Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This is a pretty good list.
Normal football qualifiers apply; it's an interdependent game to the point where individual statistics aren't as valuable as in other sports; you want adjustments for era and opponent and they aren't as reliable as are they in baseball; to really do this, you'd want to crunch every play.
It's still a pretty good list, a notch, notch and a half better than my ranking every Super Bowl team which I'll put up later in the week.
The numbers you'll see here are completions/attempts, yds, yds per attempt, touchdowns/interceptions, quarterback rating, rushes/yards.
88. Craig Morton Broncos XII 4-15 39yds 2.6 0TD/4Int 0.0 0/0 Loss-Dallas
87. Kerry Collins Giants XXXV 15-39 112yds 2.9 0td/4int 7.1 3/12 L-Baltimore
86. Earl Morrall Colts III 6-17 71yds 4.2 0TD/3Int 9.3 2/-2 Loss-Jets
85. Fran Tarkenton Vikes IX 11-26 102yds 3.9 0td/3int 14.1 1/10 Loss-Steelers
84. Billy Kilmer Redskins VII 14-28 104yds 3.7 0td/3int 19.6 2/18 L-Miami
83. Tony Eason Pats XX 0-6 6yds 0.0 0td/0int 39.6 0/0 Loss-Bears
82. Craig Morton- Dall V 12-26 127yds 4.9 1td/3int 34.1 1/2 L-Colts
81. John Elway Den XXIV 10-26 108yds 4.2 0td/2int 19.4 4/8 (1 td) L-Niners
80. Ben Roethlisberger Pit XL 9-21 123yds 5.9 0td/2int 22.6 7/25(1 td) Win-Seattle
79. Jim Kelly Bills XXVI 28-58 275yds 4.7 2td/4int 44.8 3/16 L-Skins
78. Drew Bledsoe Pats XXXI 25-48 243 yds 5.3 2td/4int 46.6 1/1 L-Pack
77. Boomer Esiason Cincy XXIII 11-25 144 yds 5.8 0td/1int 46.1 1/0 L-Niners
76. Rich Gannon Oak XXXVII 24-44 272 yds 6.2 2td/5int 48.9 2/3 L-Bucs
75. Chris Chandler Falcons XXXIII 19-35 219 yds 6.3 1td/3int 47.2 4/30 L-Den
Those are the 14 worst starting QB performances in Super Bowl history. So you're Craig Morton and 7 years after your 3 pick Super Bowl V you're back in the title game against your old team, the Cowboys - and you put up a 0.0 QB rating. Roll the Animal House clip in your head.
Zero Point Zero.
No matter how pessimistic, there was no scenario he ever conjured that had him playing that poorly. Morton's here for both games; you see Kerry Collins (and his 4 picks) who it looked like was going to get back this year - and Big Ben, who did get back this year and who has the ignominity of having the worst game for a SB winner. Part of the buildup for 43 was Roethlisberger's discussion about how he wanted to redeem his previous performance, which has struck some radio people incongruous "Hey, he won - he has nothing to apologize for!" That 22.6 QB rating says otherwise. Man, that game should have gone the other way. Before the season starts, I'll put up a list of the 50 greatest QB of all time, that list will focus only on the regular season - and you'll see Fran Tarkenton much, much higher than he's regarded generally in that type of debate. That 3 pick SB9 performance isn't helping his cause much. All those picks (3 each) get Morrall and Kilmer stuck here; the absence of picks enable Eason to escape a lower rating despite not completing a single pass. You saw Elway (2 picks, only a hundred yards passing) and Kelly (4 picks) get blown out of more than one SB - these are their worst performances - Boomer almost won 23 despite doing nothing, and Gannon (5!) and Chandler combined for 8 interceptions.
