Which AFC quarterbacks don the best NFL jerseys out there today?
What about those players who will either a) have built and will maintain a legacy one-hundred years from today, forever enshrined in Canton, Ohio, or b) possess the potential to build a career to match those of their accomplished veteran counterparts.
This article features the hottest quarterbacks in the AFC who’ve built their legacy over the course of a storied career along with those looking to become the next big names in the conference.
For those of you in the younger generation who don’t know, the New England Patriots drafted Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft (199th overall), slating the future Hall of Famer to be a career backup.
Today, Brady is a six-time Super Bowl Champion and known as the Greatest of All Time, or the G.O.A.T.
At age 42, Brady is coming back for yet another season, his 20th in the NFL, looking to become the first quarterback to win seven Super Bowls, which will also set an NFL record for his New England Patriots.
Over the course of his career, Brady has made nine Super Bowl appearances and has won the AFC East sixteen times in his nineteen seasons.
Sam Darnold ended the 2018 season as one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, throwing six touchdowns compared to just one interception after returning from injury in the final four weeks of the season. Now he’s equipped with a defense loaded with stars such as Jamal Adams, C.J. Moseley, Leonard, and Quinnen Williams, plus a former All-Pro in running back Le’Veon Bell.
With Brady entering the twilight of his career, Darnold and the Jets could challenge the Patriots in making a run at an AFC East Championship. However, Darnold is one of three young quarterbacks looking to take their team to the next level to dethrone Brady and the Patriots with Josh Allen leading the Buffalo Bills and Josh Rosen, who was traded to the Dolphins after the drafting of Kyler Murray in Arizona.
The 11th overall pick in 2004, Roethlisberger has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to three Super Bowls, winning two of them. He’s also won seven division championships and has appeared in five AFC Championships. In his rookie season, he set a record for wins by a rookie quarterback, going 14-0 in that span.
While he’s contemplated retiring, there appears to be no end in sight for Roethlisberger as he prepares to lead the team into a new era in Pittsburgh.
He is also one of just six quarterbacks in NFL history to have beaten the league’s other 31 teams at least once.
Baker Mayfield took the league by storm, leading the Browns to their first win in 635 days in his NFL debut. He’s since broken the rookie record for touchdown passes in a single season with 27 and has the City of Cleveland energized in a way they haven’t been since Bernie Kosar stalked the Shores of Lake Erie from 1985 to 1993. Not to mention, he took an 0-16 team and turned them into one of the league’s most improved franchises, finishing the 2018 season at 7-8-1.
He’s the first Browns quarterback to go into the following season as a starting quarterback who was on the team the year before, the last being Brandon Weeden, who the Browns drafted in 2012 and opened the season as the starter in 2013.
Andrew Luck turned the Colts into contenders during his rookie season and since then his career has been a roller coaster. He missed all of 2017 with a shoulder injury but returned in 2018 to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award, posting MVP-candidate type of numbers with 39 touchdown passes.
Luck is known throughout his career for his fourth quarter comeback ability, beginning during his rookie season in 2012, his most notable perhaps coming in the 2013 Wildcard Playoffs when he rallied the Colts from a 38-10 third quarter deficit against the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the game 45-44.
Watson has a career passer rating of 103 and if it wasn’t for a torn ACL that ended his rookie campaign in 2017, he may’ve set the record for passing touchdowns by a rookie that season. Nonetheless, he led the Houston Texans to a division championship and home playoff berth.
Watson has since set numerous NFL and Houston Texans franchise records since his rookie season and was named to his first Pro Bowl following the 2018 season.
Phillip Rivers has never appeared in a Super Bowl in his fifteen-year career, but talk about consistency. The Dan Marino of his time, Rivers continues to put up steady numbers even as his career reaches twilight status. His 374 career touchdown passes and 95.4 quarterback rating is up there with many of the league’s greats. He has made seven playoff appearances in his career and has won five AFC West Championships, four of which when he started at quarterback.
Rivers is known for his durability, having never missed a start since taking over as the starting quarterback for the then-San Diego Chargers in 2006. As the Chargers continue to forge a new fan base as the Los Angeles Chargers, Rivers remains a pivotal piece to the team’s puzzle moving forward.
Mahomes is arguably the most exciting quarterback on this list. He threw 50 touchdown passes in 2018, an NFL record for quarterbacks in their second season and won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award. For a player many considered to be a reach when drafted tenth overall DeShaun Watson, Mahomes has solidified his spot on this list. He also came within an overtime loss of making his first Super Bowl appearance, which would’ve been the Chiefs’ first appearance since 1969.
Heading into his third season, there’s perhaps no other player in the league holding higher expectations on their shoulders than Mahomes.