Ask IQFB: How Many Players Play For Just One Team?


An interesting question was raised by PeeWee via a comment on this thread. The question was:

“With all of the banter surrounding Farve leaving the Packers, what is the percentage of NFL players to spend their entire career on just one teams roster??”

I don’t have a way of checking for every player to ever play, though I’m sure one exists, but since he mentioned Brett Favre we’ll look at some quarterback information.

What percentage of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks played their entire career with just one team?

Through the 2008 season, there have been 27 different quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl.

Bart Starr
Joe Namath
Len Dawson
Johnny Unitas
Roger Staubach
Bob Griese
Terry Bradshaw
Ken Stabler
Jim Plunkett
Joe Montana
Joe Theismann
Jim McMahon
Phil Simms
Doug Williams
Jeff Hostetler
Mark Rypien
Troy Aikman
Steve Young
Brett Favre
John Elway
Kurt Warner
Trent Dilfer
Tom Brady
Brad Johnson
Ben Roethlisberger
Peyton Manning
Eli Manning

Of those, 12 spent their entire careers with just one team (Starr, Staubach, Griese, Bradshaw, Theismann, Simms, Aikman, Elway, Brady, Roethlisberger, Manning, and Manning), which is roughly 44%.

If you remove the active quarterbacks from the list (Favre, Warner, Brady, Johnson, Roethlisberger, Manning, and Manning) you come up with eight of 20 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks playing their entire career with one team, or 40%.

Of the top 20 career touchdown pass leaders, how many have played their career with just one team?

Five quarterbacks in the top 20, or 25%, played their entire careers with just one NFL team: Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Dan Fouts, and Jim Kelly.

Of the top 20 career passing yardage leaders, how many have played their career with just one team?

Six of the top 20 quarterbacks ranked by career passing yards, or 30%, played their entire career with just one NFL team: Dan Marino, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, and Phil Simms.

Out of the top 250 quarterbacks in NFL history when ranked by passing attempts, how many have spent their entire careers with just one NFL team?

(this one took a little bit of time)

When researching it a little deeper and taking a look at the top 250 quarterbacks of all time when ranked by passing attempts, we found that there were 53 that played their entire career with one NFL team (this includes active players). This works out to a percentage of 21%. Those players were Dan Marino, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, Troy Aikman, Phil Simms, John Brodie, Ken Anderson, Donovan McNabb, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Joe Theismann, Steve Grogan, Brian Sipe, Bob Griese, Neil Lomax, Bart Starr, Sammy Baugh, Marc Bulger, Roger Staubach, Danny White, Charlie Conerly, Otto Graham, Bill Kenney, Eli Manning, Don Meredith, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Livingston, Sid Luckman, Tim Couch, Bob Waterfield, Philip Rivers, Frankie Albert, Eric Hipple, David Garrard, Tony Romo, Jim Finks, Pat Haden, Jason Campbell, Randy Wright, Bob Avellini, Dave Wilson, Derek Anderson, Rex Grossman, J.P. Losman, Cecil Isbell, Johnny Lujack, Alex Smith, Vince Young, Trent Edwards, and Aaron Rodgers.

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