Special Report

The Best Quarterback in Each Team's History

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Arizona Cardinals: Jim Hart
> Years with Cardinals: 1966-1983
> Stats with Cardinals: 34,639 pass yds./209 TDs
> Record with team: 87-88-5
> Achievements with team: 4x Pro-Bowl
> Runner up: Kurt Warner

Jim Hart played for the Cardinals when the itinerant franchise was in St. Louis. He played 18 seasons with the team, more than any other player in the franchise’s history. His longevity with the Cardinals is a big reason he got the nod for best franchise quarterback over Kurt Warner, who took the team to their lone Super Bowl appearance.

Hart set Cardinals career records for wins by a quarterback (87), pass attempts (5,069), completions (2,590), passing yards (34,639), and touchdown passes (209). He was selected to four straight Pro Bowls (1974-77) — more than any other Cardinals’ quarterback. Hart led the Cardinals to three consecutive 10-win seasons (1974-76) and back-to-back division titles in 1974 and 1975.

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Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan
> Years with Falcons: 2008-present
> Stats with Falcons: 41,796 pass yds./260 TDs
> Record with team: 95-63
> Achievements with team: 4x Pro-Bowl, All-Pro, MVP
> Runner up: Michael Vick

Known as “Matty Ice,” Matt Ryan has regularly demonstrated his coolness under pressure since his entry into the league in 2008. In 2016, he posted one of the greatest seasons in NFL history by passing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions, and having a quarterback rating of 117.1. For his efforts, Ryan was named league MVP, the only Atlanta Falcons player to ever win the award. That season, Ryan steered the Falcons to their second Super Bowl appearance, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

As his career has stretched into its second decade with Atlanta, Ryan has established himself as one of the most accomplished QBs of all time. In 2019 and 2020, he led the NFL in completions. Ryan is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history who has thrown for over 4,000 yards in at least 10 consecutive seasons, along with Drew Brees. Going into the 2021 season, Ryan ranks ninth all-time in career passing yards, at 55,767.

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Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco
> Years with Ravens: 2008-present
> Stats with Ravens: 35,780 pass yds./200 TDs
> Record with team: 92-62
> Achievements with team: Super Bowl champion
> Runner up: Steve McNair

Though Lamar Jackson became in 2019 the only Ravens player to win NFL MVP honors, the young quarterback still has a ways to go before he becomes the greatest QB in Ravens history. As of 2021, that honor still belongs to Joe Flacco, even though he was benched in favor of Jackson in 2018. Flacco is the Ravens’ all-time leading passer in yards (38,245), touchdown passes (212), and completions (3,499). In 2016, he threw for a single-season team-record 4,317 yards.

Flacco is by far the longest tenured Ravens QB, having played for the team for 11 out of its 25 seasons. Though he was never selected to an All-Pro team, or even a Pro Bowl, Flacco led Baltimore to the Super Bowl XLVII title in 2012 and was named the game’s MVP. After being benched in 2018, Flacco moved on to the Denver Broncos for 2019, the New York Jets for 2020, and has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for 2021.

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Buffalo Bills: Jim Kelly
> Years with Bills: 1986-1996
> Stats with Bills: 35,467 pass yds./237 TDs
> Record with team: 101-59
> Achievements with team: 5x Pro-Bowl, All-Pro, Hall of Fame
> Runner up: Jack Kemp

Jim Kelly gets the nod as the Buffalo Bills’ greatest signal caller in franchise history. Kelly was part of the storied 1983 NFL draft that produced such notable quarterbacks as Dan Marino, John Elway, and Tony Eason among others. After a stint in the United States Football League, Kelly went to the snowy climes of Buffalo.

Kelly directed a high-powered offense featuring running back Thurman Thomas and wide receiver Andre Reed that took the Bills to four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990s. In his 11 seasons in Buffalo, Kelly led the Bills to the playoffs eight times. Throughout his career, Kelly made five Pro Bowls and was named first team All-Pro in 1991. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton
> Years with Panthers: 2011-2019
> Stats with Panthers: 29,041 pass yds./182 TDs
> Record with team: 68-55-1
> Achievements with team: 3x Pro-Bowl, All-Pro, MVP
> Runner up: Jake Delhomme

Founded in 1995, the Carolina Panthers are one of the newest NFL franchises. Only a handful of players have started at QB for the team. Of those, Cam Newton is by far the best. After being drafted first overall in 2011 by the Carolina Panthers, Newton quickly showed why he was so valuable. He shattered the rookie passing record, becoming the first player to throw for over 4,000 yards in his first season en route to rookie of the year honors.

Of his nine seasons with the Panthers, 2015 was easily the best. Newton threw 35 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions and capped off that campaign by making his third Pro Bowl, winning the MVP, and leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50. After an injury-shortened 2019 season, the Panthers cut Newton, who joined the New England Patriots for 2020 and resigned for 2021.