NFL history: Each NFL franchise’s greatest quarterback of all time

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, Tom Brady, New England Patriots. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, Tom Brady, New England Patriots. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
1 of 32
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

There are plenty of high-caliber quarterbacks playing in the NFL today. Where do they rank in the history of their respective franchises?

An argument can be made today that we are in the midst of a golden era for quarterbacks in the NFL. Future Pro Football Hall of Famers such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and others are still around, while young bucks like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray are looking to lead their teams to a future Super Bowl appearance.

Because of how the rule changes have recently benefitted quarterbacks, it is of the utmost importance that a team lands a franchise-caliber passer. If it works out, a team can end up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. In the 100 years of history of the league, there have been many quarterbacks who have led the way for their respective franchises to the promised land.

It makes you wonder that with all the quarterbacks who have taken a snap in the NFL, who was the very best for each franchise? For some, there are obvious answers. But for several others, a deep dive is needed to see who stands out.

Some NFL teams have had multiple legends play quarterback

That’s what I with this project, looking at the best for all 32 teams. There are a couple with not much history to work with, while others have been around just as long as the NFL itself.

As far as my biggest qualifications go in determining who ranks No. 1 for each team, it mainly depends on both statistics/accomplishments, while finding a balance in doing it for a sustained period.

For example, this means Brett Favre will not be listed for the New York Jets in this piece. It’s also more important to note that passers back then threw more interceptions due to defenses being allowed to do more, compared to now where the rules are much more offensive-friendly. Here’s who I penciled in at No. 1 for each current NFL franchise.

Arizona Cardinals – Jim Hart

Honorable mentions: Kurt Warner, Neil Lomax

It’s been nearly 90 years since the Arizona Cardinals franchise started in Chicago, before moving out to St. Louis and then to Phoenix. In that time, only two quarterbacks have been around long enough to merit consideration – Neil Lomax and Jim Hart.

In the end, the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards (34,665) and touchdowns (209) won out in Hart, who spent 18 total seasons with the Cardinals while they were in St. Louis.

He was the team’s primary starter in 13 of them, including making four straight Pro Bowl appearances from 1974 to 1977. His best season was in 1974, where he went for 20 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.

Hart also was responsible for the franchise’s three 10-win seasons during that time, which also were the only occasions where the “St. Louis Football Cardinals” reach double-digit victories.

Lomax had a solid eight-year run with the franchise from 1981 to 1988, while Kurt Warner led Arizona to the team’s only Super Bowl appearance in the last 70 years at age-37 in 2008. Ultimately though, Hart’s longevity gives him the leg up in the history of this franchise over the likes of two other very talented signal-callers in Lomax and Warner.