A key skill for an American football quarterback is to throw the ball both accurately and for distance. Many throws during a game are over a short distance, but some players have been known to throw up to 70 yards (64 meters) when needed.
For many years, a competition called the NFL QB Challenge involved a distance throwing event. The long-distance throw was just one of four events in the competition. The others were speed and mobility, accuracy, and the read and recognition test. Each quarterback had two throws, the best result counted. The throw had to land within a narrow alley to count.
Many sources list the competition being held from 1990 up until 2007, though on a video of one of the events it mentions the record throw in the competition was 80 yards by Vinnie Testaverde achieved in 1988, and there are other references to competitions held in Hawaii in the 1980s.
Here are the top performers for many of the competitions, the details are mainly taken from videos of the events found online, like this one.
Randall Cunningham apparently won with a throw of 76 yards
1996 Quarterback Challenge
This seventh annual FootAction NFL Quarterback Challenge was held at the Palm Golf Course driving range at the Walt Disney World Resort. Participants included Jim Harbaugh, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe, Neil O'Donnell, Kerry Collins, Jeff Hostetler, Rick Mirer, Dave Brown, Scott Mitchell, Jeff Blake.
1997 Quarterback Challenge
The event featured Brett Favre, Troy Aikman (Cowboys), Jim Harbaugh, Steve Young, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe (Patriots), Kerry Collins, Jeff Blake, Neil O'Donnell, Mark Brunell, Gus Frerotte and Jeff George. Held at the Walt Disney World Sports Complex, Orlando Florida.
- 75 yards Brett Favre
- 74 yards Drew Bledsoe
- 72 yards Jeff Blake & Jeff George
1998 Quarterback Challenge
The 1998 Quarterback Challenge, featuring Brett Favre, Elvis Grbac, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, Drew Bledsoe, Kerry Collins, Kordell Stewart, Scott Mitchell, Steve McNair, Gus Frerotte and Danny Kanell!
- 74 yards Brett Favre
- 73 yards Kordell Stewart & Drew Bledsoe
- 72 yards Steve McNair
1999 Quarterback Challenge
The 1999 Quarterback Challenge, featuring Randal Cunningham, Jake Plummer, Vinny Testaverde, Steve McNair.
- 71 yards Steve McNair
- 71 yards Randall Cunningham
- 71 yards Vinny Testaverde
2000 Quarterback Challenge
The 2000 Quarterback Challenge was held at the Lihu'e's Vidinha Stadium in Hawaii. Participants included Peyton Manning, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, Kordell Stewart, Donovan McNabb, Tony Banks, Bubby Brister, Brad Johnson, Jim Harbaugh, Warren Moon, Chris Chandler.
no results have been found
2001 Quarterback Challenge
The 2001 Quarterback Challenge was held in Hawaii. The event featured Trent Dilfer, Jeff Garcia, Rob Johnson, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, and Jake Plummer.
- 72 yards Trent Dilfer
- 69 yards Peyton Manning
- 69 yards Donovan McNabb
2002 Quarterback Challenge
The 2002 Quarterback Challenge was held in Hawaii, featuring Jeff Garcia, Peyton Manning, Aaron Brooks, Jake Plummer, Doug Flutie, and Tom Brady.
- 73 yards Aaron Brooks
- 68 yards Peyton Manning
- 76 yards Jake Plummer
2003 Quarterback Challenge
- 62 yards Tom Brady
- 61 yards Jeff Blake
- 61 yards Mark Brunnell
2004 Quarterback Challenge
- 65 yards Carson Palmer
- 65 yards Byron Leftwitch
- 63 Mark Brunnell & Jake Delhomme
2005 Quarterback Challenge
The 2005 Quarterback Challenge. Participants included Drew Brees, Matt Hasslebeck, Ben Rothlisberger, Carson Palmer, Jake Delhomme, Byron Leftwich, and Joey Harrington.
- 73 yards Byron Leftwitch
- 72 yards Carson Palmer
- 71 yards Jake Delhomme
- In 1983 Raiders player Jim Plunkett threw a 99-yard touchdown pass, the longest in NFL history. However, it is not as great as it sounds. The ball was not thrown 99 yards, it was thrown a short distance and the receiver ran the rest.
- NASA astronaut Tim Kopra threw a football pass down the length of the International Space Station. Considering that the station travels at 17,500 mph (28,163 km/h), NASA estimated that the ball was technically covering about 8,800 yards per second (8046 m/s) as seen from Earth. In total, the ball traveled 564,664 yards (516,328 meters)
- From an online forum, a poster said he remembers Mark Brunell and Doug Flutie tied the record for longest throw at 83 yards, though no such results have been found elsewhere.
- Video of the 1998 Quarterback Challenge
- Fitness for Football
- Football Physics — there's a section about the physics of throwing a ball.
- Poll about the fitness components for football
- Throwing fitness tests: Cricket Ball or Baseball Throw Test, Softball throw
- Longest Kick in Australian Football