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Ten worst Super Bowl performances by QB

About the Author

Bob McGinn
Contributing writer

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By Bob McGinn

Ninth in a series of 10 Super Bowl top-10 lists excerpted from "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book" by Bob McGinn.

Ten worst performances by a quarterback in a Super Bowl:

1. Craig Morton, Broncos, XII: Benched in the middle of a third-quarter series after nearly throwing a fifth interception, Morton finished the game with a passer rating of 0.0 against his former teammates. Preexisting hip injury contributed to his lack of mobility.

2. John Elway, Broncos, XXIV: Longest completion was a 27-yard shovel pass before he was relieved in the middle of the fourth quarter. Scrambled for just 8 yards and had three turnovers. Was sick much of the week and during the game.

3. Earl Morrall, Colts, III: The 1968 NFL player of the year with a 93.2 passer rating, Morrall was yanked in favor of Johnny Unitas late in the third quarter with a rating of 9.3. Looked every bit his 34 years. Rival Joe Namath dissed him during the week.

4. Kerry Collins, Giants, XXXV: After playing the game of his life in the NFC Championship game, Collins was humiliated by the Ravens' overpowering defense. He turned the ball over five times and posted a passer rating of 7.1

5. Jim Kelly, Bills, XXVI: A pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes lifted his passer rating to a deceivingly high 44.8. His four interceptions led to 17 points, and he also fumbled three times. Teammates didn't help, dropping nine passes.

6. Rich Gannon, Raiders, XXXVII: He called it the worst game of his 17-year career. Three of his five interceptions were returned long distances for touchdowns. His former coach, Jon Gruden, had his defense fully prepared.

7. Fran Tarkenton, Vikings, IX: Passed for 102 yards, failed to scramble for a single yard, threw three interceptions, and handled the ball poorly. Tarkenton was hemmed into the pocket and often couldn't see to throw downfield.

8. Ron Jaworski, Eagles, XV: Posted the best regular season of his 15-year career but was awful in the Super Bowl. He appeared to press, telegraphed his passes, and suffered three interceptions.

9. Joe Theismann, Redskins, XVIII: Rendered ineffective by the Raiders' bump-and-run cornerbacks and heavy pass rush. The regular-season MVP, he could muster only a 45.3 passer rating in the Super Bowl. His arm limitations showed up on a windy night.

10. Billy Kilmer, Redskins, VII: The unbeaten Dolphins were ecstatic that it was the overachieving Kilmer and not injured Sonny Jurgensen behind center. His longest completion was 15 yards and his passer rating was 19.6.

Coming Friday: Top 10 Super Bowl upsets

Bob McGinn, the author of "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book," has covered the Green Bay Packers and the NFL for 30 years, including the last 19 for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has been Pro Football Weekly's correspondent in Green Bay since the early 1980s. McGinn spent 4½ years interviewing more than 150 head coaches, assistant coaches, players, general managers, scouts and owners, as well as studying tapes of every game, in preparation for writing his book. His objective was to break down why each game was won. "The Ultimate Super Bowl Book," published by MVP Books, is available at, and book stores across the country. It contains more than 25 top-10 lists, a comprehensive statistical summary of each game and a list of Super Bowl records.

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