25 Worst QBs in NFL History

25 Worst QBs in NFL History

Coaches expect their quarterback to be the face of the franchise, but the worst QBs in NFL history were far from that. In fact, they were the exact opposite. They were an embarrassment to the team and an embarrassment to the decision makers that chose to draft or sign them. 

Let’s be honest, it’s an easy being a quarterback in the NFL. It’s one of the toughest positions and comes with a great deal of responsibility. While they often receive most of the praise when things are going right, they also receive a majority of the criticism when things are going wrong. 

Quarterbacks need to be leaders. They need to have a strong arm, they need to be accurate, they need to thrive under pressure, and they need to possess a high football IQ. Unfortunately, not every quarterback has these traits and the worst QBs in NFL history are perfect examples.  

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Who Are the Worst QBs in NFL History?

25 Worst QBs in NFL History
Debby Wong / Shutterstock

In order to be considered one of the worst QBs in NFL history, things have to go incredibly wrong for you when given the keys to the offense. Not only does the coach expect you to play well, but so do your teammates. When you don’t deliver, that opportunity will quickly slip away. 

There are several factors we’re going to consider when determining the worst QBs in NFL history, but it’ll largely be centered around two major things — how badly they performed and how high their expectations were when they entered the league. Both are equally important. 

While not all the quarterbacks listed below had high expectations, they all share one thing in common — they were bad. Not just bad, but terrible, horrifying, embarrassing. Bad enough to result in widespread regret and cause discord throughout the organization they played for. 

25. Mark Sanchez

Drafted: 1st Round (5th Overall)

Years: 2009-2018 (8 seasons)

Teams: Jew York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins

Record: 37-36-0

Stats: 79 games, 1,314 completions, 56.6% completion percentage, 15,357 yards, 86 touchdowns, 89 interceptions

Most known for the ‘Butt Fumble,’ Mark Sanchez has better stats than most quarterbacks on this list, but don’t let that fool you. He struggled everywhere he went and seemed to get worse the more he played. It was actually surprising how long the New York Jets kept him around. 

You can view the rest of Mark Sanchez’s career stats here

24. Jimmy Clausen

Drafted: 2nd Round (48th Overall)

Years: 2010-2015 (4 seasons)

Teams: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens

Record: 1-13-0

Stats: 21 games, 255 completions, 54% completion percentage, 2,520 yards, 7 touchdowns, 14 interceptions

Jimmy Clausen had an impressive junior year at Notre Dame, completing 68% of his passes for 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Unfortunately, that success didn’t follow him into the NFL. He had a 1-9 record his rookie year and threw for 3 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. 

You can view the rest of Jimmy Clausen’s career stats here

23. Brady Quinn

Drafted: 1st Round (22nd Overall)

Years: 2007-2012 (4 seasons)

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 4-16-0

Stats: 24 games, 296 completions, 53.8% completion percentage, 3,043 yards, 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions

Speaking of Notre Dame, Brady Quinn had 69 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his final two years on campus. In his first three seasons with the Browns, he had a 3-9 record. After a couple years out of play, he had a disastrous comeback with the Chiefs (1-7 record, 2 touchdowns, 8 interceptions). 

You can view the rest of Brady Quinn’s career stats here

22. Jack Thompson

Drafted: 1st Round (3rd Overall)

Years: 1979-1984 (6 seasons)

Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 4-17-0

Stats: 51 games, 449 completions, 53.1% completion percentage, 5,315 yards, 33 touchdowns, 45 interceptions

Jack Thompson was an interception machine in college and things didn’t change when he made it to the NFL. He threw for 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his first three years with the Bengals, and 20 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his next two years with Tampa Bay.

You can view the rest of Jack Thompson’s career stats here

21. Joey Harrington

Drafted: 1st Round (3rd Overall)

Years: 2002-2007 (6 seasons)

Teams: Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons

Record: 26-50-0

Stats: 81 games, 1,424 completions, 56.1% completion percentage, 14,693 yards, 79 touchdowns, 85 interceptions

The Detroit Lions allowed Joey Harrington to lead their team for four straight years, compiling a 18-38 record with the team. He followed that up with a 5-6 record in Miami and a 3-7 record in Atlanta. It didn’t matter who he played for, Harrington never led his team to a winning record. 

