Kosar’s Browns defeated the Steelers in the 1990 season opener, which brought his career record to 40-23-1, or 17 games over .500. But Kosar went just 13-31 over his final 44 games; after a 0.633 winning percentage in his first 64 games, he posted a 0.295 winning percentage for the remainder of his career.
So I wondered, among quarterbacks who finished their career with a .500 record or worse, does Kosar hold the record for most games above .500 at any one point? As it turns out, that honor goes to Jim Hart. Younger fans likely know very little about Hart, but he’s one of the better quarterbacks not in the Hall of Fame. He spent 18 years with the Cardinals, and made the Pro Bowl in four straight seasons from ’74 to ’77. By 1981, he ranked third all time in career passing yards and ninth in passing touchdowns. He made it into the top 50 on Brad Oremland’s list, and snuck into the top 30 on my list.
But if you look at the raw numbers, you’re likely to be unimpressed. That’s because the bulk of his career took place during the ’70s, but also because he retired with an 87-88-5 record. But as of November 20th, 1977, Hart had a 69-47-5 record, a 0.591 winning percentage. Of course, it was all downhill from there for Hart, who went just 18-41 (0.305) for the rest of his career.
The table below shows all quarterbacks1 who finished with a 0.500 or worse career record but at one point in their career were more than five games over 0.500. Let’s use the Marc Bulger line below as an example. For his career, he went 41-54-0, for a 0.432 career winning percentage. At his peak, he was 17 games over 0.500, thanks to a 28-11 record (0.718 winning percentage). For the rest of his career, though, he went 13-43, for a 0.232 career winning percentage.
|Quarterback||Car W||Car L||Car T||Car Win%||Best +/-||Rec||Win %||ROC Rec||ROC Win %|
There are lots of interesting names on the list. I’ve already written about how the late-career struggles Joe Namath endured contributed to a misunderstanding of his legacy. Bert Jones is another quarterback with a great prime whose career was limited due to injury. Boomer Esiason looked like a future Hall of Fame quarterback in his late 20s, with three Pro Bowls, an AP MVP, and a Super Bowl appearance to go along with a good record. But a 33-56 finish has kept him out of Canton.
What stands out to you?
- Well, this includes all quarterback starts starting in 1950. [↩]