6. Steve Young
He’s like Michael Vick—but if Vick never went to prison and was the great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young. This lefty endured two seasons on the USFL’s Los Angeles Express (his contract, paid in an annuity, still runs until 2027), a 3-16 record as a starter on the Bucs, and four years backing up Joe Montana to become a legend. Young made the Pro Bowl in all seven of his years as a starter, winning two MVPs and leading the league in completion percentage five times. But he’s most remembered for his Super Bowl performance in 1994: 24-for-36, 325 yards, six touchdowns, 49 rushing yards. It might have been the greatest game ever played on the big stage.
5. Peyton Manning
Though he’s rehabbing from off-season surgery that could put his future effectiveness in jeopardy, the one-time Super Bowl champ has already earned a spot on the list. Ever since he set five records as a rookie—including most TD passes (26) and yards (3,739)—the king of the hurry-up offense has been breaking new ground in the game. Owner of four MVPs, the most in league history, Manning has also amassed the most 4,000-yard passing seasons. Even more impressively, he actually did a halfway decent job hosting Saturday Night Live.
4. John Elway
Things started off inauspiciously for Elway when he threatened to play baseball for the Yankees unless the Colts traded him. Trade him they did, and as a Bronco Elway would prove to be a durable, mobile playmaker with a cannon for an arm and pinpoint accuracy. Elway threw for 51,475 yards and 300 TDs in his career, plus piled up 3,407 rushing yards for good measure, and bounced back from losing in his first three Super Bowl appearances to win his last two. He walked off into the sunset after that last one, becoming the oldest quarterback (38) ever to win the Super Bowl.