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The Success and The Failures of Lefthanders in Sports

Ken Stabler, Jim Zorn, Boomer Esiason, Mark Brunell, Steve Young, & Michael Vick are...

The Best Lefthanded Quarterbacks in NFL History

Bobby Douglas was the first lefthanded quarterback to play regularly in the modern era of professional football.  He was a star at the University of Kansas, and a second round draft choice by the Chicago Bears in 1969.  He started fifty-three NFL games during his ten year career, with 16 wins, 36 losses, and 1 tie game to his credit.  He had a strong throwing arm but was very inconsistent, completing less than 50% of his passes, with more interceptions than touchdowns.  He was a very good runner for a quarterback, with over twenty-six hundred yards and twenty-two touchdowns in his career.

Paul McDonald was a fourth round draft choice in 1980 by the Cleveland Browns from University of Southern California.  He started a few games in 1982 & 1983, then started all 16 games in 1984 with five wins and eleven losses.  He never started again, and his career ended shortly after, with a total of twenty-one NFL starts, eight wins & thirteen losses, twenty-four touchdowns & thirty-seven interceptions.

Scott Mitchell was drafted by the Miami Dolphins the fourth round in 1990 from the University of Utah.  He started seven games for the Dolphins in 1993, before moving to the Detroit Lions, where he was the regular starter for the next four years.  He had a spectacular season in 1995, leading the Lions to ten wins and a playoff appearance, by throwing for over four thousand yards with thirty-two touchdowns and only twelve interceptions.  For his career he started seventy-one NFL games, with thirty-two wins, thirty-nine losses, almost sixteen-thousand yards with ninety-five touchdown passes and eighty-one interceptions.

Cade McNown was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bears in 1999 after a great college career at UCLA.  He started fifteen NFL games in 1999 and 2000 with only 3 wins and 12 losses in those games, and he never played again after those first two years.

Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 at the University of Southern California and was a first round draft choice by the Arizona Cardinals in 2006.  He started sixteen games over his first two seasons, then lost the job to injury and ineffective play. After four years in Arizona, he had short stints with two other teams before retiring after 2012.  Overall he started 18 NFL games with 8 victories and 10 losses.

Chris Simms was drafted in the third round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003 after his college career at University of Texas.  He started twelve games in 2004 and 2005 with a winning record and good passing statistics.  Overall, he started just 16 NFL game with 7 victories and 9 losses.

Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 at The University of Florida and was a first round draft choice by the Denver Broncos in 2010.  He started eleven games for the Broncos in 2011, leading them to seven wins and a spot in the playoffs.  His ability to run with the football added greatly to his lack of passing efficiency, but his successful running game was not enough to secure an NFL job, and 2012 was his last year in the league.  Overall he started 16 NFL games, but never had another real chance to play quarterback in the NFL.

​​​​Besides these six, there are only seven other lefthanded quarterbacks

who have started more than 10 games at QB in the NFL

Lefthanded Starting Quarterbacks in the NFL