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Wes Welker and playing with two HOF QBs

Last summer, I wrote a post on the percentage of each player’s receiver yards that came from each quarterback. Aaron Schatz asked the following trivia question yesterday that made me think of that old post.

Wes Welker will become the fourth player to catch passes from both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Can you name the first three?

Click Show for the Answer Show

That got me to thinking about other players who have played with Hall of Fame quarterbacks. There are 23 modern era quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame. Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Manning, Brady, and Drew Brees are Hall of Famers in spirit, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t far behind those guys. That’s 29: I threw in Ken Anderson to get us to an even 30.

I then checked to see how many players caught touchdown passes from more than one of those players. The most common pairings were from quarterbacks on the same team: Joe Montana and Steve Young (9), Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield (8), Sonny Jurgensen and Van Brocklin (6), and Favre and Rodgers (6).

But there were some pretty interesting ones on the list, too. Assuming Warner makes the Hall of Fame, Amp Lee will be the only player in NFL history to catch touchdowns from four Hall of Fame quarterbacks (Warner, Montana, Young, and Warren Moon). Currently, Lee is one of five players to catch passes from three quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame:

The table below lists every player to catch a touchdown pass from at least two of the 30 quarterbacks. Here’s how to read the list. Jerry Rice caught touchdowns from both Steve Young and Joe Montana, and he caught 92 touchdowns from Young and 67 from Montana.

The table is long, so the search function is your friend. If you type “Drew Brees Tom Brady” then the five men who caught touchdowns from both players will appear. Typing “Marino Favre” will also bring up some interesting names. Alas,

