NFL's Best Backup Quarterbacks

George Blanda
Photo: Tony Triolo/SI

George Blanda

When you're an NFL backup, it's not just about having the ability to play in the NFL, it's admitting that you're not as good as the starter. Few can pull it off, but those who do carve out nice careers, earn big paydays and maybe even have a moment or two in the sun. Herewith are the greatest-ever NFL backup quarterbacks, beginning with the late George Blanda. He had his AFL glory days with the Houston Oilers as a featured and popular starter, but his 26-year professional career that spanned four decades was spent mostly as a reliable backup quarterback. In 1970, when the Raiders desperately needed help with Daryle Lamonica injured, Blanda went 4-1 as a starter, leading his team to dramatic wins nearly every week. Blanda spent the final nine years of his career as a kicker, but occasionally still was called on as a quarterback, tossing 27 touchdowns in his 40s.

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