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5 Most Devastating Quarterback Injuries in NFL History

Only time will tell how much Patrick Mahomes' injury impacts the Chiefs’ season

Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes' impressive follow-up season has been put on hold because of a dislocated kneecap suffered in the Week 7 "Thursday Night Football" against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 17. The Kansas City quarterback joins the ranks of many signal-callers whose season was interrupted or ended due to injuries.

 

The Chiefs have a lot of weapons and may be able to weather Mahomes' time recovering. Then again, they may fall into the category of teams who had their seasons and shots at greatness derailed by losing a top-flight quarterback. Here are five quarterback injuries whose repercussions can still be felt by fans.

 

5. Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (1991)

A common misconception is that Montana’s absence during all but one game of the 1991 and '92 seasons was caused by Leonard Marshall’s vicious sack that knocked him out of the NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants. In actuality, he played in two preseason games in 1991. Then he injured his elbow throwing a post pattern in practice. At first, he thought it was tendinitis, but it turned out that he had torn his tendon and had to have surgery, Montana missed the entire 1991 season in which the 49ers went 10-6 and missed the playoffs for the first time since '82. San Francisco rebounded in 1992, going 14-2 as Steve Young came into his own as the starter. Montana only played one half of the 49ers' regular-season finale and was traded to the Chiefs after the season.

 

4. Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles (1991)

The Eagles' quarterback tore his ACL on the first play of the second quarter of the opening game against the Packers. Philadelphia proceeded to rotate between three quarterbacks — Jim McMahon, Jeff Kemp and Brad Goebel — en route to a 10-6 season where it barely missed the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Eagles fielded one of the best defenses in NFL history. Imagine what they could have done with Cunningham leading the offense the entire season?

 

3. Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (1993)

Having lost in the AFC Championship Game the year before, the Dolphins had a great shot at making a run at the Super Bowl. Then in the midst of a 4-1 start, Marino threw a swing pass against Cleveland and tore his Achilles tendon. The injury ended Marino’s season and he had to wear a special shoe to accommodate it to even start in 1994. As for 1993, the Dolphins managed to have a 9-2 record after Thanksgiving, but lost their last five games and missed the playoffs. The Dolphins have not played for an AFC title since.

 

 

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (2017)

The Packers were 4-1 and atop the NFC North when a vicious hit by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr broke Rodgers collarbone. With him out for the season, Green Bay went 3-8 in its remaining games and missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Meanwhile, Minnesota went 13-3 and won the division. 

 

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (2011)

The Colts went 10-6 in 2010 and made the playoffs. In the offseason, Manning had a neck operation, but then had to have spinal fusion surgery a few days before the first game of the 2011 season. This forced him to miss the entire 2011 season. The Colts signed Kerry Collins out of retirement (while also relying on Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky for the majority of the season) and proceeded to go 2-14. No quarterback injury has derailed a team’s season the way Manning’s did in 2011. To make matters worse, the injury effectively ended his run in Indianapolis due to a variety of extenuating factors that were impacted, as well as ushered in the Andrew Luck era.

 

— 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.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 10:37
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