Sports talk: Reviewing Starting Quarterbacks since the millennium

Every Quarterback that has started a game for the Falcons since the year 2000

Some days I wake up and I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I mope around most of the day listening to introspective adult contemporary, staring out the window longingly as the rain trickles down the sill.

And then some days I hop out of bed, put on Pantera and conquer the day and all that other macho bullshit and I guess today is one of those days.

So with my fantasy football leagues weighing heavy on my mind (reigning champion in one) and preseason football just around the corner I decided hell, why not write about something I love. American Football. More specifically, the Quarterback position of Football.

In most offensive systems on the professional level, Quarterbacks are placed in a unique position. They are the de facto leader of the team and generally considered to be the captain of the offense. They have the responsibility of reading defenses, making adjustments and warning their fellow players of what to expect. The very best at the position act as though they have a bird’s eye perspective on the field anticipating every player’s defensive strategy before the play begins. The worst at their position go down in a flames.

Today we will be focusing on the Atlanta Falcons and while this is by no means a comprehensive or complete list it will, however feature any Quarterback that has started a regular season game from the 2000 season forward … so even Atlanta fans may find a few players they forgot about.

Division: NFC South

Record since 2000:

175 – 177

Head Coaches since 2000:

Dan Reeves ** (1997-2003) 49-59-1

Wade Phillips (2003) 2-1

Jim Mora (2004-2006) 26-22

Bobby Petrino (2007) 3-13

Emmitt Thomas (2007) 1-2

Mike Smith (2008-2014) 66-46

Dan Quinn (2015-2020)** 43-42

Raheem Morris (2020) 4-7

Arthur Smith (2021-) 7-10

** = Super Bowl Appearance

1st = 1st Round Draft Pick

1stOVR = 1st Overall Draft Pick

++ = Franchise

RH = Record Holder

Starting Quarterbacks since 2000:


Name: Chris Chandler (**)

Means Acquired: Traded by Oilers

Role: Starter

Stat line: 28,484 Yards / 170-146 TD/INT / 79.1 rating

Teams Played For:

Indianapolis Colts (88-89) (3rd round)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (90-91)

Phoenix Cardinals (91-93)

LA Rams (94)

Houston Oilers (95-96)

Atlanta Falcons (97-01)

Chicago Bears (02-03)

St Louis Rams (04)

Chandler would lead the Falcons to a super bowl appearance against the Denver Broncos in 1998. By 2002 – a year after drafting Michael Vick the Falcons would cut Chandler during the off-season.


Name: Danny Kanell

Means acquired: Free agency (Drafted in 96’ 4th round by NYG)

Role: Backup Quarterback (2000)

Stat line: 5129 yards / 31-34 TD/INT 63.2 Rating

Teams Played For:

New York Giants (96-98)

Atlanta Falcons (99-00)

Denver Broncos (03-04)

Name: Doug Johnson Jr.

Means Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent (2000)

Role: Backup / Depth (00-03)

Stat line: 2600 yards / 13-18 TD/INT 69.4 Rating

Teams Played For:

Atlanta Falcons (00-03)

Tennessee Titans (04)

Cincinnati Bengals (06)

Name: Michael Vick (1stOvR++RH)

Means Acquired: 1st Overall 2001 Draft

Role: Franchise / Starter

Stat line: 22,464 Yards 133-88 TD/INT 80.4 Rating


Career Yards per Carry (7.0)

Career Rushing Yards by a Quarterback (6,109)

Teams Played For:

Atlanta Falcons (01-08)

Philadelphia Eagles (09-13)

New York Jets (2014)

Pittsburgh Steelers (2015)

Michael Vick redefined the term, “mobile quarterback” when he arrived in the league. Most of the league would try to follow suit and draft Vick-type players to varying results. He didn’t have the most passing yards by any stretch but he had startling speed and vision for a player at his position. Unfortunately Vick’s career would be overshadowed by his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring and he would serve both a league suspension and prison time for his crimes. He would return as a back up later for the Philadelphia Eagles and win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2010.

Name: Kurt Kittner

Means Acquired: Drafted 5th Round (2002)

Role: Depth

Stat Line: 391 Yards / 2-6 TD/INT 32.5 Rating

Teams Played For:

Atlanta Falcons (02-03)

Chicago Bears (2005)

Name: Matt Schaub (**as backup ++ Houston)

Means Acquired: 3rd Round pick in 2004

Role: Backup / Franchise (Texans)

Stat Line: 25,467 Yards 136-91 TD/INT 89.5 Rating

Teams Played For:

Atlanta Falcons (04-06)

Houston Texans (07-13)

Oakland Raiders (2014)

Baltimore Ravens (2015)

Atlanta Falcons (16-20)

Name: Joey Harrington (1st)

Means Acquired: Free Agency

Roles: Back up/ Depth

Stat Line: 14,693 Yards 79-85 TD/INT 69.4 Rating

Teams Played For:

Detroit Lions (02-05) (1st round 2002)

Miami Dolphins (2006)

Atlanta Falcons (2007)

New Orleans Saints (2008)

Name: Chris Redman (** as backup)

Means Acquired: Free Agency

Roles: Back up / Depth (2007-2011)

Stat line: 3,047 Yards / 21-14 TD/INT 79.4 Rating

Teams Played For:

Baltimore Ravens (00-03) (3rd round in 2000)

Atlanta Falcons (07-11)

Name: Byron Leftwich (1st **as backup)

Means Acquired: Free Agency

Roles: Backup (2007-2008)

Stat line: 10,532 Yards / 58-42 TD/INT 78.9 Rating

Teams Played For:

Jacksonville Jaguars (03-06) – (1st Round 2003)

Atlanta Falcons (2007)

Pittsburgh Steelers (2008)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009)

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-12)

Matty Ice

Name: Matt Ryan (**++1st)

Means Acquired: 1st round draft pick (2008)

Roles: Franchise

Stat line: 59,735 Yards 367-170 TD/INT 94.2 Rating

Teams Played For:

Atlanta Falcons (08-21)

Indianapolis Colts (22-)

With the exception of most yards ran by a quarterback Matt Ryan has virtually smashed every single franchise record in existence down in Atlanta. Multiple league MVP awards and a consistent high level of play for over a decade and a half have made him an obvious candidate for a for a future Football Hall of fame ballot no matter how bad things go in Indy.

With Ryan out in Atlanta, it’ll be an interesting year for Falcons fans to say the least. Will Mariota be worthy of the starting position for the entire year? Only time will tell.

Quick Recap:

Quarterbacks who were 1st Round Draft picks: 4

Quarterbacks on Super Bowl Squads: 5

Total Quarterbacks started since 2000: 10

I’m going to have to come back to grade this with context of other teams but I’m going to guess this is actually really good. Especially considering Matty Ice was an iron man throughout the twenty tens. Hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know if I fucked up something!

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