There is no position in the National Football League more hotly contested than the starting quarterback gig. As the pinnacle of the sport’s positional importance, the intense competition and sideshow scrutiny that accompany any doubts about the pecking order on an NFL squad (see: Michael Vick and Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, and the garbage fire that is Oakland’s recent history in signal calling) have the effect of making those quarterbacks who can hold down the slot for seasons at a time look even more heroic. One slip or one injury and it can all go down the tubes. Just ask Dan Marino.
For the purposes 0f this list, compiled from the always tremendous Football Perspective, a consecutive pair of starting gigs account for who gets the nod in Week 1 – you can’t foresee injuries on the football field, but you can see who a team wound up starting in a given year, whether he started the year prior, and whether he started the next year (unless you’re talking about this current year, because we can’t tell the future; if you can, hook us up). So while we don’t know that Matt Stafford is going to be starting for the Detroit Lions, we know that Matt Stafford is going to be starting for the Detroit Lions. Make sense?
Stafford, by the way, doesn’t make this list, although he’ll be entering his sixth consecutive year as an NFL starting quarterback for the same team. Another Matt, Matt Schuab, would’ve made it, but his disaster of a season in Houston saw him deposed in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Schaub landed in Oakland, and Fitzpatrick is somehow still a starter. Hopefully things turn around for the Texans and the Raiders.