Hall of Fame QBs and Making the Playoffs

How often do Hall of Fame quarterbacks lead their teams to the playoffs?

For the following chart, I compared all the Hall of Fame quarterbacks to begin their careers after the start of the Super Bowl era.  I’ve also included the six current quarterbacks most likely to wind up in Canton:  Manning, Brady, Favre, Warner, Roethlisberger, and Brees. The first three are locks. I would rate Warner’s election as probable, and Roethlisberger and Brees will both have strong cases.

Total Seasons Seasons Starting Total Playoffs Playoffs Starting % as Starter
Joe Montana* 15 12* 11 11 92%
Tom Brady 11 9 8 8 89%
Roger Staubach 11 8 10 7 88%
Peyton Manning 13 13 11 11 85%
Steve Young 15 9 11 7 77%
Jim Kelly 11 11 8 8 73%
Ben Roethlisberger 7 7 5 5 71%
Terry Bradshaw* 14 13* 10 9* 69%
Troy Aikman 12 12 8 8 67%
Brett Favre 20 19 12 12 63%
John Elway 16 16 10 10 63%
Dan Marino 17 16 10 10 63%
Kurt Warner 12 8 5 5 63%
Warren Moon* 17 15* 9 8* 53%
Bob Griese* 14 12* 7 6* 50%
Drew Brees 10 9 4 4 44%
Dan Fouts 15 14 4 4 29%

*Bob Griese played in 6 games in 1972. I did not count him as the primary QB.  Bradshaw played 8 games in the 1974 seasons, and I counted him as the primary QB.  Montana played 7 games in 1980. I did NOT count him as the primary starter. Warren Moon played 8 games (as did Brad Johnson) in 1996. I did not count him as the primary starter, as Vikings played better with Johnson.

Overall, having a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback gives your team about a 2 out of 3 chance of making the playoffs in any given year.  These 17 quarterbacks have been on the winning team in the Super Bowl 27 times out of 45 Super Bowls (not double counting Young/Montana), that’s good for 60%. 

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