10. Roger Staubach
Staubach became a legend after missing the first four seasons of his career to the Naval Academy, leading the Cowboy’s to nine-straight winning seasons and two Super Bowl championships. Along the way, he became the first player to win the Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl MVP and the man who coined the phrase “Hail Mary” with one legendary bomb in a 1975 playoff game vs. the Vikings. Of course, Staubach also made the Cowboys America’s team, meaning he’s the reason you can’t go anywhere in the country without bumping into their crazy fans. Try to forgive him.
9. Brett Favre
He loses points for overexposure—not to mention overuse of a camera phone—but there’s no denying that Favre was one of the greats. The three-time MVP and 11-time Pro Bowler was a tough, gritty QB beloved by teammates and obsessed over by the media. And thanks in part to his 297 consecutive starts, Favre became the only QB in history to top 70,000 passing yards and 500 touchdowns. Now just pray that those retirement papers he filed on January 17 are binding.
8. Dan Marino
Unfortunately, Marino loses points for never winning the big one and putting up an uninspiring 8-10 career record in the postseason with a QB rating that dipped to 77.1 in the playoffs. Still, No. 13 threw for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns in his NFL career, putting up numbers unheard of in the ‘80s, including a legendary sophomore season that saw him collect 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns. Plus, he did one hell of a job playing a kidnapping victim in Ace Venture Pet Detective.
7. Terry Bradshaw
It’s tempting to think of Terry Bradshaw as the cackling talking head on Fox NFL Sunday, a Southern fried Frankenstein monster who shouldn’t be taken seriously. And you’re right. But he was also a damn fine quarterback. With an arm that was always powerful and often erratic, Bradshaw stepped it up when it counted: his 70.9 regular season QB rating improved to 83.0 in the playoffs and 111.2 in the Super Bowl. No wonder he became the first QB to win three (and then four) championships.