≡ Menu

Wait, how many USC quarterbacks are starting?

Wait, how many USC quarterbacks are starting?

There was a streak in jeopardy in week 17 of the 2012 season. With former Trojan Carson Palmer injured, the Raiders skipped over his former USC teammate, Matt Leinart, and started ex-Ohio State Buckeye Terrelle Pryor at quarterback for the season finale. Since the Chiefs had previously benched Matt Cassel for Brady Quinn, if it wasn’t for Greg McElroy missing the Jets last game against the Bills — which reinserted Mark Sanchez into the starting lineup for New York — USC’s streak of consecutive weeks with a starting quarterback in the NFL would have ended. Instead, the streak is now up to 81 weeks with at least one of Sanchez, Palmer, Cassel and/or Leinart starting.

As impressive as that might sound, it’s not even halfway to the record. You can take a second to think about which school had the longest run with at least one of its former players starting at quarterback, but first, another bit of trivia: I noticed that in week 12 of the 2009 season, Matt Leinart, Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, and Carson Palmer all started. But believe it or not, that’s not a record, either.

In week 13 of the 2000 season, five quarterbacks from the University of WashingtonWarren Moon, Mark Brunell, Damon Huard, Chris Chandler, and Brock Huard — were starting in the NFL. Add in Washington State’s Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf, and seven quarterbacks that played college in the Evergreen State were starting in the NFL that weekend.

Back to the post topic. Which school has the longest streak of consecutive weeks with a starting quarterback since 1960? From week 4 of the 1973 season to week 14 of the 1984 season — a period covering 170 weeks — the University of Alabama had at least one quarterback start a game each week. The table below shows the Crimson Tide quarterbacks starting in each week of each year during that period:

1984-14         Richard Todd
1984-13         Richard Todd
1984-12         Richard Todd
1984-11         Richard Todd
1984-10         Richard Todd
1984-9          Richard Todd
1984-8          Richard Todd
1984-7          Richard Todd
1984-6          Richard Todd
1984-5          Richard Todd
1984-4          Richard Todd
1984-3          Richard Todd
1984-2          Richard Todd
1984-1          Richard Todd
1983-16         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Jeff Rutledge
1983-15         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Jeff Rutledge
1983-14         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-13         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-12         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-11         Richard Todd
1983-10         Richard Todd
1983-9          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Jeff Rutledge
1983-8          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Jeff Rutledge
1983-7          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-6          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-5          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-4          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-3          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-2          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1983-1          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-9          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-8          Richard Todd
1982-7          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-6          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-5          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-4          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-3          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-2          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1982-1          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-16         Richard Todd
1981-15         Richard Todd
1981-14         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-13         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-12         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-11         Richard Todd
1981-10         Richard Todd
1981-9          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-8          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-7          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-6          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-5          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-4          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-3          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-2          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1981-1          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-16         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-15         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-14         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-13         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-12         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-11         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-10         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-9          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-8          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-7          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-6          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-5          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-4          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-3          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-2          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1980-1          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-16         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-15         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-14         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-13         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-12         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-11         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Jeff Rutledge
1979-10         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-9          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-8          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-7          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-6          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-5          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-4          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-3          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-2          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1979-1          Ken Stabler
1978-16         Ken Stabler
1978-15         Ken Stabler
1978-14         Ken Stabler
1978-13         Ken Stabler
1978-12         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1978-11         Ken Stabler
1978-10         Ken Stabler
1978-9          Ken Stabler
1978-8          Ken Stabler
1978-7          Ken Stabler
1978-6          Ken Stabler
1978-5          Ken Stabler
1978-4          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1978-3          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1978-2          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1978-1          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-14         Richard Todd
1977-13         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-12         Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-11         Ken Stabler
1977-10         Ken Stabler
1977-9          Ken Stabler
1977-8          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-7          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-6          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-5          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1977-4          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1977-3          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1977-2          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1977-1          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1976-14         Scott Hunter; Joe Namath
1976-13         Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1976-12         Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1976-11         Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1976-10         Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1976-9          Scott Hunter; Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1976-8          Richard Todd; Ken Stabler
1976-7          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1976-6          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1976-5          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1976-4          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1976-3          Joe Namath
1976-2          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1976-1          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-14         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-13         Ken Stabler
1975-12         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-11         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-10         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-9          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-8          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-7          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-6          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-5          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-4          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-3          Joe Namath
1975-2          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1975-1          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-14         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-13         Joe Namath
1974-12         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-11         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-10         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-9          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-8          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-7          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-6          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-5          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-4          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-3          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-2          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1974-1          Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1973-14         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1973-13         Ken Stabler
1973-12         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1973-11         Ken Stabler; Joe Namath
1973-10         Ken Stabler
1973-9          Ken Stabler
1973-8          Scott Hunter; Ken Stabler
1973-7          Ken Stabler
1973-6          Scott Hunter; Ken Stabler
1973-5          Scott Hunter; Ken Stabler
1973-4          Ken Stabler

In fact, from week 2 of the 1971 season to week 2 of the 1973 season, a span of 29 weeks, at least one of Scott Hunter, Joe Namath, Bart Starr, and/or Ken Stabler was a starting quarterback each week. In week 3 of 1973, the streak ended, but Alabama trotted out a starting quarterback for 199 of 200 straight weeks in the NFL. One reason the streak went on for so long: both the Jets and Packers tried to replace their Hall of Fame Crimson Tide quarterbacks with other quarterbacks from Alabama (Todd and Hunter).

