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All-Time NFL Passing Yardage Leaders

Updated on January 24, 2008

Dan Marino

Brett Favre

John Elway


Football has become an air attack of sorts over the last few decades. That means that quarterbacks who are adept at throwing and completing passes are in vogue, and even more so if they are prolific at throwing touchdown passes. Here is a current list of the top 10 QBs of all-time in passing yardage:

Brett Favre

Brett Favre overtook Dan Marino for first place in this department in 2007, as he now has 61,657 passing yards. Favre began his career with Atlanta in 1991, but was traded to Green Bay and became the Packers' starter in 1992. He hasn't missed a game in 15 years, and his numbers are mind-boggling. Favre has the 61,657 yards and also holds the NFL record for TD passes with 442. In 1995, Favre had a career high of 4413 yards with 38 TD passes, and he's had over 4000 yards passing five times. Favre also led the Packers to the Super Bowl title after the 1996 season.

Dan Marino

Dan Marino is obviously one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game, and played his entire Hall of Fame career with the Miami Dolphins, from 1983-1999. Marino never won a Super Bowl, but he holds the record for most passing yards in NFL history with 61,361. He also held the record for touchdown passes until Brett Favre broke that early in 2007. In 1984, Marino passed for an astounding 5084 yards, with 17 TDs. He also had over 4000 yards passing in a season six times in his career.

John Elway

John Elway played his entire career with the Denver Broncos, from 1983-1998 and his career almost mirrored that of Marino's, except that Elway's Broncos won the Super Bowl in his final two seasons as the team's quarterback. Elway passed for 51,475 yards and 300 TDs over his career, and his best season was 1993, when he passed for 4030 yards with 25 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions.

Warren Moon

Warren Moon was a secret north of the border when he began his pro career in the Canadian Football League. But word got out about this amazing talent, and he began his NFL career in 1984 with the Houston Oilers. Moon went on to play for the Vikings, Seahawks and Chiefs until retiring in 2000. He ranks fourth all-time in passing yardage with 49,325 yards, and though his career high in yardage was 4690 in 1991, Moon's best overall season was 1990. That year, he had 4689 yards, with 33 touchdown passes and just 13 interceptions. Moon also topped 4000 yards passing four times in his career.

Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton played for the Vikings (1961-1966 and 1972-1978) and Giants (1967-1971) and ranks fifth all-time with 47,003 passing yards. He also racked up 342 passing TDs over the course of his fine career. In 1967 with the Giants, Tarkenton had his first 3000-yard season, finishing with 3088, but his best season yardage-wise was his final season with Minnesota, 1978, when he passed for 3468 yards.

Vinny Testaverde

Vinny Testaverde is a journeyman NFL quarterback who has played with the Buccaneers, Browns, Ravens, Jets, Cowboys, Patriots and now Panthers. In his prime, Testaverde had one of the strongest arms in the game and was known for throwing a great deep ball. Unfortunately, Testaverde also threw a lot of interceptions. Still, he has managed to amass 46,233 yards passing with 275 TDs. Testaverde's best season was 1996 with Baltimore, when he passed for 4177 yards with 33 touchdowns to just 19 interceptions.

Drew Bledsoe

Drew Bledsoe began his career with New England in 1993, and played until 2006 with the Patriots, Bills and Cowboys. Bledsoe ranks seventh all-time in passing yards in the NFL with 44,611 yards, and also had 251 TD passes. His best season was 2002 with Buffalo, when Bledsoe passed for 4359 yards with 24 touchdowns and just 15 interceptions.

Dan Fouts

Dan Fouts played his entire career with the San Diego Chargers, and was known for being the primary QB for coach Don "Air" Coryell. Fouts played from 1973 to 1987 and over that time compiled 43,040 yards through the air with 254 touchdown passes. Fouts' best season was 1981, when he threw for 4802 yards with 33 TDs and only 17 interceptions. Fouts also passed for 4000 yards in three straight seasons (1979-1981).

Peyton Manning

With 4,040 yards in 2007, Peyton Manning climbed onto this list, as he now has 41,626 total passing yards for his career.

Joe Montana

Joe Montana was one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game, and his four Super Bowl rings are proof of that. In addition, Montana passed for 40,551 yards in a career that spanned from 1979-1994 with the 49ers and Chiefs. He also had 273 TD passes to just 139 interceptions for his career. Montana's best season was 1990 with San Francisco, when he passed for 3944 yards with 26 TDs and 16 interceptions. Montana also had a career completion percentage of 63.2.


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      Kylie 7 years ago

      this needs to be updated, Peyton Manning is now in 3rd place, passed John Elway this weekend. :)