Baltimore’s Trent Dilfer may have been the least likely quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
Yeah right, back in September you figured Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick were going to be the starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. You and all the other experts.
The list of quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl is a long and glorious one. Many of the game’s greatest QBs have flourished under the bright lights of football’s ultimate game.
Bart Starr, MVP in the first two Super Bowls, kicks off the list. He joins a Hall of Fame Super Bowl QB lineup that includes such legends as Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach. Bob Griese, Dan Marino, John Elway, Troy Aikman, and someday Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Joe Montana was a three-time Super Bowl MVP; Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning have all won two.
And don’t forget Fran Tarkenton, who was the losing quarterback in three Super Bowls and Jim Kelly who topped that with four SB losses. Both are Hall of Famers.
But that list also has some surprises, including this year’s matchup. At least four quarterbacks defied common logic to win Super Bowls. Others got to the Super Bowl, but lost. They are the unlikeliest starting QBs in Super Bowl history.
Jeff Hostetler — A back-up for much of his career, Hostetler stepped into the breech when Phil Simms broke his foot near the end of the season — and piloted the Giants to a dramatic 20-19 win over Buffalo in SB25.
Mark Rypien — The MVP of SB26, Rypien, right, passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins beat Buffalo 37-24. Two years later he was banished to the bench, then to Cleveland. (Hey, try winning with the Browns).
Trent Dilfer — Dilfer played for five teams in a 13-year career and never threw more than 21 TDs in a season. In his one-year with Baltimore he beat the Giants in SB35 despite a pedestrian 12 for 25, 153-yard effort
Brad Johnson — A ninth round draft pick out of Florida State, Johnson did throw for 166 TDs in an otherwise mediocre career. Helped by three pick sixes by the Tampa Bay defense, he led the Bucs to their only SB victory in 2003.
Vince Ferragamo — He threw 30 TD passes and led the Los Angeles Rams to SB14 in 1980, where they lost to Pittsburgh 31-19. Ferragamo had a decent game in what turned out to be the high point of his career.
David Woodley — Woodstock as he was affectionately known in South Florida. was 4-for-14 for a mere 97 yards in Miami’s 27-17 loss to the Redskins in SB17. Two years later Dan Marino arrived. End of story.
Stan Humphries — Perhaps the most unlikely starter in Super Bowl history, Humphries’ Chargers were victimized by the 49ers, 49-26, in SB29. Three years later he was out of the league.
Chris Chandler — Chandler had a long NFL career, but never came close to equalling his 1998 season when he threw 25 TD passes and took the Falcons to their only Super Bowl.
Rex Grossman — Only once in his career (in 2006 when he threw 23 as the Bears advanced to SB41) did Grossman throw more than 16 TD passes in a season. Oh yes, Chicago lost to the Colts.
Craig Morton — In SB5 with the Cowboys, Morton, left, was 12-for-26 with three interceptions. In SB12 with Denver against his former team he was worse, 4-for-15 with four INTs. He finished his career with more picks (187) than TDs (183).
Joe Kapp — A CFL refugee who played four years in the NFL, Kapp was the QB when the Vikings lost to the Chiefs, 23-7, in SB4. Although he threw just 40 career TD passes, he had a record-tying seven in one game in 1969.
Jim McMahon — His Bears won SB20 over the Patriots, but the storyline was Chicago’s relentless defense. McMahon never threw more TDs than the 15 he tossed in 1985.
Tony Eason — He started SB20 for the Patriots against the Bears, but after failing to connect on any of his five passes he was relieved by Steve Grogan.
Jake Dolhomme — Delhomme passed for 323 yards and three TDs in SB38 as his Panthers lost to the Patriots. It was all uphill from there for Jake.
Neil O’Donnell — He threw three picks helping the Cowboys beat the Steelers in SB30. Then he made the mistake of leaving for the Jets and….oh well
NFL’s greatest moment: Johnny Unitas passes the Colts past the Giants in the 1958 championship game. The game was watched by a national television audience and signified the rise of professional football.
A panel of football writers, historians and other experts recently selected the 11 greatest moments in pro football history for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary book. The only criterion was that the moment had to have an enduring impact on the game.
The top three moments occurred during a three-year period in the late 50s and early 60s, led by the Colts-Giants championship game in 1958. The league’s founding and pro football’s first marquee star were ranked fourth and fifth respectively. And the final four moments took place during a four-year span that began with the AFL/NFL merger and ended with the advent of Monday Night Football in 1970.
The beauty of these lists is that fans can easily come up with dozens of other candidates. You could make a strong argument for moments like the rules changes in 1933 that opened up the forward pass, the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and the Giants Super Bowl victory over the unbeaten Patriots in 2008.
11 players on a side, 11 top events; Here’s the list:
1. The 1958 NFL Championship Game — The Colts beat the Giants 23-17 in sudden death overtime in what is often referred to as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Soon after, pro football exploded on the American scene.
2. The formation of the American Football League, 1959 — Lamar Hunt, a 26-year-old Texas oil man, along with eight original owners. announced plans for a new professional football league, the AFL, to begin play in 1960.
3. Pete Rozelle named commissioner, 1960 — After 23 ballots failed to produce a new leader following the death of long-time czar Bert Bell, NFL owners selected the relatively unknown GM of the Rams. Rozelle, right, became the visionary behind the Super Bowl.
4. The formation of the National Football League, 1920 — The league’s organizational meeting was held in the showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hays Hupmobile dealership. The American Professional Football Association quickly became the NFL.
5. Red Grange turns pro, 1925 — The Bears signed the nation’s biggest star, who made his pro debut five days after his final collegiate game at the University of Illinois. Several weeks later, Grange drew 70,000 fans to a game against the Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York.
6. The first NFL draft, 1936 — Bert Bell’s innovative idea to help the weaker teams in the league was instituted, and Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger was the first pick. Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles and traded to the Bears, Berwanger decided not to play
7. The reintegration of pro football, 1946 — Pro football had a color barrier from 1934-46, when the Rams signed Kenny Washington and Woody Strode and the Browns signed Marion Motley, left, and Bill Willis — a year before Jackie Robinson’s debut in Brooklyn.
8. Monday Night Football, 1970 — The first Monday night game, between the Browns and the Jets, televised on ABC, kicked off a weekly tradition and changed the viewing habits of a nation.
9. Super Bowl III, 1969 — In one of the greatest upsets in sports history, Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed victory, then delivered in a 16-7 win over the Colts that put the AFL on the map.
10. The Ice Bowl, 1967 — The Packers beat the Cowboys 21-17 in arctic-like conditions in the Green Bay in the last game that Vince Lombardi ever coached at Lambeau Field.
11. The AFL/NFL merger, 1966 — The two rival leagues announced a phased merger, which called for an annual world championship game (later known as the Super Bowl) and full integration by 1970.
Quarterbacks Tom Brady, left,and Eli Manning of the Giants have been there, done that.
Here are 10 similarities between the two New York Giants Super Bowl runs, in 2007 and 2011:
1. In 2007 the Giants lost to the undefeated Patriots in the regular season. In 2011, the Giants lost to the undefeated Packers in the regular season. The final score of each game was 38-35.
2. In the 14th game of the 2007 season, the Giants lost to the Redskins 22-10. In the 14th game of the 2011 season, the Giants lost to the Redskins 23-10.
3. The Giants won playoff games on the frozen turf of Green Bay’s Lambeau field in 2007 and 2011.
4. The Giants won both the 2007 and 2011 NFC Championships games on field goals by Lawrence Tynes in overtime; beating the Packers and the 49ers respectively.
5. Without a first-round bye, the Giants won four consecutive playoff games in each Super Bowl run.
6. Eli Manning was the MVP in both Super Bowl wins (XLII and XLVI) against the Patriots.
7. Justin Tuck had two sacks of Tom Brady in each game.
8. Each game-winning, late fourth quarter Giant drive was sparked by an outstanding passing play,Manning to David Tyree in 2007 and then Manning to Mario Manningham in 2011.
