Quarterback is the only position in football that gets credited with wins, or pegged with losses. It shows just how important that position is because games are often won or lost on the back of the quarterback.
There’s a clear discrepancy between the best and worst QBs, but the career records of some guys in the middle may surprise you. We ranked the win percentage of all 31 quarterbacks currently on a roster who have started at least 30 games. You probably know the guy at the top, but who owns the worst record?
Blaine Gabbert: 9-31 (.225)
Nine wins in six years. Nine wins. That’s far worse than the next guy on this list, Blake Bortles, which is really saying something. Coincidentally, or not, both players were drafted by the Jaguars. Gabbert, now with the Cardinals, should probably never be a starter again unless the guy ahead of him gets hurt.
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Blake Bortles: 11-34 (.244)
Dak Prescott has been a starter for one year in the NFL and he already has more wins than Bortles has in three years. That’s … not good. If Bortles can’t change his fortune and actually play well in 2017, he’ll probably find himself on another team in a year or so. It’s one thing to blame his struggles on a bad Jaguars team, but he has all the help he needs around him.
Josh McCown: 18-42 (.300)
You probably look at that record and wonder how McCown still has a job. I do too, but you have to realize how great of a locker room guy he is. His fiery attitude and remarkable toughness make him an ideal mentor for young quarterbacks. He may never start another game, but he’s made the most of his time in the NFL, for sure.
Chad Henne: 18-35 (.340)
The Jaguars hate putting any sort of pressure on Blake Bortles in camp, which is why Henne is on the roster. He’s not a starting-caliber quarterback, winning just five of his 26 starts since 2011. Yet somehow, he’s still sticking around as an unthreatening backup, so to speak.
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Geno Smith: 12-18 (.400)
Smith has been on a roller-coaster ride his entire NFL career, limping to a 12-18 record. He’s now changed locker rooms at MetLife Stadium, joining the Giants as Eli Manning’s backup, but don’t expect him to see the field. The Giants certainly hope he doesn’t have to because that would mean Manning got injured.
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Sam Bradford: 32-45 (.410)
Injuries have significantly hindered Bradford’s career, limiting him to just 77 starts in seven years. Yet, for all the criticism he receives for being a bust who’s never been to the postseason and hasn’t lived up to the hype as a No. 1 overall pick, he was the NFL’s most accurate passer ever in 2016. That counts for something, right – even if he’s 13 games below .500?
Derek Anderson: 20-27 (.426)
After a rough tenure in Cleveland – outside of his shocking 2007 Pro Bowl season – Anderson became a career backup. Since 2011, his first year with the Panthers, he’s started just four games, going 2-2 in them. He’s not going to win many more games from this point forward, but he’ll always have that 2007 season in which he won 10 games.
Matt Cassel: 36-44 (.450)
Cassel was in a similar situation as Jimmy Garoppolo is in now, appearing to possibly be Tom Brady’s replacement. Of course, that never happened, but he landed himself a nice payday with the Chiefs after going 10-5 in place of Brady in 2008. Since then, he’s been relegated to a backup role.
Kirk Cousins: 19-21 (.463)
Cousins had to begin his career as Robert Griffin III’s backup, but making him the starter was one of the best decisions the Redskins ever made. He’s not quite elite yet, but his numbers have been terrific the past two seasons. Cousins should get over the career .500 mark this season as the Redskins look to bounce back and make the playoffs.
Matthew Stafford: 51-58 (.468)
Stafford has had a lot of bad luck in Detroit, from Calvin Johnson retiring early to suffering a shoulder injury in 2010 that forced him to miss 13 games. However, he’s still won 51 games – despite a not-so-great 58 losses. If the Lions were to surround him with more talent he’d have more wins.
Derek Carr: 22-25 (.468)
Carr more than doubled his win total in 2016 alone, winning 12 games before suffering a leg injury that ended his season a week early. He has all the makings of a franchise quarterback and is about to be paid like one, so don’t buy too much into his mediocre 22-25 record up to this point.
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Jameis Winston: 15-17 (.469)
Winston was simply a winner at Florida State. He hasn’t had nearly as much success in the NFL, but we all saw last season what he’s capable of doing. The Buccaneers nearly made the postseason as Winston improved on his 2015 season. Look for Tampa Bay to be a surprise team this season and possibly make a run in the playoffs.
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Ryan Tannehill: 37-40 (.481)
Tannehill had his best season as a pro in 2016, leading the Dolphins to an 8-5 record and postseason berth before suffering a knee injury. The season-long bright spot showed what he’s capable in Adam Gase’s offense, and it should lead to far more wins in 2017. As he continues to develop and improve, so will his win total.
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Matt Schaub: 47-45 (.511)
Schaub has bounced around from team to team – particularly in the last three years – but he’s somehow started 92 games in his career, winning 47 of them. Although he’s only had one winning record, Schaub has proved to be a serviceable backup. He surprised a lot of people in 2009, when he led the league in completions, attempts and yards.
