Rushing/passing threats are always special, regardless of the era
In last week's 23-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson became the first in the Super Bowl era to pass for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 150 in a regular-season game. In past seasons, Jackson would have been an outlier as a signal-caller, but today, we are seeing more and more dual-threat quarterbacks.
But even though there are is an increase, a quarterback who is a threat with both his arm and his feet is truly special and wows fans regardless of the era. Here are the five who have captivated us the most.
5. Cam Newton*
Career: Nine seasons (2011-present)
Passing: 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns
Rushing: 4,806 yards, 58 touchdowns
With his unique combination of size, speed, and accuracy, Newton is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks to ever play the game and his 2015 season is one of the best in NFL history. If his body holds up and he has more postseason success, he will climb this list.
4. Randall Cunningham
Career: 16 seasons (1985-95, '97-2001)
Passing: 29,979 yards, 207 touchdowns
Rushing: 4,928 yards, 35 touchdowns
Every player on this list is/was exciting to watch, but Cunningham was a true human highlight reel, especially during his formative years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Take a look.
3. Steve Young
Career: 15 seasons (1985-99)
Passing: 33,124 yards, 232 touchdowns
Rushing: 4,239 yards, 43 touchdowns
Young is currently the only quarterback with more than 30,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing and he completed 64 percent of his passes during his career. He also is the fourth-leading rushing quarterback in NFL history, averaging nearly six yards a carry.
2. Fran Tarkenton
Career: 18 seasons (1961-78)
Passing: 47,003 yards, 342 touchdowns
Rushing: 3,674 yards, 32 touchdowns
An anomaly during his career with the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, "Scramblin’ Fran" is often forgotten in these discussions. However, fans should never forget that he retired with the most passing and rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history. The way offenses and defenses are now constructed, that is a feat no other quarterback will ever accomplish.
1. Michael Vick
Career: 13 seasons (2001-06, '09-15)
Passing: 22,646 yards, 133 touchdowns
Rushing: 6,109 yards, 36 touchdowns
The only quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season (2006) completed 56 percent of his passes and averaged an NFL record seven yards a carry in a career interrupted by a two-year suspension for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring. His success with the Atlanta Falcons before the suspension and with the Philadelphia Eagles after it ushered in the era of the dual-threat quarterback.
*Active player, statistics through Week 6 of 2019 season.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.