Super Bowl Quarterbacks

SWC75

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The most glamorous and important position in sports is the football quarterback. They are often evaluated, at least at the NFL, by the number of championships won. Philip Rivers and Eli Manning came into the league in the same year, (2004). Rivers completed 65% of his passes for 63,440 yards for 421 touchdowns to 209 interceptions and had a regular season won-loss record of 134-106. Manning completed 60% of his passes for 57,023 yards for 366 touchdowns vs. 224 interceptions and had a regular season record of 117-117. But I’ve heard that Manning belongs in the Hall of Fame and Rivers should be in the Hall of the Very Good because Manning has won two Super Bowls and Rivers has never made it there. Rivers is 5-7 in the post season. He’s completed 59% of his passes for 2,965 yards, 16TDs and 10 interceptions. Eli is 8-4 and has completed 60.5% for 2,815 yards, 18TDs and 9 picks.

John Elway lost three Super Bowls before he won two of them. That very much changed his reputation. Jim Kelly lost four Super Bowls and never won one. Dan Marino played in one Super Bowl and lost. He never made it back. Neither did Donovan McNabb. Dan Fouts never made it to the Super Bowl.

Here is a list of Super Bowl quarterbacks:
List of Super Bowl starting quarterbacks - Wikipedia

The following Super Bowl winning quarterbacks are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or have won an NFL MVP from some organization. I’ve added their basic passing stats, (regular season games).
Bart Starr (2) 57.4% 24,718 yards 152TD 138int 94-57-6
Joe Namath 50.1% 27,663 yards 173TD 220int 62-63-4
Len Dawson 57.1% 28,711 yards 239TD 183int 94-57-8
Johnny Unitas 54.6% 40,269 yards 290TD 253int 118-63-4
Roger Staubach (2) 57.0% 22,700 yards 153TD 109int 85-29
Bob Griese (2) 56.2% 25,092 yards 192TD 172int 92-56-3
Terry Bradshaw (4) 51.9% 27,989 yards 212TD 210int 107-51
Ken Stabler 59.8% 27,938 yards 194TD 222int 96-49-1
Joe Montana (4) 63.2% 40,551 yards 273TD 139int 117-47
Phil Simms 55.4% 33,462 yards 199TD 157int 95-64
Troy Aikman (3) 61.5% 32,942 yards 165TD 141int 94-71
Steve Young 64.3% 33,124 yards 232TD 107int 94-49
Brett Favre 62.0% 71,838 yards 508TD 336int 186-112
John Elway (2) 56.9% 51,475 yards 300TD 226int 148-82-1
Kurt Warner 65.5% 32,344 yards 208TD 128int 67-49
Tom Brady (6) 64.0% 79,204 yards 581TD 191int 230-69
Peyton Manning (2) 65.3% 71,940 yards 539TD 251int 186-79
Aaron Rodgers 65.1% 51,245 yards 412TD 89int 126-63-1
Patrick Mahomes 66.0% 14,152 yards 114TD 24int 38-8

The following quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl but are not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and have not won an MVP:
Jim Plunkett (2) 52.5% 25,882 yards 164TD 198int 72-72
Joe Theisman 56.7% 25,206 yards 160TD 138int 77-47
Jim McMahon 58.0% 18,148 yards 100TD 90int 67-30
Doug Williams 49.5% 16,988 yards 100TD 93int 38-42-1
Jeff Hostetler 58.0% 16,430 yards 94TD 71int 51-32
Mark Rypien 56.1% 18,473 yards 115TD 88int 47-31
Trent Dilfer 55.5% 20,518 yards 113TD 129int 58-55
Brad Johnson 61.7% 29,054 yards 166TD 122int 72-53
Ben Roethlisberger (2) 64.4% 60,348 yards 396TD 201int 156-74-1
Eli Manning (2) 60.3% 57,023 yards 366TD 244int 117-117
Drew Brees 67.7% 80,358 yards 571TD 243int 172-114
Joe Flacco 61.7% 40,931 yards 224TD 144int 98-77
Russell Wilson 65.1% 33,946 yards 267TD 81int 98-45-1
Nick Foles 62.3% 13,753 yards 81TD 43int 28-27


Plunkett beat Ron Jaworski and Theisman, who beat David Woodley. McMahon beat Tony Eason. Williams beat Elway. Hostetler and Rypien beat Jim Kelly. Dilfer beat Kerry Collins. Johnson beat Rich Gannon. Roethlisberger beat Matt Hasselback and Warner. Eli Manning beat Brady twice. Brees beat Peyton Manning. Flacco beat Kaepernick. Wilson beat Peyton Manning. Foles beat Brady. I’m guessing that Roethlisberger, Manning, Brees and Wilson will eventually be on the first list. That leaves Doug Williams over John Elway and Nick Foles over Tom brady as the only real instances of a non-Hall of Famer beating a Hall of Famer in the Super Bowl.


