Editor’s note: As part of NFL’s Greatest Quarterback, fans will decide the best quarterback in team, division, conference and league history.
Craig Morton: Morton had most of the Broncos’ career passing yards after his service from 1977 to 1982. Then a guy named John Elway came along and wiped all those records away.
Still, Morton had a very impressive 41-23 record for the Broncos, and he led the team to three playoff appearances, including one Super Bowl in 1977. The Broncos lost to the Dallas Cowboys, the team Morton had spent the earlier portion of his career with. Morton retired the season before the Broncos traded for Elway.
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 and won in his last two seasons in the league. 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.
Brian Griese: The Broncos had a difficult time trying to replace Elway, and Griese was the first in a long line to attempt the impossible feat. Griese led the Broncos to a 27-24 record in his five seasons in Denver and had his best season in 2000 when he was named to the Pro Bowl.
Griese had 2,688 yards in 2000 with 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He led the team to a 7-3 record but was injured late in the season. Gus Frerotte replaced him and lost to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.
Tim Tebow: Some may wonder what exactly Tebow is doing on this list. Well, the Broncos haven’t had the greatest history at quarterback outside of Elway and Morton. Tebow led his team to an 8-6 record and a playoff win. So he wins out over the Jay Cutlers and Charley Johnsons of the world (Jake Plummer made the list for the Cardinals).
Tebow was a lightning rod for the Broncos in 2011, taking over for Kyle Orton and changing the team’s fortunes almost immediately. Unfortunately for Denver, Tebow couldn’t get the Patriots’ monkey off the Broncos’ back and was eliminated by New England after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tebow’s numbers as a passer were not pretty, but a 7-4 record in 2011 was impressive, as were all of his late-game heroics.