The Quarterback Abstract:

Ranking the Quarterbacks in Modern Day History

Online Supplement

This book contains entries on 367 men and attempts to answer three questions about each quarterback: Who was he? What was his playing style? How good was he?. The bulk of the group is made up of 338 quarterbacks who have started at least 10 games in the NFL since 1950. Beginning with 1950, two-platoon football was made permanent allowing the T-formation quarterback to focus solely on offense without also having to play defensive back anymore. The advent of the two-platoon game also made it easier to track starting quarterbacks. In the book, I also included 27 pre-1950 signal callers, some of whom played at least part of their career as single-wing tailbacks. These men either were likely to have started at least 10 games at quarterback or were passers of such significance that they could not be ignored.

I used a cutoff point of 10 NFL starts in order to keep the book to a manageable length, but there are at least another 240 quarterbacks who started a game in the league. This online supplement contains capsule entries on each of those field generals, divided into seven web pages.

Quarterbacks with 1-9 Starts

A-C | D-G | H-K | L-M | N-Q | R-S | T-Z

Quarterbacks A-C


Rick Arrington
PHL 1970-72
A flashy, undrafted free agent with bad knees from Tulsa, Rick Arrington threw three interceptions in the first half of his first start as a rookie and was lifted. In three years with the Eagles, he averaged less than five yards per pass. Rick is best known as the father of sideline reporter Jill Arrington and the grandfather of child actresses Dakota and Elle Fanning.
Terry Baker
Rams 1963-65
At Oregon State, Coach Tommy Prothro switched from the single-wing to the T-formation for this left-handed running quarterback. In 1962, Baker won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. At OSU, Terry also led the Beavers to the NCAA Final Four in basketball and played baseball; he was drafted by all three pro sports. As a pro quarterback, though, Baker’s arm was weak and sore. He started on opening day as a rookie, but was replaced at halftime. It was his only NFL start. The Rams tried to make him into an option-passing halfback like Paul Hornung, but he was not quick enough for that. After three years, he was cut by incoming coach George Allen in 1966 and spent a year in Canada before finishing law school.
John Beck
MIA 2007
0-4-0 active
BYU’s John Beck was a 26-year old rookie who went 0-4 as a starter for the 1-15 2007 Dolphins. Beck could be the new Chris Weinke, but may never get another chance to be that memorably awful. He was cut after the 2009 draft.
Brock Berlin
Rams 2007-08
0-1-0 active
Berlin transferred from Florida, where he was stuck behind Rex Grossman, to Miami, where he replaced a graduating Ken Dorsey. In his first Miami game, Berlin led the Hurricanes to a 38-33 comeback win over Grossman’s Gators. He was in and out of the starting lineup at Miami, though, and went undrafted by the NFL. He spent a season in Europe, but is a third quarterback at best in the NFL.
Bob Bleier (replacement)
NEP 1987
Bleier is the cousin of celebrated Steelers’ runner Rocky Bleier. Bob was undrafted out of Richmond in 1987 and surfaced briefly as the Patriots’ starter in two replacement player strike games that year. He completed only 35% of his passes and averaged just 3.7 yards per pass.
Jeb Blount
TBB 1977
Blount threw passes to Steve Largent at Tulsa and played in the final College All Star Game in 1976. That year he was a second round pick of the Raiders and won a Super Bowl ring despite not appearing in a single game for Oakland. John Madden thought so little of Blount, that he didn’t even want Jeb in quarterback meetings. He was perfect for the 1977 Bucs, though. In Tampa, Blount started and lost four games, completing 41% of his passes and having a zero to seven touchdown pass to interceptions ratio.
Todd Bouman
MIN 2001-02 NOS 2003-05 Rams 2007
While at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, Bouman was named honorable mention on the little known All America team of Successful Farming. The Vikings developed Todd for several years before he finally got a chance to play in 2001. Bouman was named NFL Player of the Week for throwing four touchdowns against the Titans on December 9th, but it was the high point of his journeyman’s career as a backup quarterback. In addition to playing for the Saints and Rams, Todd has passed through Green Bay, Jacksonville and Baltimore as well.
Steve Bradley (replacement)
CHI 1987
Bradley followed the immortal Babe Lauffenberg at Indiana and is second only to Antwaan Randle El in Hoosier passing yards. Steve started one game for the Spare Bears in the 1987 replacement player strike games and alternated plays in the second half with Sean Payton. The two teamed to complete nine of 29 passes while throwing four interceptions and taking five sacks.
Don Breaux