You can view the rest of Joey Harrington’s career stats here.

20. Rick Mirer

Drafted: 1st Round (2nd Overall)

Years: 1993-2003 (8 seasons)

Teams: Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders

Record: 24-44-0 

Stats: 80 games, 1,088 completions, 53.3% completion percentage, 11,969 yards, 50 touchdowns, 76 interceptions

Another quarterback out of Notre Dame that became one of the worst QBs in NFL history, Rick Mirer was given four years to prove his worth to the Seahawks. The only thing he proved was a 41-56 touchdown-interception ratio, a 20-31 record, and an eventual trade to the Chicago Bears. 

You can view the rest of Rick Mirer’s career stats here

19. Nathan Peterman

Drafted: 5th Round (171st Overall)

Years: 2017-present (4 seasons)

Teams: Buffalo Bills, Las Vegas Raiders

Record: 1-3-0

Stats: 10 games, 71 completions, 52.6% completion percentage, 573 yards, 3 touchdowns, 12 interceptions

No one really had expectations for Nathan Peterman other than the Buffalo Bills’ brass. Despite drafting him in the fifth round, they believed he could be the QB of the future. Unfortunately, his 3 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 8 games with the team was not what they were hoping for.

You can view the rest of Nathan Peterman’s career stats here

18. Johnny Manziel

Drafted: 1st Round (22nd Overall)

Years: 2014-2015 (2 seasons)

Teams: Cleveland Browns

Record: 2-6-0

Stats: 14 games, 147 completions, 57.0% completion percentage, 1,675 yards, 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

Johnny Manziel received a lot of attention at Texas A&M and a lot of hype leading into his NFL career. It didn’t take long for him to become another one of the Cleveland Browns’ horrible busts. His struggles on and off the field led to his release after 2 years, never to play in the NFL again. 

You can view the rest of Johnny Manziel’s career stats here

17. Andrew Walter

Drafted: 3rd Round (69th Overall)

Years: 2006-2008 (3 seasons)

Teams: Oakland Raiders

Record: 2-7-0

Stats: 15 games, 174 completions, 52.3% completion percentage, 1,919 yards, 3 touchdowns, 16 interceptions

For a man that threw 16 career interceptions, it’s sad to think Andrew Walter only threw for 3 touchdowns. He was given the keys to the offense his rookie season and started 8 games after poor play from Aaron Brooks, but a 2-6 record didn’t help his case to maintain that role for long.

You can view the rest of Andrew Walter’s career stats here

16. Kelly Stouffer

Drafted: 1st Round (6th Overall)

Years: 1988-1992 (4 seasons)

Teams: Seattle Seahawks

Record: 5-11-0

Stats: 22 games, 225 completions, 51.5% completion percentage, 2,333 yards, 7 touchdowns, 19 interceptions

The Seattle Seahawks expected a lot from Kelly Stouffer — otherwise, they wouldn’t have drafted him sixth overall. Over the next four seasons, he started 16 games for Seattle and never threw more touchdowns than interceptions in a single season, compiling a mere 5-11 record. 

You can view the rest of Kelly Stouffer’s career stats here

15. Mike Phipps

Drafted: 1st Round (3rd Overall)

Years: 1970-1981 (12 seasons)

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears

Record: 38-31-2

Stats: 119 games, 886 completions, 49.2% completion percentage, 10,506 yards, 55 touchdowns, 108 interceptions

If quarterbacks today played like Mike Phipps did in the 1970s, they wouldn’t have a job for too long — let alone 12 seasons. How this man lasted in the NFL for that long is beyond me. His record isn’t terrible, but he nearly threw twice as many interceptions as he did touchdowns.

You can view the rest of Mike Phipps’ career stats here.

14. David Klingler

Drafted: 1st Round (6th Overall)

Years: 1992-1997 (6 seasons)

Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders

Record: 4-20-0

Stats: 33 games, 389 completions, 54.2% completion percentage, 3,994 yards, 16 touchdowns, 22 interceptions

David Klingler started 24 games for the Bengals in his first three years in the league, only winning 4 of them. Despite 13 starts in 1993, Klingler only threw six touchdowns and coupled that with nine interceptions. He spent two years with the Raiders, but only played in two games. 

