การแข่งขัน: รอบที่ 121 - 152 อันดับที่ 152

Randy Moss เป็นแรงผลักดันที่ทำให้เราสนใจวิทยาลัยเล็ก ๆ แห่งหนึ่งในเวสต์เวอร์จิเนีย เขาโดดเด่นตั้งแต่วินาทีที่เขาก้าวเข้าสู่สนาม NFL แม้ว่าจะไม่มีข้อโต้แย้งที่ดีกับเจอร์รี่ไรซ์ในฐานะตัวรับที่ดีที่สุดตลอดกาลเมื่อคุณกำลังพูดถึงใครเป็นอันดับสองในรายการนั้นมอสก็อยู่ตรงนั้นในการแข่งขัน ลองย้อนกลับไปดูอาชีพของมอสตั้งแต่สมัยเรียนมหาลัยที่มีปัญหาจนถึงตอนที่เขากลายเป็นคนมีบุคลิกทางทีวีและทุกอย่างในระหว่างนั้น 1 ใน 22 ประเด็นทางกฎหมายทำให้เกิดปัญหาแม้จะมีอาชีพในโรงเรียนมัธยมอย่างไม่น่าเชื่อ Robert Laberge / Allsport / Getty Images แม้จะเล่นบอลมัธยมที่เวสต์เวอร์จิเนีย แต่มอสส์ก็เป็นที่รู้จักในระดับประเทศ โรงเรียนใหญ่ทุกแห่งต้องการตัวเขาและมอสก็ตัดสินใจไปที่นอเทรอดามซึ่งเป็นความฝันของเขา Lou Holtz เรียกมอสว่าเป็นผู้เล่นระดับมัธยมที่ดีที่สุดที่เขาเคยเห็นมา อย่างไรก็ตามในขณะที่ยังเรียนอยู่ในโรงเรียนมัธยมมอสส์ได้มีส่วนร่วมในการต่อสู้กับเพื่อนนักเรียนโดยอ้างว่ามีการใช้ภาษาเหยียดผิว มอสมีความผิดถึงสองกระทงในความผิดของแบตเตอรีและถูกตัดสินจำคุก 30 วัน เขาถูกไล่ออกจากโรงเรียนมัธยมและถูกยกเลิกข้อเสนอจาก Notre Dame มอส 2 จาก 22 เสื้อแดงที่รัฐฟลอริดา แต่มีปัญหาอื่น ๆ เกิดขึ้นรูปภาพ Simon Bruty / Anychance / Getty เมื่อชาวไอริชออกจากโต๊ะมอสส์ตัดสินใจไปรัฐฟลอริดาซึ่งไม่ได้กลัวปัญหาทางกฎหมายของเขา มอสต้องสวมเสื้อสีแดงในช่วงปีแรกของเขา แต่เขาจะไม่เหมาะกับเซมิโนลส์ การทดสอบกัญชาในเชิงบวกทำให้มอสถูกจำคุกอีก 60 วัน แต่ก็ทำให้เขาถูกบูทจากรัฐฟลอริดาเช่นกัน 3 จาก 22 แรนดี้ลงจอดที่ Marshall Simon Bruty / Anychance / Getty Images อยากเล่นทันทีมอสส์ตัดสินใจกลับบ้านเกิดเพื่อเล่นให้กับ Marshall Thundering Herd มาร์แชลล์ยังคงเป็นโรงเรียน Division I-AA (ปัจจุบันคือ FCS) ซึ่งหมายความว่ามอสจะสามารถเล่นได้ทันทีในฤดูกาล 1996 โดยไม่ต้องนั่งเรียนอีกปี มอส 4 ใน 22 ครองในระดับ I-AA Kypros / Getty Images มอสแสดงให้เห็นทันทีว่าทำไมโรงเรียนอย่าง Notre Dame และ Florida State จึงต้องการเขา ในฐานะน้องใหม่ของเสื้อแดงมอสตั้งค่าบันทึก I-AA ทั้งซ้ายและขวา เขาจบด้วยสถิติน้องใหม่ 1,709 หลาจาก 78 นัดซึ่งเป็นสถิติที่ยังคงยืนหยัด แรนดี้ยังมีงานทัชดาวน์ 28 ครั้งซึ่งผูกบันทึกของเจอร์รี่ไรซ์ มาร์แชลล์พ่ายแพ้และได้รับรางวัล I-AA โดยธรรมชาติแล้วมอสส์มีสี่ทัชดาวน์ในเกมชิงแชมป์ Marshall 5 จาก 22 คนย้ายไป Division IA แต่ Moss ยังครองตำแหน่ง Robert Laberge / Allsport / Getty Images ฤดูกาล 1996 จะเป็นปีสุดท้ายของ Marshall ที่ระดับ I-AA ในปี 1997 พวกเขาย้ายไปที่ Division IA (ปัจจุบันคือ FBS) และเข้าร่วม MAC การเคลื่อนไหวไม่ได้ขัดขวาง Moss หรือ Thundering Herd มาร์แชลชนะตำแหน่ง MAC ในปีแรกในดิวิชั่นและมอสส์เป็นชาวอเมริกันทั้งหมดด้วยการจับ 96 ครั้งที่ระยะ 1,820 หลาและทำทัชดาวน์ 26 ครั้งใน 13 เกม แม้จะเล่นให้กับโรงเรียนเล็ก ๆ ที่เพิ่งเล่นฟุตบอล IA แต่มอสก็เข้ารอบสุดท้ายของไฮส์แมนร่วมกับเพย์ตันแมนนิ่งไรอันลีฟและชาร์ลส์วูดสันผู้ชนะ 6 จาก 22 ปัญหานอกสนามทำให้มอสลดลงใน Draft Joseph Patronite / Getty Images หลังจากบอลวิทยาลัยเพียงสองฤดูกาลมอสส์ประกาศให้ NFL Draft เห็นได้ชัดว่าเขาเป็นตัวรับที่มีความสามารถมากที่สุด แต่มีความกังวลเกี่ยวกับอดีตของเขา ผู้มีโอกาสเป็นเอ็นเอฟแอลจำนวนไม่น้อยต้องโทษจำคุกและถูกไล่ออกจากโปรแกรมสองรายการ คำถามเหล่านี้ทำให้สต็อกของ Moss ลดลงจนกระทั่ง Minnesota Vikings สบโอกาสและเลือก Randy ด้วยตัวเลือกที่ 21 พวกเขาจะมีความสุขกับเรื่องนั้น 7 จาก 22 ฤดูกาลใหม่สำหรับทุกวัยรูปภาพของ Mark Brettingen / Getty ที่เล่นร่วมกับ Cris Carter และ Randall Cunningham อยู่ตรงกลาง Minnesota Vikings ไป 15-1 ในปี 1998 และสร้างสถิติสำหรับคะแนนมากที่สุดในหนึ่งฤดูกาล มอสเป็นสาเหตุใหญ่ เขาจับได้ 69 ครั้งในระยะ 1,313 หลาและ 17 ทัชดาวน์โดยตัวเลขสุดท้ายนั้นเป็นสถิติมือใหม่ ไม่น่าแปลกใจที่มอสได้รับการเสนอชื่อให้เป็น Rookie ที่น่ารังเกียจแห่งปีและได้รับรางวัล Pro Bowl 8 จาก 22 การปรากฏตัวของ Pro Bowl อีกสองครั้ง Mark Brettingen / Getty Images สองสามฤดูกาลถัดไปมีความเหมือนกันมากขึ้นจาก Moss แม้ว่าทีมจะย้ายจาก Randall Cunningham ไป Daunte Culpepper ซึ่งอยู่ตรงกลาง Moss ไปได้ไกลกว่า 1,400 หลาในปี 1999 และ 2000 ด้วยการทำทัชดาวน์สองหลักทั้งสองครั้ง เขาเป็น Pro Bowler ทั้งสองปีที่ผ่านมาและเป็น Pro Bowl MVP ในปี 2542 ด้วยการจับเก้าครั้งที่ทำสถิติได้ 212 หลา 9 จาก 22 Randy Ratio เป็นไปตาม Randy Rules รูปภาพ Mitchell Layton / Getty ในปี 2002 Dennis Green ถูกแทนที่โดย Mike Tice ในตำแหน่งหัวหน้าโค้ช Tice ตัดสินใจว่าสิ่งสำคัญอันดับหนึ่งที่เขาต้องทำคือรับบอล Moss มันกลายเป็นที่รู้จักกันในชื่อ“ Randy Ratio” และเกี่ยวข้องกับ Tice ที่พยายามให้อย่างน้อย 40 เปอร์เซ็นต์ของการส่งบอลของมินนิโซตาไปในทิศทางของมอสส์ ในขณะเดียวกันฝ่ายป้องกันก็ตอบโต้ด้วยสิ่งที่เรียกว่า“ กฎแรนดี้” ซึ่งเกี่ยวข้องกับการติดขัดของมอสส์ที่แนวการต่อสู้และเพิ่มความปลอดภัยให้กับเขาเป็นสองเท่าในทุกเส้นทาง ในขณะที่มอสจบด้วยการจับ 106 ครั้งเขามีเพียงเจ็ดทัชดาวน์และ “แรนดี้อัตราส่วน” ถูกทิ้งกลางคันตลอดฤดูกาล 2002 เมื่อไวกิ้งไป 6-10 10 จาก 22 Moss ถูกแลกเปลี่ยนให้กับ Oakland Kirby Lee / NFLPhotoLibrary ฤดูกาล 2003 ในมินนิโซตาไปได้ค่อนข้างดีสำหรับมอสส์ (อาชีพการงานสูง 111 ครั้ง) แต่ในปี 2547 เขาตั้งค่าระดับต่ำสุดส่วนตัวและไม่สามารถตี 1,000 หลาเป็นครั้งแรก อาชีพ. นอกจากนี้เขายังแกล้งทำเป็นว่าแฟน ๆ ของ Packers และ Joe Buck ประหลาดใจ หลังจากการรณรงค์ในปี 2004 