This is a list of gridiron football quarterbacks passing statistics for quarterbacks that have played outdoor professional football in North America. Below is a listing of the combined professional football league leaders for passing yards, passing touchdowns, passing completions, and passing attempts. Because indoor football is played on a much shorter field and heavily favors offensive scoring, its records are not included in the main list and are noted in a separate addendum below; likewise, as is standard for statistical record-keeping, exhibition games, all-star games (such as the Pro Bowl) and preseason contests are not counted.
During the 2011 CFL season, Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo surpassed Damon Allen to become the all-time passing yards leader in professional football league history. Allen broke the previous record held by Warren Moon in 2006. Moon had held the record since 1992 when he surpassed the record set by Ron Lancaster. Lancaster had surpassed Johnny Unitas during the 1975 CFL season. Unitas established the record set forth in this listing. Drew Brees is within 1,069 passing yards of Calvillo's record.
During the 2019 NFL season, Brees surpassed Peyton Manning for the all-time passing touchdowns record. Manning had held the record since the 2014 NFL season when he surpassed Brett Favre's record. Prior to that, Brett Favre held the record since the 2007 NFL season when he surpassed Warren Moon's record. Moon had held the record since 1994 when he surpassed the record set by Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton had surpassed Johnny Unitas during the 1975 NFL season. Ron Lancaster overtook Tarkenton's lead in the touchdown pass category during the 1977 CFL season. However, Tarkenton retook the lead during the 1978 NFL season. Unitas established the record set forth in this listing. Tom Brady is just a touchdown pass behind Brees' record.
Brees also holds the record for pass completions all-time since surpassing Brett Favre during the 2018 season. Favre had held the previous record since the 2007 season when he surpassed Warren Moon's record. Moon had held the record since 1992 when he surpassed the record set by Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton had surpassed Johnny Unitas during the 1975 NFL season. Unitas established the record set forth in this listing. Brady's within 472 completions of Brees' record.
Brees also holds the record for pass attempts since surpassing Favre in the 2020 NFL season. Favre had held the record since 2008, when he surpassed Warren Moon. Moon had held the record since 1993 when he surpassed the record set by Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton had surpassed Johnny Unitas during the 1975 NFL season. Unitas established the record set forth in this listing. Brady (within 126 pass attempts) is fairly close to the record.
Warren Moon and Johnny Unitas are the only gridiron quarterbacks to have held the record of the four major passing categories (passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions, pass attempts) at the same time. Drew Brees is close to becoming just the third gridiron quarterback to hold all four major passing categories as he's 1,069 passing yards from accomplishing the feat.
Other categories from this listing that provides all-time leaders include Aaron Rodgers, who is pro football's all-time passer rating leader, Ricky Ray, who is the all-time pass completion percentage leader, and Ron Lancaster, who is pro football's all-time interceptions leader.
When considering regular season and post season combined, Brady is the all time leader in gridiron passing yards with 87,500. This record surpassed Anthony Calvillo's mark of 82,365 yards in 2019. Brady is also the leader in all the other three major categories when considering post season performances (628 touchdown passes; 7,545 pass completions; 11,837 pass attempts).
