No position in all of sports is more praised or criticized than quarterback. Players brave enough to play this position get way too much credit when a team wins and way too much blame when a team loses.
Not only that, but we are constantly comparing quarterbacks to one another, even those who have long ago retired, to see how they stack up. In keeping with that tradition, let’s take a look at the 25 most overrated quarterbacks of all-time.
It’s a little unfair to call Palmer overrated because he’s going to garner serious consideration from the Hall of Fame. He also deserves a lot of credit for being able to come back from serious injuries on multiple occasions.
However, despite throwing for nearly 300 touchdowns and having over 100 more touchdowns than interceptions, Palmer only played in four playoff games, and in one of them, he only threw one pass before getting hurt. Without leading his team to a few more playoff appearances, you have to admit that Palmer is a little overrated.
Brunell certainly had an interesting career and had plenty of bright moments. He took the reins for the expansion Jaguars and helped take them to incredible heights early in their history as a franchise.
But those team accomplishments have made people think that Brunell is better than he actually is. He’s definitely a gamer who’s a little better than the sum of his parts. But the numbers say he was largely average and had a career that was good but not great.
Technically, we could label Gannon as a late-bloomer, as he ended up going to four straight Pro Bowls from 1999 to 2002 and winning league MVP in 2002. But he also started his career in the NFL in 1987, so it’s fair to label him as a little overrated just because of how long it took him to figure everything out.
He spent the first decade of his career being a subpar starter in Minnesota and a serviceable at best backup in Kansas City. Yes, Gannon deserves some respect for the success he had late in his career. But compared to other MVPs, he doesn’t stack up.
Yes, Aikman is a Hall of Famer with three Super Bowl rings, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to be listed among the best quarterbacks in the history of the game, which is often the case. He only played 12 seasons and threw more interceptions than touchdowns in four of those seasons.
Of course, there was that five-year period when he and the Cowboys were the class of the NFL, winning three Super Bowls during that period. However, remember that he had a lot of help during that time and dropped off quickly once the concussions started piling up.
Bledsoe’s legacy is forever tied to Tom Brady, as it was his injury that allowed Brady to take over as New England’s quarterback. Of course, the rest is history. As for Bledsoe, he may be fondly remembered in New England and a member of the team’s Hall of Fame after leading the Patriots to the playoffs a few times.
But he never won a Super Bowl as a starter and didn’t do anything special after leaving New England. Considering he was once the top overall pick in the draft, it’s fair to call Bledsoe a little overrated.
There’s no denying that Culpepper had impressive physical tools and could have been something special in the NFL. However, injuries prevented him from carving out the kind of career that would make him one of the all-time greats. He really only had about three stand-out seasons, including the 2004 season when he had over 5,000 total yards.
After that season, injuries derailed his career. But even before then, Culpepper had seasons plagued by turnovers and inconsistency, which is why he’s a little overrated, all things considered.
Winning one Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP doesn’t change the fact that Flacco is an incredibly average quarterback. He’s always had impressive arm strength and is one of the best deep-ball passers. But Flacco has also thrown 10 or more interceptions in every season until 2018.
His stats are steady but largely unimpressive. Also, Flacco has never been selected to a Pro Bowl, which shows that he’s nowhere near the top of the class when compared to other quarterbacks of his generation, yet he’s often mentioned in that category because of that one Super Bowl.
To his credit, Cunningham was an amazing athlete and a bit of a pioneer as far as quarterbacks who were mobile and able to use their legs. But despite some incredible highs, including that near-perfect season with the Vikings in 1998, there was a lot of stopping and starting.
After the 1990 season, Cunningham spent more than a decade in the NFL but was never the full-time starter two years in a row from that point forward. Ultimately, Cunningham had plenty of flashes of brilliance during his career but never had the consistency you’d expect of top quarterbacks.
Collins deserves some credit for being Carolina’s first quarterback in their expansion season and sticking around the NFL for over a decade. But he was never anywhere close to being an elite quarterback. He made two Pro Bowls, but they came more than a decade apart, so there was little consistency.
Collins consistently struggled to hang onto a starting job whenever he got one, which is why he played for six different teams. He may have had a prolific career in college, but in the NFL, Collins was little more than a journeyman and a backup.
