• 07/09/2013, 02:55AM ET

Worst consecutive three year QB stretch in the NFL's modern era.

Marlins Fan (156-78-31) vs TnerB57 (12-4-1)

Which NFL QB had the worst consecutive three year stretch in the modern era of the NFL?

Jake Plummer, circa 1997-99

I almost feel bad for writing this. When I researched this topic I definitely didn't expect to find Plummer's name, but facts are facts and fact is Plummer's run from 97-99 was pretty bad. Quite a bit worse than I thought. Bad enough that he probably wouldn't last all three years if his career happened today.


9 starts, 53% completion, 15 TDs, 15 INTs, 52 sacks, 6 fumbles


16 starts, 59.2% completion, 17 TDs, 20 INTs, 49 sacks, 12 fumbles


11 starts, 52.8% completion, 9 TDs, 24 INTs, 27 sacks, 7 fumbles

It was a close call between Plummer and some of the other candidates. Two guys in particular were tough to pass over, one of whom I would expect my potential opponent to choose for their own argument. Assuming an actual TDer picks this up, of course.

Hate to put Plummer on blast like this but in my opinion his stretch from 97-99 was as bad as it gets for any QB in the NFL's modern era.

Good luck.

Ok, MFer. I'm gonna use the years since the merger to define modern era.

So, I believe I found a QB that trumps Plummer in the pantheon of pitiful play.

That player is none other than Joe Ferguson, 1982-1984.

Jake the Snake was indeed very good at being bad, or rather, inconsistent, but there is one thing that jumps out at me during the years you selected: In 1998, Plummer led the Cards to a 9-7 record, and their first playoff win since 1947. Kinda puts a blemish on the little streak of crapness there, doesn't it?

Ferguson had a worse QB rating overall, a worse W/L record for games started, and was the worst QB in the league for all three years from 82-84. Sure sure, Jake was better at fumbling and throwing interceptions and stuff, but that was partly due to the fact that he spent a lot of time running for his life all over the field. Ferguson had protection, got sacked less, stood in the pocket, and still sucked worse.

Jake only led the league at being bad once. Know who else did? Phil Simms. Troy Aikman. Good company. Ferguson was a master at playing miserably.

Good luck buddy!

Well... you almost had a great point there. Mentioning how the 1998 Cardinals won a playoff game, I mean. Almost.

Except for one thing.

The 1998 Cardinals are considered by many to have been possibly the flukiest playoff team in NFL history. They were a bad team during the regular season (outscored 378-325) and their playoff win over Dallas was a monumental upset.

The Cardinals had an awful defense but held Aikman, Emmitt and the rest of the Cowboys to 260 total yards. Plummer only completed 19 of 36 for 213 yards and a pair of TDs/INTs.

The Cardinals were a fluke getting in the playoffs and the win over Dallas was an even bigger fluke. Football Outsiders, a leader in NFL analytical/statistical research, calls the '98 Cardinals " one of the greatest flukes teams of all time... a colossal fluke".

At any rate 1998 was merely one of Plummer's horrific trio of seasons.

All told, from 1997-99, Plummer threw 59 INTs and fumbled 25 times. 84 turnovers/potential turnovers in 36 starts.

From 1982-84 Ferguson threw 58 INTs and fumbled 16 times. 74 turnovers/potential turnovers in 37 starts.

Also despite starting one fewer game Plummer was outsacked 128-73.

Plummer being sacked more tells me nothing. Well, it does tell me one thing: He played behind absolutely atrocious offensive lines. That dude was elusive as hell. He was a throwback to Tarkenton, Staubach, and Stabler. Of course without quite the same skill set. Or not. Did you know Plummer had nearly as good a career rating as Stabler?

Plummer's rating was 73 and 75 in '97 and '98.

Ferguson failed to crack 70 any of the three years between '82-'84.

And I guess the Cardinals were a "fluke" in 98, sure, I'll buy that. But not because of Plummer. Because they managed to win ugly despite having a horrendous defense and offensive line. This is actually a testament to Plummer's will to win, not mailing it in because his team was consistently fighting an uphill battle.

What, do you suppose, was Ferguson's excuse? He did not have to scramble to make a pass. He stayed relatively on his feet. And yet, he failed. He failed better than any QB in the league three years running. No wonder his defense got worse. They were always on the field.

Joe's 3 yrs were bottom line worse.

Not buying the offensive line angle.

Jake Plummer was known for holding the ball for excessive amounts of time, trying to make something out of nothing. It was always the rap on Plummer; from his college scouting reports all through his NFL career. You even hinted at it yourself, saying he was elusive. He was. He also got sacked. A lot. Because he held the ball far too long.

