You almost forget that John Elway was ever one of the world’s best NFL quarterbacks, now that he’s one of the leading football executives in the world. Elway was affiliated only with the Denver Broncos throughout his career and was the second-best passer of his time in NFL history. He helped his team win two Super Bowl championships, and nine Pro Bowls and was one of the most decorated NFL quarterbacks of all time.
With more than 51,000 passing yards to his name, it’s easy to see why Eway is so fondly remembered in the history of the NFL. Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and is one of the only Hall of Famers to still be very much involved in the game. His 16 seasons are a testament to his true dedication and love for the sport, traits which are still felt to this day in his incredible work for the sport.
One of the earliest accomplished NFL quarterbacks was Sammy Baugh, a man who practically helped shape the image of a successful quarterback in the early days of the sport. Baugh was the quarterback for the Washington Redskins from 1937 to 1952 and helped keep Americans sane during times of much social, political, and security chaos. He won two NFL championships, a Pro Bowl, and was the NFL's Player of the Year in 1947 and 1948.
The old-school quarterback broke the record for completion percentage eight times, as well as various other records over the years. Fans would tune in to watch Baugh accomplish higher and higher levels of success, which is why he was inducted into both the College Football and the NFL Hall of Fame. He was considered the 4th greatest college football player by SPORT magazine and even named as the Most Versatile Player of all-time by the NFL Network.
Sometimes Being one of the best quarterbacks in the world can only take you so far if your team isn't up to par. Fran Tarkenton was an excellent passer and led the Minnesota Vikings to their first Super Bowl. They participated in four total but, ultimately, didn't win any of them. Despite his team's failures, Tarkenton retired, breaking every major quarterback record.
The accomplished quarterback passed over 47,000 yards throughout his 17-year career and had more than 3,600 rushing yards to his name. He's also the first player in NFL history to pass for four touchdowns in his first NFL game and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Johnny Unitas, AKA The Golden Arm, held the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass for a whopping 52 years. Unitas helped win the Super Bowl V championship and led his team, the Baltimore Colts, to win a rare ten Pro Bowls championships throughout the '50s and '60s. He was also the leader in passing touchdowns for four straight years and even led the passing yards record at the time.
The Baltimore Colts were truly blessed to have such a driven and intense quarterback, and many believe that the team would not have come close to its levels of success without him. Unitas held various records and honors, from having the most Pro Bowl appearances by a quarterback to being considered the number one quarterback of all time in The Sporting News list of the NFL's 50 Greatest Quarterbacks.
Leading quarterback Bart Starr played for the Green Bay Packers from 1956 to 1971. Starr made history when he helped his team win both the first and the second-ever Super Bowl championships, effectively cementing his place in the sport's history. He also received the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award in these years, surprising literally no one.
Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 and was honored in 1970 by then-President Richard Nixon during his tribute event in the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Starr held many records when he retired in 1972, and although all of them were since beaten, he will always be considered one of the revolutionaries of the sport.