DEN 1963

SDC 1965

As a rookie with the Broncos, McNeese State’s Breaux threw four touchdowns off the bench against Buffalo, but did not fare so well in his two starts. Don coached with Joe Gibbs at Florida State in the 1960s and later was a longtime assistant coach under him in Washington. Breaux coached football for 42 years, including 27 years in the NFL – 17 of that with the Redskins.
Adrian Breen (replacement)
CIN 1987
Breen went to Phil Simms’ alma mater, Morehead State, where he led the MSU Eagles back from a 35-3 halftime deficit to a last second 36-35 victory over Wichita in 1986. The undrafted free agent started one of the Bengals’ replacement player strike games in 1987 and completed three of eight passes for nine yards that day.
Marlin Briscoe

DEN 1968

BUF 1969-71 MIA 1972-74 DET 1975

SDC 1975

NEP 1976

Omaha’s little-regarded Briscoe got it written into his rookie contract that he would be tried out as a quarterback by the Broncos, and indeed became the first regular starting black quarterback that year when injuries and incompetence decimated Denver’s signal callers. Briscoe did quite well in 11 games by throwing for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns, better rookie numbers than John Elway would record 15 years later. Briscoe was only 5’10” though, and completed just 41% of his passes while running for over 300 yards. He was not a prototypical quarterback and probably would have been no better than a backup in the long run, although he was still superior to anyone Coach Lou Saban would try at quarterback in Denver over the next three years. When Saban tried to convert him to receiver in 1969, Briscoe left training camp and was released. Buffalo signed Briscoe as a wide receiver, and he became a good one who was eventually traded to Miami for a number one pick in 1972 when Saban returned to the Bills as coach. Marlin went to the Pro Bowl in 1970 and earned two Super Bowl rings with the Dolphins.
Bob Brodhead
BUF 1960
Brodhead followed Sonny Jurgensen at Duke and played there with halfback Wray Carlton who was also his teammate on the Bills. Bob was a running quarterback who replaced Tommy O’Connell in the very first Bills’ game but completed just two of nine passes. His only AFL start came in game four, but O’Connell replaced Bob after just two plays. Soon after, Buffalo cut Brodhead and signed Johnny Green. Bob went on to become a minor league football star in both the United and Continental Football Leagues throughout the 1960s. He then served as the treasurer of the Browns, as well as the GM of the Oilers and the Portland Thunder in the WFL in the 1970s. He later had a very controversial tenure as Athletic Director at LSU in the 1980s.
Carlos Brown
GBP 1975-76
A 12th round pick out of the College of the Pacific, Brown completed just 37% of his passes before a knee injury ended his career. Through some Hollywood connections, he started acting in movies in the late 1970s and appeared in North Dallas Forty, Popeye and Southern Comfort as Carlos Brown. However, in 1981 Carlos met his long lost father for the first time as an adult and adopted his father’s last name, now calling himself Alan Autry. He continued acting in movies like Brewster=s Millions and Amazing Grace and Chuck before hitting it big on television. In 1988, he landed the role of Captain Bubba Skinner on the new television series AIn the Heat of the Night@ and stayed for seven years. From there, he starred on another series, AGrace Under Fire,@ for two seasons and then formed his own production company. In 2000, he was elected mayor of Fresno, California.
Carl Brumbaugh

CHI 1930-34 1936-38

BKN 1937

Rams 1937

42-17-3 est.
Brumbaugh attended Ohio State and Florida before signing on with the independent professional Portsmouth Spartans in the late 1920s. George Halas acquired him for the Bears in 1930, and Carl replaced Joey Sternaman as the Chicago quarterback that year under new coach Ralph Jones. Jones introduced man in motion plays and other innovations to the T-formation in 1930, such as having Brumbaugh line up under center to take the snap. Carl tutored his replacement, Bernie Masterson, and then left the Bears in a salary dispute in 1935. Halas sold him to the Rams in 1937 and then bought his contract back in 1938. Brumbaugh trained Sid Luckman in the movements of a T quarterback in 1939 and later worked as an assistant coach for several colleges.
Mike Buck
NOS 1991-93 Cards 1995
Buck was just the second professional quarterback to emerge from the University of Maine, the first being Manch Wheeler on the 1962 Bills. In Mike’s last game in a Saints uniform in 1993, he completed just one of seven passes for 14 yards and was sacked in the end zone for a safety before being relieved by Steve Walsh at halftime. That 37-26 loss to Philadelphia was Walsh’ s final game for New Orleans as well.
Scott Bull
SFF 1976-78
A sixth round pick out of Arkansas, Bull was also drafted by the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher. He clearly chose the wrong sport. In five 1978 starts, Bull’s TD pass to interception ratio was one to 11 and his passer rating was 22.4. For his three-year career, Scott threw three touchdown passes and 17 interceptions, completed 39% of his passes and had a 24.8 passer rating.
Henry Burris
CHI 2002
An undrafted scrambler out of football “powerhouse” Temple, Burris had success in the CFL before Ron Wolf signed him to back up Brett Favre in Green Bay. After the Packers cut him, he signed with the Bears and claimed to decode the Packers’ signals for Chicago. In response, Packers’ center Mike Flanagan called Burris an “idiot” who “didn’t know the plays when he was here.” In his only start in Chicago, Henry completed seven of 19 passes for 78 yards and had four passes intercepted. The next year he was back in the CFL where he has been an All Star and the Grey Cup MVP.
Mike Busch (replacement)
NYG 1987
Busch was a replacement player quarterback for the Giants from South Dakota State, coach Ron Meyer’s alma mater who failed to stick with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent in 1986. He completed just 36% of his passes and lost his only start against the Redskins in the second strike game. In an understatement, Bill Parcells said of Busch, “He’s got a pretty good arm, but his judgment isn’t always the best.
George Cafego

