16. Kansas City Chiefs: Len Dawson
> Years with Chiefs: 1962-1975
> Stats with Chiefs: 28,507 pass yds./237 TDs
> Record with team: 93-56-8
> Achievements with team: 7x Pro-Bowl, 2x All-Pro, AFL Champion, Super Bowl champion, Hall of Fame
> Runner up: Trent Green
Hall of Famer Len Dawson was at the controls of the moving-pocket offense of the Kansas City Chiefs, who held sway in the American Football Conference in the late 60s and early 70s.
Few players are more closely associated with a franchise than Dawson. He’s been with the Chiefs organization since 1962, the final year the team played in Dallas as the Texans. Dawson led that team to the American Football League Championship. He led the Chiefs to AFL titles in 1966 and 1969. And he was the Chiefs quarterback when they played in the first Super Bowl in 1967.
Dawson was the MVP of Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory over the favored Minnesota Vikings in 1970. He was under more than the usual pressure for that game because he had been linked to a gambling investigation in the days leading up to the game.
More than 40 years after he retired, Dawson is the franchise leader in career passing yards (28,507) and touchdowns (237).
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Dan Fouts
> Years with Chargers: 1973-1987
> Stats with Chargers: 43,040 pass yds./254 TDs
> Record with team: 86-84-1
> Achievements with team: 6x Pro-Bowl, 2x All-Pro, Hall of Fame
> Runner up: Philip Rivers
Dan Fouts made Air Coryell operational when the Chargers played in San Diego. Fouts was the quarterback at San Diego when coach Don Coryell shifted the offense into a free-wheeling, pass-often scheme.
“The first thing in our offense was always the bomb,” said Hall of Famer Fouts in Ron Jaworski’s book “The Games That Changed the Game.” “It was built into almost every pass play, where the quarterback initially looks for that chance to hit the big one.”
And Fouts hit the big one often. Fouts had 254 touchdown passes, many of them to receivers such as Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, Wes Chandler, and John Jefferson. Fouts led the league six times in passing yards per game. He topped the league in passing yards for four straight years ending in 1982. His best year was 1981, when he completed 360 passes for 4,802 yards (both tops in league) and 33 touchdown passes.
Fouts is second on the Chargers all-time list in passing yards (43,040), completions (3,297), and touchdown passes (254).
18. Los Angeles Rams: Kurt Warner
> Years with Rams: 1998-2003
> Stats with Rams: 14,447 pass yds./102 TDs
> Record with team: 35-15
> Achievements with team: 3x Pro-Bowl, 2x All-Pro, 2x MVP, Super Bowl champion
> Runner up: Bob Waterfield
Kurt Warner went from bagging groceries to playing quarterback in the National Football League. If that sounds like a movie starring Kevin Costner, that understandable.
Warner was not drafted. He played Arena Football and played for NFL Europe before he signed with the St. Louis Rams. He would eventually take the Rams and their “Greatest Show on Turf” to their only Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XXXIV, passing for a Super Bowl record 414 yards and winning the MVP.
Warner also has two regular-season MVPs to his credit.
Just to show his time with the Rams was not a fluke, Warner led the 2008 Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in XLIII.
19. Miami Dolphins: Dan Marino
> Years with Dolphins: 1983-1999
> Stats with Dolphins: 61,361 pass yds./420 TDs
> Record with team: 147-93
> Achievements with team: 9x Pro-Bowl, 3x All-Pro, MVP, Hall of Fame
> Runner up: Bob Griese
Hall of Famer Dan Marino is another member of the storied quarterback class of 1983, and some might say he is its valedictorian. He is regarded by many NFL historians as the greatest passer to ever play in the NFL, and was known for his quick release and powerful arm.
Marino was first quarterback to pass for more than 5,000 yards in one season when he threw for 5,084 in 1984. He was the league MVP that year. The Hall of Famer threw for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns to receivers like the Marks Brothers (Mark Duper and Mark Clayton). Marino holds all of the passing records at Miami.
The Dolphins under Marino went to the playoffs 10 times and got to one Super Bowl, but were blown out by the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX.
20. Minnesota Vikings: Fran Tarkenton
> Years with Vikings: 1961-1966, 1972-1978
> Stats with Vikings: 33,098 pass yds./239 TDs
> Record with team: 91-73-6
> Achievements with team: 5x Pro-Bowl, All-Pro, MVP, Hall of Fame
> Runner up: Daunte Culpepper
Fran Tarkenton was famous as an undersized scrambler; he’s also famous for being a winner.
Tarkenton had two separate stints with the Minnesota Vikings after a period with the New York Giants. In his second tenure with the purple-clad Vikings, Tarkenton took them to three Super Bowls, and Minnesota lost all of them.
During his second tenure with the Vikings, Tarkenton was named MVP of the NFL in 1975, when he was 35 years old. He led the league that year with 25 touchdown passes and 273 completions.
In his final season in 1978, Tarkenton completed 345 passes for 3,468 yards, both career highs.
By the time he retired, Tarkenton owned every major quarterback record. He still holds the Vikings records for passing yards (33,098), completions (2,635), and touchdown passes (239). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.