Who are the best Alabama quarterbacks in NFL history? Good question. Touchdown Alabama Magazine’s own Ivan White and Stephen M. Smith have the answers for you.
To be successful in college is great, but the goal of each athlete is to transition well and excel at the professional level. The quarterback position is one of the most glamorous positions in sports; however, it’s difficult for some quarterbacks to transition from college to the National Football League.
For those of you who follow Touchdown Alabama Magazine, you have already seen a series of top 10 lists produced by our own Stephen M. Smith. Now, Smith is collaborating with NFL insider, Ivan White on a new series. This series will breakdown the best Alabama players in the NFL. Here is our list of the top 5 Crimson Tide quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.
Though Smith and White agree on the quarterbacks who should be on the list, their opinions differ on the placement. Stay tuned for order in which Smith and White placed them at the end of the article.
Brodie Croyle-Kansas City Chiefs (2006-10)
- The Kansas City Chiefs selected Croyle with the 85th pick (third round) in the 2006 NFL Draft.
- He played five seasons in the league.
- Croyle’s finest passing season came in 2007.
- In 2007, he recorded 1,227 passing yards and six touchdowns.
- Croyle only started 10 games with the Chiefs.
- Despite having a talented arm and good potential, injuries hampered Croyle’s NFL career.
- Croyle compiled a 0-10 overall record in four years at quarterback.
Scott Hunter—Green Bay Packers/Buffalo Bills/Atlanta Falcons/Detroit Lions (1971-79)
- Hunter was selected in the 140th pick (sixth round) in the 1971 NFL Draft.
- He played nine seasons in the NFL.
- Hunter’s most prolific season was in 1972 with the Green Bay Packers.
- In 1972, he went 10-4 as a starter and led Green Bay to the playoffs (Hunter’s lone postseason appearance).
- Hunter passed for 1,252 yards in 1972.
- He amassed 13 rushing touchdowns in his career.
- Hunter compiled a 21-18-3 overall record in nine years at quarterback
Joseph W. “Joe” Namath—New York Jets/Los Angeles Rams (1965-77)
- The New York Jets selected Namath with its first pick (first round) in the 1965 AFL Draft.
- He was drafted as the 12th pick (first round) in the 1965 NFL by the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Namath played 12 seasons in the AFL/NFL.
- In 1968, he led New York to an 11-3 record and a Super Bowl III victory against the Baltimore Colts.
- Namath totaled 3,147 passing yards in 1968.
- In 1967, he became the first quarterback in history to pass for 4000+ yards (4,007 yards).
- Namath led the Jets to a 10-4 record and a playoff berth in 1969.
- His last successful season was in 1972. Namath led New York to a 7-6 record.
- Namath rushed for 140 yards and seven touchdowns in his career.
- The New York Jets retired his No. 12 jersey.
- Namath was a 4x AFL All-Star selection (1965, 1967, 1968 and 1969).
- He is in the NFL Hall of Fame.
- Namath compiled a 62-63-4 record in his NFL carer.
Kenneth M. “Ken” Sabler—Oakland Raiders/Houston Oilers/New Orleans (1970-84)
- Stabler was drafted as the 52nd pick (second round) in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.
- He played 14 seasons in the NFL.
- Stabler had seven winning seasons in Oakland from 1973-79
- His best passing seasons were in 1974 and 1976.
- In 1974, Stabler passed for 2,469 yards and 26 touchdowns.
- He tossed for 2,737 yards and 27 touchdowns in 1976.
- Stabler led the NFL in touchdown passes in both seasons.
- He led the Raiders to a NFL title with a victory in Super Bowl XI over Minnesota.
- Stabler was a 4x Pro Bowl selection (1973, 1974, 1976 and 1977).
- He was the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1974.
- Stabler is a member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team.
- For eight consecutive seasons (1973-80), Stabler had a winning record as quarterback.
- He posted an overall record of 96-49-1 in the NFL.
Bryan B. “Bart” Starr—Green Bay Packers (1956-71)
- The Green Bay Packers selected Starr with the 200th pick (17th round) of the 1956 NFL Draft.
- He played 15 seasons in the NFL.
- Starr’s best seasons passing were in 1964 and 1966.
- In 1964, he passed for 2,144 yards and 15 touchdowns.
- Starr had 2,257 passing yards and 14 touchdowns in 1966.
- He had seven winning seasons, including four 10+ win seasons (1961, 1962, 1965 and 1966) with the Packers.
- Starr led Green Bay to victories in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. He was the MVP in both games.
- He was a 4x Pro Bowl selection (1960-62, 1966)
- Starr was a 5x NFL champion (1961-62, 1965-67).
- He is a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.
- Starr’s No.15 jersey was retired in Green Bay.
- He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
- Starr was the “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year in 1966.
- He posted an overall record of 94-57-6 in his career.
Ivan’s Top 5 List:
1) Ken Stabler
2) Bart Starr
3) Joe Namath
4) Scott Hunter
5) Brodie Croyle
Ivan’s Summary: To be honest compiling this list was not as easy as it may seem, the amount of Alabama quarterbacks that have been successful in the NFL is not long; however, creating this list was still fun. I had to account Croyle’s injuries into this list and that’s why I included him. Scott Hunter is a forgotten player both in college and in the NFL, but with his above average stats and career record I had to include him on my list. Namath might be the most famous and flashy quarterback on this list. Though he does deserves to be on this list, his career record and stats after Super Bowl III is why I could not put him at No.1 on this list. Bart Starr is one of the greatest players in NFL history, he played on some of the best teams in NFL history and he played under one of the best coaches in NFL history. However, he did not maintain his excellent play after coach Vince Lombardi left the team in 1967. For this reason I could not put him at number one on the list. Ken Stabler is one of the most underappreciated quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL and the fact that he is not in the Hall of Fame is a shame. The fact that he had longevity for a majority of his career for multiple coaches and teams is why I had to put him at number one and finally give him the respect he deserves.
Stephen’s Top 5 List:
1) Bart Starr
2) Joe Namath
3) Ken Stabler
4) Scott Hunter
5) Richard Todd
Stephen’s Summary: It’s few in number, but Alabama has had some quarterbacks to become success stories in the NFL. I have Bart Starr ranked No.1 because he was the first Alabama quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Starr won back-to-back Super Bowl titles (Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II) and was awarded MVP in both games. He recorded seven winning seasons with the Packers and collected numerous awards, including the “Whizzer” White Man of the Year in 1966. Statistically, Starr’s best seasons were in 1964 and 1966. Paul Bryant placed two legends in the NFL with Joe Namath and Ken Stabler. I have Namath at No. 2 because he gave the Jets hope. He won a Super Bowl title with New York (Super Bowl III) and helped them defeat the Oakland Raiders in the AFL Championship Game in 1968. For Stabler to have the success he had with the character of teammates on the Oakland Raiders is nothing short of an accomplishment. He guided Oakland to victory in Super Bowl XI. Stabler led the NFL in passing touchdowns in 1974 (26) and 1976 (26). He may not be a familiar name, but Scott Hunter was one of the best Alabama quarterbacks in the NFL. He compiled a 21-18-3 record in his career. Hunter led Green Bay to a 10-4 season and a playoff berth in 1972. He had 13 rushing touchdowns in his career. I have Richard Todd fifth on my list because he did compile three winning seasons as a starter with the Jets. He best season was in 1982. Todd passed for 1,961 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 1982.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Rutledge and Greg McElroy