3 legendary NFL quarterbacks who played in the wrong era

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young (R) evades the grip of San Diego Chargers Leslie O’Neal, 29 January 1995 during the third quarter of Super Bowl XXIX in Miami. Young has throw for a record six touchdowns during the game. The 49ers lead the Chargers 49-18 in the fourth quarter. (COLOR KEY: Young red jersey) AFP PHOTO (Photo by JEFF HAYNES / AFP) (Photo by JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)

The quarterback position in the National Football League has changed a lot in recent years. There are a few star signal-callers that were well ahead of the curve.

You see this statistic a lot more now. Even though a player doesn’t get credit for a touchdown unless he actually scores it, quarterback numbers these days not only include touchdown passes and interceptions but a little something called “total TDs.”

For instance, Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes led the NFL in 2022 in passing yards (5,250) and scoring passes (41). He also ran for four scores so some outlets will state that league MVP accounted for 45 total touchdowns. Eagles’ signal-caller Jalen Hurts threw 22 TD passes and ran for 13 scores, hence 35 total TDs. You get the point.

What it really shows is that the quarterbacks are being asked to do more these days as clubs take advantage of their physical skills. Of course, there are still plenty of pocket passers in the league.

The following three standouts, two of whom are enshrined in Canton, certainly made their presence felt with their arm as well as their legs.

NFL quarterbacks from the wrong era: 3. Steve Young

His professional career began in 1984 with the first version of the United States Football League. In those days, former BYU standout Steve Young was arguably more dangerous as a runner than he was a passer. In his two seasons with the Los Angeles Express, he combined for 16 TD passes and 22 interceptions. He ran for 883 yards and nine touchdowns and averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

During his two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he threw for 11 scores and was picked off 21 times in 19 outings. Young ran for 658 yards and six scores while averaging 5.8 yards per attempt.

In 1987, the Buccaneers dealt Young to the San Francisco 49ers, where he would spend the next 12-plus seasons. He earned six league passing titles and was named Super Bowl XXIX MVP with a record six TD passes. He finished his 15-year NFL career with 33,124 yards and 232 scores through the air.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame field general also rushed for 4,239 yards and 43 touchdowns. That includes one memorable run vs. the Vikings in 1988.

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