You can view the rest of David Klingler’s career stats here.

13. Norm Snead

Drafted: 1st Round (2nd Overall)

Years: 1961-1976 (16 seasons)

Teams: Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

Record: 52-100-7

Stats: 178 games, 2,276 completions, 52.3% completion percentage, 30,797 yards, 196 touchdowns, 257 interceptions

Being one of the worst QBs in NFL history, it’s amazing that Norm Snead played a full career in the NFL. In 16 seasons, he only had two seasons with a winning record — 2-0 in 1971 and 8-5 in 1972. His consistent losing should’ve been a red flag to owners, but they kept signing him. 

You can view the rest of Norm Snead’s career stats here

12. Tim Couch

Drafted: 1st Round (1st Overall)

Years: 1999-2003 (5 seasons)

Teams: Cleveland Browns

Record: 22-37-0

Stats: 62 games, 1,025 completions, 59.8% completion percentage, 11,131 yards, 64 touchdowns, 67 interceptions

It takes a special player to be drafted first overall, but Tim Couch proved that sometimes it takes an incompetent scouting team and general manager — especially with Donovan McNabb on the board. He went on to win 2 of 14 games his rookie season and went 22-37 in his career. 

You can view the rest of Tim Couch’s career stats here

11. Jack Trudeau

Drafted: 2nd round (47th Overall)

Years: 1986-1995 (10 seasons)

Teams: Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers

Record: 19-30-0

Stats: 67 games, 873 completions, 53.1% completion percentage, 10,243 yards, 42 touchdowns, 69 interceptions

Jack Trudeau started his career with an 0-11 record in 1986, throwing for 8 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He would only throw more touchdowns than interceptions in one season and finished with a 19-30-0 record as a starter. It’s crazy that he lasted eight years with the Colts.

You can view the rest of Jack Trudeau’s career stats here.

10. Matt Leinart

Drafted: 1st Round (10th Overall)

Years: 2006-2012 (6 seasons) 

Teams: Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders

Record: 8-10-0

Stats: 33 games, 366 completions, 57.1% completion percentage, 4,065 yards, 15 touchdowns, 21 interceptions

Matt Leinart had an amazing career at USC, throwing for 10,693 yards, 99 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions in three years on campus. He played in nearly the same number of games in college as he did in the NFL, but never lived up to the hype and only lasted six years in the NFL.

You can view the rest of Matt Leinart’s career stats here

9. Chris Weinke

Drafted: 4th Round (106th Overall)

Years: 2001-2007 (5 seasons)

Teams: Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers

Record: 2-18-0

Stats: 29 games, 386 completions, 54.4% completion percentage, 3,904 yards, 15 touchdowns, 26 interceptions

Chris Weinke was given the keys to the Panthers’ offense in his rookie season, leading them to a miserable 1-14-0 record with 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. After that season, he was named the backup quarterback to Jake Delhomme and only won one of his next five starts. 

You can view the rest of Chris Weinke’s career stats here

8. Rick Norton

Drafted: 1st Round (2nd Overall)

Years: 1966-1970 (5 seasons)

Teams: Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers

Record: 1-10-0

Stats: 32 games, 159 completions, 41.6% completion percents, 1,815 yards, 7 touchdowns, 30 interceptions

Being drafted second overall comes with high expectations, but Rick Norton never met them. In his first three seasons, he started six games and lost all of them — throwing 4 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. In his final season with Miami, he threw2 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

You can view the rest of Rick Norton’s career statistics here.

7. DeShone Kizer

Drafted: 2nd Round (52nd Overall)

Years: 2017-2018 (2 seasons)

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers

Record: 0-15-0

Stats: 18 games, 275 completions, 53.1% completion percentage, 3,081 yards, 11 touchdowns, 24 interceptions

Many people have forgotten about DeShone Kizer, even though he was in the league just four years ago. He led the Cleveland Browns to an 0-15 record in 2017, throwing 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He was the backup in Green Bay for a year, which is the last we saw of him.

