Passing for at least 30,000 yards in the NFL is a feat that only 44 players have achieved. The latest happened in the 2016 season when Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford became the fastest player to reach that mark, doing so in only 109 games. The Top 10 players on the list have all thrown for more than 46,000 yards and are all in the Hall of Fame or will be at some point. After that the list starts getting a little shaky, with players who have never won a Super Bowl or even an MVP award.
Throwing for 30,000 yards means you were good enough to keep your job and also stayed healthy long enough to rack up that much yardage. That many yards is the equivalent of about 17 miles, or going down the length of the football field 300 times. It is not uncommon for a quarterback to have a 300 yard game, and these QBs only needed to do that in 100 games to make this list.
15 Tony Romo – 34,183 yards
Even though Tony Romo has been injury prone and lost his starting job to Dak Prescott, he still ranks in the Top 30 for NFL all-time passing yards leaders at 34,000 plus. Romo has spent his entire career playing for Dallas since being undrafted in 2003. He has been a solid quarterback when he has been able to play, but never won a Super Bowl or MVP award. Romo is a four time NFL Pro Bowl selection and is a one time Second-team All-Pro. He has 248 touchdowns to just 117 interceptions through the 2016 season. Some of this other accomplishments include being the NFL’s passer rating and completion percentage leader in 2014 and this clutch QB holds the NFL records for highest QB rating in the 4th quarter and the month of December.
14 Joe Flacco – 32,639
Joe Flacco is one of those Super Bowl winning MVP quarterbacks who seems pretty overrated when you look at his entire career. “Joe Cool” has played his entire NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens since he was drafted #18 overall in the 2008 draft. He was the NFL Rookie of the Year after a solid college career at Delaware. Flacco led his team to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers following the 2012 season. He has more than 32,000 career yards and 182 career touchdowns to only 117 interceptions and a career record of 93 – 60 after the 2016 season. He could still move off this list if he plays a while longer and manages to lead his team to another Super Bowl.
13 Jim Hart – 34,665
Jim Hart was an old school quarterback who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1966 to 1983 after being undrafted. More than 30 years after he retired he still ranks in the Top 30 of the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leaders at just under 35,000. Hart was a four time Pro Bowl selection and was a Second-Team All-Pro in 1974 when he was also named NFL Offensive Player of the Year. To this day he is still the Cardinals career leader in passing touchdowns and passing yardage. He didn’t accomplish enough to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame but he is in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Hart finished his career with the Washington Redskins in 1984. He also finished with more interceptions thrown than touchdowns.
12 Matt Hasselbeck – 36,827
Matt Hasselbeck is now an analyst for ESPN, but he had a decent career and ended up ranked #24 on the list of the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leaders with more than 36,000. He was drafted in the 6th round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers and played there until 2000 behind Brett Favre. He spent the majority of his career with the Seattle Seahawks from 2001 to 2010 and also played for the Tennessee Titans from 2011 to 2012 and the Indianapolis Colts from 2013 to 2012. During his career Hasselbeck was selected to the Pro Bowl three times with Seattle. He also led the team to an AFC Championship before losing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL.
11 Vinny Testaverde – 46,233
Vinny Testaverde had a 20 year career in the NFL which explains why he is #11 on the list of most passing yards with more than 46,000. He had a lot to live up to after winning the Heisman and a whole list of other awards including the Sporting News Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American in 1986. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bought into the hype and drafted Vinny at #1 in 1987. He played there until 1992 when he went to the Cleveland Browns until 1995. Testaverde finally accomplished something, becoming a Pro Bowl selection in 1996 for the Baltimore Ravens and in 1998 for the New York Jets. He went to the Dallas Cowboys, back to the Jets, and then played for the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame but barely accomplished anything in the NFL.
10 Philip Rivers – 45,833
Philip Rivers is #12 on the list of quarterbacks with most passing yards all time in the NFL. He has achieved that playing for the Chargers his entire career since being drafted #4 in the 2004 NFL Draft. Rivers has been consistent and is #4 in consecutive starts by a quarterback in NFL history. He has more than 300 career touchdown passes and a better than 2:1 TD to interception ratio. Rivers has never won a Super Bowl or even an AFC championship. He is a five time Pro Bowl selection and was the league’s touchdowns co-leader in 2008 and passing yards leader in 2010. He was also named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2013. Rivers is not that bad, but he isn’t all that great either.
9 Dave Krieg – 38,147
The only fans that will likely disagree with Dave Krieg being on this list are Seahawks fans. The team signed Krieg as an undrafted free agent in 1980 and he played there until 1991. During that time he was named to the Pro Bowl three times but failed to do much else. Krieg ranks in the Top 20 for career passing touchdowns, wins by a starting quarterback, career passing yards, and career pass attempts. He was a good quarterback and is a member of the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor, but he won’t be remembered by many NFL fans since he doesn’t have any hardware to show for his career. He also played the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and Tennessee Oilers.