ReceiverQBQBTD QB 1TD QB 2
Jerry RiceSteve YoungJoe Montana9267
Mark ClaytonDan MarinoBrett Favre823
Dwight ClarkJoe MontanaSteve Young441
Greg JenningsAaron RodgersBrett Favre4216
Jimmy OrrJohnny UnitasBobby Layne4113
Randy MossTom BradyBrett Favre402
Donald DriverBrett FavreAaron Rodgers3823
Charlie JoinerDan FoutsKen Anderson387
James JonesAaron RodgersBrett Favre352
Freddie SolomonJoe MontanaBob Griese354
Nat MooreBob GrieseDan Marino3326
Elroy HirschNorm Van BrocklinBob Waterfield3214
Ed McCaffreyJohn ElwaySteve Young251
Del ShofnerY.A. TittleFran Tarkenton251
Brent JonesSteve YoungJoe Montana2412
John TaylorSteve YoungJoe Montana2420
Tom FearsNorm Van BrocklinBob Waterfield2217
Bob BoydNorm Van BrocklinBob Waterfield213
Billy CannonGeorge BlandaLen Dawson212
Anthony MillerJohn ElwayTroy Aikman214
Marshall FaulkKurt WarnerPeyton Manning204
Keith JacksonDan MarinoBrett Favre1913
Don BeebeJim KellyBrett Favre184
Frank JacksonLen DawsonBob Griese181
Joe MorrisonFran TarkentonY.A. Tittle1812
Bruce HardyDan MarinoBob Griese173
David PattenTom BradyDrew Brees174
Aaron ThomasFran TarkentonY.A. Tittle165
Hugh McElhennyY.A. TittleFran Tarkenton153
Ray RenfroOtto GrahamLen Dawson141
Pete RetzlaffSonny JurgensenNorm Van Brocklin145
Mike WilsonJoe MontanaSteve Young142
Christian FauriaTom BradyWarren Moon132
R.C. OwensY.A. TittleJohnny Unitas112
Gloster RichardsonLen DawsonRoger Staubach111
Preston PearsonRoger StaubachTerry Bradshaw102
Preston PearsonRoger StaubachJohnny Unitas101
Qadry IsmailWarren MoonPeyton Manning103
Pete BrewsterOtto GrahamBobby Layne92
Marv FlemingBart StarrBob Griese94
John FrankJoe MontanaSteve Young91
Butch JohnsonJohn ElwayRoger Staubach96
Willie RichardsonJohnny UnitasBob Griese91
Bobby WalstonNorm Van BrocklinSonny Jurgensen92
Troy DraytonDan MarinoWarren Moon81
Mark IngramDan MarinoBrett Favre83
Jeremy ShockeyDrew BreesKurt Warner84
Vitamin SmithNorm Van BrocklinBob Waterfield84
Billy StoneGeorge BlandaY.A. Tittle87
Reche CaldwellDrew BreesTom Brady75
Lenvil ElliottKen AndersonJoe Montana71
Roy JeffersonJohnny UnitasSonny Jurgensen73
James McKnightWarren MoonTroy Aikman71
Dave MiddletonBobby LayneFran Tarkenton72
David ThomasDrew BreesTom Brady71
Jamie WilliamsWarren MoonSteve Young73
Preston CarpenterBobby LayneSonny Jurgensen63
Preston CarpenterBobby LayneFran Tarkenton63
Willie FrazierGeorge BlandaLen Dawson63
Gary GarrisonDan FoutsJohnny Unitas61
Mike GarrettLen DawsonDan Fouts61
Jackie HarrisBrett FavreTroy Aikman62
Tony NathanDan MarinoBob Griese62
Skeet QuinlanNorm Van BrocklinBob Waterfield61
James BrooksDan FoutsKen Anderson52
Glenn DavisNorm Van BrocklinBob Waterfield51
Phil KingY.A. TittleFran Tarkenton52
Rickey YoungFran TarkentonDan Fouts51
Amp LeeWarren MoonJoe Montana41
Amp LeeWarren MoonSteve Young43
Amp LeeWarren MoonKurt Warner41
Billy Ray BarnesNorm Van BrocklinSonny Jurgensen43
Howard CassadyBobby LayneSonny Jurgensen42
Jimmy CefaloBob GrieseDan Marino43
Ernie ConwellKurt WarnerDrew Brees41
Heath EvansDrew BreesTom Brady41
Bob LongBart StarrSonny Jurgensen41
Ruvell MartinBrett FavreAaron Rodgers41
Joe PerryY.A. TittleJohnny Unitas41
Mike PritchardJohn ElwayWarren Moon43
Tom RathmanJoe MontanaSteve Young43
Bob ShawBob WaterfieldNorm Van Brocklin43
Mark SmolinskiJoe NamathJohnny Unitas41
Troy WaltersPeyton ManningKurt Warner41
Amp LeeSteve YoungKurt Warner31
Amp LeeSteve YoungJoe Montana31
Mike SherrardJoe MontanaJohn Elway31
Mike SherrardJoe MontanaSteve Young31
Jack ClancyBob GrieseBart Starr31
Ted DeanNorm Van BrocklinSonny Jurgensen31
Tim DwightDrew BreesTom Brady32
Brandon JacksonAaron RodgersBrett Favre31
Charles JordanDan MarinoBrett Favre32
Dee MackeyJohnny UnitasJoe Namath31
Don McIlhennyBart StarrBobby Layne32
Barry PearsonTerry BradshawLen Dawson32
Dick BielskiNorm Van BrocklinJohnny Unitas21
Preston PearsonTerry BradshawJohnny Unitas21
Dick BielskiSonny JurgensenJohnny Unitas21
Tom ColellaOtto GrahamBob Waterfield21
Don CurrivanBob WaterfieldNorm Van Brocklin21
Terry GlennBrett FavreTom Brady21
Trumaine JohnsonJim KellyDan Fouts21
Bob SchnelkerBobby LayneFran Tarkenton21
Tommy McDonaldSonny JurgensenNorm Van Brocklin3030
Donald LeeBrett FavreAaron Rodgers99
Preston CarpenterSonny JurgensenFran Tarkenton33
Terry KirbyDan MarinoSteve Young22
Marc EdwardsTom BradySteve Young22
Dick BielskiSonny JurgensenNorm Van Brocklin22
Wesley WallsBrett FavreSteve Young11
Jim ThaxtonDan FoutsJohnny Unitas11
Harry SydneyBrett FavreJoe Montana11
Wayne StewartDan FoutsJoe Namath11
Ed SprinkleGeorge BlandaBobby Layne11
Mike SherrardJohn ElwaySteve Young11
J.W. LockettSonny JurgensenJohnny Unitas11
Amp LeeJoe MontanaKurt Warner11
Bobby HumphreyJohn ElwayDan Marino11
Bernard FordTroy AikmanWarren Moon11
Doug DresslerKen AndersonLen Dawson11

I also created a 30×30 matrix of all quarterback combos, which you can view here. The numbers represent how many players caught touchdown passes from both quarterbacks.

  • Interesting stuff, though usually playing for a lot of quarterbacks means a WR is either not good enough to keep his job or he has drama issues. Great WR’s who don’t have issues usually don’t swap teams a lot, which might explain how most of these WR’s are not exactly top tier. If you look at the real great WR’s on the list, most of them stayed with the same team, the QB just changed (Rice is the best example of this, Jennings as well). Or they just started/finished their careers with a HoF QB, doesn’t mean they played well (McCaffrey, Clayton, Moss, and Clark fit this bill)

    But still fun to look at, and maybe there’s a trend there.

  • I only got one of the three (Wiggins).

    Wouldn’t it be really easy to forget that Randy Moss ever caught passes from Brett Favre?

  • Tim Truemper

    I think its a stretch to say that because WR’s played with multiple teams they either weren’t top tier or had drama issues. A cursory look at the list shows a very strong list with many HOF’ers. And I would dare say many on the list did not have a drama issue history. Preston Pearson? drama issues? Don”t think so. Just as an example.