You can view the rest of DeShone Kizer’s career stats here

6. Frank Tripucka

Drafted: 1st Round (9th Overall)

Years: 1949-1963 (8 seasons)

Teams: Detroit Lions, Chicago Cardinals, Dallas Texans, Denver Broncos

Record: 17-34-1

Stats: 75 games, 879 completions, 50.4% completion percentage, 10,282 yards, 69 touchdowns, 124 interceptions

Frank Tripucka had a hard time winning and nearly threw twice as many interceptions as he did touchdowns. He went 4-8-0 in his first four years — 18 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. He then played in the CFL for 8 years before returning to the NFL, throwing 80 interceptions over the next three years. 

You can view the rest of Frank Tripucka’s career stats here

5. Kim McQuilken

Drafted: 3rd Round (69th Overall)

Years: 1974-1979 (5 seasons)

Teams: Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins

Record: 2-5-0

Stats: 26 games, 108 completions, 39.7% completion percentage, 1,135 yards, 4 touchdowns, 29 interceptions

Kim McQuilken had a miserable career in the NFL. He only started 7 games, but somehow managed to throw 29 interceptions to just 4 touchdowns. His 39.7% completion percentage shows just how inaccurate he was and he averaged just 4.7 yards per passing attempt. 

You can view the rest of Kim McQuilken’s career stats here

4. Heath Shuler

Drafted: 1st Round (3rd Overall)

Years: 1994-1997 (4 seasons)

Teams: Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints

Record: 8-14-0

Stats: 29 games, 292 completions, 49.2% completion percentage, 3,691 yards, 15 touchdowns, 33 interceptions

Heath Shuler threw more than twice as many interceptions as he did interceptions, which is unacceptable by any team’s standards. He had a 1-7 record his rookie year with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, then a 4-5 record with 2 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his final year in the NFL. 

You can view the rest of Heath Shuler’s career stats here

3. Akili Smith

Drafted: 1st Round (3rd Overall)

Years: 1999-2002 (4 seasons)

Teams: Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 3-14-0

Stats: 22 games, 215 completions, 46.6% completion percentage, 2,212 yards, 5 touchdowns, 13 interceptions

Akili Smith will go down as one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, along with the next two guys on this list. Drafted third overall, he only lasted four years in the league and had a 3-14-0 record. He could run the ball well, but also had 19 career fumbles — just to add to the misery.

You can view the rest of Akili Smith’s career stats here.

2. Jamarcus Russell

Drafted: 1st Round (1st Overall)

Years: 2007-2009 (3 seasons)

Teams: Oakland Raiders

Record: 7-18-0

Stats: 31 games, 354 completions, 52.1% completion percentage, 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions

Jamarcus Russell was supposed to be the quarterback of the future for the Oakland Raiders, but he only lasted three years in the league. He started 15 games in 2008, leading the Raiders to a 5-10 record. The next season, he had a 2-7 record, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

You can view the rest of Jamarcus Russell’s career stats here

1. Ryan Leaf

Drafted: 1st Round (2nd Overall)

Years: 1998-2001 (3 seasons)

Teams: San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys

Record: 4-17-0

Stats: 25 games, 317 completions, 48.4% completion percentage, 3,666 yards, 14 touchdowns, 36 interceptions

Perhaps the biggest draft bust of all-time, Ryan Leaf is hands-down one of the worst QBs in NFL history. If it weren’t for Peyton Manning, Leaf would’ve been drafted first overall — which means he would’ve ruined the Colts’ franchise instead of the Chargers’ franchise. 

He only lasted three years in the league and threw more than twice as many interceptions as he did interceptions. His 4-17-0 record is all you need to know about how his career turned out. 

You can view the rest of Ryan Leaf’s career stats here

Who Are the Worst QBs in the NFL Right Now?

The only thing worse than throwing an interception is throwing them more often than you throw touchdowns. It’s not a recipe for success and is something that will lead to your swift demise in the NFL. Coaches don’t like it, owners don’t like it, and your teammates don’t like it.

In today’s NFL, some of the worst quarterbacks include Andy Dalton, Colt McCoy, Josh Rosen, AJ McCarron, Mitchell Trubisky, Drew Lock, Nathan Peterman (mentioned above), Jacoby Brissett, Mason Rudolph, Mike Glennon, Blaine Gabbert, and Geno Smith.

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There are also several rookies in the NFL right now that are having not-so-good seasons thus far, including Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones. While they’ll improve as they continue their career, they’re certainly some of the worst QBs in NFL right now.

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