When you think of Super Bowl champions, the first thing that comes to mind is greatness. Usually, the team raising the Lombardi Trophy has a multitude of star players, especially at quarterback. However, there are the exceptions.
Over the 48-year history of the Super Bowl, the starting quarterback of the winning team has become a Hall of Famer 23 times. Once you assume Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers will also make it, the number vaults to 32.
So who are the five worst winning quarterbacks out of the remaining 16 Super Bowls? Here’s the breakdown:
5. Jim McMahon
For the last spot on this list, it was a close race between McMahon and Jeff Hostetler. While McMahon put up more yardage (18,148 to 16,430), Hostetler threw for over 3,000 yards twice. McMahon never eclipsed 2,400 yards and even in his Super Bowl season of 1985 with the storied Chicago Bears, only tossed 15 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. McMahon was a capable player when healthy, something he struggled with most of his career. However, he was a mediocre starter at best for a great team.
4. Mark Rypien
Nobody will ever remember Rypien as an all-time great, and there is a fantastic reason for that; he isn’t one. Rypien had one tremendous year for the Washington Redskins in 1991, winning the Super Bowl and the game’s MVP. That season, Rypien set career-highs in yardage (3,564), touchdowns (28) and average yards per attempt (8.47). Outside of 1991, Rypien was a backup-level player for much of his NFL career, bouncing around with five different teams.
3. Doug Williams
Williams had a strange journey through the NFL. A first-round pick by the dismal Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978, the Grambling State product helped turn the franchise around. Williams threw for 3,396 and 3,563 yards in 1980 and 1981, respectively. However, he only played one more strike-shortened season in 1982 before parting ways with the Buccaneers. After a stint in United States Football League, Williams returned and played the unlikely role of hero for the 1987 Redskins. Williams threw a record five touchdowns in one quarter against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, earning MVP honors. He’s also the first black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
2. Brad Johnson
Johnson threw for more yardage and touchdowns than the aforementioned three players, so why is he rated worse? He played in an era when the ball was thrown more, and he could never stick with a team. Despite playing 15 NFL seasons, Johnson never stayed more than five years in the same place. Nobody ever viewed him as good enough, and the reason was a lack of explosiveness. Johnson only started all 16 games in a season three times. In his championship campaign with the Buccaneers of 2002, Johnson posted a career-high quarterback rating of 92.9.
1. Trent Dilfer
Dilfer has become the posterchild of not needing a great quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Dilfer won it all on the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, taking over midseason for an ineffective Tony Banks. That year, the Ravens had a historically good defense, making it Dilfer’s job to simply not screw it up. To his credit, Dilfer managed to keep the train on the tracks, leading Baltimore to its first Super Bowl win since 1970. In his only season as a Raven, Dilfer threw for 1,502 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was cut before the 2001 season, making him the only Super Bowl-winning quarterback cut following a championship.