9. In each Super Bowl, Manning vs. Brady was the quarterback matchup. In fact, Super Bowl XLVI marked only the third time in history that quarterbacks who had won previous Super Bowls faced off. Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and Dallas’ Roger Staubach met in 1976 and again in 1979.
10. Tom Coughlin of the Giants and Bill Belichick, each of whom served as assistants to Bill Parcells when the Giants won Super Bowl XXV, matched wits in both games. Super Bowl XLVI marked only the fourth time in history that coaches who had won previous Super Bowls met, joining Bill Walsh (49ers) and Don Shula (Dolphins), 1985, and Chuck Noll (Steelers) and Tom Landy (Cowboys), 1976 and 1979.
Ahmad Bradshaw backs into the end zone to score perhaps the most unusual touchdown in Super Bowl history as the Giants beat the Patriots for the second time in four years.
The New York Giants have been involved in more dramatic big games than any other team in NFL history. From three classic Super Bowls to overtime NFC Championships to “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the Giants have given New York fans (and football fans everywhere) a full load of fantastic finishes.
In the past 25 years, the Giants are 4-1 in Super Bowls and 5-0 in NFC Championship games. Six of those games came down to the final play…..and the Giants won ‘em all.
Here are the 10 most exciting big games in New York Football Giants history:
1. Giants 17, Patriots 14, Super Bowl XLII, 2008 — Sparked by an impossible catch by David Tyree, Eli Manning then hits Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining as the Giants knock off previously unbeaten 18-0 New England in a huge upset.
2. Giants 20, Bills 19, Super Bowl XXV, 1991 — Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal sails wide right at the finish and the Giants, behind backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler and MVP Ottis Anderson, defeat the heavily-favored Bills in the closest game in Super Bowl history.
3. Giants 21, Patriots 17, Super Bowl XLVI, 2012 — Ahmad Bradshaw backs into the end zone for the winning touchdown with 57 seconds left and Tom Brady’s Hail Mary pass fails to connect as the Giants win their fourth Super Bowl and eighth NFL championship.
4. Giants 23, Packers 20,OT, NFC Championship, 2008 — Lawrence Tynes, right, who earlier had missed two field goals, kicks a 47-yarder in overtime to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in one of the coldest games in football history.
5. Giants 20, 49ers 17, OT, NFC Championship, 2012 — It’s a case of deja blue all over again. Following a fumbled punt, Lawrence Tynes kicks the Giants into the Super Bowl with a 31-yard field goal in rainy San Francisco.
6. Giants 15, 49ers 13, NFC Championship, 1991 — Matt Bahr makes a 42-yard field goal at the final gun following a fumble recovery by Lawrence Taylor as the Giants end San Francisco’s dreams of a three-peat.
7. Giants 13, Browns 10, 1958 — Pat Summerall’s 49-yard field goal in a driving snowstorm, below left, gives the Giants a victory and a share of the NFL East title. The Giants beat Cleveland 10-0 in a playoff the following week, but, then lose to the Colts in the NFL Championship game.
8. Giants 13, Cowboys 10, OT, 1981 — Joe Danelo’s field goal — and a Jets win over the Packers the next day — propels the Giants into the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. They go on to beat the Eagles before losing to the 49ers.
9. Giants 23, Packers 17, NFL Championship, 1938 — Trailing 17-16 in the fourth quarter, the Giants rally as former MLB umpire Hank Soar makes a leaping catch of Ed Danowski’s pass for the winning touchdown.
10. Giants 17, Browns 13, 1950 — The Giants trail 13-3 at the half before rallying on touchdown runs by Forrest Griffith and Joe Scott to beat the Browns, who had arrived from the All-America Football Conference to dominate the NFL in their first year..
