The AFC West division has been known for defense more than quarterbacks, especially in the Super Bowl era. This division has won six Super Bowls, which date back to Super Bowl four when the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs won the divisions first Super Bowl.
The top 10 quarterbacks in AFC West history are:
10. John Hadl
Hadl was a first round draft pick that would spend 11 seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Although not a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was a quality quarterback for quite some time. Hadl would throw for nearly 27,000 yards in his Chargers career and he was also a mobile quarterback. Although he would sometimes play erratic throwing 201 touchdowns and 211 interceptions in San Diego, he would help the Chargers win the 1964 AFL Championship.
9. Rich Gannon
Gannon had an interesting career. A fourth round draft pick in 1987 that didn’t really excel in Minnesota or Washington. Gannon would later player for the Chiefs where he put up 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. With the Raiders, Gannon flourished winning league MVP in 2002 and leading the high powered Raiders offense to a Super Bowl. As a Raider, Gannon threw for 114 touchdowns, 50 interceptions, and a 91.2 passer rating.
8. Trent Green
An eighth round draft pick that didn’t shine until he landed in Kansas City. Green posted a 48-40 record on a Chiefs team that had virtually no defense whatsoever and made the playoffs twice in his six years as the team’s starter. With 21,459 yards, 118 touchdowns and 85 interceptions as a Chief, Green is the eighth best quarterback in AFC West history and the second best in Chiefs history.
7. Daryle Lamonica
The former Notre Dame quarterback was an underrated one. He ranks second in Raiders history in passing touchdowns (148) and won 62 out of the 84 games he started for the Raiders. Despite playing great in the regular season and against weak opponents, Lamonica struggled in the playoffs with a 44 completion percentage. He was still a great quarterback who is Hall of Fame worthy.
6. Phillip Rivers
Rivers has been a solid quarterback since entering the NFL in 2004. He’s won four playoff games and is the second most prolific passer in Chargers history. Rivers has thrown for 30 touchdowns three times in his career, the most of any AFC West quarterback ever. He has shown inconsistencies at times with weird interceptions and turnovers, but Rivers still has plenty of playing time left to build his legacy and move up on this list.
5. Ken Stabler
“The Snake” has nearly every major passing record for the Raiders, including career passing yards, touchdowns, and unfortunately interceptions thrown. Stabler played 10 seasons with the silver and black, winning one Super Bowl against the Vikings. Stabler would win the 1974 NFL MVP award and would lead the league in touchdowns twice.
4. Jim Plunkett
Plunkett is going to get a slight edge over Stabler. Punkett was a far better mobile quarterback who could avoid pass rushers and his playoff record is significantly better. Plunkett was 8-2 as the Raiders starter in the playoffs as opposed to Stabler’s 7-6 record, and Plunkett would win two Super Bowls. In his two Super Bowls, Plunkett would throw four touchdowns and zero interceptions. A calm, cool, and clutch quarterback.
3. Dan Fouts
Fouts was the ultimate gun-slinging quarterback. He pretty much was Brett Favre before Brett Favre. His deep ball passing and high risk playing style was a must see. He would lead the NFL in passing yards four consecutive seasons from 1979-1982. He would play his entire 15 year career with the Chargers and throw for 43,040 yards, 254 touchdowns, and 242 interceptions. However, Fouts had many playoff disappointments with 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in his seven game playoff career.
2. Len Dawson
Possibly one of the most underrated quarterbacks of all time, Dawson is easily the best Chiefs quarterback in franchise history. He would lead the Chiefs to a victory in Super Bowl four with a 90.8 passer rating and a 70.59 completion percentage. Dawson was a small quarterback, but he didn’t let that get in the way of dominating on the football field. Playing in an era when defenses dominated and quarterbacks were getting hit everywhere, Dawson would lead the NFL in passing touchdowns four times, completion percentage six times, and passer rating six times.
1. John Elway
Elway is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and the best to ever play in the AFC West. He has started the most Super Bowls of all time with six, while winning two. His 300 passing touchdowns are by far the most of any AFC West quarterback. By comparison, Elway has 46 more passing touchdowns than Fouts and 16 less interceptions. Elway spent his entire career with the Broncos winning two Super Bowls in his final two seasons with the team. Although it should be mentioned that much of that success was due to Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe. Elway was also a great duel threat quarterback as well and put together 46 game-winning drives in his career.