With Bryce Young leading the Carolina Panthers under center, Carolina could dig itself out of the NFC South cellar this year. Young himself could stand tall among the shortest QBs in NFL history. He stands 5 feet 10 inches tall.
To commemorate the Bryce Young era in Carolina, NCSharp takes stock of the great short quarterbacks in the NFL and offers the all-time top five short quarterbacks (6 foot and under).
Does Bryce Young have what it takes to land on this list? Read on.
#5 Joe Theismann (6 feet tall)
The 1983 NFL MVP, Joe Theismann, who has one Super Bowl to his name, is one of the best QBs in league history at 6 feet tall or under.
Even if he may be more remembered for his career-ending injury (which no one ever wants to see twice), Theismann’s career with the Washington Redskins was defined by success. In 10 seasons in Washington, Theismann put up a winning record in nine and made it to two consecutive Super Bowls.
Regardless of the injury cutting his career short, Theisman was an excellent starting quarterback in the league, good enough to win 77 games as a starter.
#4 Russell Wilson (5 feet 11 inches tall)
If not for a game-losing interception in his second Super Bowl appearance, Wilson could top this list. If you are reading this as a new football fan and think of Wilson per the “Broncos Country/Let’s ride” meme, this may seem confusing to you.
Forget what happened in Denver last year. Wilson was a stud Super Bowl-winning quarterback during his time in Seattle and has been selected to nine Pro Bowls.
Wilson has a chance to climb this list if he can regain his form in Denver. Who better to help him than Sean Payton, long-time head coach of another great short quarterback, Drew Brees.
#3 Michael Vick (6 feet tall)
I may have Michael Vick higher on this list than others because of his off-field actions, but Vick changed the game for the generation of quarterbacks that followed him.
He had prolific agility and foot speed during his heyday with the Atlanta Falcons. Unlike most other run-first quarterbacks, he had a cannon of an arm and a quick-flick release that made him impossible to defend.
Vick was a cheat code for several years of Madden Football video games. One might say he was also a cheat code on the field. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and won an NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
If not for Vick’s prison sentence that made him miss several years of his prime, who knows how much higher on this list he could be, and also on the list of all-time NFL greats.
#2 Drew Brees (6 feet tall)
A Hall of Famer in every sense of the word, Drew Brees, a New Orleans Saint for most of his 20-year career, is often a third wheel in the Peyton-Manning-versus-Tom-Brady discussion. Still, in many statistical categories, he was better in his playing career.
Brees was a 13-time Pro Bowler, won a Super Bowl, was the Super Bowl MVP, was an offensive player of the year twice, has the second-most passing yards all time and was one of the most accurate passers ever in terms of completion percentage.
#1 Fran Tarkenton (6 feet tall)
A legendary player regardless of his height, Fran Tarkenton is easily the best quarterback of all time at 6 feet tall or under.
Tarkenton, who played most of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, is top five all-time in wins as a QB with 126. He won an MVP, played in three Super Bowls and was a nine-time Pro Bowler.
It would be interesting to see Tarkenton in today’s game, as his elusive scrambling and gutsy play at the quarterback position were ahead of their time. Indeed, maybe the best compliment to pay him is to say that he would fit right in in this era of football.
Can Bryce Young make this list?
As Carolina Panthers fans prepare to head to Bank of America Stadium and watch Bryce Young, they might wonder how far he could rise on this list of top QB’s under 6 feet tall. Can he lead the team to the playoffs? Is he in the NFL Rookie of the Year conversation? Is he destined for further greatness?
Well, one thing is already true. If he makes the list, at 5 feet 10 inches, he’d be the shortest QB on it.
To crack the list, he has to accomplish quite a bit as the NFL has had some talented QBs under 6 feet tall, including many that are very accomplished and did not make this list.
The first thing Young has to do is stay healthy, as that is the No. 1 concern the Panthers’ fan base has about him because of his small stature. Next, he has to turn the Panthers into consistent contenders and make some Pro Bowls.
Above all, though, the quickest thing that can vault him high onto this list is to win a Super Bowl.
For the sake of NC Super Bowl betting fans, let’s say that he wins the Super Bowl in his first season. Could that sneak him into the top five immediately? Absolutely! Win two Super Bowls, and he is guaranteed a spot. Win three or more, and Young would almost assuredly be at the top spot on this list.
Image: AP photo