According to a survey of sports sites, San Francisco signal callers have provided three of the top 10 performances by a quarterback in a Super Bowl.
Sites like espn.com, si.com and nfl.com list performances by Steve Young and Joe Montana as No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 respectively. If you expanded the list to the top 15 performances, Montana would appear for a third time at No. 14.
You may debate who made or didn’t make the list, but remember the focus is on the performance of a quarterback in a single Super Bowl game.
No. 1 – Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIX
The greatest performance by a quarterback occurred in Super Bowl XXIX as Steve Young threw six touchdown passes in San Francisco’s 49-26 rout of the San Diego Chargers.
Young established his dominance early in the game by tossing touchdown passes of 44 yards and 51 yards in the 49ers’ first two offensive drives. He finished the first half with four touchdown passes (a Super Bowl record) and threw two more TD passes in the second half to establish the current record of six in a game.
Young was also the leading rusher for the 49ers with 49 yards, finished the game with a 134.8 quarterback rating and was selected as the Super Bowl XXIX MVP. The game was played on January 29, 1995 at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida.
No. 2 – Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV
Joe Montana has three of the top 15 performances as a quarterback in Super Bowl (SB) history, but he saved his best effort for SB XXIV.
The 49ers were playing the Denver Broncos in New Orleans’ Louisiana Superdome and Montana must have enjoyed playing indoors. He threw three touchdown passes in the first half as San Francisco jumped out to a 27-3 lead.
Montana threw two more touchdown passes in the second half and then relied on his running game to score the final two touchdowns. When the game ended, the Broncos had suffered one of the worst losses (55-10) in Super Bowl history and Montana received his third MVP award as the most valuable player in the game.
No. 3 – Phil Simms, New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI
Phil Simms was a skilled surgeon dissecting the Denver Broncos defense in Super Bowl XXI. His quarterback rating in the 1987 championship game was 150.9 as he completed 22 out of 25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
Trailing 10-9 at halftime, Simms led the Giants to five scoring drives in the second half that secured a 39-20 win over the Denver Broncos. By the way, the losing quarterback was John Elway who finished with a QB rating of 85.3 for the game
Super Bowl XXI was played on January 25, 1987 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
No. 4 – Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XIX
Super Bowl XIX was billed as a quarterback duel between Miami’s Dan Marino and San Francisco’s Joe Montana. The two teams traded scores in the first quarter, but the second quarter belonged to Montana and the 49ers. The San Francisco quarterback led his team to three consecutive touchdown drives in the second quarter and a 28-16 halftime lead.
Montana completed 24 out of 35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. He finished second in rushing with 59 yards in five carries and one touchdown. Montana was named the game’s MVP.
Dan Marino did throw for 318 yards, which made it the first Super Bowl in which both starting quarterbacks threw for more than 300 yards. Unfortunately, Marino also threw two interceptions and San Francisco won the game, 55-10.
Super Bowl XIX was played on January 20, 1985 at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California.
No. 5 – Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl XXVII
The Dallas defense was so dominant in Super Bowl XXVII that people may forget that Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman was the game’s MVP. Aikman completed 22 out of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns.
The Cowboys gave Aikman and the offense plenty of opportunities to score by forcing a Super Bowl record of nine turnovers (four interceptions and five fumbles).. Not only did Buffalo have difficulty handling the football, but they also lost quarterback Jim Kelly to an injury in the second quarter.
When the game mercifully ended, Dallas had won, 52-17, and Buffalo had suffered its third straight Super Bowl loss.
Super Bowl XXVII was played on January 31, 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
No. 6 – Tom Brady, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVIII
Tom Brady is the most successful quarterback in the current era of Super Bowl history. He and the New England Patriots have won four Super Bowls and he has been selected as the game’s MVP three times. Brady’s best performance was in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers.
It was an interesting game because all the scoring occurred in the second and fourth quarters. New England established a 14-10 halftime lead as Brady threw two touchdown passes. Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme matched Brady’s efforts and at one point in the second half the Panthers had a 22-21 lead.
But with seven minutes left in the game, Brady went to work and engineered a touchdown, a two-point conversion and set up the game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Brady completed 32 out of 48 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns.
Super Bowl XXXVIII was played on February 1, 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
No. 7 – Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XIII
Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach were two of the most dominant quarterbacks in the 1970’s. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys faced each other twice in the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh won both games and Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw put together his best performance in Super Bowl XIII.
The game was close until early in the fourth quarter when Franco Harris ran for a 22-yard touchdown. After shutting down the Dallas offense, Bradshaw guided the Steelers to the game-winning touchdown. It was an 18-yard pass from Bradshaw to Super Bowl X MVP Lynn Swann.
Pittsburgh won the game, 35-31, and Bradshaw was named the game’s MVP. He completed 17 out of 30 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns.
Super Bowl XIII was played on January 21, 1979 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.
No. 8 – Doug Williams, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XXII
After Denver took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, quarterback Doug Williams and the Washington Redskins responded with five touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 35-10 halftime lead. Williams threw an 80-yard touchdown pass and a 50-yard TD pass to wide receiver Ricky Sanders.
The final touchdown of the game was an 8-yard pass from Williams to Clint Didier. Williams completed 18 out of 29 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP. Bronco quarterback John Elway threw one touchdown pass and three interceptions.
Super Bowl XXII was played on Janaury 31, 1988 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.
No. 9 – JIm Plunkett, Oakland Raiders, Super Bowl XV
Jim Plunkett was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback who could not find a home in the NFL until the Oakland Raiders added him to their roster in 1980 to back up starter Dan Pastorini. When Pastorini broke his leg in game #5 of the season, Plunkett became the starter and led the Raiders to a 11-5 record and the AFC title.
In Super Bowl XV, Plunkett guided the Raiders to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter by throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Cliff Branch and an 80-yard TD pass to Kenny King. Plunkett completed 13 out of 21passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns. He was selected the game’s MVP as Oakland beat Philadelphia, 27-10.
Super Bowl XV was played on January 25, 1981 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
No. 10 – Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl XXXIV
It seemed like a Super Bowl fairy tale with a happy ending. A former grocery clerk named Kurt Warner was the starting at quarterback for the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.
The first half of the game was a defensive struggle between the Rams and the Tennessee Titans. St. Louis kicker Jeff Wilkins kicked three field goals before Torry Holt scored the first touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Warner in the third quarter.
In one of the classic Super Bowl comeback efforts, Tennessee scored the next 16 points to tie the game. Warner responded with a 73-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaac Bruce. It took a goal-line stand to keep the Titans from scoring the tying touchdown as the Rams won, 23-16.
Though Warner threw only two touchdown passes, he completed 24 out of 45 passes for 414 yards, He was selected the MVP of the game.
Super Bowl XXXIV was played on January 30, 2000 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
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