Monthly Archives: January, 2014

Best QB to never win a Super Bowl or Worst QB to win a Super Bowl… Which career would you rather have?


Fair or not, quarterbacks certainly get a lot of attention. In fact, the quarterback is the only position in the NFL where we keep records of that player’s win-loss record. That also goes for the Super Bowl. The number one story for this year’s championship game has probably centered around Peyton Manning and if he can win his second Super Bowl with the Broncos. Or, will second-year QB Russell Wilson lead his Seattle Seahawks to victory, thus becoming the 31st QB to ever win a Super Bowl?

On a recent episode of The Dan Patrick Show, the poll question was a very direct ask focused on the quarterbacks who have played (or have not played) in the Super Bowl: Would you rather be the best QB to have never won a Super Bowl or the worst QB to have won a Super Bowl?

While opinions seemed to be mixed on the answer to the question, the discussion was interesting as quarterbacks like Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Doug Williams, Jim Kelly and Trent Dilfer were mentioned.

While I tend to shy away from noting or opining best and worst, I don’t shy away from presenting numbers if they are relevant to a discussion. So, let me offer a few stats that may help this discussion.

First, let’s look at quarterbacks who have never won a Super Bowl. Here’s a simple stat… these are the QBs who won the most regular season NFL games without winning the Super Bowl.

Most regular season wins without winning a Super Bowl

147, Dan Marino (lost one Super Bowl)
124, Fran Tarkenton (lost three Super Bowls)
102, Warren Moon (never played in Super Bowl)
101, Jim Kelly (lost four Super Bowls)
98, Donovan McNabb (lost one Super Bowl)
98, Dave Krieg (never played in Super Bowl)
98, Drew Bledsoe (lost one Super Bowl)
91, Steve McNair (lost one Super Bowl)
91, Ken Anderson (lost one Super Bowl)
90, Vinny Testaverde (never played in Super Bowl)

Seven players who were active in the 2013 NFL season have won 70 or more regular season games. Five have won a Super Bowl while two have not. The two that have not are Matt Hasselbeck (80 wins) and Philip Rivers (79 wins). Of the 10 QBs listed above that won 90 or more games without a Super Bowl victory, Jim Kelly and Donovan McNabb won the most post-season games with nine.

Now let’s look at the quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl. As mentioned above there are 30 QBs who have won the Super Bowl with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw winning four; Tom Brady and Troy Aikman winning three; and seven QBs each winning two: John Elway, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Bob Griese, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach and Jim Plunkett.

But what about a QB whose career regular season stats maybe didn’t quite match their Super Bowl victory. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers from the 30 QBs who led their team to a Super Bowl victory.

Fewest regular season wins by a QB whose team won the Super Bowl
38: Doug Williams (Washington, Super Bowl #22)
47: Mark Rypien (Washington, Super Bowl #26)
51: Jeff Hostetler (New York Giants, Super Bowl #25)

Lowest career win percentage by a QB whose team won the Super Bowl
.475 Doug Williams (Washington, Super Bowl #22)
.496 Joe Namath (New York Jets, Super Bowl #3)
.500 Jim Plunkett (Los Angeles Raiders, Super Bowl #15, #18)

Lowest career QB Rating by a QB whose team won the Super Bowl
65.5 Joe Namath (New York Jets, Super Bowl #3)
67.5 Jim Plunkett (Los Angeles Raiders, Super Bowl #15, #18)
69.4 Doug Williams (Washington, Super Bowl #22)

Of the 30 Super  Bowl winning quarterbacks…

* Nineteen won (or have won) 75 or more games in their career (through the 2013 season)

* Twenty won (or have won) 60% or higher of their regular season NFL starts (through the 2013 season)

* Twenty-five have (or had) a QB Rating of 75 or higher in the regular season in their career.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


SIX STATS you might not know about the first score in the Super Bowl


How important is it to be the first team to score in the Super Bowl? In the previous 47 Super Bowl games, the team that scored first has won 31 times (65.6% winning percentage). Here’s a few more stats regarding the first score in the Super Bowl.

1. The first score in the Super Bowl has been either a field goal or touchdown pass in 80.9% of the games (38 of 47).

2. The first score has been a field goal in 22 games (46.8%). Of those 22, nine have been field goals of 40 yards or more. The first score has been a touchdown pass in 16 of the 47 Super Bowls (34%). Only four of those 16 TD passes were of 40 yards or more.

