FanPost

Do ELITE quarterbacks win Super Bowls?

My original intent with this piece was to prove that Sam Bradford could take the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl and win. After doing research, I changed the premise. Instead of attempting to prove Bradford could win a Super Bowl, I decided to go back to a favorite word here at TST: ELITE.

How many "elite" quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl? That is what I have looked into. Now, being an elite quarterback can be a very subjective argument, but I am removing as much subjectiveness (not a word) as possible. Career quarterback rating is the basis. Anyone in the 90s or higher is classified as ‘Elite’, 80 to 89 is classified as ‘Above Average’, 70 to 79 is ‘Average’, and below 70 is ‘Below Average’. I know this is not perfect and there are a lot of varying factors that affect players’ performances and does not include the "clutchness" (again, not a word) factor.

The following chart consists of the 30 winning Super Bowl quarterbacks and their career stats. Super Bowl Wins is a column, but can be ignored for right now. Why ignore that stat when deciding whether a quarterback is elite or not? Perception. Winning Super Bowls changes the perception of a player, but not how they actually performed throughout their careers. Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Johnny Unitas, John Elway and others all were looked upon more favorably and considered better players than their stats actually indicate due to Super Bowl wins. John Elway and Eli Manning are both clutch, but their overall career numbers indicate that they are not elite players. Anyways, here is the chart:

Quarterback

TD

Int

Yards

Rating

Comp. %

Super Bowl Wins

Status

Troy Aikman

165

141

32,942

81.6

61.5

3

Above Average

Terry Bradshaw

212

210

27,989

70.9

51.9

4

Average

Tom Brady

359

134

49,149

95.7

63.4

3

Elite

Drew Brees

363

177

51,081

95.3

65.9

1

Elite

Len Dawson

239

183

28,711

82.6

57.1

1

Above Average

Trent Dilfer

113

129

20,518

70.2

55.5

1

Average

John Elway

300

226

51,475

79.9

56.9

2

Average

Brett Favre

508

336

71,838

86

62.0

1

Above Average

Joe Flacco

121

78

21,545

83.7

60.2

1

Above Average

Bob Griese

192

172

25,092

77.1

56.2

2

Average

Jeff Hostetler

94

71

16,430

80.5

58.0

1

Average

Brad Johnson

166

122

29,054

82.5

61.7

1

Average

Eli Manning

229

171

35,345

81.2

58.5

2

Average

Peyton Manning

491

219

64,964

97.2

65.5

1

Elite

Jim McMahon

100

90

18,148

78.2

58.0

1

Average

Joe Montana

273

139

40,551

92.3

63.2

4

Elite

Joe Namath

173

220

27,663

65.5

50.1

1

Below Average

Jim Plunkett

164

198

25,882

67.5

52.5

2

Below Average

Aaron Rodgers

188

52

24,197

104.9

65.8

1

Elite

Ben Roethlisberger

219

122

34,105

92.6

63.3

2

Elite

Mark Rypien

115

88

18,473

78.9

56.1

1

Average

Phil Simms

199

157

33,462

78.5

55.4

1

Average

Ken Stabler

194

222

27,938

75.3

59.8

1

Below Average

Bart Starr

152

138

24,718

80.5

57.4

2

Above Average

Roger Staubach

153

109

22,700

83.4

57.0

2

Above Average

Joe Theismann

160

138

25,206

77.4

56.7

1

Average

Kurt Warner

208

128

32,344

93.7

65.5

1

Elite

Doug Williams

100

93

16,998

69.4

49.5

1

Below Average

Steve Young

232

107

33,124

96.8

64.3

1

Elite

Johnny Unitas

290

253

40,239

78.2

54.6

1

Average

Sam Bradford

59

38

11,065

79.3

58.6

0

Average

After looking through the chart I found the total winning quarterbacks for each status.

Total Wins Per Status

Elite

8

27%

Above Average

6

20%

Average

12

40%

Below Average

4

13%

40% of the quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl are considered just ‘Average’ based on their career quarterback rating.

I think the chart and numbers sort of speak for themselves. Only 8 of 30 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks are ‘Elite’. What does this tell me? Sam Bradford can win a Super Bowl. He is almost to the ‘Above Average’ status and is still in the early stages of his career; albeit health is still a major concern (though the ACL tear was just unlucky).

Having looked through everything I keep coming back to the same thought: although the quarterback position is very important, football is still a TEAM game. If you take one thing from this article it is the St. Louis Rams have an improving defense that can compete with the best. Sam Bradford can lead the team and win a Super Bowl for the Rams, but it will take a team effort.

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