What are the greatest quarterbacking performances in the history of the Super Bowl? ESPN has set out to answer that. In fact, they have gone so far as to rank every QB performance in every Super Bowl, from 1 to 82.
And number 1? Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIV, a 55-10 Niners romp over Denver. Montana was 22-29 in that game with 297 yards and 5 TDs – that’s getting it done. Number 2 was another Niner, Steve Young, who broke Montana’s TD record by notching 6 in San Fran’s 49-26 dismantling of the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Doug Williams’s Super Bowl XXII performance for Washington comes in 3rd, followed by Terry Bradshaw’s work in Super Bowl XIII and Joe Montana’s in Super Bowl XIX.
Those guys were all winning QBs, of course. The Vikings, as we know, have never won a Super Bowl in their history, but have participated in four. So where do those four performances rank? You have to go pretty far down the list to get to the best, Fran Tarkenton in Super Bowl VIII, which comes in at no. 46. That actually beats a couple of winning Super Bowl performances, including Terry Bradshaw’s in Super Bowl IX (a Steelers win over the Vikings that saw Bradshaw attempt only 14 passes) and Trent Dilfer’s in Super Bowl XXXV. Tarkenton shows up again down at no. 60 for Super Bowl XI, which the Vikes lost to the Raiders. Then you have Joe Kapp’s Super Bowl IV performance at no. 63, a loss to the Chiefs. Finally, you have the real stinkbomb – Fran Tarkenton’s 3 INT debacle against Pittsburgh in Super Bowl IX, which comes in 74th.
The list is an accurate enough reflection of where the Vikings belong in Super Bowl history. Still, it does a bit of a disservice to Fran Tarkenton, one of the five greatest QBs ever. It’s perhaps some comfort to Vikings fans to find such notable quarterbacks as John Elway, Johnny Unitas and Jim Kelly also populating the lower regions of this list.
By the way, if you’re curious – Tony Eason is dead-last for Super Bowl XX, which saw him go 0-6 in the Patriots’ historic 46-10 loss to the Bears. Tom Brady redeems the Patriots’ good name by placing one performance in the top 10. The distinction of best performance by a losing QB goes to Roger Staubach who finishes 11th for his work in Super Bowl XIII, which saw the Steelers beat the Cowboys 35-31.