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Top-10 Quarterbacks of the 1970s

Top 10 QBs of the decade
Publish Date: 07/28/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Check out the best of the other decades at the bottom of the page.

10) James Harris, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams

Harris started in Buffalo, where the complaint against him was throwing the ball too hard. Harris flourished when He arrived in Los Angeles but somehow lost his job after three straight Conference Title games. Harris had a huge arm and led the Rams to three straight conference title games. Harris broke the ground for the African-American QB; he proved to the NFL that an African-American did indeed have what it took to be an NFL starting QB.

Video: James Harris - Career Highlights

James Harris – Career Highlights

9) Jim Hart, St. Louis Cardinals

During three years from 1974-1976, under the great coach Don Coryell, Hart was among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He led the team to a 31-11 overall record while throwing for nearly 8,000 yards with 57 touchdowns. Hart led the league in pass attempts and put up the lowest interception percentage in 1974β€”something that was unheard of in the 1970s. Coryell left for San Diego, and Hart was never the same again.

Video: Jim Hart Highlight video

Jim Hart Highlight video

8) Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins

Kilmer replaced a legend, Sonny Jurgensen, in 1971; the rest, as they say, is history. During seven years with the Redskins, from 1971-1977, Kilmer posted a 49-22-1 record as a starter. Kilmer is most famous for leading the Redskins to Super Bowl VII, eventually losing to the “Perfect Dolphins.”



7) Bert Jones, Baltimore Colts

From 1975-1977, Jones led the Colts to a 31-11 record while throwing 59 touchdowns compared to 28 interceptions. To put that touchdown-to-interception ratio into context, Terry Bradshaw threw eight more touchdowns than interceptions during that span. Jones led the Colts to three straight playoff berths, losing twice to the Steelers and once to the Raiders. His career was done after 1977 as injuries were commonplace until he finally retired,

Video: Bert Jones Colts Highlights | 1976 NFL MVP

Bert Jones Colts Highlights | 1976 NFL MVP

6) Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins

Griese’s stats were not the greatest, but he was a winner. Griese led the Dolphins to three straight Super Bowls 1971-1973.

Video: Bob Griese Career Highlights

Bob Griese Career Highlights

5) Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals

Anderson from small Division III Augustana helped turn the Bengals into a force reckoned with in the 1970s. He is better known for the early ’80s, where he won an NFL MVP and helped lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl. Anderson led the NFL in passing in 1974 and 1975. Injuries limited him during the 1978-1980 seasons. But, he was a great QB through much of the 1970s and led the Bengals to the playoffs in 1973 and 1975.

Video: Ken Anderson Highlights

Ken Anderson Highlights

4) Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

Tarkenton started the decade off as the Giants QB that all changed with the arrival of the 1971 season. Tarkenton led the team to three Super Bowl appearances in his final seven NFL seasons with Minnesota, coming out a loser in all three games. While that will be his lasting legacy, the Hall of Fame quarterback did lead the league in completions, completion attempts, completion percentage, and touchdowns en route to an MVP performance in 1975. Overall, in his second stint with Minnesota, Tarkenton posted a 64-27-2 record with six playoff appearances.

Video: Fran Tarkenton Highlights (Final Version)

Fran Tarkenton Highlights (Final Version)

3) Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders

Starting in 1973 and leading through the 1979 season, the snake was a legend for the Raiders. Stabler led the Raiders to a winning record every season, earning five consecutive trips to the playoffs and a Super Bowl title in 1976, beating the Minnesota Vikings and QB Fran Tarkenton. During that span, the Raiders were a ridiculous 68-25-1. For his part, Stabler earned the NFL MVP in 1974 and twice led the league in touchdown passes and completion percentage. Somehow it took over 30 years for Stabler to get voted into the Hall of Fame.

Video: #6 Ken Stabler | NFL Films | Top 10 Clutch Quarterbacks of All Time

#6 Ken Stabler | NFL Films | Top 10 Clutch Quarterbacks of All Time

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2) Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

Roger Staubach had an 84-29 record as a starting quarterback. Led the Cowboys to four Super Bowl appearances, including Super Bowl wins in 1971 (Miami Dolphins) and 1977 (Denver Broncos). The Hall of Famer earned six trips to the Pro Bowl and won the NFL MVP in 1971. He did not start in the NFL until he was 27 years old because of his Naval commitment.

Video: Roger Staubach Highlights

Roger Staubach Highlights

1) Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bradshaw was one of the greatest bad-weather quarterbacks in NFL history. As a Steeler, he was 4-0 in Super Bowls, beating Dallas twice and Minnesota once, which has a lot to do with being ranked number one here. Bradshaw was, to put it quite simply, clutch.

Video: Terry Bradshaw Highlights

Terry Bradshaw Highlights


Top Quarterbacks of the 1950s

Top Quarterbacks of the 1960s

Top Quarterbacks of the 1980s

Top Quarterbacks of the 1990s

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