Among the characteristics your standard all-pro quarterback has, being left-handed is not typically one of them. That’s not to say lefties can’t throw a football, although Tim Tebow’s mechanics do show cause for that argument. It’s just that there aren’t that many southpaw quarterbacks out there.
However, among the goofy-handed men who’ve stood under center in the NFL, there have been a handful of greats. These are the top five lefty quarterbacks of all time.
5 Michael Vick
Though he’s still in the league, and in spite of missing a few seasons due to his less-than-savory interactions with the canine population, Michael Vick has already established himself as one of the most prolific lefties to ever toss the pigskin. Over his nine active seasons, Vick has made the Pro Bowl four times, throwing for 20,274 yards and running for 5,551 more. Between his arm and his legs, he’s accounted for 157 total touchdowns, and is currently the league’s all-time leader in career rushing yards per attempt, averaging a ridiculous 7.0 yards every time he takes off with the ball.
4 Ken Stabler
Some say Kenny Stabler’s success was due more to the Raider’s defense than anything he did under center, and they’re probably right. Still, the Snake did just good enough to land the number four spot here. Prone to throwing interceptions, Stabler threw 222 in his career, but he also put 194 passes in the end zone and threw for 27,938 yards over his 15 years in the league. He was a four-time Pro Bowler who took home the MVP in ’74, led the league in passing touchdowns in ’74 and ’76, and won the Super Bowl with Oakland in January of 1977.
3 Mark Brunell
Starting his career in relative obscurity as the backup to Brett Favre in Green Bay, Brunell was traded to the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995 and immediately became their starter. He quickly made the Jags into playoff contenders, taking them to the 1996 AFC Championship and going to three Pro Bowls in his time in the teal and black. Known as an accurate and mobile quarterback, Brunell finished his career with a 184:108 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a solid 84.0 passer rating, 32,072 total passing yards, and 2,421 rushing yards, giving him some of the best numbers of any lefty QB ever to play the game.
2 Boomer Esiason
A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time MVP, Boomer proved a more-than-worthy draft pick for the Bengals, who snatched him surprisingly low with the 38th pick in the ‘84 draft. Esiason led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance in ’88, but couldn’t come away with a win thanks to Joe Montana and the 49ers putting together perhaps the greatest drive in Super Bowl history and beating them by four. Despite his lack of a ring, though, Boomer is an easy pick for the number two spot, as he is the all-time leader among lefty quarterbacks in career touchdown passes (247), passing yards (37,920), and completions (2,969).
1 Steve Young
This guy didn’t hit his stride until he was 30 years old, yet he runs away with the top spot on this list. Starting just nine seasons in the NFL, Steve Young still put up numbers worthy of a trip to the Hall of Fame. Throwing for 33,124 yards and 232 touchdown passes, good enough for 25th and 23rd of all time, Young’s statistics remain among the best in history despite most of his competition starting significantly more games than he ever did. Young also threw an astounding six TD passes in Super Bowl XXIX, leading the post-Montana 49ers to a championship, and is still the all-time leader among retired quarterbacks in career passer rating, with a stellar mark of 96.8.