It’s no secret that some teams win the Super Bowl despite their quarterback, which got us thinking about the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs.
Winning a Super Bowl is usually legacy building for quarterbacks. But that’s not the case with players who are considered the worst quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl.
That doesn’t make them bad players per se since they do end up lifting the Lombardi trophy. But compared to some of the legendary figures to win Super Bowls, especially those who won it multiple times, some have to fall into the category of the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs.
Worst Super Bowl winning QBs
We just want to make it clear that there are no bad QBs winning a Super Bowl no matter how you feel about them. It’s always a team effort and even mediocre quarterbacks are a part of that.
However, in order to elevate some quarterbacks, others have to be looked at as the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs. That’s why we put together our list of the quarterbacks who surprisingly won a Super Bowl despite not being one of the all-time greats at the position.
10. Joe Flacco
How does one truly sum up Joe Flacco as a quarterback? He wasn’t terrible. In fact, his arm strength and ability to throw the deep ball were top-notch.
But he was never a Pro Bowler and he never would have won the Super Bowl without an excellent supporting cast around him. Frankly, he played for a lot of good teams and he played his role. Including him on this list feels a little harsh, but compared to legends who won Super Bowls, Flacco just doesn’t measure up.
9. Brad Johnson
For what it’s worth, Brad Johnson was a Pro Bowler twice, including the year he won the Super Bowl with the Bucs. He was perhaps an above-average game manager that season, going 10-3 in his 13 starts.
But Tampa won the Super Bowl that year because of its defense.
The Bucs had five All-Pro selections on that team, all defensive players. We’re talking about all-time greats like Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and John Lynch helping the Bucs give up just 38 points in three playoff games, making it easy for Johnson to win a Super Bowl.
8. Mark Rypien
Mark Rypien managed to put together a few good seasons early in his career, including two Pro Bowl selections. The year he won the Super Bowl with Washington, he was solid with 28 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions.
On this day in 1992, the Redskins defeated the Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Washington led 17-0 at halftime. Mark Rypien was named MVP. #HTTR pic.twitter.com/C5v1gRxHfZ
— David Menassé (@Frekiwolf) January 26, 2022
Of course, his career completely fell apart after that thanks to a knee injury two seasons after winning Super Bowl MVP. Perhaps things would have been different if he didn’t get hurt. But Rypien didn’t do enough in his career to avoid inclusion on our list of the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs.
7. Joe Namath
It’s funny that folks only remember Joe Namath’s guarantee before Super Bowl III and now how he played in the game.
Of course, he did get MVP honors after throwing for 206 yards and no touchdowns. But in reality, the Jets won that game as 19.5-point underdogs because of their defense.
That game made Namath a legend, but overall, he’s an incredibly overrated quarterback. Not only is he one of the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs but he’s also one of the worst Hall of Famers in NFL history.
6. Jim McMahon
In Jim McMahon’s defense, he struggled with shoulder problems during the second half of his career after helping the Bears to win Super Bowl XX. He also had a decent season that year and was selected for the Pro Bowl. But everyone knows that Chicago’s defense won that Super Bowl and dominated the regular season.
McMahon threw for 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 1985 and then benefited from a defense that gave up 10 points in three playoff games. Again, injuries played a role, but he was nothing special before winning the Super Bowl and he was nothing special afterward.
5. Jim Plunkett
Frankly, Jim Plunkett was never that good. Even if you ignore the fact that he was once the top overall pick in the draft, he wasn’t great.
He finished his career with 34 more interceptions than touchdowns. The reason he played with three different franchises is that he wasn’t that desirable. Yet, he won two Super Bowls with the Raiders, even winning MVP honors in one of them. But some of those Raiders teams of the early 80s were awfully good. They just needed a quarterback who wouldn’t screw it up, and Plunkett happened to be available.
4. Doug Williams
For the record, nobody is trying to take away the important role Doug Williams has played in Super Bowl history.
34 years ago today….Doug Williams became the first African-American Quarterback to not only play in the Super Bowl but win the Super Bowl leading Washington over Denver in one of the greatest performances in Super Bowl history pic.twitter.com/NGQWLNmAIp
— PolyesterPalace (@PolyesterPalace) January 31, 2022
He was the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl and even won MVP honors in that game. But his completion percentage and passer rating during his career are subpar by any measure.
He didn’t cut it early in his career with the Bucs and just happened to luck into a situation in Washington where he became the starter for the Super Bowl. But take that one game away and there’s no way anybody would have remembered Williams.
3. Jeff Hostetler
In fairness, Hostetler threw for 222 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl. But the Giants only won the game because Scott Norwood missed that infamous field goal. When Hostetler eventually got a chance to be a full-time starter after that Super Bowl, he was aggressively average.
2. Nick Foles
It’s hard to know where to put Nick Foles on this list because he’s spent most of his career as a backup. Granted, he’s been great in that role. But he’s always faltered when given a chance to be a full-time starter.
On the other hand, he was brilliant in 2017 when he was forced into action after Carson Wentz got hurt. Keep in mind that Wentz was having an MVP-caliber season and had the Eagles looking like a Super Bowl contender.
All Foles did was not ruin that as a good backup should. In terms of his career, Foles should be at no. 1 on our list of the worst Super Bowl-winning QBs. But we’ll cut him some slack because he was seriously good in that Super Bowl and absolutely deserved MVP honors.
However, when people look back years from now and are reminded that Foles won a Super Bowl, they’ll think “who” and “how.”
1. Trent Dilfer
With all due respect, Trent Dilfer is the worst of the Super Bowl-winning QBs. There were only four seasons when he started all 16 games, all came early in his career.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 7, 2017
The year that he and the Ravens won the Super Bowl, he only played in 11 games during the regular season, starting just eight of them. Dilfer finished the regular season with just one more touchdown than interception. In fact, Dilfer ended his career with more interceptions than touchdowns and a 55% pass accuracy.
In 2000, he just happened to be on a team with a dominant defense that carried him and the Baltimore offense through the playoffs. Across four playoff games, the Ravens gave up just 23 total points. The Ravens could have used a running back to run the Wildcat offense and still won the Super Bowl with the way their defense played.