Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jurgenson vs. Kilmer

Sonny Jurgenson vs. Billy Kilmer is one of the great football barroom arguments of all time, often inspiring seemingly political partisanship in Washington, where they played for the Redskins back in the 1970's.

Based on pure passing ability, Jurgenson wins hands down. Vince Lombardi said of him, "Jurgensen is a great quarterback. He hangs in there under adverse conditions. He may be the best the league has ever seen. He is the best I have seen."

In passing statistics, Jurgenson had 2,433 pass completions for 32,224 yards and 255 touchdowns and 189 interceptions. Kilmer had a pedestrian 1,585 completions for 20,495 yards and 152 touchdowns and 146 interceptions.

In post-career honors, Jurgenson wins again, since he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Washington Hall of Stars, and the Eagles Honor Roll. Kilmer only made it to the Washington Hall of Stars.

Argument over, right? Not quite.

In rushing stats, Jurgenson had 493 yards and 15 touchdowns over his 18 year career. Over Kilmer's 16 seasons, he rushed for 1509 yards and 21 touchdowns. But that is not a fair comparison, since Kilmer started out as a running back for San Francisco, where he had 987 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first two years. By the time Kilmer got to D.C., his legs were shot.

How about Super Bowls? The Redskins made one appearance during the Jurgenson-Kilmer years. Jurgenson got hurt early in the 1972 season. Kilmer led the Skins to Super Bowl VII, where the Skins lost to the Dolphins to complete Miami's "perfect season".

Sorry Kilmer, but losing a Super Bowl does NOT make you a better quarterback than Sonny Jurgenson.