You Can’t Win Em All
Naturally, the Giants have suffered some heartbreaking losses as well, Setbacks to the Jets in 1988 and the Eagles in 2010 knocked them out of playoff spots. Then there was an overtime loss to the Cowboys in the final game of the 1993 regular season that cost New York the NFC East crown.
And who can forget the “The Miracle at the Meadowlands” in 1978 when Philadelphia’s Herm Edwards returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Giants failed to take a knee and run out the clock.
Here are the Giants five most dramatically horrifying playoff losses:
1. Colts 23, Giants 17, OT, NFL Championship, 1958 — In “The Greatest Game Ever Played” quarterback Johnny Unitas sparks a fourth-quarter rally and Alan Amache scores the winning touchdown Baltimore prevails at Yankee Stadium. It remains the only NFL championship game ever to be decided in overtime.
2. 49ers, Giants 38, NFC wild card round, 2003 — The 49ers overcome a 24-point deficit to win in the second greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.
3. Vikings 23, Giants 22, wild card round, 1997 — Minnesota overcomes 19-3 halftime deficit and scores 10 points in last 1:30 to win a wild card playoff matchup.
4. Bears 23, Giants 21, NFL Championship, 1933 —The Bears tally a late touchdown on trick play to win the first NFL Championship game.
5. Rams 19, Giants 13, OT, NFC divisional round, 1990 — Flipper Anderson catches a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jim Everett as Los Angeles upset the Giants in the Meadowlands.
If the Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowl XLV, they will tie the New York Giants for third place on the list of all-time NFL champions with seven apiece.
The Steelers are shooting for their seventh Super Bowl. The Giants have won three Super Bowls, three other NFL championship games, and one title in 1927 before the league began playoff series.
The Green Bay Packers lead the all-time list with 12, including the first two Super Bowls. The Chicago Bears are next in line with nine championships.
The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have each won five Super Bowls.
The Los Angeles Coliseum was the site of the first Super Bowl, Packers vs, Chiefs.
I grew up on the Super Bowl. That’s right, true confessions The SportsLifer is also a Super Bowl lifer.
My mind wanders back to those high school daze and Super Bowl I — back when it was called the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game. I remember watching the game with my father and brother, knowing Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers were the best football team in the world.
While Joe Namath guaranteed victory for the Jets in Super Bowl III, I wagered $5 with my Dad, who took the Colts and gave me 18 points. Jets 16, Colts 7 in the coming-out party for the American Football League.
Several years later, a college student now, I saw Super Bowl VII in a dirty old bar in Worcester, Mass. That was the year of the unbeaten Miami Dolphins. Perfect.
As a sportswriter, I wrote about the Super Bowl in Scene and Heard, my column with the Fitchburg Sentinel and Leominster Enterprise, and later in my TV-Radio sports column at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Those columns may exist in hard copy somewhere, but they never made it on to the information highway.
Later in life, I watched with joy as the Giants won three Super Bowls, twice on the home television, including the unlikeliest of all wins against the unbeaten Patriots. A
And I’ll forever recall kneeling at the bedside of a dying man willing Scott Norwood to miss the kick. Wide right, thank you.
Once I even went to go to a Super Bowl, when the Giants faced the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Had a fun time, meeting Joe Namath, Dan Rather, Adam Sandler and other celebs. No fun watching the G-Men fall big, 34-7.
During the years I’ve been to countless Super Bowl parties, hosted by both family and friends. I’ve run pools, I’ve won pools, I’ve lost pools. I’ve seen dynasties dominate decades, like the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, the Cowboys of the 90s and, most recently, the Patriots.
Last year I was at Mickey Mantle’s on Central Park South as IBM hosted a party for industry analysts on the eve of the company’s POWER7 announcement. The Saints made history that day, winning the first Super Bowl for New Orleans.
Who knows what Super Bowl XLV will bring?
For weeks now, the SportsLifer has been living 7, breathing 7 — in waking hours, sleeping hours, all day, all the time, 24X7.
