing TDs, not to mention over 3,500 rushing yards and 37 TDs on the ground. He started 10 different playoff games in his career, but despite leading some great teams, McNair was never able to win a title.
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8. Y.A. Tittle
Y.A. Tittle might be a name not recognized by current NFL fans, but the old-school quarterback was excellent throughout his 17 seasons. Playing from 1948-1964, Tittle was a seven-time Pro-Bowler and three-time All-Pro, who also won the 1963 MVP and went on to become a Hall of Famer. Tittle threw for over 33,000 yards and 242 TDs, and he led the New York Giants to the big game three times in a row. He may not have come away with a championship, but Tittle’s time with the Giants was noteworthy, as he was one of the elite quarterbacks of the era.
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7. Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esiason had some great seasons in the late 80s, but being a member of the Cincinnati Bengals has never been easy. Esiason found a way to lead Cincinnati to Super Bowl 23, but Joe Montana happened, and the 49ers snagged yet another title. However, Esiason won the MVP for that 1988 season, and he did lead an illustrious NFL career. Boomer has set several records for left-handed NFL quarterbacks, including his 37,920 passing yards as well as his 247 TD passes. He was a four-time Pro-Bowl selection, as well as an All-Pro in his 1988 MVP season, and he is known as the best quarterback in Bengals history.
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6. Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb is another quarterback that got edged out by Tom Brady. McNabb’s Eagles lost Super Bowl 39 to Brady and the Patriots by a score of 24-21. McNabb did play in several other Conference Championship games, but he was never able to break through. Despite the playoff losses, McNabb had an amazing career that included six Pro-Bowl selections. He is the Eagles’ all-time leader in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns, and his 3,469 career rushing yards ranks sixth all-time amongst NFL quarterbacks. McNabb was also the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 30 touchdowns in a season with less than 10 interceptions (31 TDs vs. 8 INTs in 2004). He finished his career with 234 passing TDs, and his precision led to the fourth best career interception percentage in NFL history. McNabb was an elite quarterback and proven winner, and had a couple plays gone differently, he may have avoided this list.
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5. Dan Fouts
Dan Fouts was never able to make a Super Bowl appearance, as he went 0-2 in AFC Championship games. However, Fouts went on to become a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback with two All-Pro selections and a Hall of Fame induction. He led the NFL in passing yards four years in a row from 1979 to 1982, and he became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He was one of the most prolific passers of his era, and he is one of only 10 quarterbacks to throw for 30 TD passes in back-to-back years. Despite garnering a mediocre record as a member of the Chargers, Fouts changed the game with his aerial assault on opposing defenses. He led one of the first run-and-gun schemes, and his 15 seasons at the helm of San Diego’s offense earns him No. 5 on our list.
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4. Warren Moon
Warren Moon never reached the Super Bowl, and never even played in a Conference Championship game. But make no mistake, Moon was an incredible quarterback. The nine-time Pro-Bowler earned Hall of Fame status in 2006, becoming the first African-American quarterback to do so. The undrafted QB threw for over 49,000 yards as well as 291 TDs in his career. He topped 30 TD passes in two different seasons, and he passed for over 4,000 yards in four different seasons. He led the league in passing in 1990 and 1991, and despite not winning any MVP awards, he did win the 1990 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. Warren Moon is still in the top-10 of many passing categories, and despite not getting over the hump in the playoffs, he is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
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3. Fran Tarkenton
Fran Tarkenton led the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl three different times, but he could never get that W. The 1975 NFL MVP played 18 seasons in the league as both a member of the Vikings and Giants. He went to nine Pro-Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. In an era where quarterbacks weren’t as prolific of passers as they are today, Tarkenton still threw for over 47,000 yards and 342 TDs. Also an impressive rusher, Tarkenton ran for 3,674 yards and 32 TDs in his career. When he retired in 1978, he held almost every passing record, and although he has a ton of accolades, the Lombardi Trophy always evaded him.
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2. Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly, poor, poor Jim Kelly. This man seemed to go through heartache year after year. He led the Buffalo Bills to FOUR straight Super Bowls from 1991-1994, and he just could not secure that championship. And after each loss, that Buffalo winter seems to get colder and colder. Maybe that’s why Kelly only played for 11 NFL seasons. But despite the heartache, Kelly is a Hall of Famer with five Pro-Bowl selections. He has an impressive 101-59 record as a starting quarterback and he was an All-Pro in 1991. Even though he did not play as long as some other QBs on this list, he still set franchise records with 35,467 passing yards and 237 TDs. Kelly was an innovator amongst fast-paced, pass-first offenses, and his use of the no-huddle made him incredibly effective. He was one of the elite quarterbacks in the 90s, and with just two more points in the 1991 Super Bowl, he could have been left off our list.
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1. Dan Marino
Dan Marino could have won a Super Bowl if he hadn’t botched the hold on Ray Finkle’s game-winning field goal. LACES OUT DAN!! All Ace Ventura jokes aside, Dan Marino played in one Super Bowl and it was actually a blowout. Marino was just 23 years old when he lost to Joe Montana and the 49ers by a score of 38-16. And little did Marino know, that game would be his only chance to play for a championship. Despite never winning it all, Marino is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Known for his quick release and strong arm, Marino won 147 games as a starting quarterback, which ranks fifth all-time. In 1984, Marino set a then-NFL record with 48 TD passes and 5,084 passing yards, as he went on to win the MVP Award. The Hall of Fame QB was also a nine-time Pro-Bowler and three-time All-Pro. He threw for 61,361 yards and 420 TDs in his career (both fifth all-time), and he led his team to the playoffs in 10 out of his 17 seasons. He has left his mark all over the NFL record books, and he was ranked number 25 on the NFL’s list of the 100 Greatest Players. However, when making a list of QBs without rings, Dan Marino undoubtedly takes the No. 1 spot.
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