The 10 most underrated quarterbacks in NFL history

Ken Anderson, NFL

Credit: Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

Here are the 10 most underrated quarterbacks in NFL history.

It’s easy to think of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, measured by everything from rings to numbers to longevity and often a combination of those things. In no special order Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, John Elway and Joe Montana come to mind, with plenty of others who are easily mentioned among the all-time great signal callers.

But there is a subset of quarterbacks who were underrated and are just patently underappreciated. Maybe it’s a lack of team success that has kept them off the radar, or bad moments on a big stage.

Maybe it was a short peak, injuries or numbers that are dwarfed by the ease with which today’s NFL offenses operate and how quarterbacks put up numbers. Maybe running up against some great teams in their era holds some quarterbacks out of a conversation of all-time greats.

With all of the aforementioned in mind, here are the 10 most underrated quarterbacks in NFL history.

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10. Brad Johnson

A ninth-round pick out of Florida State by the Minnesota Vikings in 1992 (the draft doesn’t go that long anymore, of course), Johnson didn’t seen an NFL field until 1994 as Warren Moon’s backup. He then started 21 games over the 1996 and ’97 campaigns, with a completion rate north of 60 percent both seasons.

Johnson opened the season as the Vikings’ starter in 1998, before being injured and replaced by Randall Cunningham. The rest was literally history, as Minnesota went on to set the single-season record for points scored.

Johnson was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1999. In his first of two years there he topped 4,000 passing yards, as the team won the NFC East and a Wild Card Round game. The franchise has won one playoff game since.

Johnson then landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2002 and led the league in pass attempts in 2003. Oh and lest I forget Johnson got a ring in 2002, as the Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Johnson landed back with the Vikings in 2005, starting 23 games over two seasons. From there he spent the last two seasons of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, with three starts as a 40-year old in 2008.

With brains and accuracy that far exceeded his physical tools, Johnson forged a long NFL career as a bit of a journeyman that no team ever wanted to fully commit to. A little over 29,000 career passing yards later, he is a fitting way to open this list.

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