Top 25 Quarterback Performances In Super Bowl History
Top 25 Quarterback Performances in Super Bowl History
The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of professional sports. The NFL championship is the most watched sporting event in the United States and incredibly popular all over the world. We’ve all sat and watched NFL Films narrated by the voice of the immortal John Facenda helping us either live through or re-live the greatest moments in the greatest sport in the world.
And when we think about the greatest individual performances in Super Bowl history, it’s the quarterback position that stands out. They are the stars on the field and these modern day superheroes become legends and role models for generations.
And so as we approach Super Bowl XLVII we look back over the past 46 Super Bowls with an eye to the quarterback. Whether it’s a magical drive to win the game, or an improbable comeback, Super Bowls are won and lost by the man under center. And don’t misunderstand, there have been some tremendous performances by quarterbacks who were unable to win the Lombardi Trophy but what they were able to accomplish on the field still deserves to be recognized.
I have followed football for a long time, but I concede that I haven’t watched every single Super Bowl performance. So I sought out the archives, for those quarterbacks who were there before I loved this game, and who shaped the sport we all know today.
So read on as I count down my Top 25 quarterback performances in Super Bowl history. Who are your favorites? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me hear it.
25. Peyton Manning-Super Bowl XLI
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning finally gets the monkey off his back of not winning a Super Bowl with his usual precision going 25-38 for 247 yards and 1 touchdown against a smothering Chicago Bears defense.
24. Ken Anderson-Super Bowl XVI
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson put up one of the best losing performances in Super Bowl history, going 25-34 for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. Anderson's Bengals were completely overmatched in this game, but Anderson put up a valiant effort in a losing cause.
23.Brett Favre-Super Bowl XXXI
Favre's play was overshadowed by the play of some of his Green Bay Packers teammates, but he makes this list for his 2 long(54 and 81 yards) touchdowns passes that put the Packers out front to stay against the New England Patriots. Favre finished with only 246 yards but made 2 huge throws that are among the best ever.
22. Len Dawson-Super Bowl IV
If you look at the Box Score, Dawson has no business being on this list. But with the Kansas City Chiefs win, the AFL had 2 wins over the NFL, and this game was a turning point for respect for the league. Dawson was efficient in his 142 yards on 12 completions and is included on this list more for historical significance than gawdy numbers.
21. Tom Brady- Super Bowl XXXVI
This game and Brady's performance gets added significance, because it's his first win, as well as the first win for the Patriots. But on a team that was completely overmatched, and far under-talented he simply found a way to get his kicker in a position to win a game they had no business winning.
20. Kurt Warner-Super Bowl XXXIV
The "Greatest Show on Turf" made it's Super Bowl debut and led by Warner not only got the win, but did it to the tune of 414 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.
19. Aaron Rodgers-Super Bowl XLV
The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV on the arm of Rodgers as he threw for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns as underdogs against what was one of the best defenses in the league all season.
18. Ben Roethlisberger-Super Bowl XLIII
Roethlisberger may not have had a huge game statistically, but in the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Arizona Cardinals Roethlisberger led the Steelers on one of the most impressive winning scoring drives in Super Bowl history. That drive was punctuated by his touchdown pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes that is one of the 5 greatest plays of all time.
17. Jake Delhomme-Super Bowl XXXVIII
Delhomme had what was easily one of the most impressive quarterback performances in a loss in Super Bowl history. He threw for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns and led his Carolina Panthers back to the lead more than once against the New England Patriots before falling just short.
16. Terry Bradshaw-Super Bowl X
How can a game with only 9 completions put a quarterback on this list? When those 9 completions net 209 yards, 2 touchdowns and a Super Bowl win. 161 of his pass yards went to wide receiver Lynn Swann on only 4 throws.
15. Eli Manning-Super Bowl XLVI
Manning didn't throw a pile of touchdowns, in fact he only had 1 short pass touchdown. But his laser like precision for nearly 300 yards and 75% completion rate punctuated his tremendous performance against a defense that was focused on stopping him.
14. Joe Montana-Super Bowl XIX
The San Francisco 49ers dominated the Miami Dolphins behind the arm of Montana. Montana went 24-35 for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. This game was over by halftime and Montana picked the Dolphins defense apart.
13. Troy Aikman-Super Bowl XXVII
Aikman doesn't get the credit he deserves for his win because it was such a blowout but 273 yards and 4 touchdowns was a football clinic in the Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills had no answer for Aikman in the passing game, and he simply picked them apart.
12. Terry Bradshaw-Super Bowl XIII
This Super Bowl is one of my first memories of NFL football. Bradshaw's performance was impressive with 318 yards and 4 touchdowns including the 75 yard play to wide receiver John Stallworth that we still see on Super Bowl highlight videos as one of the greatest.
11. Eli Manning-Super Bowl XLII
Manning doesn't get on this list because he had a huge game. But he's on the list because he had what was one of the most entertaining and exasperating game winning drives highlighted by his amazing scramble and throw to wide receiver David Tyree that will live in New York Giants history.
10. John Elway-Super Bowl XXXIII
Not only did Elway have a great game, throwing for 336 yards and a touchdown along with a rushing score, but he was able to get a win in the Super Bowl in the final game of his career.
9. Kurt Warner-Super Bowl XLIII
Warner's performance in his loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers is my vote for greatest game in a Super Bowl loss of all time. In fact if not for a remarkable play by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the end of the game, Warner's 377 passing yards and 3 touchdowns would have netted he and the Arizona Cardinals a win.
8. Joe Namath-Super Bowl III
Namath makes this list, not because of the numbers. He only had 206 yards passing and no touchdowns. His performance is significant because he guaranteed the win in the media and made it happen. The hype surrounding Namath and his bold prediction was huge and he called his shot and made it happen.
7. Jim Plunkett-Super Bowl XV
Plunkett's performance in Super Bowl XV is the greatest performance no one ever talks about. He was able to throw for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns and make history by leading the first wild card team to win a Super Bowl.
6. Doug Williams-Super Bowl XXII
Even if Williams hadn't been the first African-American quarterback in a Super Bowl, which is in itself historic, his play in the game would still put him on the list. Williams finished with 340 yards on only 18 completions and 4 touchdowns in a dominating win.
5. Tom Brady-Super Bowl XXXVIII
For most younger NFL fans, this is likely their top choice for entertaining Super Bowl games and performances by a quarterback. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was surgical, with a 67% completion percentage, 354 yards and 3 touchdowns in a shootout win over the Carolina Panthers in one of the greatest games of all time.
4. Phil Simms-Super Bowl XXI
The game Simms had in the New York Giants win over the Denver Broncos was one of the best games by a quarterback in any game, much less a Super Bowl. 22 for 25 passing, 268 yards and 3 touchdowns was an amazing performance by anyone's standards.
3. Steve Young-Super Bowl XXIX
Young only won a single Super Bowl, but he made the most of it as he threw for 325 yards on 24-36 passing and a mind boggling 6 touchdowns. The San Diego Chargers had no answer for Young who even had 49 yards rushing on the day.
2. Joe Montana-Super Bowl XXIV
In the record book of Super Bowl beatdowns what the San Francisco 49ers did to the Denver Broncos has to rank right up near the top. And what Montana did to them, going 22 for 29 for 297 yards and 5 touchdowns has always been one of the most impressive quarterback performances I have ever witnessed.
1. Bart Starr-Super Bowl I
What Starr did passing will never show up any statistical record book. He only threw for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. But Starr must be at the top of this list because his win was the most historically significant one in football history. The first Super Bowl, and an ushering in of what is now the greatest sporting event in all of professional sports.