The crowning glory came on Monday, when IBM rolled out its new POWER7 servers, smarter systems for a smarter planet. Systems designed to manage the most demanding emerging applications, ranging from smart electrical grids to real-time analytics for financial markets.
At the heart of these new systems is the latest entry in IBM’s POWER processor lineup, the POWER7 microprocessor, an innovative multi-core chip high on performance and low on energy consumption.
With POWER7 heavy on the mind, the SportsLifer ventured to Mickey Mantle’s on Central Park South to watch the Super Bowl with colleagues and industry analysts.
How serendipitous. Mickey Mantle. The Commerce Comet. The Mick. The Magnificent Number 7.
And when the boxes for the Super Bowl pool were filled, how perfect was it that the ‘Lifer drew Saints 7, Colts 7.
Those dual 7s didn’t win any cash. But along with Mickey Mantle, they portended good things to come.
Lucky number 7 aligned the stars for a great POWER7 announcement for IBM.
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez is evoking memories of Joe Namath.
On a cold Sunday morning more than 40 years ago, a teenager went to the local deli in suburban New York to pick up the Sunday papers and a dozen rolls.
Taped to the class counter in the deli was a paper bag, with these words:
Jets 17, Colts 7.
Of course, we all know the ending, how Broadway Joe Namath and the Miracle Jets shocked the world and the Baltimore Colts, winning Super Bowl III 16-7 and giving the American Football League the stamp of legitimacy.
Sure the deli guy was off by a point, but you have to admit it took guts to predict an 18-point underdog would not only cover the spread but win outright.
Now, more than two score years later, after beating the San Diego Chargers 17-14, the Jets are in position to finally win another Super Bowl.
The Jets haven’t been this close since losing to the Broncos 23-10 in the wind of Denver in 1999 and the Dolphins 14-0 in the mud and rain of Miami in 1983.
Now the Jets travel to Indianapolis Sunday to try and defeat the same Colts they beat in Super Bowl III…and return to the promised land.
When the Giants are going right, the opposing quarterback – not Eli Manning – is the guy facing the big pass rush.
Since their Thanksgiving Day debacle in Denver, the New York Giants have had 10 days to figure things out; 10 days to try and save their season.
The Giants, pre-season picks to win the Super Bowl in some circles, showed why they are the NFL’s most overrated team in that 26-6 drubbing by the Broncos. .
They looked like turkeys against the Broncos. It was their fifth loss in six games following a 5-0 start.
Even during their bad times, the Giants have almost always played their trademark smashmouth football style. Put pressure on the quarterback and stop the running game on defense. Maintain ball control with a strong running attack on offense.
Not lately. These Giants have been imposters in blue.
“Well to be honest with you, I don’t even know what is going on.” defensive end Osi Umenyiora, left, said earlier this week. That was before Tom Coughlin decided to bench both Osi and Fred Robbins — at least in certain situations — when the Giants play their divisional rival, the Dallas Cowboys, on Sunday.
The Forgiving NFL
The National Football League can be very forgiving. In spite of their prolonged slide, the Giants have a chance to turn their season around against their hated rivals.
A win over the Cowboys would put the Giants just a game behind Dallas in the NFC East. And the Giants would own the tiebreaker over the Cowboys by virtue of a 33-31 win that spoiled the opener of Cowboys Stadium.
Following the Dallas game, the Giants host another divisional rival and playoff contender, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The G-Men wrap up their season with road games at Washington and Minnesota, sandwiched around a home tilt with Carolina.
Amazingly, if they can figure things out in time, the Giants could still make a playoff run. They have the talent — less than two years ago they won the Super Bowl, and last year they started out 11-1 before losing four of their last five games, including a home playoff loss to the Eagles.
“We can deal with being 6-5,” said quarterback Eli Manning. “We’ve got to play better football. That’s our concern. That’s what we go to worry about. We’ve got five games left. Let’s see what we can do with those five games.”