BKN 1940, 1943

WSH 1943

BOS 1944-45

5-12-0 est.
Cafego was the star tailback for Tennessee under legendary Coach Bob Neyland and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting for 1939. He was the NFL’s overall number one draft pick in 1940, but had little success in the pros as either a single-wing tailback or a T quarterback. Cafego coached the backs and kickers at his alma mater from 1955-84 and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969.
Glenn Carano
A second round pick out of UNLV, Carano was Danny White’s backup for five years before leaving Dallas for the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL where he threw 13 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions in one season. In his only start as a Cowboy, Carano was just seven of 18 passing for 51 yards but still beat the Colts just a week after he relieved an injured White on Thanksgiving Day 1980 to preserve a 10-9 victory over the Bears. Glenn’s daughter Gina is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter who has appeared on “American Gladiators.”
Jeff Carlson
TBB 1990-91 NEP 1992
Now a Bucs broadcaster, Carlson was a left-handed quarterback in Tampa and New England. He threw just two touchdowns to nine interceptions for his brief career that was shortened by arthritis. Jeff was one of four starting quarterbacks on the dreadful 2-14 1992 Patriots along with Hugh Millen, Tommy Hodson and Scott Zolak. Combined, they were 11-36 as NFL starters.
Ernie Case
BAL 1947
10 starts
Case served as an Army pilot for 42 months during World War II and was shot down over Italy. Ernie escaped from prison camp and returned to UCLA after the War. Passing to Tom Fears and Burr Baldwin, Case led the Bruins to the 1947 Rose Bowl where they lost to Illinois led by Perry Moss and Buddy Young. Case and Baldwin were drafted one-two by the Packers, but both signed instead with the AAFC – Baldwin with Los Angeles and Case with Baltimore. With the Colts, the 5’10” Case played little except as a defensive back because Colt Coach Cecil Isbell did not like left-handed quarterbacks. Ernie quit after throwing just 11 passes as a rookie.
Stoney Case

Cards 1995, 1997

BAL 1999

DET 2000

A one-time third round pick out of New Mexico, Case won his first two starts in Baltimore in 1999 but lost the next two and his starting job. In the nationally televised second loss, Case threw three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns by the Chiefs, and that sent Stoney to the bench. After one more season in Detroit, Case moved on to the Arena League. His brother Stormy played at Texas A&M.
Jim Cason
SFF 1948-52 Rams 1955-56
1-0-0 emergency
Cason was a star defensive back who led the AAFC in interceptions in 1949 with nine. When Jim’s former LSU Tiger teammate Y.A. Tittle broke his left hand in 1954, Cason started the next week at quarterback against the Packers and got San Francisco off to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Tittle relieved Cason in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 23-17 win with two touchdown drives. With backup Arnold Galiffa also out with a broken hand, Tittle returned to the starting lineup the following week, and Cason’s emergency quarterback days were over.
Max Choboian
DEN 1966
After Mickey Slaughter and John McCormick were lost to injuries, the 1966 Broncos turned to rookie free agent Choboian out of San Fernando State (now Cal State Northridge) at midseason. Max threw just four touchdowns to 12 interceptions in his only season, but did beat the Patriots on a 64-yard touchdown pass to Al Denson with two seconds to play on November 6th. Choboian started a road race as a fundraiser in his hometown of Tulare, California before he died of cancer in 1977, and the Max Choboian Memorial Road Race continues today as an annual affair.
Jeff Christensen (replacement)

CIN 1983

CLE 1987

A fifth round draft choice out of Eastern Illinois where he preceded Sean Payton as the Panthers’ quarterback, Christensen got to kneel down once for the Bengals in 1983. Four years later, he turned up as a replacement player quarterback just as Payton did. Jeff’s son Jake played quarterback for Iowa.
Larry Cipa
NOS 1974-75
Cipa backed up option quarterback Dennis Franklin at Michigan and relieved him when Franklin broke his shoulder against Ohio State in the 1973 finale which ended in a tie. A 15th round draft pick of the Saints, Cipa got to start three games over two years in New Orleans when Archie Manning was nursing injuries, but completed just 37% of his passes.
Dennis Claridge

