In the 1970’s, the NFL was continuing to increase in interest and popularity. The decade provided us with some historic moments, and some memorable teams. Many classify the 1970’s as the decade of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They captured four Super Bowl victories over the course of the decade. The Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders also enjoyed success in the 1970’s, winning three Super Bowls combined. The trio of powerhouse teams were led by winning quarterbacks.
Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, and the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL drafted Staubach in the 1964 NFL and AFL drafts. However, Staubach served four years in the Navy before he joined the Cowboys in 1969. He became the full-time starter in 1971, leading the Cowboys to the first of two Super Bowls in the 1970’s. They also won ultimate prize in 1977. He owned the top passing rating in 1971, 1973, 1978, and 1979. He led the Cowboys to 11 post-season wins and only six losses before he retired in 1980 while still one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL. Arguably, his two best seasons were his final two in the league.
Throughout the 1970’s, Staubach threw for 21,737 yards, 152 touchdown passes, and 107 interceptions.
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers
The colorful Bradshaw was the first overall pick in the 1970 NFL draft, therefore, everyone expected him to perform at a high level. Well, Bradshaw, along with the celebrated “Steel Curtain” defense proceeded to rule the decade of the 1970’s, winning four Super Bowls. Despite all of the success he enjoyed, he encountered a few mediocre seasons. Bradshaw struggled with consistency early in his career, including a miserable 24 interception season his rookie year. He had stellar post-season record of 14 wins and only five losses. He won the NFL MVP award in 1978 when he threw 28 touchdown passes, a career high, and 2,915 yards.
Over the course of the 1970’s, Bradshaw threw for 19,918 yards, 147 touchdown passes, and 163 interceptions.
Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders
Stabler was a second round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 1968 NFL draft. His playing days began in 1970 as a backup. He became the team’s starting quarterback in 1973. He was the AFC player of the year in 1974 and 1976, leading the NFL touchdown passes in both seasons. He led the Raiders to the AFC title game in five seasons, winning Super Bowl XI in 1976. He also had a passer rating of 103.4 in 1976. Stabler threw 26 touchdown passes or more in three different seasons throughout the 1970’s, as the Raiders were the dominant force in the West division. The Raiders traded Stabler to the Houston Oilers following the 1979 season. He won seven post-season outings while losing five. He retired in 1984. Stabler edged out Fran Tarkenton to earn a spot on the list.
In the 1970’s Stabler threw for 19,077 yards, 150 touchdown passes, and 143 interceptions.
Honorable mentions include Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins); Fran Tarkenton (Minnesota Vikings); Bert Jones (Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams)