Editor’s note: As part of NFL’s Greatest Quarterback, fans will decide the best quarterback in team, division, conference and league history.
The results are in for all four AFC West teams, and though there were some close races, there were no major surprises.
John Elway barely edged out Tim Tebow for best quarterback in Broncos history — we sense some shenanigans there — while Len Dawson won for the Chiefs, Ken Stabler beat out Daryle Lamonica for the Raiders and Dan Fouts ran away with it for the Chargers.
So who do you think is the best quarterback in AFC West history? Lets go through some of their accomplishments:
Len Dawson: Despite starting his career 50 years ago, Dawson still ranks at the top of most Chiefs passing records. He led the team to three AFL championships and one Super Bowl championship in 1969. The Chiefs made the playoffs five times during Dawson’s impressive Hall of Fame career.
Dawson led the AFL in passing efficiency six times, including five seasons in a row. He also led the AFL in touchdowns four times. During his career, he led the Chiefs to a 93-56-8 record. Dawson was the No. 5 overall pick in 1957 but didn’t kick-start his career until 1962 with the Chiefs. He started his career with two of the NFL’s premier organizations — the Steelers and Browns.
John Elway: There are many reasons for Broncos fans to love Elway. First among them is that he essentially got to hand-pick Denver as his football team. Elway was drafted No. 1 overall in 1983 by the Colts, but he didn’t want to play in Baltimore for a number of reasons. Elway was traded to Denver, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Elway led the Broncos to 10 playoff appearances in his 16 seasons in the league and made the Pro Bowl in nine of those seasons. He was the 1987 league MVP, led his team to five Super Bowls, winning one in each of his final two seasons. What’s most impressive is that Elway got better as a passer as he aged. His relatively low completion percentages were not overly impressive in the early part of his career, but as his speed started to diminish, his arm got more efficient.
Ken Stabler: It took Stabler five years to nail down the starting spot in Oakland, but once he did, he starred for the Raiders. Stabler led Oakland to its first Super Bowl championship in January 1977, when the Raiders beat the Vikings 32-14.
In that game, Stabler threw for 180 yards and a touchdown. Stabler is the Raiders’ all-time leader in passing yards. He was named to four Pro Bowls and led the league in passing efficiency in 1973 and 1976.
Dan Fouts: Fouts is a Pro Football Hall of Fame member who leads the Chargers in career passing yards, touchdowns, completions, attempts, wins and countless other stats. He was a six-time Pro Bowler who led the league in passing for four straight years, from 1979 to 1982.
The Chargers never made the Super Bowl under Fouts, but he led them to the playoffs four straight seasons, where he compiled a 3-4 postseason record. Fouts’ stats blew up in 1978 with the addition of head coach Don Coryell, who installed his “Air Coryell” offense, which concentrated on deep passing.