As you may have heard, Michael Vick, who invades FedEx Field with the Eagles on Sunday, became the NFL’s all-time rushing leader among quarterbacks last weekend when he gained 90 yards against the Bills. Here are the Top 10 in that department:
Yds Quarterback, Team*, Span of Career
4,928 Randall Cunningham, Eagles, 1985-2001
4,239 Steve Young, 49ers, 1985-99
3,674 Fran Tarkenton, Vikings, 1961-78
3,590 Steve McNair, Titans, 1995-2007
3,459 Donovan McNabb, Vikings, 1999-present
3,407 John Elway, Broncos, 1983-98
3,128 Tobin Rote, Packers, 1950-66
2,874 Kordell Stewart, Steelers, 1995-2005
2,787 Jim Harbaugh, Bears, 1987-2000 (That’s right, the 49ers’ coach is No. 10.)
* Either the team they currently play for or, in the case of retired players, the team they played for longest.
(Note: A few of Stewart’s yards came when he was lined up as a receiver early in his career, but not enough to keep him off the list.)
This raises an interesting question (posed to me by former Washington Times sports staffer Monty Wood): Who are the worst running quarterbacks in NFL history?
Well, it depends on how you define “worst.” Me, I’d go by rushing yards per game – or rather, fewest rushing yards per game.
Since 1950, these are the QBs (minimum: 50 starts) who have rushed for the fewest yards per game:
YPG Quarterback, Team*, Span of Career
0.4 Dan Marino, Dolphins, 1983-99
0.5 Ken Stabler, Raiders, 1970-84
0.8 Lynn Dickey, Packers, 1971-85
1.0 Steve DeBerg, Bucs, 1978-98
1.0 Vince Ferragamo, Rams, 1977-86
1.0 Jim Hart, Cardinals, 1966-84
1.0 Joe Namath, Jets, 1965-77
1.0 Bill Nelson, Browns, 1963-72
1.6 Mark Rypien, Redskins, 1988-2001
Others of note:
2.1 Gus Frerotte, Redskins, 1994-2008 (T-13th)
2.3 Jeff George, Colts, 1990-2001 (T-15th)
2.3 Sonny Jurgensen, Redskins, 1957-1974 (T-15th)
The Redskins have certainly had their fair share of immobile/pocket passers – which is probably just as well, considering what Gus did to his neck one time when he decided to run for a touchdown. The great unknown, of course, is: If Rypien, Frerotte, George and Jurgensen – in their primes – ever lined up and ran a 40, who would finish first? (Boy, that’s a tough one. In fact, it might be the one race Teddy Roosevelt could win.)
Van Brocklin, by the way, was legendarily slow. One sportswriter in that era said he moved “with all the speed and elusiveness of a pregnant hippopotamus.” It didn’t stop him from making the Hall of Fame, though. (The same goes for Marino, Namath and Sonny.) It’s nice to be able to run around, sure, but quarterbacking has always been, first and foremost, about throwing the ball.