NFL Draft With John Elway, Jim Kelly And Dan Marino Reaches 40th Anniversary: ​​Six Numbers On The Famous QB Class

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By Webdesk

Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary of the 1983 NFL Draft, considered by many to be the greatest QB class of all time.

Here are six songs to celebrate the iconic class:

6 — QBs drafted in first round

The 1983 NFL Draft produced six quarterbacks selected in the first round, a draft record. Only three classes have produced even five first round QBs (1999, 2018 and 2021).

The design was clearly ahead of its time. Prior to 1983, in the Common Draft era (since 1967), there had never been a draft in which more than three quarterbacks were taken in the first round. From 1967-82, nearly three times as many running backs as quarterbacks (76 to 27) were drafted in the first round. The 1983 draft featured the first league in modern times where more quarterbacks (six) were taken in the first round than running backs (four), which is unheard of today.

John Elway



Todd Blackledge



Jim Kelly



Tony Evans



Ken O’Brien



And Marina



5 — First round QBs drafted by AFC East teams

Remarkably, all five AFC East teams fielded a quarterback in the first round at the time. Talk about an arms race. It was perhaps the closest thing to the current QB landscape, which boasts an absurd amount of blue-chip QB talent in the AFC. Of course, Elway was traded to the Broncos after the draft, so only four really walked out with a QB in the first round.

4 — First round QBs to start a Super Bowl

Four of the six first-round quarterbacks started a Super Bowl in their careers. The quartet of Elway (five starts), Kelly (four starts), Marino (one start), and Eason (one start) combined to start 11 Super Bowls in a span of 16 seasons from 1983-98. Kelly is the only signaller to ever start four consecutive Super Bowls. The 1983 draft class is the only one to produce four quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl and their 11 combined Super Bowl starts are the most of any quarterback class, prior to 2000 (all 10 by Tom Brady).

3 — Pro Football Hall of Fame first-round QBs

Only one draft class has produced three Hall of Fame quarterbacks (John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino): 1983. They could be joined by the class (Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger) in the near future.

When Marino retired after the 1999 season, they were three of the top 10 all-time leaders in passing yards. Marino and Elway were actually tied 1-2, and Kelly would have been higher than 10th had he not played several seasons in the USFL.

2 — Class of 1983 MVP QBs

Two quarterbacks from the famous class of ’83 would win an MVP. Marino won in 1984 by shattering NFL records for touchdown passes (48) and passing yards in a season (5,084). The previous mark for touchdown passes in a season prior to ’84 was 36 by George Blanda (1961) and YA Tittle (1963). Marino penned the first 5,000-yard passing season, a feat that would not be duplicated for another 24 years when Drew Brees did it in 2008. Elway won the award in 1987 while leading Denver to a Super Bowl appearance, which they lost to Washington. .

1 — Super Bowl-winning QB from the 1983 class

Surprisingly, Elway is the only Super Bowl-winning quarterback in this league. He won back-to-back championships in the 1997 and 1998 seasons and is the only player to win Super Bowl MVP in his last NFL game. The ’83 class had a 2-9 record in Super Bowls, which would be the biggest counter argument to it being the best QB class of all time. The quarterback class of 2004 went 4-1 in Super Bowls (all by Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger).

In addition to their Super Bowl record, the 1983 QB class is relatively spotless and the yardstick by which all other QB classes will be judged. Forty years later, another heralded QB class is on the doorstep of design day. They could set different draft marks. Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis could be the first quarterbacks to go 1-2-3-4 in a draft, or the first time four quarterbacks make the top five. If Hendon Hooker sneaks into the first round, it will be the fifth QB class to produce five first round quarterbacks.

Only time will tell if they are ultimately worthy of a comparison to the class of 1983.

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