Blaming his offensive line for the multitude of sacks he received would be short sighted. Plummer was certainly at fault for a large percentage of sacks taken, simply due to his determination to never, ever give up on a play.

Long story short, a quarterback is supposed to avoid turnovers and sacks while keeping the ball moving forward.

Neither QB was an accurate passer and therefore neither were particularly good at keeping the ball moving forward. During the 3 year stretches mentioned by Nerby and myself, neither QB had a completion percentage below 53% or above 59%.

But Plummer was more turnover prone and much more likely to take a sack.

When you add up all the pieces of this puzzle you see that Plummer was the inferior quarterback of the two.

Good TD, Nerby, and good luck!

QB ratings for our two choices over their perspective 3-yr stints:

Plummer - 73.1, 75.0, 50.8

Ferguson - 56.3, 69.3, 63.5

Now, Plummer had a particularly abysmal rating in '99, but Ferguson was more consistent at suckage. And again, Ferguson was the worst QB in the league all three seasons.

Looking over the Cards' scores from '98, I'd say Plummer showed a lot of grit in winning many very close games. And won a playoff game. Fluke or not, this still gives Buffalo Joe the edge in regards to having the poorer 3-yr stretch.

And as for discounting the O-line's role in Plummer's sack totals, it is interesting to note that, in '98 at least (not checking the other two years), the Cards failed to record 50 yds rushing in 5 games, amassing a measely 25 yds in the season finale. Plummer threw for 274 yds in that game, by the way. That line was hugely inconsistent.

Bottom line: Jake took his team to the playoffs and even won a game in one of his three years of this TD. Joe never even caught a whiff of the postseason during his 3 yrs. Both sucked. Ferguson just sucked worse.

Great TD and good luck MF!

July 9, 2013  03:02 AM ET

I probably should've quantified this with a 30-35 game minimum for the three year stretch but I didn't, so please don't be an A hole and pick someone who only threw one pass for an interception over three years. No punters or Kickers, obviously, and please try to be reasonable. There are some great options left.

July 9, 2013  05:01 AM ET

joey harrington or david carr without bothering to look up stats

July 9, 2013  06:36 AM ET

Interesting topic.

Comment #4 has been removed
July 9, 2013  09:39 AM ET

The real miracle is that Plummer led them to the playoffs and won a playoff game in that 1998 year.

July 9, 2013  10:09 AM ET

The real miracle is that Plummer led them to the playoffs and won a playoff game in that 1998 year.

That's very Romo-esque.

July 9, 2013  11:34 AM ET

Vinny Testaverde's first 3 years are hard to beat.

comp. %....49
INT's..........63 (led league twice)

July 9, 2013  11:37 AM ET

Vinny Testaverde's first 3 years are hard to beat.W-L...........10-23comp. %....49TD's...........38INT's..........63 (led league twice)

Terry Bradshaws 1'st three years came close.

July 9, 2013  01:35 PM ET

so what constitutes "Modern Era"

July 9, 2013  01:40 PM ET

so what constitutes "Modern Era"

the merger.

Comment #11 has been removed
Comment #12 has been removed
Comment #13 has been removed
July 9, 2013  01:49 PM ET

It's kind of a dubious distinction. The only real criteria is a team dumb/bad enough to start these guys for 3 years. For instance, if the Raiders had a little more patience, JaMarcus Russell might've obliterated all of these records.

July 9, 2013  02:13 PM ET

Tony Romo, nuff said.

Ferguson. Havent heard that name in ages....

July 9, 2013  03:43 PM ET

Hate to put Plummer on blast like this but in my opinion his stretch from 97-99 was as bad as it gets for any QB in the NFL's modern era.It's not unusual to find a Plummer in the toilet.

Lol, nice.

July 9, 2013  03:45 PM ET

It's kind of a dubious distinction. The only real criteria is a team dumb/bad enough to start these guys for 3 years. For instance, if the Raiders had a little more patience, JaMarcus Russell might've obliterated all of these records.

Well that's what motivated me to go with a three year stretch. Had to be someone who got a lot of opportunities and still sucked the entire time.

Plenty of QBs have been terrible for a year or even two, but three straight seasons of ineptitude seemed worth writing about, IMO.

July 9, 2013  03:45 PM ET

Glad you got this one, Nerby!

July 9, 2013  03:59 PM ET

I would have chosen Ryan Leaf, but he didn't start enough games in his 3 yr career. He may qualify though for the worst rookie season by an NFL QB.

July 9, 2013  04:08 PM ET

Honorable Mention: Dave Brown (1994-1996) 35 TD's/46 INTS/55% completion/record: 20-28


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