Monday, January 28, 2008

Super Bowl - Worst QB Performances

In honor of Super Bowl week, I thought I'd start out with a list of the worst QB performances in the history of the big game. After minutes of exhaustive research, I was able to come up with seven really atrocious games, but there were others that just missed the cut.

1. SB XX (Bears 46, Pats 10) - Tony Eason 0-6, 0 yds, 3 sacks
Eason was shell shocked by the Bears' intimidating defense (note the four Bears defenders on top of him in the picture above). He did not even make it to halftime. He remains the only starting QB in Super Bowl history to fail to complete a pass in the big game. In fairness, that Bears' defense may have been the best ever. Eason probably would have been stomped by a team full of mini-Ditkas too. Reportedly, Eason still wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with visions of Richard Dent and Dan Hampton rushing at him like they're starving lions and he's a limping baby zebra. He was treated at the Bethesda Naval Hospital for post-traumatic stress disorder, and is not allowed by his doctors to watch any football ever, for fear he'll have flashbacks and poop all over himself again.

2. SB XII (Cowboys 27, Broncos 10) - Craig Morton 4-15, 4 INT, 39 yards
Morton was totally outplayed by his former Dallas protege Roger Staubach. It got so bad that he was replaced by backup QB Norris Weese, who guided the Broncos to their lone TD of the game after the Cowboys went ahead 20-3. Morton is the only QB on this list twice. Sorry Craig, it's nothing personal. Uninterestingly enough, Craig Morton is a native of Flint, MI ("Flintian?").

3. SB XXXVII (Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21) - Rich Gannon 24-44, 5 INT
The attempts and completions don't look too terrible, but Gannon threw 5 INTs, and three of those were returned for Tampa touchdowns. Raiders coach Bill Callahan apparently did not feel that it was necessary to change their signals or plays or formations, despite the fact that Jon Gruden, the Bucs head coach, had been the Raiders head coach the previous season. Buccaneer defenders were quoted as saying they knew what each play was going to be before the snap. Not coincidentally, Bill Callahan is currently unemployed after taking the once glorious football program of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and turning it into something resembling Iowa State.

4. SB XVII (Skins 27,Phins 17) - David Woodley 4-14, 1 INT, 97 yards
Okay, granted the Skins offense kept the ball for over 36 minutes behind John Riggins. But Woodley was brutal. The Dolphins opened the scoring with a 76 yard TD pass from Woodley to Jimmy Cefalo, but after that they were shut down. Their other TD came on a kickoff return (Fulton Walker, woohoo). If you take away that long scoring pass, Woodley was 3-for-13 for 24 yards. He was replaced late in the game by Don Strock, who was 0-for-3 himself. On the bright side for Dolphins fans, Dan Marino was drafted the following year. On the not-so-bright-side, he couldn't manage to win a Super Bowl either.

5. SB IX (Steelers 16, Vikings 6) - Fran Tarkenton 11-26, 3 INT, 102 yards
Much like some of the others on this list, Fran was facing an awesome defense. The Steel Curtain only gave up 9 first downs for the game, and a total of 119 total yards. The Vikings only TD was a blocked punt recovered in the end zone - and they couldn't even manage to make the PAT. Fran had a miserable day, throwing 3 INTs and netting only 102 yards, as well as being tackled in the end zone for a safety for the first points of the game. The Steelers offense had the ball for over 38 minutes, behind MVP Franco Harris' 158 yards rushing. Tarkenton later went on to co-host "That's Incredible," which, after Super Bowl IX, was probably the second most embarrassing thing to happen to him (on TV).

6. SB V (Colts 16, Cowboys 13) - Craig Morton 12-26, 3 INT, 127 yards
Here's Morton again. I was a youngster when this was played, and it's a good thing I don't remember it. Based on looking at the box score and accounts of the game, it was a very sloppy contest. So sloppy, in fact, that at linebacker for the losing team was awarded the MVP (Chuck Howley). Despite Morton's crappiness, the Cowboys were still leading halfway thru the fourth quarter. But he threw two fourth quarter INTs that the Colts turned into the winning points. Fortunately for the Colts, their QBs (Unitas and Morrall) sucked a little less (combined 10-24, 3 INT, 235 yards).

7. SB III (Jets 16, Colts 7) - Johnny Unitas 11-24 1 INT / Earl Morrall 6-17 3 INT
The Colts were favored by 19 points in this game. Joe Namath famously guaranteed a Jets victory anyway. The QB play was the difference in this game. Namath played turnover-free football, and Unitas and Morrall stunk up the Orange Bowl. Morrall started and threw 3 INTs in the first half. Unitas came on in relief in the second half and led the Colts to their only TD late in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. This game was the catalyst for Joe Namath becoming the most overrated QB of all time.

In conclusion, some very good QBs had some very bad games at the very worst times against some very good defenses.


Brakeman said...

Great stuff Billy Baru! I have watched every superbowl since 1972 but the details of the games fade from memory in part because it is the end of the season and in part because my home team has never been to the super bowl, (thank you William Clay Ford, Walt Thomas, Bill Ford, and Matt Millen). Ever since Tommy B. graduated and signed on with The Pats they have been the only other team I cheer for. When the Super Bowl is over the season is over and I only study the box scores for Brady's stats, never for the horrific stats that you present here. I remembered that Tony Eason got knocked out early by Da Bears but did not realize he never completed a pass. Oh, the shame of it. And Rich Gannon with 5 pics, three for TD's. Ouch. That guy could start for the Lions and fit right in! Imagine the luxury of having Johnny Unitas as your second string QB for the Super Bowl! Wow. Great post as always.

Brandman said...

Earl Morrall hailed from Muskegon, Michigan -- hometown to my mother and grandparents. He also went to Michigan State University (at least I think it had changed its name from Michigan Agricultural College at that point!). Ha!

Anonymous said...

probably doesn't mean much, but how about jay Schroeders performance in super Bowl XXII? doug williams comes out- Schroeder comes in...and gets sacked right away

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with u putting unitas on this list- without him, Baltimore would be the only team ever to be shut out in the super bowl. Morral belongs there, tho.