Somehow, Simms will occasionally be used in the same breath as all-time greats like Joe Montana and John Elway. But there’s no way he’s deserving of such company. Simms is a Giants legend because he won a Super Bowl with them.
But he only made two Pro Bowls, and they came eight years apart, so it’s not as if he had any sustained success as one of the league’s elite quarterbacks. He was also a turnover machine, throwing 60 picks in a three-year span from 1984 to 1986, which was supposedly the prime of his career. He had a few nice years, but he’s largely overrated on the whole.
It’s so hard to give Testaverde the respect that a Heisman winner and two-time Pro Bowler deserves. Yes, he put up a lot of impressive stats, but he was rarely able to translate that into wins. In fact, he still holds the NFL record for most losses by a starting quarterback with 123.
For all he accomplished in his career, his 275 touchdown passes are nearly matched by his 267 interceptions. He’s nowhere near the category of elite quarterbacks. Testaverde may actually be one of the most disappointing quarterbacks in league history.
Boomer being on TV and radio has kept him in our minds and somehow made us think that he was better than he was as a player. Obviously, he wasn’t terrible, as he was a four-time Pro Bowler and won the MVP in 1988. However, outside of that 1988 season, he was fairly average.
He led his team to the playoffs just twice, including a Super Bowl loss in that 1988 season. You also can’t overlook his 3.5% interception percentage, putting him on the same level as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bubby Brister. He gets credit for longevity, but Boomer’s career just doesn’t stand the test of
For a few years there, Romo was definitely something special. For an undrafted player out of Eastern Illinois, his career was quite impressive. But there are still some people who insist he’s on the same level of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers, and that’s simply not the case.
With the bobbled snap against Seattle in 2006, the playoff loss in 2007 after going 13-3, and Romo’s overall lack of playoff success, there’s no way you can put him among the best of his generation, and anyone who thinks differently is wrong.
McMahon had a lot of flair and bravado, but he wasn’t really a standout quarterback despite being the fifth overall pick in the draft in 1982. He helped the Bears win Super Bowl XX after a 15-1 season, but that team was so loaded with guys like Walter Payton and Mike Singletary that they could have one with just about anyone at quarterback.
Injuries are partly to blame for his career heading south, but for a guy who went to one Pro Bowl, he gets way too much credit for being a great player.
When he came into the league, Vick was supposed to be a transformative figure. He was going to change how the quarterback position was played. But that just didn’t happen. The best quarterbacks are still the guys who sit in the pocket and can dissect defenses with their arms and minds.
Vick was different and exciting, and no one can deny that he had some good years, including four Pro Bowl appearances. Even if you take away all of his issues off the field, his performance on the field does not qualify him as the legendary or mythical figure he’s sometimes made out to be.
When you sign what at the time was the largest contract in NFL history, you better be worth it, and Stafford just isn’t. No one’s denying that Stafford has immense arm talent, which is why people throw him in the conversation about the best quarterbacks in the game.
But he’s only been to one Pro Bowl, and the Lions have lost all three playoff games they’ve reached since drafting Stafford. He can sling it, but he’s not a winner, and until Stafford can win a few playoff games during the duration of that $135 million contract, he will continue to be overrated.
Yes, winning Super Bowls means a lot, but it’s not everything. The 20 weeks that come before a Super Bowl mean something too. Look, Eli is a talented quarterback who’s had quite a few good seasons and some incredibly special moments.
But winning two Super Bowls doesn’t mean he’s on the same level as John Elway, or Joe Montana, and especially not his older brother. The fact that people legitimately believe that because David Tyree made an unbelievable catch and the Giants defense played two great Super Bowls against the Patriots is why Eli will always be overrated.
Let’s be honest, do people actually know anything about Namath other than his ruggedly good looks, his legendary performance in Super Bowl III, and his unsuccessful attempt at wooing Suzy Kolber on the sidelines in 2003? He’s an athlete who became a celebrity, and that’s about it.
He wasn’t the Tom Brady of his era; he wasn’t even the Joe Flacco of his era. Between the AFL and NFL, Namath barely completed 50% of his passes and had 47 more interceptions than touchdowns. As a pro quarterback, he’s little more than a one-game wonder.