74. Joe Theismann Skins XVIII 16-35 243 yds 6.9 0td/2int 45.3 3/18 L-Raiders
73. John Elway Den XXII 14-38 257 yds 6.8 1td/3int 36.8 3/32 L-Skins
72. Johnny Unitas Colts V 3-9 88yds 9.8 1td/2int 68.1 1/4 Win-Dallas
71. David Woodley Dolphins XVII 4-14 97 yds 6.9 1td/1int 50.0 4/16 L-Skins
70. Neil O'Donnell Steelers XXX 28-49 239 yds 4.9 1td/3int 51.3 1/0 L-Dall
69. Ron Jaworski Eagles XV 18-38 291 yds 7.7 1td/3int 49.3 1/0 L-Raiders
68. Jim Kelly Bills XXVII 4-7 82 yds 11.7 0td/2int 58.9 0/0 Loss-Dallas
67. Fran Tarkenton Vikes XI 17-35 205yds 5.9 1td/2int 52.7 0/0 L-Oak
66. Stan Humphries Chargers XXIX 24-49 275yds 5.6 1td/2int 56.1 1/3 L-Niners
65. Bob Griese Miami VI 12-23 134yds 5.8 0td/1int 51.7 1/0 L-Dallas
Elway (3 more picks) Kelly (82 yds passing, 2 picks) and Tarkenton (2 more picks) hit the countdown again, each have two of the worst 25 games in Super Bowl history. Here's the lesser of Theismann's two SBs (2 picks) the legendary Unitas (3 completions, 2 picks) checks in as the second winner on the list (Ben was 76th) - he was also bad in relief of Morrall in SB3. Griese's worst SB is here - and the forgotten QBs - Humphries, O'Donnell, Woodley - all of whom you'd expect to see down at this end of the rankings are here with their total of six picks.
64. John Elway Den XXXII 12-22 123 5.6 0td/1int 51.9 5/17(1td) Win-GB
63. Jim Kelly Buff XXVIII 31-50 260 5.2 0td/1int 67.1 2/12 L-Dallas
62. Joe Kapp Minn IV 16-25 183 7.3 0td/2int 52.6 2/9 L-KC
61. Fran Tarkenton Min VIII 18-28 182 6.5 0td/0int 67.1 4/17(1td) L-Mia
60. Rex Grossman Chi XLI 20-28 165 5.9 1td/2int 68.3 2/0 L-Indy
59. Matt Hasselbeck Sea XL 26-49 273 5.6 1TD/1Int 67.8 3/35 L-Pit
58. Dan Marino Mia XIX 29-50 318 6.4 1td/2int 66.9 0/0 Loss-Niners
59. (edit - Ben Roethlisberger XLV 25-40 263 6.6 2td/2int 77.4 4/31 L-GB
57. Joe Theismann Wash XVII 15-23 143 6.2 2td/2int 75.1 3/20 Win-Miami
56. Vince Ferragamo Rams XIV 15-25 212 8.5 0td/1int 70.7 1/7 L-Pit
55. Daryle Lamonica Oak II 15-34 204 6.1 2td/1int 71.7 0/0 L-GB
54. Troy Aikman Dall XXVIII 19-27 207 7.7 0td/1int 77.2 2/2 Win-Buff
53. Donovan McNabb Phi XXXIX 30-51 357 7.0 3td/3int 75.4 0/0 Loss-Pats
52. Kurt Warner Rams XXXVI 28-44 365 8.3 1 td/2int 78.3 3/6(1td) Loss-NE
51. Roger Staubach Dall X 15-24 204 8.4 2td/2int 77.8 5/22 L-Pitt
50. Jim Kelly Buff XXV 18-30 212 7.1 0td/0int 81.5 6/23 L-NYG
49. Tom Brady, Pats XLII 29-48 266 5.5 1td/0int 82.5 0/0 Loss-NYG
48. Brad Johnson TB XXXVII 18-34 215 6.3 2td/1int 79.9 1/10 Win-Oak
47. Trent Dilfer Balt XXXV 12-25 153 6.1 1td/0int 80.9 1/0 Win-NYG
46. Peyton Manning Indy XLI 25-38 247 6.5 1td/1int 81.8 1/10 Win-Chi
And that's the rest of the bottom half. Elway (in his first win) and Tarkenton appear again - Kelly appears twice - meaning that a full TEN of the bottom half of Super Bowl QB performances come from three guys (not a single TD pass among them in this section) Almost a quarter of the bottom half of Super Bowl games from quarterbacks belong to 3 HOFamers. Just deplorable performances. We've got other all-time greats in this section - Marino's only SB is here, it's falls into the below average but not embarrassing section of this list. The two HOF Cowboy QBs, Aikman/Staubach have their worst SB games here, both 70+ for QB rating, again, neither game bad, just below average, and Aikman obviously won his game. The one and dones, Kapp (will any Viking QB ever have a good SB?) and Ferragamo (against the Steel Curtain there are worse gamelines than this) and Lamonica are here (note that Lamonica threw for more TDs than picks, I think the lowest ranked guy to have done that). We've got the active QB's, Grossman (high % but a sub 6.0 yds/att in a 21st century SB) McNabb (3 scores/3 picks) Brady from last year (no picks but a 5.5 yds/att) and the guy who just played in his 3rd SB, Warner (a ton of yds but 2 picks and a 21st C. sub 80 QB rating) And the lower half of all SB QB games closes out with the game managers, Dilfer (a little under .50% completed for no yds, but a TD and no picks) and Brad Johnson (more yds than Dilfer, but the pick knocks him just below on the list) They both won their games, as did Theismann (2 scores/2 picks) Aikman, and Elway - as we hit the midway point, we see we're reaching decent games by the quarterbacks; both Brady and Dilfer topping QB ratings of 80.
