NFL Week 5 comeback: Dan Marino and Brett Favre among notable Hall of Fame quarterbacks who have played too long
Every quarterback wants the end of John Elway. A Hall of Fame quarterback, Elway left at sunset after winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the Broncos. In his last game, Elway was named MVP of Denver’s resounding victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII.
Elway has chosen the perfect time to retire, but his story is the exception, not the rule. More often than not, legendary passers-by hang on for a season or two too long before finally succumbing to Father Time. At the risk of being struck by lightning, I’m ready to write that Father Time will eventually defeat Tom Brady, who has already avoided several possible Elway endings in pursuit of more championships.
As Brady continues to add chapters to his legendary career, the end may be nigh for Ben Roethlisberger, who has had a rocky start to his 18th season. Problems with precision, a new attack and a young offensive line were the main reasons for Roethlisberger’s difficulties. And, as Mike Tomlin noted this week, Roethlisberger lost most of his mobility, which was one of his biggest assets in his prime.
Here’s a look at five notable Hall of Fame quarterbacks who have stayed too long.
- Last season: 1964
- 1-8-2 registration
- 10 TD, 22 INT
Tittle won league MVP honors in 1963 while also leading the Giants to an appearance in an NFL Championship game. Season 64 was a nightmare for Tittle and the Giants as Tittle was benched at the end of the season. Tittle knew the end was near after taking a crushing blow from Steelers defensive end John Baker on a season-ending six pick.
“It was the end of the road,” Tittle told the Los Angeles Times in 2008 of the coup, via The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette. “It was the end of my dream. It was over.”
The title retired in the offseason at 38. The end of his career did not tarnish his legacy. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971, Tittle is a member of both the 49ers Hall of Fame and the Giants Ring of Honor. His No.14 jersey was retired by the Giants. Tittle still holds the NFL record (along with seven others) with seven touchdown passes in a single game.
- Last season: 1973
- 3 TD, 7 INT, 44.7 percent complete
Best NFL quarterback in the league’s first half-century, Unitas was never quite the same after injuring his arm in the 1968 preseason. Yet he was. good enough to help the Colts secure their first Super Bowl victory at the end of the 1970 season, throwing a 75-yard touchdown pass to John Mackey in Baltimore’s 16-13 Super Bowl win over the Cowboys. V.
Unitas part-time with Earl Morrall the following season before a 0-5 start in 1972 led to a change of coach and the benching of Unitas. His last hurray as a Colts quarterback came in Week 2, when Unitas threw for 376 yards and two touchdowns against the New York Jets in a Super Bowl III rematch. Traded to the Chargers in the 1973 offseason, Unitas was benched after four games. In his last start, Unitas was 2 of 9 with two interceptions. He was replaced by rookie Dan Fouts, who continued his Hall of Fame career.
Unitas – who had all major passing records when he retired – continues to be hailed as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He is a member of the NFL’s 50th, 75th and 100th Anniversary all-time teams.
- Last season: 1977
- 3 TD, 5 INT, 46.7 percent complete
The architect of the biggest upheaval in professional football history, Namath fought injury two years after leading the Jets to their historic Super Bowl victory over the Colts. In the midst of 28 missed games between 1970 and 1973, Namath won the 1972 season with his fifth and final Pro Bowl nod. He overcame more injuries to win the Returning Player of the Year award in 1974.
Namath was unable to replicate that magic in 1975, when he was only 3-10 as the Jets’ starting quarterback. He suffered a 1-7 record as a New York starting quarterback in 1976 and was waived the following offseason. Despite more injuries, Namath performed well in his first three games with the Rams, as Los Angeles got off to a 2-1 start. But the end would come in front of a “Monday Night Football” audience in Week 4, as Namath threw four interceptions in a one-point loss to the Bears. Namath would not play in another game for the Rams and retired during the offseason. Namath was only 34 when he played his last match.
Despite his injuries and penchant for interceptions, Namath is more remembered for his colorful personality, his role in modernizing the passing game, and his participation in the AFL’s first victory over the NFL. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985, Namath was named the NFL’s No.1 Personality during the league’s 100th anniversary celebration.
- Last season: 1999
- 12 TD, 17 INT, 55.3 percent complete
Of the quarterbacks included in this list, Marino enjoyed the best final season. The all-time career NFL passing point guard at the time, Marino decided to return for a 17th season after suffering a 38-3 loss to the Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs at the time. previous season.
Despite being sidelined for five games due to injury, Marino became the first quarterback to throw more than 60,000 yards in the 1999 season. He won the offensive player of the week award. AFC twice, including his performance in the Dolphins’ victory over Peyton Manning and the Colts. Despite being 5-6 as a starter, the Dolphins reached the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Against Seattle in the wild card round, Marino recorded his 36th comeback victory and his first road playoff win.
Marino couldn’t hide his aging arm and lack of mobility the following week. Facing a quick and aggressive defense from the Jaguars, Marino completed just 11 of his 25 attempts and threw two interceptions. Trailing 41-0, Marino threw his last career touchdown pass before being replaced by Damon Huard in Miami’s second possession in the second half. The Dolphins ended up losing, 62-7, and Marino retired in the offseason despite offers from the Vikings, Titans and Steelers. Marino said that while he still had confidence in his arm, he was not sure his legs would be able to withstand another season.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005 and a member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Marino was recently passed by Ben Roethlisberger for the sixth-place all-time in the career pass list of the NFL. Aaron Rodgers tied Marino last Sunday for the sixth all-time with 420 touchdown passes.
- Last season: 2010
- 11 TD, 19 INT, 60.6 percent complete
Favre returned for a 20th season after nearly reaching the Super Bowl in 2009. But as good as the 2009 season was for Favre and the Vikings, the 2010 season was quite the opposite. Minnesota fired coach Brad Childress after a 3-7 start. Favre saw his record of 297 straight starts come to an end in Week 14. He then watched the last game of his career in street dress, as the Vikings lost a meaningless game in Detroit. Favre lost both of his clashes that season to Rodgers and the Packers, who won the Super Bowl.
Favre has since mended fences with the Packers, as his number was retired by the franchise in 2015. Hall of Fame inductee in the first round, Favre was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team . He is currently fourth all-time in career passing yards (71,838) and touchdown passes (508).