(Photo courtesy of behind the steel curtain)
10). James Harris, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams
Harris had a huge arm and led the Rams to three straight conference title games. Harris started out in Buffalo where the complaint against him was that he threw the ball too hard. Harris flourished when He arrived in Los Angeles but somehow lost his job after three straight Conference Title games. Harris broke the ground for the African-American QB; he proved to the NFL that an African-American did indeed have what it took to be an NFL starting QB.
9). Jim Hart, St.Louis Cardinals
During a three-year span from 1974-1976, under the great coach Don Coryell, Hart was among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He led the team to a 31-11 overall record while throwing for nearly 8,000 yards with 57 touchdowns. Hart led the league in pass attempts and put up the lowest interception percentage in 1974—something that was unheard of in the 1970’s. Coryell left for San Diego, and Hart was never the same again.
8). Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins
Kilmer replaced a legend Sonny Jurgensen in 1971 and the rest, as they say, is history. During a seven-year stretch with the Redskins, from 1971-1977, Kilmer posted a 49-22-1 record as a starter. Kilmer is most famous for leading the Redskins to Super Bowl VII, eventually losing to the “Perfect Dolphins.”
7). Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts
Jones From 1975-1977, led the Colts to a 31-11 record while throwing 59 touchdowns compared to 28 interceptions. To put that touchdown-to-interception ratio into context, Terry Bradshaw threw eight more touchdowns than interceptions during that span. Jones led the Colts to three straight playoff berths, losing twice to the Steelers and once to the Raiders. His career was done after 1977 as injuries limited and then finally finished his career.
6). Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals
Anderson from small Division III Augustana helped turn the Bengals into a force to be reckoned with in the 1970’s. He is better known for the early 80’s were he won an NFL MVP and helped lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl. But, he was a great QB through much of the 1970’s as well leading the Bengals to the playoffs in 1973 and 1975. Anderson led the NFL in passing in 1974 and 1975. Injuries limited him during the 1978-1980 seasons.
5). Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins
Griese’s stats were not the greatest, but he was a winner. Griese led the Dolphins to three straight Super Bowls 1971-1973.
4). Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings
Tarkenton started the decade off as the Giants QB that all changed with the arrival of the 1971 season. In his final seven NFL seasons, all with Minnesota, Tarkenton led the team to three Super Bowl appearances, coming out a loser in all three games. While that will be his lasting legacy, the Hall of Fame quarterback did lead the league in completions, completion attempts, completion percentage and touchdowns en route to an MVP performance in 1975. Overall, Tarkenton posted a 64-27-2 record with six playoff appearances in his second stint with Minnesota.
3). Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders
Starting in 1973 and leading through the 1979 season the snake was a legend for the Raiders. Stabler led the Raiders to a winning record every season, earning five consecutive trips to the playoffs and a Super Bowl title in 1976 beating the Minnesota Vikings and QB Fran Tarkenton. During that span, the Raiders were a ridiculous 68-25-1. For his part, Stabler earned the NFL MVP in 1974 and led the league in both touchdown passes and completion percentage twice. Somehow it took over 30 years for Stabler to get voted into the Hall of Fame.
2). Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys
Roger Staubach had an 84-29 record as a starting quarterback. Leading the Cowboys to four Super Bowl appearances, including Super Bowl wins in 1971 (Miami Dolphins) and 1977 (Denver Broncos). The Hall of Famer earned six trips to the Pro Bowl and won the NFL MVP in 1971. He did not start in the NFL until he was 27 years old because of his Naval commitment.
1). Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bradshaw was one of the greatest bad weather quarterbacks in NFL history. As a Steeler, he was 4-0 in Super Bowls beating Dallas twice, and Minnesota once, which has a lot to do with him being ranked number one here. Bradshaw was to put it quite simply clutch.