So which Giants team will show up against the Cowboys — the Super Bowl contender or the club that’ has lost nine times in its last 16 games?
That’s not a Super Bowl trophy Randy Moss is pointing to – he doesn’t own a ring.
Here’s the latest in the Lords of The Ringless series, a litany of losers featuring wide receivers who have never won a championship — Super Bowl, NFL or AFL.
The team nobody wants to join includes four Hall of Famers — Steve Largent, Charley Taylor, James Lofton and Charlie Joiner — and a host of receivers who rank in the top 20 in the major statistical categories — career receptions, touchdowns, yardage and yards per reception.
And perhaps most surprisingly, two of the top three players on this list — Randy Moss and Terrell Owens — are still active. Both have come close, Moss with the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Owens with the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
But close doesn’t count with Lords of The Ringless.
Ringless Wide Receivers
1. Randy Moss: 1998-present, Vikings, Raiders, Patriots — 3rd all-time in touchdowns with 135, including record 23 in 2007; 15th all-time in receptions with 843, 9th in yardage with 13,201; led NFL in TDs, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007; Offensive Rookie of the Year, 1998.
2. Steve Largent: 1976-89, Seahawks — Ranks 6th all-time in touchdown receptions with 100; Hall of Famer ranks 17th in career catches with 819; led NFL in receiving yards in 1979 and 1985; seven time Pro Bowler; 1998 Walter Peyton Award winner. (Shown left)
3. Terrell Owens: 1996-present, 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills — 2nd all-time in touchdowns with 139, trails only former teammate Jerry Rice (197); 5th in yardage with 14,122 and 6th in receptions with 951; TO has been named first team All=Pro five times.
4. Cris Carter: 1987-2002, Eagles, Vikings, Dolphins — Stands 3rd all-time with 1,101 receptions; 4th with 130 touchdowns; 7th in yardage with 13,899; 8-time Pro Bowler; led NFL receivers in TDs 1995, 1997, 1999; Walter Payton Award winner in 1999.
5. Charley Taylor: 1964-77, Redskins — started career as halfback before moving to split end; ranks 19th all-time with 79 touchdowns; led league in receptions in 1976 and 1977; 8-time Pro Bowler; inducted into Hall of Fame in 1984
6. Andre Reed: 1985-2000, Bills, Redskins — Tied with TO for 6th in all-time receptions with 951; 11th with 87 touchdown grabs; and 10th in yardage with 13,198; played in four straight Super Bowls with Buffalo; 7-time Pro Bowler.
7. James Lofton: 1978-93, Packers, Raiders, Bills, Rams, Eagles — Stands 6th all time in yardage with 14,004; led league in yards per reception in 1983 and 1984; made Pro Bowl eight times; NFL Hall of Fame.
8. Tim Brown: 1988-2004, Raiders, final year with Tampa Bay — 4th in receptions with 1,094; tied for 6th in TDs with Steve Largent at 100; 3rd in yardage with 14,934; led league in receptions in 1987 with 104; Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame in 1987
9. Charlie Joiner: 1969-86, Oilers, Bengals, Chargers — 65 regular season touchdowns ranks 40th all-time; 3-time Pro Bowler; retired as NFL’s all-time receiving leader; member of NFL Hall of Fame. (Shown right)
10. Irving Fryar: 1984-2000, Patriots, Dolphins, Eagles, Redskins — Ranks 13th all-time in receptions with 851; 5-time Pro Bowler was drafted #1 overall by New England in 1984; 14th overall in TDs with 84.
Bobby Mitchell: 1958-68, Browns, Redskins — Hall of Fame flanker; led NFL in receptions and reception yardage in 1962.
Henry Ellard: 1983-98, Rams, Redskins, Pats — 8th all-time in yardage with 13,777; 19th in receptions with 814.
Warren Wells: 1964-70, Lions, Raiders — All-time leader in yards per reception with 23.1; caught 42 TDs in brief 5-year career.
Others Lords of The Ringless