8 Mark Brunell – 32,072
Mark Brunell played for almost 20 years in the NFL after winning a National championships with Washington in college. He played for the Green Bay Packers from 1993 to 1994, the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995 to 2003, the Washington Redskins from 2004 to 2007, the New Orleans Saints from 2008 to 2009, and the New York Jets from 2010 to 2011. Brunell did win a Super Bowl ring but it was as a backup to Drew Brees with New Orleans. His best times were with the Jaguars where he was a three time Pro Bowl selection and led the league in passing yards in 1996. Brunell finished his career with 184 touchdowns and 108 interceptions and a record of 83 – 78. He would be a much better quarterback in the history books if he had won the Super Bowl as a starter.
7 Matthew Stafford – 30,303
Matthew Stafford became the fastest player to reach the 30,000 yard mark in 2016 and as of then he ranks #44 (which is last) on the list of quarterbacks to reach that milestone. He was drafted #1 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2009 and has done well with what he’s had to work with there. Stafford made the Pro Bowl in 2014 and was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2011. Although he has no playoff wins, he is only the fourth quarterback in the NFL to throw for at least 5,000 yards in a season and holds the NFL record for most comeback wins in one season with eight in 2016. A lot of his yards came with Calvin Johnson on the receiving end.
6 Jim Everett – 34,837
Some NFL fans may be surprised that Jim Everett racked up almost 35,000 passing yards. He was drafted #3 by the Houston Oilers in the 1986 NFL Draft and traded to the Los Angeles Rams after not being able to work out a contract. He stayed with the Rams until 1993 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1990 and was named Second-Team All-NFC and All-NFL one time each. In 1988 and 1989 he was the NFL’s passing touchdowns leader, and is actually the Rams’ career leader in passing yards. Everett played for the New Orleans Saints from 1994 to 1996 and finished his career with the San Diego Chargers in 1997. He finished his career with 203 touchdowns and 175 interceptions and a losing record at 66 – 92.
5 Matt Ryan – 37,701
In less than 10 years, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has racked up more than 37,000 passing yards, ranking him #21 on the NFL’s all-time passing yards leaders. Even though he has thrown for a lot of yards and touchdowns since he was drafted #3 overall by the Falcons in 2008, Ryan has failed to lead his team to any successful playoff runs. Before the 2016 season he only had one playoff win under his belt. With that being said, Ryan is a four time Pro Bowl selection and was a First-team All-Pro in 2016. He was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008. With all the weapons the Falcons have now he may be able to make some noise in the playoffs and has even been discussed as an MVP candidate.
4 Norm Snead – 30,797
You have to go way back in the history books to find Norm Snead, who played during the 1960s and 1970s. He started out with the Washington Redskins from 1961 to 1963 and then played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1964 to 1970, Minnesota Vikings in 1971, New York Giants from 1972 to 1974, the San Francisco 49ers from 1974 to 1975, and again for the Giants in 1976. Snead barely had over 30 thousand yards and had 257 interceptions compared to 196 touchdowns. He was a four time Pro Bowl selection and led the NFL in completion percentage and was second in passer rating in 1972. Snead was the last QB who won a game with a passer rating of zero which is a dubious achievement.
3 Kerry Collins – 40,922
Kerry Collins had a successful career at Penn State where he was the Big Ten Most Valuable Player and won several other awards in 1994 before being drafted #5 by the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 NFL Draft. He played for the Panthers until 1998 and then briefly played for the New Orleans Saints. He then played for the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts before retiring in 2011. Collins doesn’t have any rings and his only NFL accomplishments were reaching the Pro Bowl twice. He finished his career with barely more touchdowns than interceptions and a losing record at 84 – 103. He is also ranked 12th in all-time career completions with nearly 3,500. Collins was a journeyman quarterback who was good enough to stick around for a while but will not go down as great.
2 Steve DeBerg – 34,241
Steve DeBerg racked up some impressive numbers during his 21 years in the NFL, but he really has no accomplishments to show for it. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1977 to 1980 where he led the NFL in completions one time. DeBerg then played for the Denver Broncos from 1981 to 1983 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1984 to 1987. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1988 to 1991 where he set an NFL single-season record for lowest interception percentage. DeBerg then went back to the Bucs from 1992 to 1993 before playing for the Miami Dolphins in 1993. He came back in 1998 for the Atlanta Falcons and became the oldest QB to start an NFL game at 44 years old. He had a horrible record at 54 – 89 – 1 and more interceptions than touchdowns.
1 Jay Cutler – 32,467
Jay Cutler is a very polarizing player and it feels like the majority of NFL fans don’t like him very much. That is likely the case for fans of the Chicago Bears who he has played for since 2009 after being drafted #11 overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft. Cutler has thrown for over 32,000 passing yards and more than 200 touchdowns, but he doesn’t have much to show for it. All he has managed to do is go to the Pro Bowl in 2008. He did lead the team to the NFC Championship game after the 2010 season, but went just 6 for 14 with 80 yards and a pick before getting injured and the team lost to the Green Bay Packers. Many Bears fans want him out of Chicago but he always seems to stick around.