มอสก็แลกกับโอคแลนด์เรดเดอร์สสำหรับผู้เล่นตัวสำรองนโปเลียนแฮร์ริสและเป็นตัวเลือกที่เจ็ดในปี 2548 ซึ่งพวกเขาใช้จ่ายให้กับ … ผู้รับทรอยวิลเลียมสัน 11 จาก 22 ปีที่หายไปกับ Raiders Robert B.Stanton / NFL ฤดูกาลแรกของ PhotoLibrary Moss ในสีเงินและสีดำทำได้ดีพอสมควรเนื่องจากเขาทำได้ 60 ครั้งในระยะ 1,005 หลาและแปดทัชดาวน์ อย่างไรก็ตามในฤดูกาลที่สองของเขาเขาทำได้เพียง 42 ครั้งในระยะ 553 หลาและทำทัชดาวน์ได้เพียงสามครั้ง มอสไม่มีความสุขในช่วงปีที่สองนั้น เรารู้เรื่องนี้เพราะเขาเอาแต่พูดว่าเขาไม่มีความสุขและเขาต้องการที่จะย้ายออกจากทีม Randy 12 จาก 22 แลกกับ Patriots Rob Tringali / Sportschrome / Getty Images เบื่อหน่ายกับมอสส์และเมื่อดูตัวเลขของเขาลดลง Raiders ยินดีที่จะแลกตัวรับในตำนานไปแล้ว โอกแลนด์ตกลงที่จะจัดการกับมอสส์ไปยังนิวอิงแลนด์เพื่อเลือกรอบที่สี่ เฮ้เขาออกมาได้ปีละ 553 หลา บางทีเขาอาจจะถูกล้างออกใช่มั้ย? 13 จาก 22 การทำลายสถิติฤดูกาล 2007 Rob Tringali / Sportschrome / Getty Images ไม่มาก การย้ายไปนิวอิงแลนด์และเล่นกับทอมเบรดี้ทำให้มอสมีแรงจูงใจที่เขากำลังมองหา คุณจำฤดูกาล 2007 ได้ ผู้รักชาติสร้างสถิติที่มีคะแนนมากที่สุดเท่าที่เคยมีมาในฤดูกาลทำลายสถิติที่ทีมไวกิ้งของมอสส์กำหนดไว้ในปี 1998 นิวอิงแลนด์ยังไป 16-0 ในช่วงฤดูกาลที่บันทึกไว้และได้รับชัยชนะครั้งเดียวในฤดูกาลที่ไร้พ่าย Pats นั้นสั้น แต่มอสส์มี 23 ทัชดาวน์ในปีนั้นซึ่งเป็นสถิติของ NFL ที่ยังคงยืนอยู่ 14 จาก 22 อีกสองฤดูกาลที่ประสบความสำเร็จใน New England Rob Tringali / Sportschrome / Getty Images Moss จะใช้เวลาอีกสองฤดูกาลกับผู้รักชาติซึ่งทั้งสองฤดูกาลก็ไปได้ดี ในความเป็นจริงเขาจับได้ 69 ครั้งในระยะ 1,008 หลาและ 11 ทัชดาวน์ในปี 2008 แม้ว่าเบรดี้จะบาดเจ็บจนทำให้แมตต์คาสเซิลเป็นกองหลัง ในปี 2009 Brady กลับมาและตัวเลขของ Moss ก็ดียิ่งขึ้น 15 จาก 22 การกลับไปมินนิโซตาไม่เป็นไปด้วยดีรูปภาพ Rob Tringali / SportsChrome / Getty เนื้อหาที่มีอยู่ไม่เคยเป็นของมอส แม้จะประสบความสำเร็จในนิวอิงแลนด์มอสส์กล่าวว่าเขารู้สึกไม่ต้องการที่จะมุ่งหน้าสู่ฤดูกาล 2010 หลังจากสี่เกมและเก้าครั้งผู้รักชาติแลกเปลี่ยนแรนดี้กลับไปที่ไวกิ้งเพื่อเลือกรอบที่สาม การพบกันใหม่ไม่ได้เป็นไปตามที่ทั้งสองฝ่ายหวัง หลังจากไม่กี่สัปดาห์ในมินนิโซตามอสก็วิจารณ์เพื่อนร่วมทีมของเขาและบอกเจ้าของไวกิ้งว่าหัวหน้าโค้ชแบรดชิลเดรสควรถูกไล่ออก สำหรับพฤติกรรมที่ไม่สมประกอบของเขา Moss ได้รับการยกเว้นหลังจากสี่เกม 16 จาก 22 มอสย้ายไปไททันส์ (จำได้ไหม) Bob Levey / Getty Images Randy เคยอยู่สองทีมแล้ว แต่ยังมีเวลาเหลืออีกมากในฤดูกาล 2010 มอสถูกอ้างว่าสละสิทธิ์โดยเทนเนสซีไททันส์ทีมเดียวที่ยื่นข้อเรียกร้องแทนเขา เขาเล่นแปดเกมสำหรับไททันส์ แต่มีเพียงหกครั้งในระยะ 80 หลา เทนเนสซีผ่านการเซ็นสัญญากับมอสส์หลังจากจบฤดูกาล Randy 17 จาก 22 คนออกจากตำแหน่ง แต่กลับมาพร้อมกับ Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images 49ers ที่ขาดความสนใจในฤดูกาล 2011 Moss ตัดสินใจที่จะเกษียณ อย่างไรก็ตามอาการคันในการเล่นอาจจะแรงเกินไป แรนดี้ประกาศว่าเขาจะกลับมาเล่นในฤดูกาล 2012 และเขาก็จัดการให้ 49ers ตกลงเซ็นสัญญากับเขาหนึ่งปี 18 จาก 22 Moss ออกจากตำแหน่งด้วยความดีในครั้งนี้ Scott Halleran / Getty Images Moss ไม่ใช่บุคคลสำคัญในทีม 2012 49ers เขาเป็นเพียงผู้เล่นตัวจริงสำหรับสองเกมและส่วนใหญ่ทำหน้าที่เป็นตัวรับ ในท้ายที่สุดแรนดี้ได้ 28 ครั้งในระยะ 434 หลาและสามทัชดาวน์ เมื่อแคมเปญปี 2012 สิ้นสุดลงมอสก็ลาออกและคราวนี้มันติดอยู่ 19 จาก 22 Randy Moss Motorsports รูปภาพของ John Sommers II / Getty Moss มีความสนใจนอกวงการฟุตบอล ในโรงเรียนมัธยมเขาเป็นนักบาสเกตบอลที่เป็นตัวเอกและเป็นนักกีฬาติดตาม อย่างไรก็ตามเขายังมีความสนใจในการแข่งรถด้วย ในปี 2008 Moss เปิดตัว Randy Moss Motorsports และซื้อส่วนแบ่ง 50 เปอร์เซ็นต์ของทีม Morgan-Dollar Motorsports ในสนามแข่งรถของ NASCAR อย่างไรก็ตามทีมจะปิดตัวลงในปี 2555 20 จาก 22 Moss กลายเป็นนักวิเคราะห์รายการโทรทัศน์ Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images Moss ไม่เคยอายที่จะพูดเมื่อเขาเล่นดังนั้นการย้ายไปเป็นหัวหน้าที่พูดได้จึงสมเหตุสมผล เขาได้ลิ้มรสมันครั้งแรกไม่นานหลังจากออกจาก Niners และเข้าร่วมรายการ“ Fox Football Daily” ของ Fox Sports 1 อย่างไรก็ตามในปี 2559 เขาจะเริ่มปีนเขาหลังจากเข้าร่วม ESPN ตอนนี้มอสเป็นสมาชิกของทีม“ Sunday NFL Countdown” รายการ NFL ชั้นนำของ ESPN 21 จาก 22 Randy ถูกประดิษฐานใน Hall of Fame Joe Robbins / Getty Images ในปี 2018 สิ่งที่หลีกเลี่ยงไม่ได้เกิดขึ้นเมื่อ Moss ถูกแต่งตั้งให้เข้าสู่ Pro Football Hall of Fame ในปีหน้ามอสจะได้รับการยอมรับในอาชีพอีกครั้ง ในปี 2019 แรนดี้ได้รับการเสนอชื่อให้เป็นสมาชิกของทีมตลอดกาลของ NFL สำหรับการครบรอบ 100 ปี 22 จาก 22 พลังทางกายภาพที่โดดเด่นและพลังแห่งบุคลิกภาพที่โดดเด่นไม่แพ้กัน Rob Tringali / Sportschrome / Getty Images มีผู้เล่นเพียงไม่กี่คนที่ผสมความเร็วและขนาดค่อนข้างเหมือนมอส เขาอาจจะเป็นฤดูกาลหน้าใหม่ที่ดีที่สุดในบรรดาตัวรับและอาจจะเป็นฤดูกาลสูงสุดตลอดกาลเมื่อเขาได้ 23 ครั้งที่ได้รับทัชดาวน์สำหรับผู้รักชาตินิวอิงแลนด์ปี 2007 มอสส์สร้าง Pro Bowls หกรายการและทีม All-Pro สี่ทีมและเขาอยู่ใน 10 อันดับแรกในการออกรับหลาและรับทัชดาวน์ ในความเป็นจริง ณ ตอนนี้เขาเป็นรองแค่ข้าวในทัชดาวน์เท่านั้น แน่นอนว่าเขาเป็นคนพูดตรงไปตรงมาและเขาก็ออกมาต้อนรับครั้งแล้วครั้งเล่า ในท้ายที่สุดความสามารถมักจะชนะ มอสกำลังอยู่ในระหว่างการเป็นตัวรับที่ดีที่สุดเป็นอันดับสองตลอดกาล (แม้ว่าเขาจะบอกว่าเขาดีกว่าข้าวก็ตาม)

