In a few hours, Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 52nd playing of the Super Bowl. In all 52 match-ups to date, a mere seven (7) have featured teams without a Hall of Fame Quarterback. Of course, we had to use some prescience for guys like Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and so forth who are almost certainly headed to Canton.
Today, we will be looking at some of the most lackluster QB match-ups in Super Bowl history, some of the biggest mismatches, and where this year’s Brady v. Foles match-up finds itself in history.
The Worst Of The Worst Mediocre Super Bowl Quarterbacks
Of the seven Super Bowls lacking a Hall of Fame quarterback, some were still great games or at least featured great teams. Take for example Jim McMahon vs. Tony Eason in Super Bowl XX. There may as well not have been quarterbacks on the field during the game between the 1985 Bears’ vaunted 46 defense and everybody’s favorite person who ever lived, Walter Payton. Here are some games which had less redeeming qualities:
Super Bowl XXXVII: Brad Johnson Beats Rich Gannon
If you are young enough to not have watched this game, there is no reason to remember this game. If you are old enough to have watched this game, there is no reason to remember this game.
The Oakland Raiders’ Rich Gannon, besides having an awesome name, was a solid NFL quarterback who was a bit of a journeyman in his career which spanned three decades. Brad Johnson is essentially a footnote in this game, with the Tampa Bay Bucs being led by a smothering defense sporting a ridiculous roster including Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, and Ronde Barber.
Super Bowl XXXV Trent Dilfer Over Kerry Collins
The 2000 Ravens Defense was about as good as it gets. One begins to feel a theme emerging in all of these games without gunslingers. The Ravens embarrassed the New York Giants 34-7 in a game that never even felt that close.
The Giants mustered 152 yards of offense. Close your eyes and name a wide receiver who played in this game. Yeah, neither could we. This very well could be the worst collective quarterback collection ever assembled for a Super Sunday. This game was especially disappointing because the Vikings, who had a historic and electrifying offense were inexplicably annihilated by the Giants in the NFC Championship game, 41-0.
The Biggest Mismatches
Super Bowl XXIX: Steve Young vs. Stan Humphries
Wait, who the hell is Stan Humphries? While the numbers Humphries put up were average or possibly marginally above average for a few years with the Chargers, this might be the closest parallel of a dynasty with a Hall of Fame Quarterback (the 49ers with Steve Young) against an up and coming team with a mediocre veteran (Charges with Stan Humphries). Sorry Eagle’s faithful, the Chargers got crushed 49-26 and it was never close.
Super Bowl XXXIII: John Elway vs. Chris Chandler
John Elway had big teeth and a bigger arm in his prime. The power and accuracy behind his throws are still something to behold when looking back at footage of him marching the mile high ponies down the field.
Chris Chandler was forgettable enough with a common enough name that his statistics were a little bit difficult to find. In a career spanning from 1988-2004, Chandler played in three playoff games. You guessed it, all in 1998 on the way to a 34-19 loss to first ballot Hall of Famer, Mr. Elway.
Super Bowl XXII John Elway vs. Doug Williams
During his fifteen year career, John Elway threw for 51,475 yards, 300 touchdowns, started 231 games, 22 playoff games, and was named to the Pro Bowl nine (9) times. Over an 11 year career, Doug Williams threw for 16,998 yards, 100 touchdowns, held a career completion percentage under 50, and was never selected to the Pro Bowl. Doug Williams and the Washington Redskins mopped the floor with John Elway’s Denver Broncos in 1988, winning 42-10.
Bonus: Jim Kelly vs. Everybody
Jim Kelly is possibly the second best quarterback to never win a Super Bowl (looking at you Dan Marino). He and the Buffalo Bills were beaten in a record-breaking four (4) consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994 by Jeff Hostetler (a back-up), Mark Rypien (a game manager) and Troy Aikman twice. Aikman was a very good player and a deserving Hall of Fame, but it would be hard to argue he was better than Jim Kelly. Makes you wonder what the world would look like today if the Bills were four-time champions?
Super Bowl LII: Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles
Love him or hate him, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback at getting his team to the Championship game since Otto Brown in the 50’s. As a side note, if you don’t know about Otto Brown, do yourself a favor and look him up. He has everything: impeccable numbers, record-breaking Super Bowl rings, a cleft chin, and some children to some models or something. There are only a handful of quarterbacks in the league who could be considered his peer, and even they would almost certainly be considered underdogs.
Enter Nick Foles, a back-up to Carson Wentz at the beginning of the year. Also, somewhat freakishly, Foles is the best quarterback Brady and the Pats have faced this postseason.
Along those lines, Blake the Pokemon Bortles almost beat Brady just a few weeks ago with strong defense and a persistent running attack. Proponents of Foles will look to his 2013 Pro Bowl season in which he threw for a ludicrous 27 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions. The Eagles have also impressed so far this postseason, looking solid in both outings against much stiffer competition than this year’s AFC had to offer. So is this still a tale of David and Goliath?
Absolutely. We can expect great things from Brady. Anything less would be a shock even in the face of a stellar green and silver defense. As for Foles? As the song says, “a nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you”. Our Super Bowl prediction? Everyone will get angry with Cris Collinsworth for being so smug about being right all the time.