Party On: the Top 5 Quarterbacks of the 1990s

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What were you watching on TV in the 90s? Was your time devoted solely to TGIF? Or were you more of a Melrose Place type? Or wait… it’s so obvious. It’s written all over your face. You were completely wrapped up in the sordid goings on of the kids of Dawson’s Creek. It’s okay to admit it; the Creek was enthralling.

Well, whatever it was you were watching, you were wrong. You should’ve been watching NFL football. A class of quarterbacks that would eventually grace the record books and the Hall of Fame dominated from 1990-99. And here are the top five.

5 Troy Aikman

Aikman didn’t exactly match the others here as far as stats, but that’s due in large part to Emmitt Smith stealing half his damn touchdown chances. Though he was probably okay with it, what with Emmitt helping him win those three Super Bowl rings. But Aikman wasn’t too shabby himself, going to six straight Pro Bowls, winning a Super Bowl MVP and totaling almost 30,000 yards in the 90s. And in a new gig befitting a Hall of Famer of his caliber, Aikman is now a pitchman for Rent-A-Center alongside Hulk Hogan. Oh wait, no. That’s awful.

4 Dan Marino

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Marino continued his relentless attack on the record books even after the 80s came to a close, throwing for over 33,000 yards and 200 touchdowns, and going to four Pro Bowls in the 90s despite missing almost the entire ‘93 season with a torn Achilles tendon. Marino won Comeback Player of the Year in ’94 and eventually retired in ’99 as the owner of every major record in the books, including completions, yards and touchdowns. Unfortunately, he never got that Super Bowl ring, but at least they let him keep the prop he wore in Ace Venture: Pet Detective.

3 John Elway

In the 80s John Elway was great, but in the 90s he was spectacular. From 1990-99 Elway threw for over 30,000 yards and 180 touchdowns and went to six Pro Bowls. And as the decade was winding down and “The Comeback Kid” had become “The Comeback Father of Four,” John Elway closed his career stronger than arguably any other quarterback in NFL history, winning back-to-back Super Bowls in ’97 and ’98 before he retired. So, is it a coincidence that he couldn’t win the big game until after he started practicing with the Vortex? Not likely, that thing was a real confidence booster.

2 Steve Young

Not too many people believed that anyone could fill Joe Montana’s shoes (his proverbial shoes, not those chunky Skechers he’s schilling now), but Steve Young was up to the task. The former backup to Joe Cool led the league in passing touchdowns three years in a row from ’92 to ’95, and four times in total in the 90s. Young was also the model of efficiency, leading in completion percentage and passer rating a ridiculous five and six times respectively. He won two MVP’s, one Super Bowl ring and MVP, and went to seven straight Pro Bowls. Basically, Niners fans were devastated for roughly a week following Montana’s departure, then the number 8 jerseys started flying off the shelves.

1 Brett Favre

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The gun-slinging stubble king was also the king of the stat sheet in the 90s. Favre led the league in passing touchdowns in ‘95, ‘96, and ‘97, winning the league MVP all three of those years. He also led the league in yards twice, totaling over 30,000 for the decade. He went to two Super Bowls, winning one, and was voted into five pro bowls to boot. And remember, this was back when we all loved Brett Favre, back when he was making cameos in Farrelly Brothers films, long before the 2000s when he retired 7 times and we all found out what his junk looks like on a cell phone camera.

Honorable Mentions:

Jim Kelly – Kelly led the offensive juggernaut that was the early 90s Bills, going to four straight Super Bowls, and losing them all. It’s one thing to have to live in Buffalo, but losing four straight Super Bowls? Our God is certainly a sick and twisted one.

Warren Moon – Moon went to seven straight Pro Bowls in the 90s, but more impressively played 22 seasons of pro football in the CFL and NFL combined. That’s a lot of jock itch.

Well, there they are, the greatest NFL quarterbacks of the 1990s, plus two guys we were okay with snubbing, but not ignoring entirely. And if you think this list was missing someone, well, you’re probably a complete moron. But if you insist, make a list of your own.

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