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The 2020 NFL season involved a few dominant individual performances. Barring a tie for this year’s MVP award, all but one of those will join the league’s collection of near-misses. Here is who this year’s “others receiving votes” contingent will join among the best NFL seasons of the MVP era (1957-present) that did not result in a trophy.

 

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30. Roger Craig, 1985

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Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey have joined Craig in the 1,000-1,000 club, but both did so in increasingly friendlier offensive eras. With Jerry Rice not making an immediate impression as a rookie, the 49ers leaned on their third-year fullback. Bill Walsh made Craig a rarely seen chess piece, and the former Nebraska hurdler delivered. Craig rushed for 1,050 yards but caught an NFL-most 92 passes to gain 1,016 through the air. He added a career-high 15 touchdowns. Marcus Allen earned MVP acclaim in this season, which is better known for the Bears and Ronnie Lott’s pinkie. But Craig’s versatility opus still stands out.

 

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With Peyton Manning throwing him passes, Harrison never had a reasonable MVP path. But his age-30 season came closest. Although Harrison did not receive a vote, he was far and away the NFL’s best wideout that year and moved the position into new statistical terrain. Harrison set the NFL’s single-season receptions record in Week 15, and immediately threw the ball back to officials upon doing so, and shattered Herman Moore’s mark with 143 by year’s end. Hines Ward was a distant second with 112. Harrison’s 1,722 yards led the field by nearly 400 as well. This set the table for Manning’s run of MVPs. 