Let’s look at the Super Bowl losing quarterbacks. The following are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or won somebody’s MVP:
Len Dawson 57.1% 28,711 yards 239TD 183int 94-57-8
Earl Morrall 51.3% 20,809 yards 161TD 148int 63-36-3
Bob Griese 56.2% 25,092 yards 192TD 172int 92-56-3
Fran Tarkenton (3) 57.0% 47,003 yards 342TD 266int 124-109-6
Roger Staubach (2) 57.0% 22,700 yards 153TD 109int 85-29
Ken Anderson 59.3% 32,838 yards 197TD 160int 91-81
Joe Theisman 56.7% 25,206 yards 160TD 138int 77-47
Dan Marino 59.4% 61,361 yards 420TD 252int 147-93
John Elway (3) 56.9% 51,475 yards 300TD 226int 148-82-1
Boomer Esiason 57.0% 37,920 yards 247TD 184int 80-93
Jim Kelly (4) 60.1% 35,467 yards 237TD 175int 101-59
Brett Favre 62.0% 71,838 yards 508TD 336int 186-112
Steve McNair 60.1% 31,304 yards 174TD 119int 91-62
Kurt Warner (2) 65.5% 32,344 yards 208TD 128int 67-49
Rich Gannon 60.2% 28,743 yards 180TD 104int 76-56
Tom Brady (3) 64.0% 79,204 yards 581TD 191int 230-69
Peyton Manning (2) 65.3% 71,940 yards 539TD 251int 186-79
Cam Newton 60.1% 31,698 yards 190TD 118int 75-63-1
Matt Ryan 65.4% 55,767 yards 347TD 158int 113-92

These quarterbacks have lost Super Bowls, are not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and have never won an MVP:
Daryle Lamonica 49.5% 19,154 yards 164TD 138int 66-16-6
Joe Kapp 48.9% 5,911 yards 40TD 64int 24-21-3
Craig Morton (2) 54.2% 27,908 yards 183TD 95int 81-62-1
Billy Kilmer 53.1% 20,495 yards 152TD 146int 61-52-1
Vince Ferragamo 55.9% 11,336 yards 76TD 91int 27-26
Ron Jaworski 53.1% 28,190 yards 179TD 164int 73-69-1
David Woodley 52.8% 8,558 yards 48TD 63int 34-18-1
Tony Eason 58.2% 11,142 yards 61TD 51int 28-23
Stan Humphries 56.9% 17,191 yards 89TD 84int 50-31
Neil O'Donnell 57.8% 21,690 yards 120TD 68int 55-45
Drew Bledsoe 57.2% 44,611 yards 251TD 206int 98-95
Chris Chandler 58.1% 28,484 yards 170TD 146int 67-85
Kerry Collins 55.7% 40,922 yards 208TD 196int 81-99
Jake Delhomme 59.4% 20,975 yards 126TD 101int 56-40
Donovan McNabb 59.0% 37,276 yards 234TD 117int 98-62-1
Matt Hasselbeck 60.5% 36,638 yards 212TD 153int 85-75
Rex Grossman 55.2% 10,232 yards 56TD 60int 25-22
Colin Kaepernick 59.8% 12,271 yards 72TD 30int 28-30
Ben Roethlisberger 64.4% 60,348 yards 396TD 201int 156-74-1
Russell Wilson 65.1% 33,946 yards 267TD 81int 98-45-1
Jared Goff 63.4% 18,171 yards 107TD 55int 42-27
Jimmy Garoppolo 67.5% 8,042 yards 51TD 26int 24-8

Again, Roethlisberger and Wilson will likely graduate to the first list. I hope McNabb can join them. The rest of the list is mostly journeyman QBs who found themselves on the right team.

Overall, I’d conclude that a great quarterback makes it more likely that you will make the playoffs, more likely that you will get to the Super Bowl and more likely that you will win the Super Bowl but they cannot guarantee that and there are some less than great quarterbacks who have done all three. If we credit quarterbacks with Super Bowl wins, do we blame quarterbacks for Super Bowl losses. John Elway won when he had the better team and lost when he didn’t. Brady has won 6 of them but also lost 3 of them. 11 quarterbacks have both won and lost Super Bowls. Maybe we should credit the victories more than we debit for defeats. In the end, teams win and lose Super Bowls. Quarterbacks contribute to how good their teams can be.
 

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