GBP 1965

ATL 1966

Drafted out of Nebraska by the Packers in the third round, Claridge spent two years as a third quarterback and was even tried at halfback. Although Lombardi said that Dennis “has all the physical equipment to be one of the best,” Claridge was not much of a deep passer and was claimed by Atlanta in the expansion draft. He lost the starting quarterback job to rookie Randy Johnson during the preseason, but then got the job back at midseason in games five through seven for the first-year Falcons. Atlanta lost Dennis’ three starts by a combined score of 123-30, including a 56-3 loss to the Packers. Claridge wisely retired and became a dentist.
Wayne Clark
SDC 1970-73 CIN 1974 KCC1975
An eighth round pick of the Chargers in 1970, Clark is one of two NFL quarterbacks to attend U.S. International along with Bob Gagliardi. Wayne relieved Johnny Unitas in the Hall of Famer’s final NFL start against the Steelers in 1973, a 38-21 loss. Clark never threw an NFL touchdown pass despite throwing 120 passes in his career. He did manage to toss 14 interceptions, however.
Bobby Clatterbuck
NYG 1954-57 SDC1960
A 27th round pick out of Houston in 1954, Clatterbuck got to start just two games in four years as the Giants’ third quarterback. He got to start two more for the Los Angeles Chargers when Jack Kemp was injured in 1960. Kemp had previously replaced Clatterbuck as the Giants’ third quarterback in 1958.
Kellen Clemens
NYJ 2006-08
3-5-0 active
A second round pick from Oregon, Clemens has a strong arm but has been extremely inconsistent and unreliable in his efforts to win the Jets’ starting job. With the acquisition of USC’s Mark Sanchez, Clemens’ future in New York appears to be brief.
Paul Collins
Cards 1945
Collins was drafted in the second round out of Missouri in 1945 and started on opening day in the Cardinals 10-0 loss to Detroit. It was the Cardinals 27th consecutive loss over four seasons. By game three, though, another Missouri Tiger, Paul Christman, was back from the War to take over at quarterback for the Cards and end their streak at 29 losses. Collins completed just three of 17 passes for 43 yards in the NFL.
Reggie Collier

DAL 1986

PIT 1987

Reggie Collier’s number 10 is retired at Southern Mississippi where he is remembered nearly as fondly as Brett Favre. Reggie was an early prototype version of Michael Vick: a fast and elusive runner with a rocket arm, but an inaccurate and inconsistent passer as well. Although drafted in the sixth round by Dallas, Collier signed with the USFL and in three years with three teams threw 20 touchdown passes and 32 interceptions. He played briefly with the Cowboys and the replacement player Steelers.
Ogden Compton
Cards 1955
As a free agent rookie out of Hardin-Simmons, Compton competed just 36% of his passes for one touchdown and six interceptions, but had one moment of NFL glory. Trailing the Packers 31-7 in the fourth quarter, Compton hooked up with Hall of Fame cornerback Night Train Lane (playing wide receiver) for a 98-yard touchdown pass on November 13, 1955.
Cary Conklin
WSH 1992-93 SFF 1995
Washington University’s 6’4” 220-pound Conklin was a fourth round pick of the Redskins in 1990 and then was stashed on Injured Reserve for two years. Cary got to start two games in 1993 under first (and last) year coach Richie Petitbon and averaged just 5.5 yards per pass. Mark Brunell was initially Conklin’s backup in college.
Scott Covington

CIN 1999

Rams 2002

Covington spent most of his time as a backup at Miami, but was still drafted in the seventh round by Cincinnati in 1999. He became the fourth Ram quarterback to start a game in injury-plagued 2002, but was replaced by Jamie Martin after completing two of five passes for seven yards and being sacked twice for 16 yards. He later spent a year in the CFL.
Jim Crocicchia (replacement)
NYG 1987
Crocicchia started the first replacement player strike game for the Giants and completed just six of 15 passes against the 49ers. Jim gave way to Mike Busch for the next game, and then Jeff Rutledge reported to the team before the final strike game, prompting Crocicchia to realize, “It looks like I’m going to be looking for work elsewhere.” The Penn grad also played in the Arena League.
Brodie Croyle
KCC 2006-08
0-8-0 active
A third round pick like Joe Montana, John Brodie Croyle resembles Ringo Starr and unfortunately plays like him as well. In three years in Kansas City, the fiery Croyle has shown himself to be injury-prone with a weak and scattershot arm. He has passed Gary Marangi to become the quarterback with the most losses without an NFL victory, although that could still change since he is still active.
Will Cureton
CLE 1975
With the Browns at 0-7 in 1975, Cureton made his first NFL start in his only NFL appearance. Will completed 10 of 32 passes for 95 yards and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by the Lions. The free agent from Texas A&M was replaced the next week by free agent dentist Dave Mays.




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Updated 8/20/09