/Ranking the Greatest QB Performances in Super Bowl History

Ranking the Greatest QB Performances in Super Bowl History

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Quarterback is the most scrutinized position in professional sports. While those who play it sometimes receive more praise than necessary, they often shoulder too much blame.

    That variance should make Super Bowl victories only sweeter for signal-callers, especially when they’re a pivotal part of the victory.

    During the Super Bowl era, many teams have celebrated the championship despite a mediocre day from their quarterback. But the 50-plus seasons of the Big Game have also included some exceptional showings by the winning team’s signal-caller.

    While it’s reasonable to include standout QBs on the losing side, we focused on those who hoisted the trophy and had impressive production and/or key plays.

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    If you’d prefer Phil Simms’ three-touchdown day in Super Bowl XXI, that’s reasonable. However, a fellow New York Giants quarterback takes the opening slot in the countdown.

    Four years after shocking the undefeated New England Patriots in the 2007 season’s Super Bowl XLII, Eli Manning once again downed the AFC powerhouse. This time, though, the Giants survived not on a miraculous David Tyree helmet catch but on an impeccable throw from Eli.

    Trailing 17-15 with 3:46 remaining, New York started its drive at the 12-yard line. Manning lofted an inch-perfect 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham on the sideline to spark the game-changing possession. Manning went 5-of-6 on the drive for 74 yards, and Ahmad Bradshaw capped it with a six-yard touchdown.

    Manning finished the contest 30-of-40 for 296 yards, throwing one score and no interceptions.

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    Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

    Doug Williams only needed a 15-minute stretch to shatter the Denver Broncos’ hopes of winning a Super Bowl in January 1988.

    Through the first quarter, Denver led 10-0. During the next frame, though, Williams diced the Broncos for 228 yards and four touchdowns, hitting nine of 11 throws. Timmy Smith added 122 rushing yards in Washington’s decisive 35-point quarter.

    Williams finished the 42-10 triumph with 340 passing yards, which set a Super Bowl record at the time.

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz seemed headed for an NFL MVP in 2017 before a knee injury ended his year in December. Nick Foles then embarked on an improbable journey through the postseason and to Super Bowl glory.

    Facing the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, Foles hit 28 of 43 throws for 373 yards and three touchdownsincluding the winning score to Zach Ertz with 2:21 left in regulation. He also caught a touchdown on the famous Philly Special trick play.

    Foles outdueled Tom Brady, who threw for a record 505 yards, to earn a 41-33 victory and Super Bowl MVP honors.

    The unlikelihood of Foles’ performance edged Williams but fell short of Brady’s magnificent comeback the previous year.

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    During one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever, Brady guided New England back from a 28-3 deficit in February 2017. That comeback, without question, is the best in NFL history.

    That the Patriots needed that 25-point recovery against the Atlanta Falcons is what prevents Brady from being higher on the list. Nevertheless, he put together a remarkable second-half performance before leading the Super Bowl LI-winning drive in overtime.

    Brady completed 43 of his 62 attempts for a then-record 466 passing yards, tossing two scores in a thrilling 34-28 victory.

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    Focus On Sport/Getty Images

    Opposite the defending champion Dallas Cowboys, Terry Bradshaw recorded the first 300-yard game of his career in Super Bowl XIII. Not exactly horrible timing, you know?

    Though the Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller committed three turnovers within the first 18 minutes on that January day in 1979, Bradshaw bounced back to complete 17 of 30 passes. He set Super Bowl records with 318 yards and four touchdowns.

    “I’ve never thrown the ball this well,” Bradshaw said. “Never ever.”

    Dallas hadn’t surrendered more than 20 points in eight straight games, but Bradshaw propelled the Steelers to a 35-31 victory in the Orange Bowl.

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    After trudging to a 3-3 start in 2014, the Seattle Seahawks became a near-impenetrable force on defense. The Legion of Boom sparked an 11-1 run to Super Bowl XLIX, allowing just 12.7 points per game during that dominant stretch.

    While he wasn’t perfectand a goal-line interception from Malcolm Butler sealed the Patriots’ winBrady put together a superb game considering the competition.

    Brady notched a then-Super Bowl record 37 completions, collecting 328 yards and four touchdowns. Though he tossed two interceptions, a pair of fourth-quarter scores to help New England recover from a 24-14 deficit atoned for the mistakes.

    The remainder of the list features dominant, near-perfect days.

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    Focus On Sport/Getty Images

    When a 390-yard, four-touchdown day in Super Bowl XIX doesn’t make the top 10, you know it’s a stacked list. When that’s a quarterback’s third-best showing in the Super Bowl, you must be looking at a legend.

    Joe Montana certainly fits the billing.

    Not satisfied with two previous championship rings, Montana led a fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII. The 49ers recovered from 13-6 and 16-13 deficits behind two touchdown passes from the Hall of Famer.

    In the final minute of regulation, he found John Taylor for a 10-yard score to give San Francisco a 20-16 win and the 1988 title. Montana went 23-of-36 for a then-record 357 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Aaron Rodgers’ precision carried the Green Bay Packers to a 31-25 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

    During the 2010 regular season, the Steelers allowed a league-low 14.5 points per game while leading the NFL in sacks and boasting the Defensive Player of the Year in Troy Polamalu. But under the brightest lights, Pittsburgh had few answers for the 27-year-old superstar.

    Rodgers connected with his target on 24 of 39 attempts for 304 yards, tossing three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The future two-time league MVP didn’t make a bad throw all night.

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    Lennox McLendon/Associated Press

    One year after San Francisco’s epic January 1989 victory over the Bengals, Montana and Jerry Rice turned Super Bowl XXIV into a laugher.

    The legendary duo connected seven times for 148 yards and three touchdowns during a 55-10 drubbing of the Broncos. Brent Jones and John Taylor also had receiving scores, helping the quarterback establish a Super Bowl record with five touchdowns.

    Overall, Montana posted a 22-of-29 line for 297 yards and zero interceptions during the fourth and final championship win of his illustrious career.

    Montana enjoyed more overall success, but his replacement later put together an unparalleled stat line.

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    LENNY IGNELZI/Associated Press

    Put a video game on the hardest difficulty, and many would be hard-pressed to repeat this box score.

    Unfazed by the Super Bowl environment, Steve Young put together a stellar performance in Super Bowl XXIX. The left-hander shredded the San Diego Chargers for 325 yards and six touchdowns with his arm, adding 49 yards on five carries in a 49-26 victory in January 1995.

    “Is this great or what?” he said after the win. “I mean, I haven’t thrown six touchdown passes in a game in my life. Then I throw six in the Super Bowl! Unbelievable.”

    Young’s six passing scores remain the Super Bowl record, and his rushing yards are fourth behind Steve McNair (64, XXXIV), Colin Kaepernick (62, XLVII) and Montana (59, XIX).


    Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.