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