October 17, 2019

Greatest NFL Quarterbacks by Jersey Number

American Football, Isaiah Pinto, Making the Cut

Did you know that it's an NFL rule that quarterbacks can only wear number 1-19? Well, here is a look at the best quarterbacks to wear each number.

1. Warren Moon (1984 - 2000)

Warren Moon played in the NFL for 17 seasons and is mostly known for his playing time with the Houston Oilers. Moon is a 9-time Pro Bowler, First Team All-Pro recipient, NFL AP Most Valuable Player of the Year, led the NFL in passing yards twice and the list goes on. He recorded nearly 50,000 passing yards and 291 passing touchdowns during his playing career. The Tennessee Titans retired his #1 jersey. Moon was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Warren Moon takes the reigns as the greatest quarterback to wear #1 in NFL history.

2. Matt Ryan (2008 - present)

Matt Ryan is the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback. Ryan has been in the NFL since 2008 and has remained a Falcon his entire career. Ryan is a 4-time Pro Bowler, First Team All-Pro recipient, NFL AP Most Valuable Player of the Year, NFL Quarterback Rating leader, Rookie of the Year and more. Ryan led the Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016. With more than 48,000 passing yards, 303 touchdowns, and counting, Ryan holds 15 Atlanta Falcons franchise records. Matt Ryan is the greatest quarterback to ever wear the #2 jersey.

3. Russell Wilson (2012 - present)

Russell Wilson is the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012 and has remained with the organization for his whole career. Russell Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to 2 Super Bowl appearances, winning one against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII in a blowout. Wilson is a 6-time Pro Bowler, Rookie of the Year recipient, led the NFL in highest Quarterback Passer Rating and was the passing touchdowns leader. Wilson has recorded more than 26,000 passing yards and more than 203 passing touchdowns. He is also a threat with his legs Wilson with nearly 4,000 yards on the ground. Russell Wilson is the greatest NFL quarterback to wear the #3 jersey.

4. Brett Favre (1991 - 2010)

Long-time Green Bay Packer Brett Favre is one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks ever. Favre is known as a Packer but he also joined the rival Minnesota Vikings and took the role of the bad guy late in his career. Brett Favre led to Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl XXXI victory against the New England Patriots. He led the Packers back to the Super Bowl again the following year in a loss to the Denver Broncos. Favre is a 3-time AP Most Valuable Player, 11-time Pro Bowler, 6-time All-Pro recipient, and many more! Brett Favre is top 5 all-time in career passing yards and passing touchdowns. Brett Favre was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. The Green Bay Packers honored Favre by retiring his #4 jersey and inducted him into the Packers Hall of Fame. Brett Favre is the NFL's greatest quarterback to wear the #4 jersey.

5. Donovan Mcnabb (1999 - 2011)

Donovan Mcnabb played in the NFL for 13 seasons. Mcnabb is known for his playing years with the Philadelphia Eagles, playing with the team for 11 seasons. Mcnabb led the Eagles to the NFC Championship 4 seasons in a row, eventually reaching the Super Bowl against the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots in a close loss. Mcnabb was a 6-time Pro Bowler as a Philadelphia Eagle. Mcnabb recorded 37,276 passing yards, 234 passing touchdowns and 29 rushing touchdowns over his playing career. The Philadelphia Eagles inducted Mcnabb into the Eagles Hall of Fame, 75th Anniversary Team and retired his #5 jersey. Mcnabb has been in Pro Football Hall of Fame induction consideration for a few years. Donovan Mcnabb is the greatest to wear the #5 in NFL history.

6. Jay Cutler (2006 - 2017)

Jay Cutler played in the NFL for 12 seasons. Cutler started his career with the Denver Broncos for the first 3 seasons until he was traded to the Chicago Bears. Cutler is known as a Chicago Bear, playing 8 seasons with the team. Jay Cutler was a Pro Bowler in 2008 as a member of the Bears. Over his career, Cutler recorded 35,133 passing yards and 227 passing touchdowns. Jay Cutler has 15 Chicago Bears franchise records and 1 Denver Broncos franchise record. Jay Cutler is the greatest quarterback to wear the #6 in NFL history.

7. John Elway (1983 - 1998)

John Elway a long time Denver Bronco and one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play. Elway played 16 seasons as a member of the Denver Broncos, leading Denver to 4 Super Bowl appearances during his playing career. He helped them win Super Bowl XXXVII & XXXVIII in his last 2 seasons taking home Super Bowl MVP in one of the games. John Elway is a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, NFL AP Most Valuable Player of the Year winner, 3-time All-Pro, 2-time AFC Player of the Year recipient and many more! John Elway recorded 300 passing touchdowns, 51,475 passing yards, more than 3,000 rushing yards, and 33 rushing touchdowns. Elway holds many Denver Broncos franchise records. The Denver Broncos inducted him into the Broncos Hall of Fame and retired his #7 jersey. Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. John Elway is the greatest quarterback to wear the #7 in NFL history.

