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Redskins Quarterbacks: Greatest Ever?

Posted by Stephen Czarda on March 11, 2013 – 1:38 pm


Football is the ultimate team sport and the skills and attributes of all 52 players meshed perfectly together can bring home a Lombardi Trophy. However, there is only one position that has records kept for their performance as a starter and are often the most scrutinized if a team does not perform well: the quarterback.

While the 52 gridiron warriors cohesively fight together over the common bond of a will to win, the quarterback is constantly in the “spotlight” and rightfully so. The man is in charge of tacking points on the scoreboard and leading the team to victory.

Over on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”, they have decided to put together a bracket of the 65 greatest signal callers in league history together in an NCAA March Madness-style bracket and are letting the aerial barrage of who the greatest field general of all-time is begin!

Find out how many Redskins quarterbacks made the cut here:

The Washington Redskins just wrapped up their 80th season, and were lead to their first NFC East division crown since 1999 behind quarterback Robert Griffin III‘s dazzling performances behind center. He destroyed opposing defenses every step of the way and smashed many rookie records in the process.

While Griffin III clearly showed the entire league that he will be a force for years to come, he will not be included in the discussion due to only a year of experience. Create another bracket in a few years, and we are sure that Griffin III’s name will be among the 64 greatest.

In 1937, the Redskins moved to the nation’s capital after spending half a decade in Boston, Mass. With a fresh start in Washington, D.C., the Redskins also got one of the finest quarterbacks in league history to complete their new look: Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh.

Baugh had one of the greatest collegiate careers in history. In 1999, Sports Illustrated released it’s  “Team of the Century” and the Texas Christian University player was voted the top signal caller. While he was the quarterback of the illustrious team, notice how I said the TCU player. He was also one of the greatest punters and defensive backs ever and this extremely rare three-way versatility translated over to the Burgundy and Gold.

Baugh played his entire 16-year career with the Redskins. In many games, he would line up under center and drive the Redskins to touchdown after touchdown. Then, he would set up on the defensive side of the ball, go one-on-one with a receiver, and intercept the opposing quarterback!

Talk about getting in your opponent’s head.

In an era that was mostly defined by rushing the ball, Baugh can still be found near the top of many passing categories. He  threw for 187 touchdowns (45th all-time) and 21,886 yards (83rd all-time) along with the top passer rating of 109.9 in 1945.  When he decided to hang up his helmet in 1952, he held almost every passing record in the league. In 1963, the Redskins great was part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class.

Baugh is a sixth seed in the bracket against another former Redskin, Donovan McNabb.

On April Fools Day in 1964, the Redskins made a rare trade with rival Philadelphia in a swap that most Eagles fans wish was a prank. Jurgensen spent 11 years with Washington and torched opponents every time he stepped on the field. In four of his first six seasons in the DMV, he was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection. 179 of his 255 touchdowns came while he was with the Redskins and his 255 touchdowns ranks 13th all-time. He along with fellow Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell racked up yards at will and his 32,224 yards through the air ranks 30th all-time.

In a tough matchup, Jurgensen will be a 10 seed going against current Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a seventh seed.

As Jurgensen’s career was coming to an end, he handed the reigns of the offense over to UCLA product Billy Kilmer. After stints in San Francisco and New Orleans, Kilmer was brought in with an immense amount of pressure to fill the shoes of two Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Kilmer, however, did not let the pressure get the best of him. Instead, he excelled.

In his second season in Washington, Kilmer led the Redskins to their first Super Bowl appearance and was voted to the Pro Bowl. During that incredible season in 1972, he led the league in touchdown passes (19) and passer rating (84.8). In his eight-year stint with the Redskins, Kilmer posted a 50-23-1 record as a starter and his 152 touchdowns places him on 77th all-time for passing touchdowns.

Despite being one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, Kilmer was left on the outside looking in.

As the all-time great’s career was winding down, he was replaced by Notre Dame’s Joe Theismann. Despite following some of the greatest gunslingers in history, Theismann did something that his predecessors did not: bring a Lombardi Trophy to Washington, D.C..

Redskins vs Dolphins Super Bowl XVII 1983Theismann posted a 77-47 career record and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice. During his 12-year tour in the nation’s capitol, he accumulated 160 touchdowns (70th all-time) and 25,206 yards (62nd all-time).

Theismann joins Baugh as a sixth seed in the bracket, going against Cowboys quarterback Danny White.

How fitting.

While he was the first quarterback to claim victory on the grandest football stage of them all, he is joined by these next to men to bring a Lombardi Trophy home.

After spending the first five seasons of his professional football career in a creamsicle orange  Buccaneers jersey, Doug Williams found himself in the USFL before returning to NFL under Joe Gibbs in Washington. In Super Bowl XXII, Williams and the Redskins faced a potent Denver Broncos team hungry to claim their first Lombardi Trophy.

Broncos quarterback John Elway put the pedal to the medal quickly, as the Broncos led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. However, the final three quarters was a completely different series of events. Williams led the Redskins to one of the greatest offensive performance in Super Bowl history, scoring 42 unanswered points and winning the contest. Williams was voted game MVP.

Williams, a 14 seed, faces a difficult matchup against one of the original gridiron greats, Bart Starr.

In the sixth round of the 1986 NFL Draft, the Redskins selected Washington State’s Mark Rypien. In 1991, he led the Redskins to one of their greatest seasons in franchise history. After finishing with a league-best 14 wins, the Redskins cruised to a conference championship, defeating the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions by a combined score of 65-17 to secure a spot in Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills.

After a scoreless first quarter for both teams, the Redskins scored 24 straight points behind the powerful arm of Rypien. After soundly defeating the Bills by 13, Rypien was selected MVP.

Rypien may have the most difficult matchup, going against number one seed Joe Montana.

Redskins fans, who do YOU think is the greatest quarterback of all time?

Click here to vote for all of the Redskins quarterbacks in the tournament.




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