3. The first score has been a TD run in only five Super Bowl games. None of those five TD runs were longer than five yards. The last time a rushing TD was the first score in a Super Bowl was 1993 when Buffalo’s Thurman Thomas scored on a two-yard run. The first score has been a blocked punt for TD and kick return for TD once apiece.

4. The NFC has been the first team to score in 25 of the 47 games and in 13 of the last 19.

5. The first score in the Super Bowl has happened in the first quarter in 41 of the 47 games (87.2%) and in 17 of the last 19 contests. No Super Bowl game has been scoreless at halftime The lowest scoring Super Bowl game was Super Bowl IX between Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Pittsburgh scored a safety in the second quarter on their way to a 2-0 lead at halftime.

6. Three different players have scored the first points in two different Super Bowls. Kicker Mike Clark of Dallas did it with field goals in Super Bowl 5 and Super Bowl 6; the 49ers Jerry Rice put the first points on the board in Super Bowls 24 and 29 with TD receptions (in Super Bowl 24 from Joe Montana and in Super Bowl 29 from Steve Young); and Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins made field goals in Super Bowl 34 and Super Bowl 36 for the first scores in those games.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Inside the ‘big play’ numbers in the Super Bowl


One of the reasons last year’s Super Bowl was so exciting was the “big plays” that happened during the game. (Let’s define a “big play” as a play from scrimmage that went for 20 or more yards.) There were 14 big plays in the game, which was the second most in Super Bowl history, and there were at least three in every quarter. The Ravens had five big plays in the game and the 49ers had nine. (For the record, Super Bowl XXII, Washington vs. Denver, had the most plays of 20-plus yards from scrimmage with 17. The Redskins had 10 big plays in that contest, the most by one team in a Super Bowl.)

At the other end of the spectrum, when the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants accomplished something that only two teams had previously done in Super Bowl history: They did not allow the Patriots to have a play of 20 or more yards from scrimmage. The only other teams to accomplish that feat were the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl 7 and the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl 30.

With “big plays” from scrimmage as the focus (again, we’ll define a “big play” as a play from scrimmage for 20 or more yards), here’s a look at how “big plays” have played an important role in the previous 47 Super Bowls. For the record, there have been 334 “big plays” from scrimmage in the previous 47 Super Bowls (an average of just over seven “big plays” per game).

* Of the 334 big plays in the Super Bowl, 184 (55.1%) were by the team that won the game. In 25 of the 47 games, the eventual Super Bowl winner had more big plays than their opponent; in nine of the games, the teams had the same number of big plays. Teams that allowed no big plays or only one in the Super Bowl have won nine and lost only once. Teams that allowed two or fewer plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage are 18-10 in the Super Bowl.

* Of the 334 big plays, 99 (29.6%) happened in the fourth quarter. Fifty-five of those 99 were by the team that lost the game (making big plays to get back in the game?)

* In 33 of the 47 Super Bowls, the team that won also had the longest play from scrimmage in the game. The Ravens had the big play in the last Super Bowl, a 56-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones.

* Of the 334 big plays, 85 of them happened on either third or fourth down. Of those 85, the team that won the game had a big play on third or fourth down 54 times. In the 35 of the 47 Super Bowls, the winning team had at least one play of 20 yards or more from scrimmage on a third down. Losing teams only had a play of 20 yards or more from scrimmage on a third or fourth down in 20 of the 47 games.

* Of the 334 big plays, 64 went for touchdowns. Of those 64, 42 of them were scored by the team that won the game.

Here’s a quick look at the QBs, running backs and receivers that had the most big plays in Super Bowl history.

Quarterbacks, Super Bowl big plays (passes of 20-plus yards)
Terry Bradshaw, 18
Joe Montana, 17
John Elway, 16
Kurt Warner, 15
Troy Aikman, 11
Roger Staubach, 10

Running Backs, Super Bowl big plays (runs of 20-plus yards)
Timmy Smith, 3
Franco Harris, 3
Marcus Allen, 2
Emmitt Smith, 2
Clarence Davis, 2
Frank Gore, 2
Thurman Thomas, 2
Michael Pittman, 2

Receivers, Super Bowl big plays (receptions of 20-plus yards)
Jerry Rice, 12
Lynn Swann, 7
John Stallworth, 5
Andre Reed, 5
Michael Irvin, 5

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Is Russell Wilson destined to win this year’s Super Bowl MVP?


A good percentage of football fans and experts would wager a fair amount of money that Peyton Manning will win the Super Bowl MVP in Sunday’s game. He had a historic season, and is clearly the odds-on favorite for this honor.