|Rank||Name||Tenure||Leagues||Attempts||Completions||Comp %||TD passes||INTs||Yardage||QB rating||References|
|1||Anthony Calvillo||1994 - 2013||CFL||9,437||5,892||62.44||455||224||79,816*||95.53|||
|2||Drew Brees||Since 2001||NFL||10,337*||6,992*||67.64||556*||240||78,747||98.40|||
|3||Tom Brady||Since 2000||10,211||6,520||63.85||555||183||76,112||97.00|
|4||Damon Allen||1985 - 2007||CFL||9,138||5,158||56.45||394||278||72,381~||83.82|||
|5||Peyton Manning||1998 - 2015||NFL||9,380||6,125||65.30||539~||251||71,940||96.46|||
|6||Brett Favre||1991 - 2010||10,169~||6,300~||61.95||508~||336||71,838||86.03|
|7||Warren Moon||1977 - 2000||NFL/CFL||9,205~||5,357~||58.20||435~||310||70,553~||84.24|||
|8||Henry Burris||1997 - 2016||CFL/NFL/NFLE||7,576||4,711||62.18||382||237||64,023||92.89|||
|9||Dan Marino||1983 - 1999||NFL||8,358||4,967||59.43||420||252||61,361||86.38|||
|10||Philip Rivers||Since 2004||7,789||5,046||64.78||404||204||60,869||95.00|
|11||Ricky Ray||2002 - 2018||CFL||7,301||4,976||68.16*||324||177||60,736||98.23~|||
|12||Doug Flutie||1985 - 2005||CFL/NFL/USFL||7,276||4,286||58.91||369||237||58,179||87.82|||
|13||Ben Roethlisberger||Since 2004||NFL||7,395||4,765||64.44||374||191||57,723||94.30|||
|14||Eli Manning||2004 - 2019||8,119||4,894||60.29||366||244||57,023||84.10|
|15||Danny McManus||1988 - 2006||CFL/NFL||6,689||3,640||54.42||259||281||53,255||76.01|||
|16||Matt Ryan||Since 2008||NFL||7,061||4,619||65.42||332||150||53,029||94.70|
|17||Kevin Glenn||2001 - 2018||CFL||6,434||4,068||63.23||294||207||52,867||90.84|||
|18||John Elway||1983 - 1998||NFL||7,250||4,123||56.87||300||226||51,475||79.86|||
|19||Ron Lancaster||1960 - 1978||CFL||6,233||3,384||54.29||333~||396*||50,535~||72.44|||
|20||Aaron Rodgers||Since 2005||NFL||6,235||4,027||64.59||377||086||48,320||102.60*|||
|21||Fran Tarkenton||1961 - 1978||6,467~||3,686~||57.00||342~||266||47,003||80.35|
|22||Carson Palmer||2003 - 2017||6,307||3,941||62.49||294||187||46,247||87.89|
|23||Vinny Testaverde||1987 - 2007||6,701||3,787||56.51||275||267||46,233||75.00|
|24||Jim Kelly||1984 - 1996||NFL/USFL||5,933||3,604||60.74||320||195||45,309||88.81|||
|25||Drew Bledsoe||1993 - 2006||NFL||6,717||3,839||57.15||257||206||44,611||77.06|||
|26||Matt Dunigan||1983 - 1996||CFL||5,476||3,057||55.83||306||211||43,857||84.55|||
|27||Jeff Garcia||1994 - 2011||CFL/NFL/UFL||5,955||3,645||61.21||281||146||43,300||88.90|||
|28||Dan Fouts||1973 - 1987||NFL||5,604||3,297||58.83||254||242||43,040||80.23|||
|29||Matthew Stafford||Since 2009||5,864||3,661||62.43||265||138||42,265||89.40|
|30||Kerry Collins||1995 - 2011||6,261||3,487||55.69||208||196||40,922||73.76|
|31||Joe Montana||1979 - 1994||5,391||3,409||63.24||273||139||40,551||92.26|
|32||Tracy Ham||1987 - 1999||CFL||4,945||2,670||53.99||284||164||40,534||86.56|||
|33||Joe Flacco||Since 2008||NFL||6,011||3,711||61.74||219||142||40,464||83.90|||
|34||Johnny Unitas||1956 - 1973||5,186~||2,830~||54.57||290~||253||40,239~||78.20|
For the purpose of this list, indoor American football statistics have been excluded. While overall passing yards are not substantially greater in a given indoor football game compared to a CFL or NFL contest, the number of touchdowns in that form of the sport is far higher, and a list including them would invariably favor indoor football quarterbacks in the number of touchdowns thrown. Quarterbacks who would qualify for this list in yardage statistics if indoor football statistics are included are listed here separately: