Aaron Rodgers went down last night, which means the Jets are quickly back to the Zach Wilson era in New York. Maybe he’ll make me eat my words in the future, but he is a pretty low-level backup option. Every backup quarterback in the league is waiting for their own Shane Falco moment, but most of them weren’t starting for a reason. These five guys, however, are the greatest replacement quarterbacks in NFL history.
5. Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert has refused to let it define his career, but he came into the league as Tyrod Taylor’s backup. After one of the team doctors punctured one of Taylor’s lungs with a pain killer needle before a week two matchup, Justin Herbert got the start. Since then, he has become an inspiration for every quarterback patiently waiting toward the bottom of the depth chart. Shoutout to that doctor, for being bad at his job, and improving the quality of the NFL.
4. Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner is another backup who entirely outplayed his starter when given the chance. He had a famous journey from bagging groceries, to the CFL, to Super Bowl MVP. He also made a quick stop as a backup quarterback on that path to greatness. He is one of the most legendary replacement quarterbacks of all time.
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick/Jameis Winston
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston are uncontested as the best pair of backup quarterbacks in NFL history. For one year, the Buccaneers could not find out which of these guys was the starter, and it was glorious. One of these guys would start the game with a few picks, just for the other one to come in and make it unreasonably close. The Bucs should’ve found a way to get both of these guys on the field at one time.
2. Tom Brady
You don’t need me to list Tom Brady’s accomplishments. The guy is the undisputed GOAT of the NFL. That being said, this is a backup quarterback competition, and there’s no way he gets that title. He replaced Drew Bledsoe, won a Super Bowl, and then made several cameos on Entourage. It was an impressive run, but he did a lot of it as a starter.
1. Nick Foles
He beat Tom Brady in their lone playoff matchup. I think that pretty clearly makes him the greatest backup of all time. He played the best three game stretch in backup quarterback history on the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl. He is also a well-endowed man by all accounts. Tom Brady has had more than enough teammates with opportunities to compliment his genitals, but they haven’t. Let’s call a spade and agree that Foles beats Brady head-to-head, and on the field. That makes him better.