8. Steve Young (1985 - 1999)

Steve Young played 15 seasons in the NFL. He started his career as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and after two short seasons, he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers to serve as a backup for Joe Montana. Steve Young played 13 seasons with the 49ers. Steve Young is a 3-time Super Bowl Champion, 2-time AP Most Valuable Player of the Year, 7-time Pro Bowler, 6-time All-Pro and even more. He threw 232 touchdowns, 33,124 passing yards, 4,329 rushing yards, and 43 rushing touchdowns. To add to Young’s incredible resume, he also has multiple NFL and 49ers franchise records. Steve Young’s #8 jersey was retired by the San Francisco 49ers. Young was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Steve Young is the greatest quarterback to wear the #8 jersey.

9. Drew Brees (2001 - present)

Drew Brees is the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees began his career with the San Diego Chargers. After a near-career-ending shoulder injury, the San Diego Chargers let Brees walk in free agency. Drew Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints, and since has been popularized as a Saint rather than a Charger. Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts, taking home Super Bowl MVP honors that game. Drew Brees is a Super Bowl Champion, 12-time Pro Bowler, 5-time All-Pro, 2-time Offensive Player of the Year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year and has many more awards. Drew Brees holds many NFL records including most career passing yards, most pass completions, most seasons with 5,000 yards passing, the list goes on. That also means he has a lot of New Orleans Saints franchise records to add to his accomplishments. Brees has over 74,000 yards passings and 522 passing touchdowns with a 97.7 Passer Rating. Once Drew Brees’ career is over, he will be one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks. That makes Drew Brees the greatest player to wear the #9 jersey.

10. Eli Manning (2004 - present)

Eli Manning is the long-time New York Giants quarterback. Manning has been playing in the league since being drafted in 2004. Playing 16 seasons in the NFL, Manning has reached a lot of success. Manning led the Giants to 2 Super Bowls, winning them both against the highly-favored New England Patriots. Eli Manning is a 2-time NFL Champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, and 4-time Pro Bowler. Manning has 56,537 passing yards and 362 passing touchdowns. Manning holds 6 NFL records and over 35 New York Giants franchise records. Eli Manning has had a successful career leading the New York Giants. Eli Manning reigns as the greatest quarterback to wear the #10 jersey.

11. Drew Bledsoe (1993 - 2006)

Drew Bledsoe played 14 seasons in the NFL. He played 9 seasons with the New England Patriots, leading the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in a loss to the Green Bay Packers. Bledsoe suffered a near-career-ending injury in 2002 and was replaced by Tom Brady. That year the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams. Drew Bledsoe is a Super Bowl Champion, 4-time Pro Bowler, and an NFL passing yards leader. Bledsoe also holds 4 NFL records. The Patriots honored Bledsoe with the New England Patriots Hall of Fame induction. Drew Bledsoe is the greatest quarterback to wear the #11 jersey in NFL history.

12. Tom Brady (2000 - present)

Tom Brady is the New England Patriots long-time starting quarterback. Tom Brady has been playing for 20 seasons in the NFL. Brady has found an abundance of success over his playing career leading the New England Patriots to 9 Super Bowl appearances and winning 6 of them. Tom Brady is a 6-time NFL Champion, 3-time AP Most Valuable Player of the Year, 4-time Super Bowl MVP, 14-time Pro Bowler, 5-time All-Pro recipient, NFL Comeback Player of the Year and more! Over Brady’s career, he has recorded more than 70,000 passing yards and more than 520 passing touchdowns. Brady holds many NFL, Patriots and Super Bowl records. He is often called the Greatest of All Time and his tremendous success backs it up. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever wear the #12 jersey in NFL history.

13. Dan Marino (1983 - 1999)

Dan Marino played 17 seasons in the NFL, playing with the Miami Dolphins his entire career. Marino led the Miami Dolphins to Super Bowl XIX in a loss against the San Francisco 49ers. Marino is an NFL AP Most Valuable Player of the Year winner, 9-time Pro Bowler, 7-time All-Pro recipient, NFL Comeback Player of the Year winner and more. Dan Marino recorded 61,361 passing yards and 420 passing touchdowns over his career. Dan Marino also holds multiple Dolphins and NFL records. The Miami Dolphins honored Marino by retiring his #13 jersey and inducting him into the Miami Dolphin Honor Roll. Dan Marino was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Dan Marino is the greatest quarterback to wear the #13 jersey in NFL history.