 

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While a “feat. Randy Moss” credit is necessary, Cunningham proved he could thrive as a pocket passer. The unretired quarterback experienced frequent criticism as a passer in Philadelphia, but at 35, he took advantage of the best weaponry array of his career. Terrell Davis’ 2,000-yard season clinched MVP honors, but Cunningham threw for 3,704 yards in 34 touchdown passes in 14 starts. The Vikings had gone 9-7 in 1997; with Cunningham (and Moss) in ’98: 15-1. Behind Cunningham, Minnesota broke a 15-year-old scoring record with 556 points.

 

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This was not a good year to wage an MVP campaign, with Patrick Mahomes setting the league ablaze. But Donald coasted to Defensive Player of the Year acclaim, soaring to a 20.5-sack season. The Rams defensive tackle flourished under Wade Phillips, helping them to Super Bowl LIII. While their defense was not statistically great, Donald helped compensate — most notably in Los Angeles’ epic Monday-night win over Kansas City, when Donald stripped Mahomes twice. Donald seized the “best defender alive” belt during J.J. Watt’s previous injury hiatus and has not given it back.

 

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From 1990-97, either Smith or Barry Sanders won the rushing title. Behind another dominant offensive line, Smith took his turn in 1995 and led Dallas to its third Super Bowl title in four years. Smith broke John Riggins’ 12-year-old record with 25 rushing touchdowns — 10 more than anyone else in 1995 — and led the league with 1,773 rushing yards. Four of Smith’s five O-linemen made the Pro Bowl, with Hall of Fame guard Larry Allen — not present on the previous two Cowboy Super Bowl teams — debuting as a full-time starter in ’95. Brett Favre’s first MVP season edged out Smith.

 

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25. Rob Gronkowski, 2011

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Gronkowski began his long run as the NFL’s best tight end in his sophomore campaign. Despite being a second-round pick with an injury past, Gronk set the tight end receiving record (1,327 yards). That has been broken, but the ex-Patriot icon’s 17 touchdown catches remain the tight end standard. Gronkowski’s emergence helped the worst of Bill Belichick’s Patriots defenses (31st in yards) to Super Bowl XLVI and opened the door to another set of Tom Brady Super Bowl appearances (four pre-Gronk, six post). Brady finished with a career-high 5,325 yards in 2011. No tight end dominated more than Gronk during his Pats years.

 

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24. Deacon Jones, 1967

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Although sacks were not official until 1982, pass rushers had field days dropping QBs in anonymity. Defenders could mug receivers, and O-linemen were heavily restricted in how they could block until the late 1970s. Jones also had his since-banned head-slap maneuver. That said, Jones was an all-time menace in his heyday. Accounts vary on his masterpiece season, but the Rams defensive end recorded between 21.5 and 26 sacks during a year in which Los Angeles went 11-1-2 to lead the NFL. This was Jones at his peak, at age 29, he teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen to power a talented Rams team. 

 

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23. Jim Brown, 1959

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This list could devolve into “Best non-MVP Jim Brown seasons.” The Cleveland phenom was in the heart of an unparalleled prime in his third season. The result: a runaway rushing title. Only two running backs eclipsed 900 rushing yards in 1959. Brown came in at 1,329 — 293 ahead of second-place J.D. Smith of the 49ers — in the 12-game season. Cleveland had two Hall of Famers in its backfield that year, in Brown and Bobby Mitchell. They combined for over 2,000 yards. The 1957 and ’58 MVP, Brown scored 14 touchdowns but lost out to Johnny Unitas for the award.

 

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22. Jamal Lewis, 2003

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No. 3 on the all-time single-season rushing list, Lewis lost out on MVP acclaim when Peyton Manning and Steve McNair shared it. Lewis bizarrely ranked fourth, behind Brady as well, after carrying Baltimore’s offense to a 10-6 record and an AFC North title. The Ravens used a first-round pick on Kyle Boller and used him and journeyman Anthony Wright in Lewis’ fourth year. The Ravens ranked 32nd in passing yards but turned to their hardnosed back, who broke the single-game rushing record in Week 2 (295 yards) and finished with 2,066 to go with 14 TDs. This was Lewis’ only Pro Bowl or All-Pro season.

 

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Voyaging to back-to-back Super Bowl routs, the Cowboys were 3-0 against the 49ers from 1992-93. Each win came by double digits. With Sanders as a one-year hired gun, San Francisco beat Dallas twice en route to a Super Bowl blowout. The era’s premier cover man changed the course of modern NFL history, joining Steve Young and Co. in stopping a Cowboys three-peat. Despite signing in September and missing two games, Sanders intercepted six passes and took three back for TDs. The ex-Falcon and future Cowboy totaled 303 return yards and dueled with No. 1 wideouts, helping the 49ers go from 16th to sixth in scoring defense.

 

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20. Ray Lewis, 2000

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Statistically, Lewis’ 2003 Defensive Player of the Year campaign was better. But the Ravens middle linebacker made a defining team defensive season possible. Wearing bigger shoulder pads and sporting a bulkier physique due to the era, Lewis was still a sideline-to-sideline demon who led Baltimore to a 12-4 record. Lewis’ 137 tackles (14 for loss) and two INTs were not career-highs, but the Ravens held the opposition to 10.3 points per game — the lowest in the 16-game era’s 43 years — and won two games in which its offense failed to score a touchdown. The Super Bowl champs do not hit these heights without their 25-year-old leader.

 

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Johnson did not receive an MVP vote, with Adrian Peterson edging Peyton Manning during a season that featured a 4-12 Lions team, but he left no doubt as to the NFL’s wideout of the moment. Megatron broke Jerry Rice’s 17-year-old record with a 1,964-yard season. Only one receiver, Andre Johnson, came within 400 yards of the 6-foot-5 marvel in 2012. While today’s wideouts have easier paths to production, and the Lions phenom only scored five TDs, Megatron dropped both of his 200-yard games on playoff opposition and broke Rice’s record in an 11-catch, 225-yard Week 16 day against a Falcons team on its way to the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

 

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18. Randall Cunningham, 1990

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Cunningham ran into perhaps the toughest MVP luck of anyone, finishing second in the AP balloting four times. Joe Montana won in 1990, but Cunningham received 18 votes (to the 49ers QB’s 26) and had a clear case. The Eagles QB dropped an ahead-of-its-time 3,466-942 passing-rushing double that featured 30 TD passes and five more rushing scores. Cunningham’s 30 touchdown passes —  highlighted by this one — ranked second to Warren Moon, and in a season in which the Eagles defense ranked only 12th, their quarterback powered the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth out of an all-time great division. 

 

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Reed’s “best safety ever” claim began in his third season. The Ravens were still trying Kyle Boller at quarterback and ranked 31st in total offense. They still went 9-7, behind the league’s No. 6-ranked defense. Reed was at the epicenter of this effort, intercepting nine passes and returning them for a then-record 358 yards. Reed thwarted a Browns game-tying touchdown attempt with a 106-yard pick-six; he broke this NFL record four years later. Overall in 2004, the ex-Miami Hurricane totaled 12 forced turnovers for 402 yards and two TDs. It is hard for a modern safety to be more productive.

 

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16. Barry Sanders, 1994

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The Lions went from starting three QBs in 1993 to turning to Scott Mitchell and a 36-year-old Dave Krieg in 1994. Fortunately, they had the era’s best running back. Sanders broke through to power the Lions back to the playoffs, rushing for 1,883 yards on 5.7 per carry. Detroit ranked 24th in passing yards in a 28-team league. Sanders’ masterpiece came in Week 3 when the Lions beat the defending champion Cowboys after their running back’s 40-carry, 194-yard night. This was the second of Sanders’ four rushing titles; he led the league by more than 300 yards.

 

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15. J.J. Watt, 2014

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This Watt version became the only defender to receive more than one MVP vote since James Harrison in 2008. Watt garnered 13 — the most any defensive player has since Lawrence Taylor won the award in 1986. Watt recorded 20.5 sacks, a career-high 51 QB hits and 29 tackles for loss (tied, with 2015 Watt, for second in the TFL era). His MVP push centered on touchdowns. The fourth-year Texan scored five — on a pick-six, a fumble-six and, in a one-year-only role, three as a tight end. Illustrating defenders’ MVP futility, this perfect storm could not top Aaron Rodgers’ third-best season. 

 

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14. Jerry Rice, 1995

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In a year that featured passing numbers balloon leaguewide, the 49ers played five games without Steve Young. At 33, Rice confirmed his prime was not finished. In the middle of an unapproached span of 10 first-team All-Pro nods in 11 years, Rice broke the single-season receiving record with 1,848 yards. In the five-game stretch with second-year backup Elvis Grbac, Rice posted four 100-yard games — including a 161-yard performance in a 49ers upset win in Dallas. The all-time receiving kingpin punctuated his season with a 289-yard showing on a December Monday night against the Vikings.

 

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13. Lester Hayes, 1980

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In the third year of the NFL’s shift toward a pass-focused product, Hayes dropped a throwback season that made a major difference in a Super Bowl push. During eight of his 10 seasons, the Raiders cornerback did not surpass four interceptions. “The Judge” snared 13 INTs in his fourth season and posted 273 return yards. Hayes had four more called back due to penalty and later managed five playoff picks. Yes, the since-banned Stickum was heavily involved. But Hayes did not stack these picks against bad QBs; he intercepted a pass in 12 games. In the 40 seasons since, only one player — the Cowboys’ Everson Walls — has even reached 11 INTs.

 

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Venturing into Sanders territory and doing so in a pass-crazed era, Johnson set the NFL record for scrimmage yards with 2,509 in his second season. “CK2K” spawned because of this season, and although the Titans’ 8-8 record (after an 0-6 start) kept Johnson off the MVP radar, it remains an all-time great slate in rushing annals. After being held under 100 yards in four of his first five games, Johnson finished with 11 straight three-digit outings. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and accomplished all this against teams geared toward stopping him and not Vince Young.

 

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11. Charley Hennigan, 1961

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So obscure that photos have proven elusive, Hennigan was the 1961 AFL champion Oilers’ top yard-gainer. But the wide receiver’s total resided in another stratosphere compared to peers. In a 14-game season, Hennigan posted 1,746 yards. Even in what became a pass-friendly AFL, that total bested all other receivers by nearly 600. The 6-foot-1 ex-high school biology teacher’s 82 catches did not lead the league, and Bill Groman’s 17 TD grabs paced the Oilers. Hennigan, however, averaged 21.3 yards per catch and had three 200-yard games in teaming with George Blanda. Hennigan’s single-season record stood for 34 years.

 

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10. J.J. Watt, 2012

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Watt is far from the best player on this list, but it is impossible to exclude his second season. The Texans defensive end delivered one of modern sports’ signature breakouts, running up a mind-boggling combination of numbers. Watt’s 20.5 sacks led the league, but his peripheral stats are more impressive. The interior pass rusher recorded 39 tackles for loss. For perspective, no one else since TFLs became charted (in 1999) has surpassed 30. No non-Watt season has ever topped 28. The 23-year-old sensation also forced four fumbles and tallied 16 passes defensed — seven more than any other D-lineman that year — in the Texans’ 12-4 season.

 

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9. Earl Campbell, 1980

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Winding down their “Luv Ya Blue” run, the Oilers traded Dan Pastorini for Ken Stabler in 1980. The future Hall of Famer threw 13 TD passes and 28 INTs. The Oilers still went 11-5 and won the AFC Central for the first time. This happened because Campbell was unstoppable in his third season. Browns QB Brian Sipe won MVP honors, but this was Campbell’s defining season. He amassed career highs in rushing yards (1,934) and yards per carry (5.2) and dominated despite presenting nary a receiving threat (47 yards). Campbell’s career steadily declined after this, but his ’80 season is a time-capsule rushing year.

 

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The heart of Brees’ Saints dominance saw Dan Marino’s 27-year-old single-season yardage record fall and the New Orleans QB lead the NFL in touchdown passes (46) and completion percentage (a then-record 71.2 figure). But Aaron Rodgers garnered 48 of the 50 MVP votes while leading a 15-1 Packers team. Helping Jimmy Graham become an all-time fantasy sleeper, Brees threw for 5,476 yards to lead a 13-3 Saints team. The future career pass yardage kingpin threw at least one touchdown pass in every game, on his way to breaking Johnny Unitas’ record for consecutive games with a TD toss in 2012. That currently stands at 54. 

 

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7. Randy Moss, 2007

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The season that lifted Tom Brady onto the elite quarterback tier can be traced to the Patriots swindling the Raiders for Moss . Bill Belichick giving up a fourth-round pick for the 30-year-old superstar transformed the Patriots, and though Brady was the unanimous MVP, Moss kind of deserved co-MVP acclaim. Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and an NFL-record 23 touchdowns. Just as he catalyzed the 1998 Vikings, Moss lifted the Pats to the NFL’s lone 16-0 season. Brady’s TD number ballooned from 24 in a non-Pro Bowl 2006 season to 50. That record has fallen; no one has approached Moss’ TD standard.

 

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6. Jerry Rice, 1987

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Fantasy players in the discipline’s infancy cleaned up if they drafted Rice in his third season. It is both a dominant display indicative of the wideout deity’s future while simultaneously a tantalizing “what if?” year. Due to a players’ strike, Rice played 12 games. He caught 22 touchdown passes. Only one other player topped eight  that year. Rice also added a rushing score, and his 1,078 yards would have led the league had Cardinals wideout J.T. Smith not crossed the picket line. The 49ers went 13-2, and Rice and Joe Montana split MVP votes in a year when John Elway won. It took Moss all 16 games to break Rice’s record.

 

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5. Marshall Faulk, 1999

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In a three-year stretch when the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” claimed three MVP awards, Faulk scored 26 touchdowns to win the award in 2000. His Rams debut may have been better. Acquired from the Colts that spring, Faulk became the second player in NFL history to go 1,000-1,000. Kurt Warner won the 1999 MVP, but Faulk was the biggest difference between a bad 1998 Rams team and its Super Bowl champion outfit. The explosive back reached 2,429 scrimmage yards — still second-most all time — and averaged 5.5 per carry in his age-26 season, one that drove St. Louis to a championship. 

 

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4. Reggie White, 1987

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In addition to Rice’s unfathomable TD edge on his peers, 1987 featured a fellow all-time great lap his contemporaries in sacks. Like Rice, White played 12 games because of the strike. He registered a career-high 21 sacks — 8.5 more than anyone else. While the historically gifted power rusher was a star from the jump after two USFL seasons, White’s monster third NFL slate did not come from big games. He notched a sack in 11 games and got to 21 without a four-sack showing. White’s consistency would remain until the late 1990s. The record Michael Strahan owns would be buried had the NFL’s regulars played 16 games in 1987.

 

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3. Eric Dickerson, 1984

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During their lengthy period without a reliable quarterback, the Rams landed an offensive centerpiece in the 1983 first round. A year later, Dickerson set the NFL rushing record. After totaling 390 carries as a rookie, Dickerson logged 379 and turned those into 2,105 yards — a number that has topped info graphics for a generation. He rushed for 14 TDs, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and was so effective the Rams barely threw to him (139 yards). The Rams made the playoffs with career backup Jeff Kemp as their primary starting quarterback, ranking 27th in passing and winning 10 games. Dan Marino cruised to MVP honors in ’84.

 

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2. O.J. Simpson, 1975

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Simpson’s prime goes understandably overlooked now, but in addition to his 1973 2,000-yard MVP season, the Bills running back was perhaps even better two years later. At 28, Simpson led the NFL in rushing for the third time in four years. He got to 1,817 yards on 5.5 per carry but far exceeded his ’73 work in other areas. After a 12-TD 1973, Simpson scored 23 times in ’75 and eclipsed his scrimmage-yards total as well by reaching 2,243 — easily the best mark in the NFL’s 14-game era. Buffalo went 8-6 and missed the playoffs, further obscuring this transcendent season. 

 

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1. Jim Brown, 1963

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Y.A. Tittle’s 36 touchdown passes earned him MVP honors; the Giants finished 11-3 to the Browns’ 10-4. But there is no satisfactory explanation for the most dominant player in NFL history’s best season receiving seven votes to Tittle’s 33. Brown’s 1,863 rushing yards broke his own NFL record by 336. He averaged 6.4 per carry and a career-best 133 per game and totaled 15 TDs. A better illustration of the gap between Cleveland’s fullback terminator and the other men paid to take handoffs: Jim Taylor — the 1962 MVP — ranked second with 1,018 yards. Respected as he is, Brown is underrated. His three MVPs are not enough.

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Fair or not, quarterbacks get a healthy amount of praise and/or criticism for their teams’ success. Having the ball in your hands tends to have certain responsibilities, after all. Whether it’s playing mistake-free or carrying their teammates on their backs, quarterbacks play a huge part in the outcome of a game, especially the Super Bowl.The championship game brings together the last passers standing from each conference. Both bring a different flair to the position, but the goal remains the same: Win the game. This has produced some epic quarterback duels, from both players trading scores or young upstarts making names for themselves by knocking off the top dogs. The Super Bowl brings out the best in quarterbacks or crushes them under immense pressure. Either way, it’s highly entertaining. With that in mind, here is a ranking of every Super Bowl quarterback matchup.

 

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Fans and experts called this the “Blunder Bowl” for a reason. Despite having great quarterbacks in Johnny Unitas and Craig Morton, neither showed up for the biggest game of the year. Unitas didn’t even finish the game, getting knocked out in the second quarter but not before he threw two interceptions compared to just three completions. Morton survived the game but didn’t fare any better, throwing three interceptions and completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Many people want to forget this one.

 

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Some of the greatest quarterbacks in the game have played in the Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins are not among them. Both teams rode running games and strong defenses. It seems that any quarterback who played it safe could’ve been behind center and would have made it to the game. The Super Bowl only confirmed those suspicions. Collins got roughed up by one of the best defenses of all time, getting picked off and sacked four times each. Dilfer technically won the duel by getting the win but didn’t do much, completing less than 50 percent of his passes but throwing for a touchdown. Most Super Bowls have at least one quarterback who performs well. This one had none.

 

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Yes, it’s Peyton Manning, but he was a shell of his former self, relying on the excellence of his defense to win. Cam Newton established himself as one of the faces of the NFL with 3,837 passing yards, 636 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns. Newton was expected to excel, but not even he could solve the Denver D. Newton was sacked six times and threw one interception. He also lost two fumbles in a messy game. Manning held on for dear life, throwing for only 141 yards and taking five sacks. Manning-Newton is a great generational debate. Unfortunately, the reality in 2016 was so much worse.

 

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50. Super Bowl VII: Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, and Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins

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Both Super Bowl quarterbacks had less than ideal starts to the season. Bob Griese fractured his leg early in the year, while Billy Kilmer was replaced three games into the season by a 38-year-old Sonny Jurgensen before gaining the starting job again after the veteran went down with an Achilles injury. Both weren’t much of a factor in this Super Bowl. Griese leaned heavily on Larry Csonka and the stable of running backs behind him, completing only eight passes on 11 attempts. Kilmer did the same but ended up contributing to the Redskins’ woes with three interceptions. This was not a quarterback duel fans would remember.

 

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49. Super Bowl II: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, and Daryle Lamonica, Oakland Raiders

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The wily veteran vs. the young gunslinger: Starr was playing in what was the last season of his Hall of Fame career, while Lamonica was setting the AFL on fire with his powerful arm. The “Mad Bomber” found out it takes a lot more than a big arm to win the Super Bowl, though, as Starr managed the game to perfection to win his second straight championship. For all his production in the regular season, Lamonica couldn’t move the ball against a stingy Green Bay defense. It didn’t help that the Packers were eating the clock with long possessions, keeping the explosive Oakland offense on the bench. Lamonica got some garbage-time yards and finished with 208 yards and two touchdowns, but Starr expertly led the Packers behind an efficient 202 yards on 13 completions with one touchdown.

 

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48. Super Bowl VIII: Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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Much like in the previous year’s Super Bowl, Bob Griese didn’t have to do much to help the Dolphins win their second straight championship. He had to complete six passes this time while leaning on Larry Csonka again. Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton did his best to dance and scramble the Vikings back in the game but found it hard to do anything against Miami. He finished with 182 passing yards and one interception. It was another snoozer of a quarterback matchup.

 

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After the previous few Super Bowl quarterback matchups, this one was a dud. It wasn’t the talent level that was the problem. Ben Roethlisberger got hurt during the season and still put up 2,385 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games. Matt Hasselbeck rode Shaun Alexander’s 28-touchdown MVP campaign and threw for 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions. The Super Bowl was another story. The game was plagued by questionable officiating, and the players didn’t do much to make it any better. Roethlisberger went 9-of-21 in his pass attempts and was intercepted twice. Hasselbeck did better, with 273 pass yards, but was sacked three times. It was an ugly game in terms of quarterback play.

 

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With one of the greatest quarterbacks ever on one side and an emerging star in Los Angeles on the other, you would have thought Super Bowl LIII’s quarterback matchup would have produced better results. Unfortunately fans were subjected to one of the most boring offensive displays in this pass-heavy era of football. Jared Goff, who passed for 4,688 passing yards and 32 touchdowns in the 2018 season, was stoned by Bill Belichick, looking lost while only completing 50 percent of his passes and guiding the Rams to three points. Brady, who was no slouch with over 4,300 passing yards, threw his signature dump-offs and slants for a yawn-inducing 262 yards and wasn’t directly responsible for any points scored by New England. Many were expecting fireworks for this matchup but instead got one of the most infuriating Super Bowl games ever.

 

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45. Super Bowl XX: Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears, and Tony Eason, New England Patriots

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You could’ve literally put any quarterback against the Chicago Bears defense in 1985, and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Bears were going to win no matter what. Jim McMahon was a solid quarterback, completing 12 passes for 256 passing yards, but Tony Eason couldn’t do anything, missing all six of his pass attempts before getting knocked out of the game. This couldn’t be a more forgettable matchup.

 

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44. Super Bowl I: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, and Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs

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The first Super Bowl featured two of the era’s most accurate passers. Len Dawson led the AFL with a 56 percent completion percentage, while Starr completed 62.2 percent of his passes to lead the NFL. Even though Dawson crushed Starr in the touchdown department (26-14), it was Starr who prevailed in the championship game. After star receiver Boyd Dowler went down, Starr rode veteran tight end Max McGee the entire game, completing seven passes to him for 138 yards. Dawson couldn’t keep up with Starr, finishing with 39 fewer pass yards and throwing a critical third quarter interception that gave Green Bay the momentum the rest of the game. The Packers won, 35-10.

 

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The Colts were 18-point favorites to destroy the less-productive Jets. A big reason for that huge spread was Morrall, who led the NFL with 26 touchdowns in 1968. Joe Namath, who was looked like a woefully inferior quarterback in comparison, boldly claimed the Jets would win the Super Bowl three days before the game was played. The rest was history. Morrall couldn’t solve the Jets defense, throwing three interceptions before being replaced by veteran Johnny Unitas. Namath, on the other hand, dinked and dunked his way past the Colts’ blitzing defense, finishing with 206 yards on 17 completions. He may not have torched the AFL during the season, but he did what he needed to do to win the league’s first Super Bowl.

 

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42. Super Bowl IX: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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With two historic defenses in this Super Bowl, there was little hope that either quarterback was going to flex his muscles much. Terry Bradshaw found some success getting on Franco Harris’ back and riding his 158 rushing yards. He finished the game with nine completions and a touchdown. Fran Tarkenton once again was foiled by a great defense, throwing three interceptions, and the “Steel Curtain” stuffed Chuck Foreman time and time again.

 

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41. Super Bowl IV: Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs, and Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings

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Joe Kapp wasn’t a passer like Len Dawson, but he was so tough on runs from the quarterback position that he earned the nickname “indestructible.” Dawson had a rough season, missing six games with a knee injury, and he barely qualified for the playoffs. The fortunes flipped in the Super Bowl. Kapp never had to play against a defense as big as the Chiefs’. He struggled to find receivers, throwing two interceptions, and ran for only 9 yards. On the other side of the field, Dawson had an easier time taking advantage of open receivers on the short routes, throwing for 142 yards on 12 completions with one touchdown. Neither quarterback lit the world on fire, as the defenses dominated this game.

 

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The 33-year-old Jim Plunkett revived his career with the Raiders after stinking it up in New England and San Francisco. With Ron Jaworski leading the Eagles with 3,529 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular season, this was set to be a great matchup. Well, at least Plunkett came to play. Plunkett put on a deep-ball clinic, throwing for three touchdowns and 261 yards on 13 completions. Jaworski, on the other hand, went the opposite direction, getting picked off three times. The Eagles scored only 10 points, and the Raiders won easily.

 

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39. Super Bowl XVII: Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins, and David Woodley, Miami Dolphins

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The quarterback position and the Miami Dolphins have a curious relationship. The team reached four Super Bowls to this point without a quarterback who put up huge numbers. Even though this matchup featured the top-rated passer in the NFC in Joe Theismann, not even he was enough to make this duel intriguing with David Woodley behind center for Miami. Woodley completed four of his 14 pass attempts for 96 yards, with a majority of them coming from a 76-yard scoring connection with Jimmy Cefalo in the first quarter. Theismann did his best to make the quarterback battle semi-exciting, completing 15-of-23 passes for 143 yards with two touchdowns. His two interceptions were an eyesore though, making this matchup a bore.

 

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38. Super Bowl XI: Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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The third time was not the charm for Fran Tarkenton. Even after establishing himself as the league’s all-time leader in pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, he couldn’t get over the hump to win a Super Bowl. Tarkenton had trouble with the Raiders’ 3-4 defense filled with aggressive, hard-hitting players. Ken Stabler, on the other hand, had no problem solving the Purple People Eaters defense, handing the ball off to Clarence Davis and Mark van Eeghen and managing the game perfectly by completing 12-of-19 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.

 

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37. Super Bowl VI: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, and Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins

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Two young, hotshot quarterbacks met in Super Bowl VI, with Roger Staubach earning the starting job in his third year, while Bob Griese threw for nearly 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. The former Navy Vietnam veteran rode a productive run game and chipped in with 119 yards on 12 completions, including two passing touchdowns. Griese couldn’t carry the load after his running game failed him, throwing for 134 yards, getting picked off once and fumbling the ball. He would have a chance to redeem himself soon enough.

 

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36. Super Bowl XII: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, and Craig Morton, Denver Broncos

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Roger Staubach replaced Craig Morton as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback in 1971, and Dallas never looked back. Morton got a chance for revenge against his former team in Super Bowl XII. He did not capitalize. Morton fell victim to Dallas’ Doomsday Defense, throwing four interceptions and completing only four passes for 39 yards. Staubach had more success against the vaunted Orange Crush Denver defense, throwing for 183 yards and one touchdown. This was hyped a revenge game but ended up being a dud.

 

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35. Super Bowl XIV: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Vince Ferragamo, Los Angeles Rams

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It was already a miracle that the Rams made it into the playoffs, and they got to the Super Bowl, which was even more unbelievable. But it was no thanks to quarterback Vince Ferragamo. The fourth-round draft pick was expected to get outdueled by Terry Bradshaw, and he didn’t do much to fight that. Ferragamo finished the game with 212 passing yards but never hit pay dirt for a score and had one pass intercepted. Bradshaw may have had three passes picked off, but he added two touchdowns and threw for 309 yards. There wasn’t much back and forth like there was with him and Staubach the previous year. It was all Bradshaw this time.

 

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34. Super Bowl XVIII: Jim Plunkett, Los Angeles Raiders, and Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins

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Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks usually provide a matchup full of potential. With MVP-winning Joe Theismann and Jim Plunkett still showing off his big arm, everyone was expecting an explosive Super Bowl. Neither delivered. Plunkett took a backseat to running back Marcus Allen, who rushed for 191 yards. The Raiders quarterback at least notched one touchdown. Theismann couldn’t even manage that, throwing two interceptions. The Raiders made the Super Bowl a laugher, winning 38-9.

 

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Before Phil Simms was doing Super Bowl broadcasts, he was on the field winning one. The “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” Giants defense may have gotten the headlines, but Simms led the offense with 3,487 passing yards. John Elway was already entertaining crowds with his ability to scramble. In the Super Bowl, Simms outdueled Elway with three touchdowns, while Elway had a tough time moving the ball against Lawrence Taylor and Co. He still finished with over 300 yards passing, but he was unable to make the Super Bowl intriguing.

 

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32. Super Bowl XLVIII: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, and Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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You would think in a matchup featuring a record-setting Peyton Manning, who threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, would be exciting no matter what. It was quite the contrary when he ran into the Legion of Boom. Manning was throttled by Seattle, throwing two interceptions, getting sacked once and losing a fumble. Russell Wilson gobbled up the extra possessions his defense gave him, managing the game perfectly with 206 yards and two touchdowns. What was supposed to be a competitive matchup ended up being a laugher.

 

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31. Super Bowl XXII: Doug Williams, Washington Redskins, and John Elway, Denver Broncos

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Redskins quarterback Doug Williams started the season on the bench but took over the starting job at the end of the season. In five games, he piled up 1,156 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he was running into a buzz saw in John Elway, who just completed another excellent season in which he threw for nearly 3,200 yards. Instead, Williams stole the show. The first African-American quarterback to start a Super Bowl threw four touchdowns. Unable to shake his Super Bowl woes, Elway threw three interceptions and was sacked five times. Williams wowed the crowd, but Elway couldn’t join him in making this a more entertaining game.

 

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30. Super Bowl XIX: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins

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Montana vs. Mr. 5,000 — this was going to be the quarterback matchup to end all quarterback matchups. Dan Marino became the first quarterback to eclipse 5,000 yards in a season, and Joe Montana threw for 28 touchdowns. Well, at least one of them showed up. Montana destroyed Marino in a head-to-head battle, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another. Marino did the best he could, throwing for 318 yards, but he was picked off twice. Many people argued that Marino was well on his way to supplanting Montana at the top of the quarterback mountain, but the 49ers legend put those statements to bed.

 

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29. Super Bowl XXIV: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and John Elway, Denver Broncos

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Two legendary quarterbacks faced off in Super Bowl XXIV, and both confirmed their respective reputations through their performances, for better or for worse. John Elway came into the game losing his last two Super Bowls, and he didn’t do much to quell criticism that he couldn’t win the big game. He didn’t have his best season, and that inconsistency showed in the championship game, where he threw two interceptions and was sacked four times. Montana cemented his penchant for big performances, pummeling the Broncos into submission through the air with 297 passing yards and five touchdowns to set a Super Bowl record. He didn’t need Elway to give the fans a show.

 

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In 1991, Mark Rypien and Jim Kelly were lighting up the NFL. Rypien threw for 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Kelly continued to masterfully orchestrate the K-Gun offense, throwing for 3,844 yards with a league-high 33 touchdowns. Unfortunately, this was another matchup he did not capitalize on. Kelly got thrown around by the Washington defense, getting sacked five times and throwing four interceptions. Rypien took advantage of Kelly’s miscues, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns. This wasn’t the first or last time Kelly was bested on the biggest stage.

 

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27. Super Bowl XXVIII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

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For the first time in NFL history, the same two teams made it to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years. Aikman-Kelly was set up to be a barnburner, with Aikman still commanding an efficient offense, while Kelly led the Bills to the best record in the AFC. Unfortunately for the Bills, history would repeat itself. Kelly attempted 50 passes but had a hard time moving the ball, with one interception and three sacks. Aikman didn’t have to dominate the game like he did the year before, with Emmitt Smith rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Aikman and the Cowboys coasted to another easy win, and the Jim Kelly Bills earned the dubious honor of being known as the greatest team to never win a Super Bowl.

 

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26. Super Bowl XLI: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, and Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears

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Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl was a momentous occasion with one of the greatest quarterbacks finally making it to the championship game. Too bad there wasn’t a similar quarterback on the other side of the field to make the game interesting. Rex Grossman was a fine quarterback, but he didn’t have the clout that would’ve made this a heavyweight battle. He finished the game with 20 completions for only 165 yards and was picked off twice. Not even Manning lit up the Miami sky. He finished with 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It wasn’t his best game, but he got the job done.

 

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25. Super Bowl XXVII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

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It was another year in which Jim Kelly dominated the AFC in the no-huddle offense, but a new challenger rose from the NFC. Troy Aikman led a Cowboys team that finished second in the league in scoring, throwing for 3,445 yards and 23 touchdowns. Aikman lit up the Bills, throwing four touchdowns and going 22-of-30 on his pass attempts. After throwing two interceptions, Kelly reinjured his knee that kept him out of the first two playoff games, knocking him out of the game. The Bills lost for the third straight year in the Super Bowl.

 

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24. Super Bowl XXIX: Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, and Stan Humphries, San Diego Chargers

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Stan Humphries was thrust into the national spotlight by making the Super Bowl with the surprise Chargers. He threw for 3,209 yards, but on the other side of the field he ran into Steve Young, the 49ers quarterback who had Joe Montana’s big shoes to fill and a lot of questions as to if he could win a big game. He made sure people knew he was ready against San Diego. Young torched the Chargers for 325 yards and six touchdowns, breaking Montana’s previous record of five touchdown passes set in Super Bowl XXIV. Humphries’ luck ran out against the 49ers, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked twice before being replaced in the fourth quarter. The one-sided affair made this a mediocre matchup.

 

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23. Super Bowl XXV: Jeff Hostetler, New York Giants, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills

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Jim Kelly and Buffalo’s no-huddle K-Gun offense was supposed to be the main draw in the matchup with Jeff Hostetler playing game manager filling in for an injured Phil Simms. The game was a lot more entertaining than that. Hostetler and Kelly battled to a near draw, with Hostetler throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown, while Kelly put up 212 yards, including 28 yards late in the fourth quarter to set up the potential game-winning field goal. However, as many Buffalo fans know, Scott Norwood missed the kick, giving the Giants the win.

 

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22. Super Bowl XVI: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals

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In terms of quarterback matchups, this was marquee-worthy. A young Joe Montana emerged for the 49ers, leading the league with a 63.7 completion percentage. On the other side, Ken Anderson won the NFL MVP and Comeback Player of the Year, throwing for 3,754 yards and 29 touchdowns. Their duel in Super Bowl was impressive. Montana started the scoring with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter and followed that up with a passing score in the second. After the 49ers jumped to a 20-0 lead at halftime, it was all Anderson from there. His third-quarter rushing touchdown was the only score that quarter, and he notched two fourth-quarter throwing scores, one of them with 22 seconds left to pull the Bengals within five. The only thing Anderson needed was time, something he was not afforded after a failed onside kick gave Montana his first Super Bowl win, starting a legendary career.

 

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21. Super Bowl XXX: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Neil O’Donnell, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Troy Aikman returned …