This list includes the best of the best. Throwing for 200 touchdowns means your now part of an elite group of quarterbacks. With 200 career passing touchdowns, these guys are really good. Only 40 guys have been able to throw more than 200 touchdowns in their career. But we’re looking at the best of all time, and the worst of those who managed a couple of hundred passing touchdowns.
No doubt, guys like Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and John Elway are among the best who have ever played in the NFL. Although there’s no questioning how great these guys are, none of them are No. 1 on this list as the best quarterback with 200 touchdowns. (Hint: the guy who tops the list has won 80 percent of his career games)
On the other side of things, guys like Kerry Collins and Jay Cutler are among the seven guys who just don’t match up well with greatness. In the 200-touchdown group, there are guys who do not belong in the conversation of being among the best ever.
The guys on this list tend to have been in the league more recently. The NFL has a continued evolution of leaning on the passing game more and more. Naturally, that means we see more guys throwing a lot of touchdowns, but that doesn’t mean they had great success. For some of the guys that follow, a lot of touchdowns didn’t lead to any meaningful successes. Some ended up seeing just minor success in the league.
This list ranks the eight best quarterbacks who threw more than 200 quarterbacks. But we also rank the worst quarterbacks who managed more than 200 touchdowns in their career.
15 BEST: STEVE YOUNG, 232
Terry Bradshaw nearly took this spot, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio was way too close to be considered for this list (Bradshaw had 212 touchdowns and 210 interceptions). On the other end of the spectrum, Steve Young has a much better ration, 232-107. While Young has one less Super Bowl (he’s a three-time champion), he’s stats provide a boost over Bradshaw.
Young was a two-time MVP and led the league in touchdowns four times. Even more impressive, he had 4,239 rushing yards and rushed for 43 touchdowns during his career. It was worth Young’s time spending a few years behind Joe Montana to start his career. Especially since Young’s first couple of years in Tampa Bay resulted in a 3-16 record and just 11 touchdowns with 21 interceptions.
14 WORST: TONY ROMO, 248
For a guy who went undrafted, Tony Romo has a career that no one would have expected. Romo has been to the Pro Bowl four times and has led the Cowboys to four playoff appearances. However, each postseason appearance failed miserably. The thing that hurts Romo the most is his inconsistency of playing on the field. It’s a toss up each season of whether injuries will keep him out, and going forward, lingering injuries may keep him from ever completing a full season again.
Romo rides that line between below-average and great, but due to his ample missed time, he gets the first spot among the worst quarterbacks to throw 200 touchdowns. Putting together another solid season would take him off this list, but he remains for now.
13 BEST: DAN MARINO, 420
It sucks for Dan Marino, but he will go down in history as the best quarterback who failed to win a Super Bowl. Marino has been described that way since he finished his lengthy career in 1999 and people will likely describe him that way for a very long time. With the numbers Marino posted, it’s surprising he was never able win the biggest game in sports.
Marino was a five-time passing yards leader and a three-time passing touchdown leader. He was the MVP in 1984 and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. The Dolphins were so grateful for his career that they retired his number – 13. That was fitting for the guy who took them to the postseason 10 times during his 17-season career.
12 WORST: MATT HASSELBECK, 212
Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t terrible by any way of looking at it, but with all the chances Hasselback had, he should have won more. That fact alone leaves him on the worst side of quarterbacks who threw more than 200 touchdowns. Quarterbacks can still be great without winning a Super Bowl, and guys have done that. But Hasselbeck doesn’t make that cut. He led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances and one Super Bowl game, and was a three-time Pro Bowler.
But Hasselbeck has won just 53 percent of his regular season games. He had just about as many losing seasons as he did winning seasons. Sure, the league is built on the ups and downs, but great quarterbacks don’t have as many bad years as they do good years.
11 BEST: AARON RODGERS, 297
This future Hall of Famer ranks among the best players to throw at least 200 touchdowns because of his talent. By the time Aaron Rodgers is finished with his career, he might be knocking on the No. 1 or No. 2 spots. But for now, a spot in the top-8 is fitting, and it is something that Rodgers deserves.
Rodgers has been the Packers starter for just nine seasons, yet he’s nearly thrown 300 touchdowns and just 72 interceptions. Rodgers, who led the league with 40 touchdowns last season, is already a two-time MVP and has won a Super Bowl. And as of now, he’s got the best career passer rating (104.1) in NFL history and has the best single season passer rating (122.5 in 2011).
10 WORST: DREW BLEDSOE, 251
A Super Bowl win could have kept Drew Bledsoe off this list, but he was not good enough to be considered among the elite quarterbacks in NFL history. Bledsoe started six playoff games, but he lost half of those. That pretty much exemplifies his entire career.
Bledsoe lost about as many games as he won (he won 98 and lost 95) and his touchdown to interception stats weren’t too good either (251 touchdowns and 206 interceptions). And his career completion percentage was 57 percent. That’s not terrible, but it’s not as good as most guys who threw more than 200 touchdowns.
The worst part for Bledsoe’s career was his playoff performances. Those performances were often times miserable to watch. In his six postseason appearances he completed about 50 percent of his passes and tossed six touchdowns but also had 12 interceptions.
9 BEST: BRETT FAVRE, 508
This Hall of Famer did a lot of really, really good stuff in his career, but he also had some bad stretches, too. He leads Brett Favre had thrown the most career touchdowns before Peyton Manning barely broke the record. Favre, however, added 336 interceptions to his statline. Even worse, Favre only won about 60 percent of the games he started. That’s still pretty good, but not when you compare it to the guys that are coming up.
Favre also added just one Super Bowl win to his resume. Though he does hold the record for most consecutive starts by anyone in NFL history. However, Favre leads the way (by far) with 336 interceptions thrown in his career. That’s nearly 60 more than the next closest guy on the list.
