All 32 NFL franchises statistically ranked by greatness at the quarterback position in the Super Bowl Era

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Sep 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; San Francisco 49ers fans cheer for their team prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the NFL, for better or worse, it’s all about the quarterback.

Unquestionably the most marquee position in all of professional sports is quarterback in the NFL. These players receive unbelievable amounts of praise and blame for their team’s success, or lack thereof. The position has evolved over the years, as has the NFL. When the Super Bowl came around in 1966 quarterbacks were becoming larger-than-life characters. The country’s collective fandom was switching from the national pastime, Major League Baseball, to the National Football League. The NFL had long been a part of American culture and 1966 marked the first year that the AFL was put on an even playing field — literally. The two leagues played each other in the first four Super Bowls and in 1970 the leagues merged. The fervor with which Americans watch professional football was born in these formative years.

Over the last 48 years the quarterback position has skyrocketed in notoriety and prestige. Quarterbacks today are often expected to single-handily win games for their team, throw the ball way more than they hand it off, and carry the lofty expectations of their franchise. In 1966, 24 of the NFL’s current 32 franchises were participating in professional football in either the NFL or AFL. By 1968, 26 of the NFL’s current franchises were around. Over the next 33 years six more franchises were added to the NFL, but the majority of the NFL’s current franchises were playing for the entirety of the Super Bowl Era.

Many people claim that their favorite team is the best quarterback franchise of the Super Bowl Era. Thus, I reached back to the beginning of the era to objectively quantify which franchises really have had the best quarterback play overall. This ranking system has answered which franchises have been the best at the quarterback position and which has been the greatest of them all.

The top three quarterbacks from each NFL franchise during the Super Bowl Era were selected. Their accomplishments were run through the below point system and then added up for a total score. That score is representative of each franchise’s consistency of greatness at the position in this historic and ongoing era of professional football.

Point Breakdown:

Super Bowl Victory: 10 Points
AP MVP: 8 Points
Super Bowl MVP: 6 Points
All-Pro: 4 Points
Pro Bowl: 2 Points

30 TD Season: 2 Points
40 TD Season: 4 Points
50 TD Season: 6 Points

3,000 Yard Season: 2 Points
4,000 Yard Season: 4 Points
5,000 Yard Season: 6 Points

5 Rushing TD Season: 2 Points
10 Rushing TD Season: 4 Points

500 Rushing Yard Season: 2 Points
1,000 Rushing Yard Season: 4 Points

Regular Season Win: 1/2 Point

Note: For the years 1966-1969 the stats and awards quarterbacks on AFL teams won in the AFL have been included for the purposes of this list. Bolded names indicate that the quarterback is still active in the NFL. Bolded and italicized names indicate that the quarterback is still active, but has since changed teams. This list is updated to include up to Week 5 of the 2014 NFL season.

This point system rewards quarterbacks for amassing statistics that show their dominance in the NFL, but it also awards the most points for the winning the Super Bowl — as that is what the ultimate goal. Yet it also rewards regular season wins and awards won, so quarterbacks that never won a ring can still get credit for their accomplishments, like they should.

You will not find a more comprehensive ranking system of all NFL franchise’s success at the quarterback position anywhere else. This system evenly accounts for all types of success. Championships, winning, statistics, and awards are all valued. Choosing each franchise’s top three quarterbacks better shows the consistency that each franchise has had at the position. A franchise isn’t rewarded for having just one elite quarterback and no other great passers, just as a franchise isn’t penalized for having three or more great quarterbacks without an elite passer in its history. And when you’re breaking down success throughout an entire era, especially one as defined as the Super Bowl Era, consistency has to be the main focus. The franchises that have been consistently the greatest at the quarterback position come in highest on this list.

Is your favorite team one of the top quarterback franchises?

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