Carson Palmer: 89-84 (.511)
Palmer had a stretch where he was one of the game’s best quarterbacks, but his play has fallen off a bit the past two years. That’s not to say he can’t lead the Cardinals to a Super Bowl, but his time is nearing its end. Regardless of when he walks away, he should finish above .500 for his career.
Mark Sanchez: 37-35 (.514)
It’s easy to forget that Sanchez took the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games in his first and second seasons. Since that point, though, he’s never made it back to the playoffs, or even had a winning record. Still, he’s above .500 for his career -- but only 18-23 since the start of 2011.
Brian Hoyer: 16-15 (.530)
Hoyer has been far better than he’s gotten credit for throughout his career, owning a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 44-to-26. That’s solid and would be acceptable for just about any starting quarterback. Unfortunately, he hasn’t exactly been put in great situations and has battled his share of injuries.
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Eli Manning: 108-91 (.543)
Manning has never missed a game since taking over as the Giants’ starter in 2004. His durability is remarkable, and it’s a big reason he’s won more than 100 games in the NFL. He and Philip Rivers have had very similar career paths after coming out of the same draft, only Manning has two Super Bowl rings to Rivers’ zero.
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Philip Rivers: 97-79 (.551)
Like Manning, Rivers has been an ironman in the NFL, having played every game since 2006. What’s missing from his resume is a Super Bowl, which he hasn’t come close to winning despite playing along some all-time greats like LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. His 97 career wins are mighty impressive, though.
Newton is wildly inconsistent, going from mediocre to MVP and back to sub-par in a span of three years. His 2015 season in which the Panthers won 15 games certainly helped his career record, but another losing season would be brutal for the former MVP. He needs to keep the Panthers above .500.
Nick Foles: 20-16 (.556)
Foles is back in Philly, where he began his career. It’s also where he went 8-2 with 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in 2013 – his lone Pro Bowl season. Since then, Foles has bounced around and been limited to spot starts and will probably finish his career as a backup.
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Drew Brees: 131-101 (.565)
Brees has more losses than any other quarterback on this list, but that’s partly because of his longevity. It also has to do with the poor teams he’s dealt with for several years, particularly the past few seasons when the Saints have ranked at the bottom in defense.
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Alex Smith: 79-56 (.581)
Smith came into the NFL with huge expectations after being the first overall pick in the 2005 draft. He struggled mightily in San Francisco, but landing with the Chiefs was the best thing to happen to him. He’s gone 41-20 in Kansas City and is in position to go on one last run in 2017. He’ll need to increase his win total significantly in order to hold off rookie Patrick Mahomes.
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Matt Ryan: 85-57 (.599)
Ryan has gotten off to a great start in his career despite falling short of a Super Bowl win this past year. His 85-57 record is outstanding, and it’s only going to improve with the roster the Falcons have built. Don’t be surprised to see another 13- or 14-win season in 2017 from Atlanta now that the defense is drastically improved.
Joe Flacco: 83-55 (.601)
Flacco gets a lot of heat for not being “elite,” but his 83-55 record and Super Bowl ring are fairly impressive for a guy who’s only played nine seasons. Unfortunately, the Ravens have struggled the past two years, hurting his career record a bit. Hopefully they can bounce back and help out their quarterback in 2017.
Andy Dalton: 56-35 (.602)
Ah, Andy Dalton – the Red Rifle. Can’t get it done in the postseason but wins a whole bunch of games during the regular season. He endured his first losing year ever in 2016 after winning double-digit games the previous four years. In order for his legacy to be elevated, he needs to make a playoff run.
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Andrew Luck: 43-27 (.614)
Luck came into the league with as much hype as any quarterback in NFL history. He was going to be everything from the next Peyton Manning to the best thing since sliced bread. He’s been great, but injuries and a poor supporting cast have limited his numbers the past two years. Thirty-three of his 43 wins came in his first three seasons alone, but he's gone just 10-12 since.
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Aaron Rodgers: 90-45 (.667)
Rodgers should probably have one, if not two more Super Bowl rings based on the way he and the Packers have played in the regular season, but his teams struggle to get it done in the playoffs. Although he’s reached only one Super Bowl in nine playoff appearances, Rodgers will still go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history.
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Ben Roethlisberger: 123-60 (.672)
It’s crazy to think that Roethlisberger is just eight wins shy of Brees but also has 41 fewer losses. He sometimes gets overlooked as an all-time great, but Roethlisberger is truly one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He should have a good chance of making the Hall of Fame, even if he surprisingly walks away from the game soon.
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Russell Wilson: 56-23 (.700)
No quarterback won more games in his first five seasons than Wilson, who’s on pace to put up astronomical career numbers. His stellar 56-23 record doesn’t even tell the whole story, as he already has one Super Bowl ring and would’ve had two if he had just handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the goal line. The best is yet to come for Wilson.
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Tom Brady: 183-52 (.779)
It should come as no surprise that Brady has the most wins of any active quarterback, having won a whopping 183 of his 235 starts. He already has the most victories in NFL history, so there’s not much left for him to accomplish, but should he play another three or four years as he hopes to, Brady’s win total could easily surpass 220 – 60 more than any other quarterback.