By Jim Moore
I blather a lot about Russell Wilson being the best quarterback in Seahawks history and wrote a column about it over the weekend.
Some of you agree, some of you don’t. Those who disagree contend that you can’t make an assessment like that after only one season. Wilson was terrific, but there needs to be a bigger body of work before you can say he’s better than Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg and Jim Zorn.
Someone also pointed out that Rick Mirer had a good rookie season and look what happened to him — the No. 2 pick overall in the 1993 draft fizzled after that.
Which got me to thinking: You can debate who the best quarterback in franchise history is, but what about the worst? Is there a clear-cut winner in that department? Probably not, but I’ve come up with a bottom five:
5. Stan Gelbaugh. I hesitate to put this man in the bottom five because he was a sixth-round pick, and you don’t expect much from sixth-round picks unless you fast-forward to John Schneider in the here and now.
But Gelbaugh started eight games in the Seahawks’ worst season ever — in 1992, they went 2-14 and set an NFL record by scoring only 140 points, averaging 8.8 a game. In ’92, Gelbaugh went 121 of 255 (47.5 percent) with six touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
4. Kelly Stouffer. Drafted No. 6 overall in 1987 by the then-Phoenix Cardinals, he was unfortunately dealt to Seattle. During that dismal ’92 season, Stouffer lost all seven games he started. In his short career as an NFL quarterback, Stouffer finished with seven touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Stouffer started 16 games for the Seahawks from 1988-92, and none were memorable.
3. Charlie Whitehurst. Remember how excited everyone was when Clipboard Jesus arrived in Seattle in 2010? All he needed was an opportunity.
As you know, it never worked out for Whitehurst, who started only four games in his two years here, throwing three touchdowns and four interceptions. When Tarvaris Jackson beats you out, like he did in 2011, it doesn’t speak well of you as a quarterback.
Whitehurst did have a few decent moments — he was the starting quarterback when the Seahawks beat the Rams to “win” the NFC West with a 7-9 record in 2010. But he had more clunkers — who could forget the 6-3 loss to Cleveland in 2011 when he went 12 of 30 for 92 yards with no touchdowns and two turnovers?
2. Dan McGwire. I’d forgotten this, but the 6-foot-8 right-hander from San Diego State was the first quarterback selected in the 1991 draft at No. 16 overall. Brett Favre was in the same draft and went in the second round to the Falcons.
McGwire will forever be best known as Mark McGwire’s brother. He did nothing to distinguish himself as a good quarterback here with two touchdowns and six interceptions.
Two years after drafting McGwire, the Seahawks gave up on him and drafted Mirer No. 2 overall in 1993, which was another colossal mistake.
1. Rick Mirer. Arguable choice for the top spot given McGwire’s badness, but Mirer did enough to qualify as the worst quarterback in franchise history. Coming out of Notre Dame, he was supposed to be the next Joe Montana and sometimes looked the part during his rookie season.
Mirer set NFL rookie records with 274 completions for 2,833 yards, apparently overshadowing his horrible touchdown-to-interception ratio of 12 to 17.
In his four years here, Mirer threw 41 touchdown passes and 56 interceptions and was finally, mercifully, traded to the Bears with a fourth-round pick for Chicago’s first-round pick in 1997.
The best and worst quarterbacks in franchise history have something in common — jersey No. 3 — but that’s where the similarities end.