45. Tom Brady NE XXXVI 16-27 145 5.4 1td/0int 86.2 1/3 Win-Rams
44. Len Dawson KC I 16-27 211 7.8 1td/1int 80.9 3/24 L-GB
43. Steve McNair Titans XXXIV 22-36 214 5.9 0td/0int 77.8 8/64 Loss-Rams
42. Eli Manning, Giants XLII 19-34 255 7.4 2td/1int 87.3 2/4 Win-Pats
41. John Elway Den XXI 22-37 304 8.2 1td/1int 83.6 6/27(1td) Loss-NYG
40. Joe Namath NYJ III 17-28 7.4 206 83.3 0td/0 int 0/0 Win-Balt
39. Ben Roethlisberger Pit XLIII 21-30 256 8.5 1td/1int 93.2 2/4 Win-Cards
38. Bob Griese Dolphins VII 8-11 88 8.0 1td/1int 88.4 0/0 Win-Skins
40. (edit - Peyton Manning Colts XLIV 31-45 333 7.4 1td/1int 88.5 Loss-Saints)
39. Brett Favre GB XXXII 25-42 256 6.1 3td/1int 91.0 0/0 Loss-Den
38. Mark Rypien Skins XXVI 18-33 292 8.8 2td/1int 92.0 6/-4 Win-Buff
37. Jeff Hostetler NYG XXV 20-32 222 6.9 1td/0int 93.5 6/10 Win-Buff
36. Len Dawson KC IV 12-17 142 8.4 1td/1int 90.8 3/11 Win-Min
35. Ken Anderson Cincy XVI 25-34 300 6.8 2td/2int 95.2 4/15(1td) Loss-Niners
34. Tom Brady NE 46 27-41 276 6.7 2td/1int 91.1 Loss-NYG
33. Jim Plunkett Oak XVIII 16-25 172 6.9 1td/0int 97.4 Win-Skins
32. Bart Starr GB II 13-24 202 8.4 1td/1 int 96.2 1/14 Win-Oak
31. Bob Griese Dolphins VIII 6-7 73 10.4 0td/0int 110.1 2/7 Win-Vikes
30. Joe Montana Niners XVI 14-22 157 7.1 1 td/0int 100.0 6/18 (1td) Win-Cincy
29. Terry Bradshaw Pit IX 9-14 96 6.9 1td/0int 108 5/33 Win-Vikes
This section gets us from the average games by today's 2 elite QB to some legit MVP performances as we hit QB ratings of 100+ (Griese/Montana)on the cusp of the greatest 25 SB QB games ever. Back near the middle of the 84 we have the Manning brothers, with Eli's win a couple notches better than Peyton's (an extra score and more yds/att). The second Brady appearance (from his first SB, a game manager win over the Rams) on the list is in between; as is McNair's game - note that while his arm was a few notches below everyone else in this section he added 64 yards on the ground. Lenny Dawson's here twice; his win in SB4 has a QB% over 90 and he almost hit 8 yds/att in SB1. Elway's 4th appearance so far is here, meaning his first ever SB, against the NYG, was his second best game with 300 yards and 8.2 yds/att. Namath's game is here. So are Griese's back-to-back game manager wins - see his QB rating of 110 in SB8. There's Favre throwing for 3 scores in SB33; the very similar one off wins for NFCEasterners Hoss and Rip in back to back years against the Bills, they could be flip-flopped here. Starr was solid in winning SBII; both quarterbacks from SBXVI, Kenny Anderson's 300 yards against the Niners and Joe's first appearance on the list; you'll see him 4 times and not a single interception to be found, his QB rating was a flat 100.0 in his first SB. And there's Plunkett knocking off the Skins; you'll have to look a long time at his 2 titles to find a pick as well.
