There is this misconception in the NFL that a big armed quarterback is required for success. When this is analyzed further, passing leaders fail far more often then they succeed when it comes to winning the big games.
The top twelve NFL career passing yard leaders have only won a total of eight Super Bowls combined between them. This is the same number that Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw have won combined. Montana is ranked #13 and Bradshaw #49 on the all-time passing yards list.
Of those who are in the top twelve, Tom Brady has won three Lombardi trophies, John Elway has won two and Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees one each.
The quarterbacks who are also in the top twelve and have never won a Super Bowl include Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Fran Tarkenton, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe, Dan Fouts and Kerry Collins.
What is it about quarterbacks who throw for big yardage season after season failing to win the big game consistently? Do these high octane passers become less effective as the weather becomes colder? Are their offenses designed without ball control and a featured running back in mind? The lack of success may be a combination of factors.
With two of the best passing quarterbacks in this era (P. Manning and Brady) once again failing miserably in the postseason, the NFL’s big arms appear to be snakebitten.
Even Brady’s three Super Bowl victories have been by a combined total of nine points. He has failed to win the title in eight years. His two SB losses to the New York Giants came when the New England Patriots were big favorites to win.
Whereas Brady’s championships came early in his career, Elway’s two Super Bowl victories came in his final two seasons and can be attributed more to RB Terrell Davis than Elway. Davis rushed for over one hundred yards in both games, while Elway was rather ordinary in one of his two wins.
Both Elway and Tarkenton have each lost three Super Bowls. In fact, their respective teams did not only lose those six games – they were obliterated. The same holds true for Marino, whose team was blown out in his only SB appearance early in his career.
Big passing numbers may get a quarterback a spot in Canton, but more often than not, they have failed to deliver championships. As much as you can credit some of these big arms for winning the Super Bowl, you can also lay the blame on them for not coming through in the clutch.
Supporters of P. Manning and Tom Brady will continue to pile on the excuses for their lack of consistent success in the postseason. These excuses are starting to become as dated as their Super Bowl victories.