Saturday, February 05, 2011

Top Super Bowl Quarterbacks

I should just quit.  Seriously.  My colleague and friend Sean Kilkelly has said for years that he doesn't like lists because they're generally silly (I'm paraphrasing, of course).  Yet time after time, I keep reading them and letting them pop my blood pressure up into the heavens.

So we come to another one - this time the greatest Super Bowl quarterbacks (via Doug Farrar at Yahoo!).  And of course you're all going to think 1) I'm a Steelers lackey (you're welcome to your wrong opinion on that) and 2) I'm utterly nuts (OK on that one).

So this is Doug's top 10 list.  Seriously...

1) Joe Montana
2) Kurt Warner
3) Tom Brady
4) Terry Bradshaw
5) Bart Starr
6) Jim Plunkett
7) Roger Staubach
8) Steve Young
9) John Elway
10) Drew Brees

OK, right about here is where my head begins to hurt.  JIM PLUNKETT??  WHAT?  Better than Phil (22 of 25 in Supe XXI) Simms?  And, of course, the always-safe pick of Saint Joe at the top.


OK, I get it.  I liked Montana.  Had his jersey.  Wore it.  To school.  OK?  Can we get past that (the same way people think I hate other things that they are dead wrong about, but we're not going there as they are still on my "banned topics" list)?

But there comes a point where the drooling is overkill (U2..."Jack and Diane"...and some of will say Derek Jeter and I can't argue).  Holy schnike but it took me fifteen years to get over putting my fist through the radio every time I heard Bono's voice.  So I totally understand.

Side note, but a future post may eventually get around to discussing songs that no DJ or radio Program Director should be allowed access to.  "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Jack and Diane" are two of those effers.

Anyway, what's my list, you say?  OK, here we go...

1) Bradshaw.  Sorry, Mantana lovers.  Four Super Bowls before Montana.  Managed the offense for two, then dominated for other two.  Won two legit MVP's (unlike Montana - I mean, Montana was about as much the MVP of XVI as I was).  And, of course, he called his own plays.  He also didn't dink and dunk to Rice, Taylor, etc.  I know he had Franco, Swann, Stallworth, and so on, but who were his tight ends (Stillers fans will tell Randy Grossman and Benny Cunningham, but no one else will).  Whatever.  He's my guy, and this is my list.  Oh and things weren't as pass-happy as they were when Pretty Boy Joe (God's Quarterback from Notre Dame) played.

Or maybe I'm tired of people thinking of him as purely the hillbilly on Fox and not as a brilliant Super Bowl-winning, Hall of Fame quarterback.  He seems to often to be forgotten, believe it or not.

2) Brady.  That's right, as my friend Chris Erway says, "come get some."  I'll take Brady over Lord Joe, beginning with his gutsy performance against the Rams, as he drove them to the winning FG (courtesy of my MVP for that game, Adam "Put me in the Hall of Fame" Vinatieri).  I know he has a loss, but he played just fine against the Giants.  I have mega respect for this guy.

3) Montana.  It's so tempting to keep dropping him lower and lower, if only to watch each of you have a coronary.  Yes, I'll be ostracized by all - from my loved-ones right on down - but I don't care.  I've watched and digested every game since Super XII (one word: boring).  While the Steve Sabol's and such want to hang him as their poster boy, can we all agree that he was the master of a SYSTEM?  This is Bill Walsh's team and Montana was the five-yard pass-throwing robot.  He had Rice, and everyone else.  He was a wonderful quarterback - I'm not saying otherwise (God, people can be thick). 

Giants fans...this is for you...good times...Leonard Mashall

Anyway.  Joe was a great player.  No doubt.  The drive against the Bengals (in an otherwise dreadful game) was tremendous.  But he also beat the snot out of a Broncos team that had no business being there.  The defense won the first matchup agains tht Bengals.  He beat Marino and the Dolphins in an offensive show.  Great player.

4) Bart Starr.  Boy does he get forgotten in this conversation.  MVP of games I and II.  Set the passing yardage record that wasn't broken until XIII (by Bradshaw).  Executed everything Lombardi asked for.

Don't get me wrong - you can take any of the top, let's say, four and we can all agree to disagree on the order. To me, these are the top four, regardless. They're a combined 13-1!

5) Troy Aikman.  I know.  The Cowboys.  Ugh.  Maybe we forget about him because of Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.  Maybe we forget him because we all hate the Cowboys.  Or Jimmy Johnson.  Believe me - he hurt me in Super Bowl XXX.  But the guy was money in the big game, and he won three.

6) Phil Simms.  I'm hesitatnt to put one-game QB's on this list (so that means Drew Brees, Steve Young, Doug Williams, Joe Namath and so on).  And I know Young threw a record six touchdowns.  But Young wasn't 22 of 25 against a pretty good Broncos team.  Simms was.  I feel comfy in saying Simms could have guided that Super Bowl XXV Giants team to glory but he got hurt against the Bills in their regular season matchup.  Jeff Hostetler did just fine, and Scott Norwood...

7) Kurt Warner.  Yes, I know he's 1-2 in the big game.  Try to blame him for those two losses.  He's a yard away from overtime and maybe being 0-3 (not likely, of course).  He's also a few seconds away from being 2-1 and 3-0, but Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger had a few things to say about that.  But man he could throw the ball.  You can't do it without receivers but Warner was special, and a Hall of Famer.  Plus the Cardinals are a shambles without him.

8) Roger Staubach.  I know.  The Cowboys.  Ditto everything with Aikman.  Roger has losses against him - granted.  Backup to Craig Morton in V - loss.  Won VI (MVP).  Lost X and XIII to the Steelers.  Won XII.  Was a system QB before Montana.  Still really really good (enough to earn two "really's").

9) John Elway.  Some want him higher.  In my all-time list, he is higher.  I like him as much if not better than Montana (just love watching all of you fall over).  But come on.  In the Super Bowl?  Folks, I don't get hung up on stats, but sometimes they're hard to ignore...three touchdowns and eight interceptions.  A 59.3 rating.  But it's the run aginst the Packers in XXXII and his passing in XXXIII that gets him here.

Before we get to 10, let's go through the winners...
Starr, Starr, Namath, Len Dawson, Johnny Unitas (or Earl Morrall), Staubach, Bob Griese, Griese, Bradshaw, Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, Staubach, Bradshaw, Bradshaw, Plunkett, Montana, Joe Theismann, Plunkett, Montana, Jim McMahon, Simms, Williams, Montana, Montana, Hostetler, Mark Rypien, Aikman, Aikman, Young, Aikman, Brett Favre, Elway, Elway, Warner, Trent Dilfer(!), Brady, Brad Johnson(!), Brady, Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Roethlisberger, Brees, and ???

(By the way, despite my allegiance, my pick is Aaron Rodgers to join this list, but I desperately want to be wrong).

Anyway, if he wins tomorrow and plays well, then...

10) Roethlisberger.  He was dreadful in his first game (XL).  But against the Cardinals, he showed had matured on the big stage (just not off it).  As good a drive as Eli Manning directed the year before, Ben's stepped up and matched it.  A brilliant strike to Santonio Holmes netted the sixth Lombardi trophy in the Burgh.

Then again, by tomorrow, this list could be completely different.  Hence the very nature of lists.

Come get some.

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