Beginning with Griese at #35, we really start seeing some excellent performances - the air starts to get thin when Montana is stuck just outside the top 25 SB QB games of all time.
28. Terry Bradshaw Pit XIV 14-21 309 14.7 2td/3int 101.9 3/9 Win-Rams
27. Roger Staubach Dall XII 17-25 183 7.3 1td/0int 102.6 3/6 Win-Den
26. Roger Staubach Dall XIII 17-30 228 7.6 3td/1int 100.4 4/37 Loss-Pitt
25 John Elway Den XXXIII 18-29 336 11.6 1td/1int 99.2 3/9(1td) Win-Atl
24. Troy Aikman Dall XXX 15-23 209 9.1 1td/0int 108.8 4/-3 Win-Pit
The Bradshaw/Staubach run might be too cute by half; Terry's SB9 is in the Griese model of 70s game manager SBowls, plus he added 33 rushing yards. It's hard to place SB14, the 14.7 yds/att is a SB record but it's mitigated by the 3 picks. Staubach's SB12 looks a lot like Montana's SB12 and I'm slotting it just below his 3 score SB13. Elway's best SB is here, agains the forgetable Falcons team; a ton of yards, a high yds/attempt, but still only the one score. John Elway was just not a good SB QB; if you're rating him as the best QB ever then you also have to be saying you're not giving SB performance much consideration. That's a defensible position, but you do have to take it.
23. Ken Stabler Oak XI 12-19 180 9.4 1td/0int 117.0 0/0 Win-Min
22. Jim McMahon Chi XX 12-20 256 12.8 0/td/0int 104.2 5/14(2td) Win-NE
21. Roger Staubach Dall VI 12-19 119 6.6 2td/0int 122.2 5/18 Win-Mia
20. Tom Brady NE XXXVIII 32-48 354 7.5 3td/1int 102.6 2/12 Win-Car
Low level of difficulty, high level of precision games in that Montana SB16 model - there's Aikman's second best SB, with a score and 9.1 yds/attempt;
Stabler with virtually identical numbers against the Purple People Eaters; McMahon not throwing for a score but running for 2 and having the second highest yds/attempt in SB history; then Staubach's best SB, a 122.2 QB rating in SB6. Finally there's Brady with a bigger game - ton of yards, 3 scores, but the pick and relatively low yds/attempt.
19. Bart Starr GB I 16-23 250 10.9 2td/1int 116.2 0/0 Win-KC
18. Eli Manning NYG 46 30-40 7.4 1 td/0int 103.8 Win-NE
17. Terry Bradshaw Pit X 9-19 209 11.0 2td/0int 122.5 4/16 Win-Dall
16. Tom Brady NE XXXIX 23-36 236 7.2 2td/0int 110.2 1/-1 Win-Phil
15. Brett Favre GB XXXI 14-27 246 9.1 2td/0int 107.9 4/12(1td) Win-NE
14. Kurt Warner Ari XLIII 31-43 377 8.8 3 td/1int 112.3 0/0 Loss - Pit
(edit - 13. Drew Brees NO XLIV 32-39 288 7.4 2td/0int 114.5 - Win - Indy)
(edit 12. Aaron Rodgers GB XLV 24-39 304 7.8 3td/0int 111.5 2/-2 - Win Pittsburgh
11. Jake Delhomme Carol XXXVIII 16-33 323 10.1 3td/0int 117.1 0/0 Loss-NE
Jake Delhomme has had an up and down career; he just thre for six picks in getting the Panthers bounced in the playoffs - but he's the best SB loser ever; 3 scores, a 10+ yds/attempt adding up to a 117+ QB rating. He outplayed Brady in what was the best quarterbacked game in SB history. The best Packer games are here; Favre threw for 2 and ran for 1, and Starr, in a 60s scoring environment, threw for 2 and had a 10+ yds/attempt. Brady's best game is here, 2 scores and a 110 rating - and it's Bradshaw's second best game, a 122+ rating in SB10.
10. Kurt Warner Rams XXXIV 24-46 414 9.0 2td/0int 97.6 1/1 Win-Tenn
-Did you know Warner was a bagboy at a grocery store? True story. An undercovered aspect of SB43 is that it matched two previous SB winning QB for the first time since SB 18 a quarter century ago, also in Tampa (Plunkett/Thiesmann).