8 WORST: KERRY COLLINS, 208
Kerry Collins is a guy who proves that throwing 200 touchdowns doesn’t make you an elite quarterback, even though it has only been done by 40 quarterbacks in history. After 17 seasons in the league, Collins had a dismal record as a starter, 81-99, and barely tossed more touchdowns than interceptions, 208-196.
In 1996, during his second year in the NFL, Collins made the Pro Bowl as he lead Carolina to a 9-3 record. But He followed that up with four seasons of just a terrible win loss record. He did the same thing in the final three seasons of his career after leading Tennessee to a 12-3 record in 2008. So, a couple spurts of greatness keeps Collins from the bottom of this list, but the lengthy record of poor performances keeps him as one of the worst quarterbacks to throw for more than 200 touchdowns.
7 BEST: JOHN ELWAY, 300
Five Super Bowl appearances actually hurts John Elway in terms of figuring out the best quarterback on this list. When you match these guys up, it’s essentially splitting hairs in terms of picking the best guy. But Elway gets beat out by a few guys, and hurting him a bit was losing three Super Bowls, compared to his two wins. But he still takes the fourth-best quarterback position largely in part because of his proven postseason performances. The Hall of Famer spent 16 seasons (300 TD passes) in the NFL and made it to the postseason 10 times.
Additionally, Elway will go down in history for one of the most memorable playoff performances ever – the drive. That was when Elway spearheaded a 98-yard, game-tying touchdown drive as time winded down in the AFC Championship game against the Cleveland Browns.
6 WORST: JAY CUTLER, 208
Jay Cutler still has time to turn his career around, but to this point he’s not doing himself any favors. He’s led the league in interceptions twice (2009 and 2014) and he’s got a losing record as a starter, 68-71. Plus, Cutler has taken his team to the playoffs in just one season and he’s posted a losing record as a starter for the last four seasons. And making things worse, he’s only played in every regular season game three times in his career.
Bears fans give Cutler a lot of heat, but it seems this guy deserves it. Some are hopeful Jay Cutler will turn things around, but it’s not likely he’ll switch things up enough to get off this list by the end of his career.
5 BEST: JOE MONTANA, 273
Joe Montana is more than deserving of being part of the conversation as the best-ever. Montana won 71 percent of his games, has four Super Bowl rings. Montana led his team to the playoffs 11 times and was a Pro Bowler eight times during his 14 seasons. It’s somewhat unfortunate that Montana couldn’t finish his prolific career in San Francisco (after getting injured Steve Young took over, which led to Montana requesting a trade once returning).
Montana was so good that he made his team really good, like the greats always do. He had three one-loss seasons and recorded a winning record in every season but two. And in those he only played in seven and nine games (1980 and 1982).
No matter how many good quarterbacks come along, Montana will always be considered one of the best.
4 WORST: JIM HART, 209
Jim Hart barely made the cut with just 209 touchdowns. Although Hart threw a number of touchdowns that put him in a group of elite quarterbacks, he was anything but elite through his lengthy career. Hart was an average quarterback, but only strung together a few good seasons in his nearly 20-year career. Hart, who started in the NFL in 1966, played through the 1984 season but didn’t play much after 1981.
The biggest knock against Hart was his interceptions. He threw 209 touchdowns, but matched that with 247 interceptions. Throwing more interceptions than touchdowns is tough to swallow. Even worse, he was a four-time Pro Bowler, but he tossed five interceptions during one of those games.
Adding onto that, Hart finished his career with a losing record (87-88-5) and lost the only two games he started in the playoffs.
3 BEST: PEYTON MANNING, 539
Peyton Manning nearly took the top spot on this list, and it would have been fitting with how well liked Manning was and continues to be in retirement. Manning was a Super Bowl champion twice and more impressive is that he was a five-time MVP, a league record.
Manning has the most passing touchdowns in history (539 TDs and 251 INTs) and he’s even got the most career passing yards. So, why isn’t Manning at the top of this list? Well, that’s because the guy at the top is a better winner. Manning is one of the best at winning as he boasts a 70-percent win rate. And he’s one of the best people pleasers that the league, or even the entire sports world, has ever seen. He’ll no doubt remain one of the greatest players in history, just not the best.
2 WORST: VINNY TESTAVERDE, 275
Vinny Testaverde played so long in the league that it is no surprise he threw for nearly 300 touchdowns. But he nearly threw as many interceptions as he did touchdowns (275-267). What’s even worse? Testaverde lost way more games than he won. His career record as a starter was 90-123-1, but he still managed 21 seasons in the NFL.
But that doesn’t mean Testaverde deserves to be considered an elite quarterback. In fact, with the way Testaverde played in his final five seasons, most fans remember him as a dud. But most of his career was filled with rough play as he leads the NFL with the most losses in league history. But hey, he was still good enough to last for two decades and play with seven different teams.
1 BEST: TOM BRADY, 456
No doubt, a lot of people do not like seeing Tom Brady ranked at the top of any list. Brady is one of the most hated players in the league. But that’s largely because of how good he is. Brady commands New England’s offense and makes winning look easier than anybody has ever been able to do. Brady has won about 80 percent of the games he started in. That’s absolutely insane.
Plus, Brady has been selected to the Pro Bowl 12 times, has led the in touchdowns four times and led the league in passing yards twice. He’s been league’s MVP twice. More importantly, Tom Brady is a four-time Super Bowl champion and has his shot for a fifth championship ring this year. Oh, and he was Super Bowl MVP during three of those victories.
Brady will no doubt be a Hall of Famer and his stats continue to be better than anyone that has played. So far, he has 456 touchdowns with more than 61,000 yards and has just 152 interceptions. And as long as he’s in the league, these stats will continue to get better.