The 10 Greatest NFL Quarterbacks of All Time

Tom Brady looks for a target.

Tom Brady looks to throw | Jim Rogash/Getty Images

NFL quarterbacks hold one of the most revered and glorious job titles. There is a full roster of position players on a football team; while all are important, none carry the responsibility and circumstance the quarterback does. NFL teams create an identity for their cities and fanbases to latch on to, and no player sets that tone like the QB. So, naturally, when it comes to discussing the greatest NFL quarterbacks, a select few names always rise to the top.

After an incredible come-from-behind Super Bowl victory, football fans and aficionados were free to resurrect this eternal debate as they contemplated where Tom Brady lands on the list. The argument over where the Patriots’ quarterback and Super Bowl 51 MVP stands among the greatest QBs of all time has been debated for years now.

It is a heavily coveted club; many starting NFL quarterbacks are considered good, but very few considered great, and an even smaller portion are considered legendary. So how does Brady match up with the John Elways and Joe Montanas of the modern football era? Here we rank the top 10 NFL quarterbacks of all time.

10. Fran Tarkenton


“Scramblin’ Fran” set the gold standard while inventing the term “mobile quarterback” thanks to his knack for evading rushers in the pocket and scrambling to the outside to keep plays alive. Tarketon is historically identified with his two separate stints with the Minnesota Vikings. Of course, the 1970s Purple People Eaters and Bud Grant are also defined by losing three separate Super Bowls to Miami, Pittsburgh, and Oakland.

Those failures aside, Tarkenton remains one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time. He retired as the top quarterback in terms of yardage (47,003), completions (3,686), and touchdowns (342). On top of that, Tarketon finished his career with 3,674 rushing yards. His antics as a scrambler prevented injury and extended the career of this 6-foot, 190 pound lightweight, who lacked the cannon arm of a prototypical QB.