The Super Bowl Cling-Ons

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 29, 2008



THE CLING-ONS
These are quarterbacks who played in multiple Super Bowls and won at least one championship despite putting up pedestrian numbers. The quarterbacks on this list share something in common: They played for teams with dominant running games that could overcome their quarterback's inability to produce in the passing game. The best move these quarterbacks made was handing the ball off to a Super Bowl MVP running back. The Cling-Ons went 5-5 in Super Bowl play and their career Super Bowl passer ratings range from 57.1 to 72.7.
 
Bob Griese, Miami
Games – 3 (VI, VII, VIII)
Wins – 2 (VII, VIII)
 
Overview: Griese stands as proof that football prizes team accomplishments over individual statistics. He was ushered into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, but he rarely did anything more notable than hand the ball off while leading arguably the most lethal ground attack in modern NFL history. Even his Hall of Fame bio describes him as "the poised leader of a classic ball-control offense that generated an awesomely efficient running attack." This legacy was never more evident than it was in Griese's three Super Bowl appearances. In his two victories, Griese attempted just 18 total passes. His Super Bowl passer rating of 72.7 is only slightly below his pedestrian career passer rating of 77.1.
 
Signature moment: Griese handed the ball off a then-record 51 times in Miami's 24-7 victory over Minnesota in Super Bowl VIII. He attempted just 7 passes, completing 6 for 73 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs.
 
Super Bowl
Comp.
Att.
Pct.
Yards
TDs
INTs
Rating
Result
VI
12
23
52.2
134
0
1
51.7
L 24-3
VII
8
11
72.3
88
1
1
88.4
W 14-7
VIII
6
7
85.7
73
0
0
110.1
W 24-7
TOTALS
26
41
63.4
295
1
2
72.7
2-1
 
***
 
John Elway, Denver
Games – 5 (XXI, XXII, XXIV, XXXII, XXXIII)
Wins – 2 (XXXII, XXXIII)
MVPs – 1 (XXXIII)
 
Overview: Elway has a reputation as a big-game gunslinger. The Cold, Hard Football Facts prove he was anything but a big-game player on Super Bowl Sunday. Elway threw at least 1 INT in all five of his Super Bowl appearances, including six in the three losses. His performance in Super Bowl XXIV, a 55-10 loss to San Francisco, was one of the worst by a quarterback in Super Bowl history (10 of 26, 108 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs, 19.4 rating). With the arrival of Mike Shanahan as its coach, Denver became a team powered by the run and Elway rode the coattails of running back Terrell Davis to victory. The Broncos shed their cloak of vincibility with a 31-24 win over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII. Elway had his usual subpar Super Bowl passing performance (12 of 22 for 123 yards with 0 TDs, 1 INT), but MVP Davis rushed for 157 yards and a Super Bowl record 3 TDs. Elway pulled it all together in Super Bowl XXXIII, a 34-19 win over Atlanta. He passed for 336 yards in the final game of his career, earned MVP honors, erased a legacy of Super Bowl duds and rode off into the sunset one of the most celebrated players in league history. Denver rushed 75 times and passed 51 times in its two Super Bowl victories.
 
Signature moment: Denver and Green Bay were locked in a 17-17 tie late in the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXII when the Broncos faced a 3rd and 6 at the Green Bay 12. Elway dropped back to pass but then ran through an opening in the Green Bay defense. He dove for the first down, only to get whacked by safety LeRoy Butler. Elway spun around in midair like a helicopter, but had reached the first-down marker. Davis soon scored to give the Broncos a 24-17 lead. It's only fitting that the most memorable play of Elway's Super Bowl career is not a spiraling pass hanging in the air, but a gritty rush attempt near the goal line. Elway also rushed for a 1 yard TD in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXXII.  
 
Super Bowl
Comp.
Att.
Pct.
Yards
TDs
INTs
Rating
Result
XXI
22
37
59.5
304
1
1
83.6
L 39-20
XXII
14
38
36.8
257
1
3
36.8
L 42-10
XXIV
10
26
38.5
108
0
2
19.4
L 55-10
XXXII
12
22
54.5
123
0
1
51.9
W 31-24
XXXIII
18
29
62.1
336
1
1
99.2
W 34-19
TOTALS
76
152
50.0
1,128
3
8
59.3
2-3
 
***
 
Joe Theismann, Washington
Games – 2 (XVII, XVIII)
Wins – 1 (XVII)
 
Overview: Theismann spent the first three years of his career in Canada and did not become a full-time NFL player until 1978, his eighth year in pro ball. His legacy took a dramatic turn for the better with the arrival of head coach Joe Gibbs and offensive line coach Joe Bugel in 1981.
 
By 1982, Washington's offensive line – "the Hogs" – had become the most powerful force in the NFL. The Redskins ended the strike-shortened 1982 season with an 8-1 record. Riggins led the team into the postseason, amassing 510 yards on 136 carries in four playoff games. The season concluded with a 27-17 victory over Miami in Super Bowl XVII. Theismann earned NFL MVP honors in 1983, leading what was then the most prolific scoring offense in NFL history (541 points). The 1983 Redskins were a perfectly balanced offensive machine, scoring 29 touchdowns through the air and 30 on the ground. But the Raiders shut down the Washington ground game in Super Bowl XVIII and without his safety net, Theismann proved incapable of carrying the Redskins. He threw two INTs, including one at the end of the half that was returned by Raiders linebacker Jack Squirek for a back-breaking touchdown.
 
Signature moment: The Redskins trailed Miami, 17-13, with 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XVII when Theismann wisely decided to hand off to Riggins on a daring 4th-and-1 play. The Diesel raced off left tackle, ran over Dolphins cornerback Don McNeal, and rumbled 43 yards for the go-ahead TD in what ended a 27-17 Washington victory. Riggins earned MVP honors with his record 38 attempts and then-record 166 yards on the ground. The Redskins gained a Super Bowl record 276 rushing yards.
 
Super Bowl
Comp.
Att.
Pct.
Yards
TDs
INTs
Rating
Result
XVII
15
23
65.2
143
2
2
75.1
W 27-17
XVIII
16
35
45.7
243
0
2
45.3
L 38-9
TOTALS
31
58
53.4
386
2
4
57.1
1-1
 
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