9. Doug Williams Wash XXII 18-29 340 11.7 4td/1int 127.9 2/-2 Win-Den
-Something fun about putting together a list like this is seeing what otherwise unrelated games have very similar statistical lines; look at how Williams and Bradshaw had the same numbers, all the way down to the negative rushing yards.
8. Terry Bradshaw Pit XIII 17-30 318 10.6 4td/1int 119.2 2/-5 Win-Dall
-The best of Bradshaw's 4 games; if SB 38 (Delhomme/Brady) wasn't the best quarterbacked game, then it was SB13. Bradshaw and Staubach threw for 7 scores and each had 100+ QB ratings. Bradshaw's gets the nod over Williams because of era adjustment and quality of opponent's defense.
7. Joe Montana Niners XXIII 23-36 357 9.9 2td/0int 115.2 4/9 Win-Cin
-Two down, two to go for Joe. Hard to unring the bell that his performance also included a 90+ yard game winning drive and that might be what sticks him ahead of the Bradshaw/Williams games.
6. Troy Aikman Dall XXVII 22-30 273 9.1 4td/0int 140.7 3/28 Win-Buf
-I'm doing a baseball list, as you might be aware, and I'll be going back to it in a hard way right after this post - the hardest decisions on that list are at the bottom; it's real difficult to determine who is #150 as opposed to #151, but at the top, the numbers are clear and I'm awfully comfortable with not just the composition, but the specific order of the top of the baseball list. This is not that - Aikman's 4 score/140+ QB rated game winds up 6th here, I guess the relatively low yardage and the quality of opponent ticks him down a notch. I would not be unreceptive to an argument that he could be in the top 5.
And here are - the top 5 Quarterbacked Games in SB History.
5. Jim Plunkett Oak XV 13-21 261 12.1 3td/0int 145.0 3/9 Win-Phil
- Plunkett, like Bradshaw, did not have a special regular season career; Bradshaw has reasonably become immortalized for his SB success - Plunket's overlooked. This is the third highest SB QB rating ever - and done in an offensive era that didn't support those numbers. Rod Martin had 3 picks in SB15, and revisiting past MVP Award selections sometimes finds those who would say he deserved it here - hard to agree in the face of Plunkett's 12+ yds/att.
4. Joe Montana Niners XIX 24-35 331 9.5 3td/0int 127.2 5/59(1td) Win-Mia
-I love Jerry Rice; I believe him to be the greatest football player ever; Michael Irvin calls him "Jesus in cleats" and I think your lord and savior should be humbled by the comparison. But occasionally, an "analyst" will credit Montana's career to Jerry and other all-time greats. Go look at the Niner wideouts for this one. Any list of the all time greatest QB ever has to have both Montana and Marino in the top 5; they met here and this was the result. Joe also had the 59 yards rushing, still the second highest QB total ever in a SB.
3. Phil Simms NYG XXI 22-25 268 10.7 3td/0int 150.9 3/25 Win-Den
-22 of 25. That's really all you have to say. Nothing not to like; a QB rating of over 150. Simms earned his paycheck. Ranking him third might be a function of Young throwing for twice as many scores, also with no picks. The yardage total is also a little soft, sixty yards less than Steve,
2. Steve Young Niners XXIX 24-36 325 9.0 6td/0int 134.8 5/49 Win-SD
-No, I'm not sure how a 6 touchdown/no interception SB doesn't wind up as the best game ever. Young even added 49 rushing yards. Maybe it's the quality of opposition, the mild tick down in QB rating, that it's the most recent of the remaining performances. These top 3 could reasonably be ordered any way you like.
1. Joe Montana Niners XXIV 22-29 297 10.2 5td/0int 147.6 2/15 Win-Den
-Somewhere, in the debate over best QB ever; one should consider that Joe met not just Marino, but also Elway, and these were the results. To my eyes, this game combines the best numbers of Simms (Joe threw for 4 more incompletions, but almost 40 more yards)and Young (Joe's 5 scores are second only to Young's 6, Joe edges him in completion% and yds/att, giving him the higher QB rating). It's playing on the margins with these three games; I think you have to pick one of the three, and all are reasonable. The huge edge in TDs helps Young/Montana, I think, over Simms; and the completion%/QB rating helps Joe over Young. There's a rock/paper/scissors quality to evaluating these final 3 performances; I've gone back and forth and whatever direction which would indicate going a third way. It couldn't be closer, but I'll take Joe.