Quarterbacks Need Help To Win Super Bowls

The subtitle for this headline is: Rings Aren’t A Good Way to Compare QBs.

It’s Super Bowl week and there’s lots of great topics to discuss this year, like the old QB vs the young QB, if the Rams should even be there, and one of my favorites: how the Bears triple dink changed the playoff field.

In all cases, I respond with a sentiment that invariably comes back to some form of “It’s a team game.”

There’s 22 players on the field at a time, and they can all hit each other at any moment. That’s unlike basketball (which is a series of five one-on-one matchups built on isolation), or baseball (which is pitcher against batter then fielder against ball), or any other sport.

There are over 100 players and dozens of coaches that determine the outcome of each football game.

There’s no debating that QB is the most important position in the game, probably in all of sports, but it’s never about one guy in what is the ultimate team game, no matter how much some people try to make it seem like it is or the media hypes up individuals.

Football is the ultimate team sport.

Let’s look back at the most recent Super Bowl champions and see how they won to determine if it was really the Quarterback or if the Quarterback was just a big part of a larger team effort.

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2017 – Nick Foles
In his first playoff game against the Falcons, Foles didn’t even throw a touchdown and they would have lost if Julio Jones – the best receiver in the game – didn’t just flat out drop an easy catch in the end zone on 4th down.

In the Super Bowl, his defense got a huge momentum-shifting 4th down stop in the 4th quarter and then a giant strip sack with 2 minutes left when the Patriots were looking for the go-ahead touchdown.

Plus he threw a pick – that’s not helping, you need a team to pick you up when you turn the ball over.

Verdict: Team effort

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2016 – Tom Brady
Nevermind that Tom had the #1 scoring defense in the league to help him get to the Super Bowl, when he got there, he threw an 82-yard pick 6. I know it was an amazing comeback, but comebacks are only possible when the defense steps up and the team rallies together. The Patriots defense put on the clamps in the second half and really came through when they got a sack to knock Atlanta out of field goal range late to preserve the score and get to overtime…

… where James White won the game. White, who had 139 yards and 3 touchdowns while setting a Super Bowl record for most points scored with 20, was a big part of that win.

Verdict: Team effort

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2015 – Peyton Manning
Yeah, I know, Peyton Manning is great, but to even get to this Super Bowl, he needed the Broncos amazingly dominant defense to intercept Tom Brady twice and get two fourth down stops, plus an interception of a two point conversion to squeak by 20-18.

In the Super Bowl, Von Miller strip sacked Cam Newton when the Panthers were in position to take the lead with a score. It’s hard to say Manning didn’t have any help here.

Verdict: Team effort

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2014 – Tom Brady
I won’t go into detail on any of this one. Malcom Butler intercepted a ball at the 6 inch line on a quick slant in one of the most amazing plays in Super Bowl history to end the game.

Verdict: Team effort

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2013 – Russell Wilson
For real? Seattle’s defense allowed 15, 17, and 8 points in their three playoff games. You really wanna tell me this was all Russell Wilson? The guy who was 9/18 for 103 yards and 0 TDs in the Division round while Marshawn Lynch ran 28 times for 140 yards and 2 TDs?

In the Super Bowl, the special teams unit had a touchdown while the defense (which by the way, was number one in the league) had a safety and a pick 6 in addition to holding Denver – the highest scoring offense in NFL history – to 8 points (their lowest output by far all year). If Russell Wilson would have just kneeled down every play, the Seahawks still would have won.

Verdict: Team effort

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2012 – Joe Flacco
Yes, I know, he’s elite, but even he can’t win a Super Bowl by himself. In the Division round, his defense picked off Manning twice, returned one for a TD, and held the Broncos scoreless in two overtimes to win. The defense got 3 turnovers on the road in New England to even get to the Super Bowl where he got two turnovers from his defense and a 108 yard touchdown return from his special teams. The Ravens D made this such a joke that they had to fake a power outage to even make it interesting.

Verdict: Team effort

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2011 – Eli Manning
Seriously? This guy is the poster child for riding a defense to a ring. Not only did his defense rough up everybody all playoffs long, he won the Conference Championship when the 49ers fumbled a punt in overtime and gave the Giants he ball in field goal range.

The Super Bowl, his defense got a safety and picked off Tom Brady for the only turnover of the game and a final stand at the end to preserve the victory after the Patriots literally let Ahmad Bradshaw walk in for the go-ahead score late in the 4th.

Verdict: Team effort

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2010 – Aaron Rodgers
This is the true test. This is my guy, the chosen one, the real test right? Do I really mean this or am I just full of sh!t?

Aaron Rodgers had one of the most amazing playoff runs in recent memory with three games over a 111 rating. He threw for 9 TDs and ran for 2 more. His Super Bowl numbers were 304/3/0 – that’s like perfect!

But here’s where I have to face reality. As much I think Rodgers is the best and as much as I think his playoff run that year was amazing, I have been reminded so many times since then that even he can’t do it himself.

Tramon Williams ended the Eagles wild card game with a win-clinching interception in the red zone, then had a momentum-dominating pick 6 as the clock ran out on the first half the next week against Atlanta. Raji had a pick 6 to ice the Bears and Collins had a pick 6 in the Super Bowl. Heck, my nemesis Jarrett Bush even had an interception to finish off the Super Bowl.

Rodgers is amazing. His run was incredible (a 6 seed knocking off the 1, 2, and 3 seeds on the road), but he didn’t do it himself.

Verdict: Team effort

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Football is the ultimate team game.

A Super Bowl is a team accomplishment unlike anything else in sports.

It’s way bigger than one person.

Saying otherwise is just plain ignorant.

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