The NFL offseason is well underway, but that never means that the controversial debates quite end. Over the years, some of the most elite quarterbacks have stepped forward and secured themselves a Super Bowl ring, solidifying their legacy among the past NFL greats. On the contrary, how about the quarterbacks that we have forgotten over the years? Those who won themselves a world championship, but have received very little credit for their actions? Here are the five worst quarterbacks in NFL history that have secured themselves a Super Bowl victory:
5. Jeff Hostetler (New York Giants, Defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in 1990)
With 35-year old Phil Simms originally under center for the Giants, the veteran ultimately lead them to a starting record of 10-0 in the regular season. The next four weeks, Simms saw a major decline in his play, as he lead the Giants to a 1-3 record, and also suffered a mere QBR of 60.8. When his season ended due to a broken foot, the Giants were then forced to turn to Jeff Hostetler.
During the final two games of the regular season, Hostetler was just fine, securing a 2-0 record, and an ultimate QBR of 83.2. During the postseason, Hostetler was able to edge out both the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers, and earn himself a Super Bowl ring, after a close victory of 20-19 against the Buffalo Bills.
What most don’t realize is that with four seconds remaining in the Super Bowl, Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal, which ultimately handed the Giants the Lombardi trophy that year.
Hostetler would go on to leave the Giants in 1993 for the Raiders, and he winded up finishing his career as a backup for the Washington Redskins in 1997. Was he the worst quarterback to ever win himself a title? I wouldn’t say so, but I would claim that he is up there, as the Giants limped their way into an unimpressive Super Bowl victory.
4. Jim McMahon (Chicago Bears, Defeated the New England Patriots 46-10 in 1986)
After being selected fifth overall by the Chicago Bears in the 1982 NFL Draft, McMahon was immediately granted the starting role by the franchise. Finishing the regular season with a 15-1 record was almost unheard of at the time, but what did McMahon really provide to the Bears that a mediocre quarterback couldn’t?
With arguably the best defense in NFL history, Walter Payton in the backfield (who was still effective at the time), and other high-powered offensive weapons surrounding him, McMahon had all the pieces he needed to secure himself a title. Defeating the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, and the New England Patriots in the postseason, the Bears only went on to allow only 10 points through the entire playoff stage that season.
McMahon went on to secure himself yet another Super Bowl in 1996, as he defeated the Green Bay Packers, who had backup QB Brett Favre under center at the time.
3. Brad Johnson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Defeated the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in 2002)
Throughout his career, by the numbers, Brad Johnson was a decent quarterback. Totaling 29,054 passing yards, 166 touchdowns, and 122 interceptions, Johnson saw his first and only championship run in the 2001-2 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That season, Johnson started in 13 games, leading the franchise to a 10-3 record.
Surpassing the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles through the playoffs, the Bucs went on to dominate the Raiders in the Super Bowl by a score of 48-21. During that game, Johnson was 18-34 with 215 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. While Johnson deserves some credit for the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run, the defense, as well as running back Michael Pittman, deserve a bulk of it.
2. Joe Namath (New York Jets, Defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in 1969)
Seeing Namath on this list will come as a surprise to many, but the fact of the matter is that the vintage quarterback was actually quite mediocre during periods of his career. On four separate occasions, Namath lead the league in interceptions, and twice recorded a whopping total of 28 turnovers through the air.
During the 1968-9 campaign, Namath assisted the Jets to begin the season 11-3, which granted them access into the postseason. Facing off against the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, Namath is remembered for never having to attempt a pass throughout the fourth quarter.
Coming in as the steep underdogs, “Broadway” Joe Namath wound up predicting a victory over the Colts before the game began, which is why he is such a legend to this date. The antics of Namath were one side of the tale, while his numbers tell a completely different story.
1. Trent Dilfer (Baltimore Ravens, Defeated the New York Giants 34-7 in 2001)
Signed as a last-second backup to Tony Banks at the time, Dilfer eventually fixated himself under center for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2000-1 season. Known as one of the modern “game managers” at the time, Dilfer’s job was essentially to cut down on turnovers, and let the defense win games for the franchise.
Going 7-1 as the starting quarterback, Dilfer threw for 1,502 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Dilfer was never projected to start for the Ravens that season, and he certainly was not projected to earn himself a Super Bowl ring either. Was his run in 2000-1 awful? I wouldn’t say so, but Ravens fans need to remember that the real reason their beloved team won the championship that year was because of their historic defense.
Dilfer oddly enough was not re-signed by the franchise after their Super Bowl victory, and was instead signed by the Seattle Seahawks, who used him as a backup to Matt Hasselback at the time. During Dilfer’s final two starting gigs with the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers, he recorded a 5-12 record, and quietly made his exit from the NFL.