The second longest streak belongs to the University of Miami (Florida). A Hurricane started every week for an eleven year period spanning 168 weeks:

1997-6          Vinny Testaverde
1997-5          Vinny Testaverde
1997-4          Vinny Testaverde
1997-3          Vinny Testaverde
1997-2          Vinny Testaverde
1997-1          Vinny Testaverde
1996-17         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-16         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-14         Vinny Testaverde
1996-13         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-12         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-11         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-10         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-9          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-8          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1996-7          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1996-6          Vinny Testaverde; Craig Erickson
1996-5          Vinny Testaverde
1996-4          Steve Walsh
1996-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1996-2          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly
1996-1          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly
1995-17         Vinny Testaverde
1995-16         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1995-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1995-14         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1995-13         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1995-12         Jim Kelly
1995-11         Jim Kelly
1995-10         Jim Kelly
1995-9          Jim Kelly
1995-8          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1995-7          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1995-6          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1995-5          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1995-4          Vinny Testaverde
1995-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1995-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1995-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-17         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Craig Erickson
1994-16         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Craig Erickson
1994-15         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-14         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-13         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-12         Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-11         Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-10         Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly
1994-9          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-8          Vinny Testaverde
1994-7          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1994-6          Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-5          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-4          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1994-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-18         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-17         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-16         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-14         Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-13         Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-12         Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson; Bernie Kosar
1993-11         Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-10         Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson; Bernie Kosar
1993-9          Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-8          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-7          Vinny Testaverde
1993-6          Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson; Bernie Kosar
1993-5          Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson
1993-4          Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson; Bernie Kosar
1993-3          Bernie Kosar
1993-2          Jim Kelly; Craig Erickson; Bernie Kosar
1993-1          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-17         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-16         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-14         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-13         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-12         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1992-11         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1992-10         Jim Kelly
1992-9          Jim Kelly
1992-8          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1992-7          Vinny Testaverde
1992-6          Jim Kelly
1992-5          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1992-4          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1992-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1992-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1992-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-17         Vinny Testaverde; Bernie Kosar
1991-16         Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-15         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-14         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-13         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-12         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-11         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-10         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-9          Bernie Kosar
1991-8          Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-7          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-6          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-5          Jim Kelly
1991-4          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1991-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-17         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh
1990-16         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh
1990-15         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-14         Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-13         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-12         Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-11         Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-10         Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly
1990-9          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly
1990-8          Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-7          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-6          Vinny Testaverde; Bernie Kosar
1990-5          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-4          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1990-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-16         Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-14         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-13         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-12         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-11         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-10         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-9          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-8          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Bernie Kosar
1989-7          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Bernie Kosar
1989-6          Steve Walsh; Bernie Kosar
1989-5          Vinny Testaverde; Steve Walsh; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-4          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1989-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-16         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-14         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-13         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-12         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-11         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-10         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-9          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-8          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1988-7          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-6          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-5          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-4          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-3          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-2          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly
1988-1          Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-15         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-14         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-13         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-12         Vinny Testaverde; Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-11         Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-10         Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-9          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-8          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-7          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar
1987-6          Jim Kelly; Bernie Kosar

If not for the use of replacement players during the 1987 strike, the Hurricanes would hold the record, as Kelly and/or Kosar started each of the twenty-two weeks prior to the strike.

Things haven’t gone well for Trojans quarterbacks lately. Leinart is unlikely to start anytime soon, while Cassel just signed on to be Christian Ponder’s backup in Minnesota. The Jets may not find anyone better than Sanchez to start in week 1, but it’s hard to imagine him starting too many more games. The same is true for Palmer in Oakland, who is still a possible cap cut.

On the other hand, perhaps Matt Barkley will be able to keep the streak alive.

{ 7 comments }
  • sn0mm1s March 17, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Doesn’t Brett Favre have all these records beat single-handedly?

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart March 17, 2013, 2:21 pm

      Perhaps if there wasn’t a bye week every year :)

      Reply
  • Tim Truemper March 17, 2013, 1:06 pm

    If snOmm1s is right, then Southern Mississippi has the record. Before checking PFR, does anyone know another Souther Mississippi starter of note?

    Regarding the chance to answer trivia about the school with the longest streak, I pondered Notre Dame first, then derived Alabama. But my history was wrong in that I figured the streak started with Bart Starr in 1960 and was connected thru Ken Stabler with some help from Jeff Rutledge. Did not think it stretched thu Richard Todd, though.

    While USC has a rich football history and has many QB’s with good to great college careers, their contribution to NFL greatness is not particularly notable. If one looks at the PFR college to NFL list, one will be sorely disappointed to find a lot of stellar NFL careers. Quite a few that did some good things like Pat Haden, Bill Nelsen, Vince Evans. But relative to schools like UW and Purdue, not so hot.

    Reply
    • JeremyDe March 18, 2013, 10:10 am

      Couldn’t think of one, so I checked PFR. 4 other SoMiss QBs in NFL history.

      Jeff Kelly (2002) 1 game Seattle
      Val Keckin (1962) 6 games San Diego
      Reggie Collier (1986-1987) 6 total games 4 w/Dal in 86 (1 start), 2 w/Pit in 87
      George Herring (1960-1961) 28 total games Denver. Started 4 in 61.

      Combined stats of 4 Qbs – 41 total games, 5 starts, 0-5 record, 8 TD, 26 Int

      Reply
  • oneblankspace March 17, 2013, 4:51 pm

    In 1987, the NFL decided that consecutive games streaks would not be ended by replacement games, so UMiami should have the record. Interesting that Testaverde was in the first year as it stands now and the last.

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart March 18, 2013, 11:18 am

      I did not know that. That’s pretty interesting.

      Reply
  • Tim Truemper March 18, 2013, 10:26 am

    Thanks JeremyDe. I recall Reggie Collier some. Saw his game as starting QB for Dallas. He also was a starter in the USFL.

    Reply

Leave a Comment