Seattle 25-year-old QB, Russell Wilson, Manning’s counterpart, might have something to say about that honor, however. In fact, if you look at the history of the Super Bowl MVP Award, Wilson might just be the favorite to win.

In the 47-year history of the Super Bowl, we have had 48 players (there were co-MVPs in 1978) who were selected as the MVP of the game. Joe Montana, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers won three of those awards, most in the game’s history. Four other players won the award twice: Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning, all QBs.

As we take a look at the list of Super Bowl MVPs, several interesting stats evolve:

First, quarterbacks seem to be the primary focus of the Super Bowl MVP award. Of the 48 MVPs, 26 have been QBs. The 2013 Super Bowl as no exception as Baltimore QB Joe Flacco was chosen as the game’s MVP. Here’s a position look at the MVPs.

Super Bowl MVP Awards, position, (average age of those MVPs)
26: Quarterbacks (30.0)
8: Defensive players (26.6)
7: Running backs (27.0)
6: Wide receivers (26.5)
1: Kick returners (26.0)

Secondly, we notice that when it comes to the age of the player named the game’s MVP, most are in their 20′s. In fact, of the 48 MVPs, 30 were in their 20′s, 18 were in their 30′s. Here’s a look at the number of MVPs within each age. The age with the most MVPs is 25 with seven.

Age, Super Bowl MVP Awards
Age 23: Two
Age 24: Five
Age 25: Seven
Age 26: Five
Age 27: Five
Age 28: Three
Age 29: Three
Age 30: Two
Age 31: Three
Age 32: Four
Age 33: Four
Age 34: Four
Age 38: One

* The oldest Super Bowl MVP was Denver’s John Elway in 1999. He was 38 years old.

* The youngest Super Bowl MVP was Raiders running back Marcus Allen who was 23. Pittsburgh receiver Lynn Swann was also 23 when he won his Super Bowl MVP in 1976, but Allen beat him by 15 days; Allen was 23 and 302 days, Swann was 23 and 317 days.

* Of the 18 players who were in their 30′s when they won the Super Bowl MVP, 14 of them were quarterbacks.

* Dallas’ Randy White, who shared MVP honors with teammate Harvey Martin in the 1978 game, is the only MVP to win his award on his birthday. He won his MVP on his 25th birthday.

Is a 25-year-old QB destined to win this year’s Super Bowl MVP?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Do Eagles, Redskins have the recipe for beating Super Bowl champs?


Philadelphia Eagles fans and Washington Redskins fans have waited a long time to see their teams return to the Super Bowl. For the Eagles, their last visit to the Super Bowl was in 2004 when they lost to the New England Patriots. The Redskins have had an even longer wait… their last Super Bowl was in 1991 when they won the title.

But one thing these two teams seem to have in common is that they have figured out a way to beat the teams that eventually win the Super Bowl.

Since 1990, the Eagles have beat the eventual Super Bowl champ in 10 of those seasons. The Redskins have beat the eventual champs in nine of those 23 seasons. In fact, the Redskins beat the Super Bowl champ in each of the last three seasons: they beat the Ravens in OT last season; defeated the Giants twice in 2011; and won an OT game against the Packers in 2010 when they won the title.

Here’s a look at how many seasons since 1990 (23 seasons) that a team won a regular season game against the team that eventually won the Super Bowl that year.

Seasons where they beat Super Bowl champs, teams

10: Philadelphia
9: Washington
6: Miami
5: Dallas, Pittsburgh
4: San Francisco, Tennessee
3: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Minnesota, New England
2: Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New Orleans, New York Giants, St. Louis
1: Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, New York Jets, Oakland, Seattle, Tampa Bay
0: Arizona, Cleveland, San Diego

Three teams since 1990 have defeated the eventual Super Bowl champ twice in the regular season: The Redskins over the New York Giants in 2011; Dallas over the New York Giants (2007) and New Orleans over Tampa Bay (2002).

The Broncos and Seahawks each lost three games this season: Denver lost to Indianapolis, New England and San Diego. Seattle was defeated by Indianapolis, San Francisco and Arizona. Both Arizona and San Diego have not defeated an eventual Super Bowl champ in the regular season since 1990, but that will change this year since the Chargers beat Denver and the Cardinals beat Seattle.

Note: The Eagles and Redskins each faced the Denver Broncos this year, both losing to the AFC West champs. Denver beat Philly 52-20, while the Redskins fell to the Broncos 45-21.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp