Through 42 Super Bowls, there have been 52 different starting quarterbacks. Among them are players who put up monster numbers and won regular-season MVP awards, and guys who still make us wonder how they ever started a Super Bowl.
Our list is top-heavy with 49ers (Joe Montana and Steve Young) and bottom-heavy with Hall of Famers (John Elway, John Unitas) and guys who will get into the Hall only with a ticket (Neil O’Donnell, Rich Gannon).
RANKING SUPER BOWL STARTING QB PERFORMANCES
|Pos.||Player, team, SB/season||Skinny|
|1.||Joe Montana, 49ers, XXIV (1989)||22-29, 297 yards, 5 TD in a 55-10 win over Broncos.
Montana was spectacular in winning his third Super Bowl MVP, throwing for a then-record five TDs and completing 76 percent of his passes against a Broncos team that boasted the top scoring defense in the NFL that season.
|2.||Steve Young, 49ers, XXIX (1994)||24-36, 325 yards, 6 TD in 49-26 win over Chargers.
Young set a Super Bowl record with six TD passes against a helpless Chargers defense. Young also led the 49ers with 49 yards rushing.
|3.||Doug Williams, Redskins, XXII (1987)||18-29, 340 yards, 4 TD, 1 interception in 42-10 win over Broncos. Williams started only two games in the 1987 regular season, but he was in top form, rallying the Redskins from an early 10-0 deficit. The Redskins scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives in the second quarter.|
|4.||Terry Bradshaw, Steelers, XIII (1978)||17-30, 318 yards, 4 TD, 1 interception in 35-31 win over Cowboys. Bradshaw set a then-Super Bowl record with his four TD passes in winning the third of his four SB titles. This was the first time in his Hall of Fame career that he threw for more than 300 yards in a game.|
|5.||Joe Montana, 49ers, XIX (1984)||24-35, 331 yards, 4 TD (1 rush) in 38-16 win over Dolphins
Montana beat Dan Marino and the Dolphins through the air with three touchdowns and another score on the ground. His 59 yards rushing were more than San Francisco star running back Roger Craig had.
|6.||Phil Simms, Giants, XXI (1986)||22-25, 268 yards, 3 TD in 39-20 win over Broncos.
Simms was masterful in setting a Super Bowl record by completing 88 percent of his passes, including 10 in a row. “This might be the best game a quarterback has ever played,” Giants coach Bill Parcells said afterward.
|7.||Troy Aikman, Cowboys, XXVII (1992)||22-30, 273 yards, 4 TD, 0 interceptions in 52-17 win over Bills.
Aikman, who was named MVP, was part of a dominating offensive performance; he completed 73 percent of his passes and orchestrated quick scoring drives. “This game meant everything to me,” Aikman said. “No matter what happens from here on out, I can say I took my team to a Super Bowl victory.”
|8.||Kurt Warner, Rams, XXXIV (1999)||24-45, 414 yards, 2 TD, 0 interceptions in 23-16 win over Titans. Warner led “The Greatest Show on Turf,” becoming the first and only player to pass for more than 400 yards in a Super Bowl.|
|9.||Joe Montana, 49ers, XXIII (1988)||23-36, 357 yards, 2 TD, 0 interceptions in 20-16 win over Bengals. Montana’s second TD pass was the game winner, a 10-yard strike to John Taylor with 34 seconds left. San Francisco dominated offensively, outgaining the Bengals 453 yards to 229.|
|10.||Tom Brady, Patriots, XXXVIII (2003)||32-48, 354 yards, 3 TD, 1 interception in 32-29 win over Panthers. Brady outdueled Jake Delhomme with a Super Bowl-record 32 completions. He led the drive that set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining.|
|11.||Roger Staubach, Cowboys, XIII (1978)||17-30, 228 yards, 3 TD, 1 interception in 35-31 loss to Steelers.Staubach nearly brought the Cowboys back from a big hole, throwing two fourth-quarter TD passes. His effort was good enough to earn him honors as the top non-winning QB performance.was good enough to earn him honors as the top non-winning QB performance.|
|12.||Bart Starr, Packers, SB I (1966)||16-23, 250 yards, 2 TD, 1 interception in 35-10 win over Chiefs.Starr’s passing yards were impressive coming in an era when big totals weren’t the norm. Starr made wide receiver Max McGee look like a Hall of Famer (7 receptions, 138 yards). McGee, who replaced an injured Boyd Dowler early in the game, broke the team curfew the night before and did not expect to play.|
|13.||Jim Plunkett, Raiders, XV (1980)||13-21, 261 yards, 3 TD, 0 interceptions in 27-10 win over Eagles. Plunkett got the Raiders started on the right foot with two first-quarter touchdown passes, including an 80-yarder to Kenny King. Plunkett started the season backing up Dan Pastorini.|
|14.||Brett Favre, Packers, XXXI (1996)||14-27, 246 yards, 3 TD (1 rush) in 35-21 win over Pats.
Favre threw a 64-yard TD pass to Andre Rison on the second play from scrimmage and a then-record 81-yard scoring pass to Antonio Freeman. Add a rushing touchdown, and it’s surprising that he was not named MVP (Desmond Howard won).
|15.||Tom Brady, Patriots, XXXIX (2004)||23-33, 236 yards, 2 TD, 0 interceptions in 24-21 win over Eagles. Brady played terrifically, but New England wide receiver Deion Branch (11 catches, 133 yards) was named MVP.|
|16.||Jake Delhomme, Panthers, XXXVIII (2003)||16-33, 323 yards, 3 TD, 0 interceptions in 32-29 loss to Patriots.Delhomme’s numbers were excellent, but unfortunately for him, Tom Brady was on the other side of the field. Delhomme connected on a Super Bowl-record 85-yard TD pass with Muhsin Muhammad, but an early fumble by the QB led to a Patriots touchdown.|
|17.||Eli Manning, Giants, XLII (2007)||19-34, 255 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int. in 17-14 win vs. Patriots
Manning shined late in one of the greatest Super Bowl upsets ever. Both of Manning’s TD passes came in the decisive fourth quarter, including the game-winner to Plaxico Burress.
|18.||John Elway, Broncos, XXXIII (1998)||18-29, 336 yards, 2 TD (1 rush), 1 pick in 34-19 win over Falcons. Elway’s last NFL game proved to be one of his best. In addition to his 80-yard TD pass to Rod Smith, Elway rushed for a score as Denver cruised.|
|19.||Kurt Warner, Rams, Super Bowl XXXVI (2001)||28-44, 365 yards, 2 TD (1 rush), 2 picks in 20-17 loss to Patriots. Warner nearly led his heavily favored Rams to a win over the upstart Patriots with a TD pass and rushing TD in the fourth quarter. But Ty Law’s 47-yard interception return in the second quarter hurt the Rams and Warner.|
|20.||Terry Bradshaw, Steelers, XIV (1979)||14-21, 309 yards, 2 TD, 3 interceptions in 31-19 win over Rams.
In his fourth and final Super Bowl championship, Bradshaw had touchdown passes of 47 yards to Lynn Swann and 73 yards to John Stallworth. Bradshaw was named game MVP for the second straight year.