14. Y.A. Tittle (1948 - 1964)

The late Y.A. Tittle played 17 seasons in the NFL. He’s known for his playing years with the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. Y.A. Tittle is an NFL AP Most Valuable Player of the Year winner, 7-time Pro Bowler, 4-time All-Pro, and led the NFL in passing yards in 3 different seasons. Tittle threw for over 212 touchdowns in his career. At that time the NFL was mostly a running league so that makes his touchdown count even more impressive. The San Francisco 49ers inducted Y.A. Tittle into their team Hall of Fame. The New York Giants retired his #14 jersey and inducted him into their ring of honor. Y.A. Tittle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Y. A. Tittle is the greatest quarterback to wear the #14 jersey in NFL history.

15. Bart Starr (1956 - 1971)

The late Bart Starr played 16 NFL seasons as the Green Bay Packers quarterback. Starr brought the nickname “Title Town” to Green Bay alongside legendary head coach Vince Lombardi. Starr and Lombardi brought the Green Bay Packers 7 championships! Bart Starr is an NFL Most Valuable Player of the Year winner, 2-time Super Bowl Champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 5-time NFL Champion (Pre AFL-NFL merger), 4-time Pro Bowler, a First-Team All-Pro recipient and more. Starr threw for more than 150 touchdowns over his career. The Green Bay Packers honored Bart Starr by inducting him into their Hall of Fame and retiring his #15 jersey. In 1977, Bart Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bart Starr is the greatest NFL quarterback to ever wear the #15 jersey.

16. Joe Montana (1979 - 1990, 1992, 1993 - 1994)

Joe Montana played 15 seasons in the NFL, 13 out of those 15 seasons Montana played for the San Francisco 49ers. Montana led the 49ers to 4 Super Bowls, winning in all 4 appearances. Montana also received 3 Super Bowl MVPs in those wins. Joe Montana is a 4-time NFL Champion, 3-time Super Bowl MVP, 2-time AP NFL Most Valuable Player of the Year winner, 8-time Pro Bowler, 6-time All-Pro recipient, an NFL Comeback Player of the Year recipient and more. Joe Montana recorded 40,551 passing yards and 273 passing touchdowns with a 92.3 Passer Rating. Montana also holds multiple NFL and 49ers Franchise records. The San Francisco 49ers honored Joe Montana by placing him on the 75th Anniversary Team and retiring his #16 jersey. In 2000, Montana was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Montana had an incredible career, earning the spot as the greatest quarterback to wear the #16 jersey in NFL history.

17. Philip Rivers (2004 - present)

Philip Rivers is the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers. Rivers has played all 16 seasons for the Chargers since being drafted in 2004. In 2006, Philip Rivers took the starting job at quarterback after Drew Brees went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. Philip Rivers is an 8-time Pro Bowler, NFL Comeback Player of the Year and led the NFL in passing touchdowns and yards once. Rivers has thrown for more than 380 passing touchdowns and 56,000 yards passing. Rivers also hold a few NFL records and multiple Chargers records. The Chargers have honored Rivers already by inducting him into the Chargers 50th Anniversary Team. Philip Rivers is the greatest quarterback to ever wear the #17 jersey in NFL History.

18. Peyton Manning (1998 - 2015)

Peyton Manning played 18 seasons in the NFL. Peyton Manning was drafted 1st overall by the Indianapolis Colts where he led the team to 2 Super Bowl appearances. He helped them win Super Bowl XLI in 2006 over the Chicago Bears and took home MVP that game. Manning played 4 seasons with the Denver Broncos after being released by the Colts due to a severe neck injury. Manning led the Broncos to 2 Super Bowl appearances in those 4 seasons, winning Super Bowl 50 in his last season. Peyton Manning is a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, 5-time AP Most Valuable Player of the Year, 10-Time All-Pro, 14-time Pro Bowler, NFL Comeback Player of the Year and more. Over his playing career, Manning has 71,940 passing yards, 539 passing touchdowns with a 96.5 Passer Rating. Peyton Manning also holds many NFL records, Colts and Broncos franchise records. The Indianapolis Colts honored Manning by retiring his #18 jersey and placing him into the Colts Ring of Honor and a big statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium. The Broncos also retired his #18 jersey alongside former Broncos quarterback Frank Tripucka. Peyton Manning had an incredible career which makes him the greatest quarterback to wear the jersey #18 jersey in NFL history.

19. Johnny Unitas (1955 - 1973)

The late Johnny Unitas played 18 seasons in the NFL. Unitas is known for his 16 years with the Baltimore Colts. Unitas led the Colts to 4 Championship wins. Johnny Unitas was a Super Bowl Champion, 3-time NFL Champion (Pre AFL-NFL merger), 3-time AP Most Valuable Player of the Year, 8-time All-Pro and more. Johnny Unitas threw for 290 passing touchdowns and 40, 239 passing yards over his career. He also holds multiple NFL records. The Indianapolis Colts honored Unitas by inducting him into the Colts NFL 75th Anniversary Team and retired his #16 jersey. In 1979, Johnny Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This makes Johnny Unitas the greatest quarterback to wear the #19 jersey.


Isaiah Pinto
Isaiah Pinto

Student