FanPost

Can you win the Super Bowl with an average QB in the modern era of the NFL?



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It is amazing what just one year can do for the human psyche. It is even more amazing how quickly fortunes can go from bad to great in just twelve months. Just think of where this team was this point last season. The offense was inept, turning the ball over at a record rate. The defense was a sieve , seemingly incapable of stopping a Pop Warner team. We hadn't even had a lead in a game at this point last year. The defense couldn't take the ball away and couldn't sack the quarterback. The offense had more turnovers than a Crispy Cream factory, they couldn't move the ball to save their life and the quarterback play was down right embarrassing. It was so bad that we were asking ourselves is this the worst team of all time. Banners were flying over Arrowhead in anger and disgust, telling anyone who would listen that Pioli and Romeo needed to be fired and the organization needed a complete overhaul. Darkness and dread were hovered over a once proud franchise. It was the lowest of the low you could experience as a Chiefs fan

Fast forward just twelve months and the fortunes of this team have done a complete 180. If the season ended today, KC would be the number one seed in the NFL. No team has ever gone from two wins the previous season to eight straight wins to start the next season. A defense that couldn't sack the QB to save it's life, now is on pace for an astonishing 82 sacks this season. An offense that gave the ball away like it were business cards, now all of the sudden lead the league in fewest turnovers. There is real coaching and teaching going on on the practice field as opposed to the middle school recess program Romeo favored. For this team to miss the playoffs , you would have to back to a time when teams wore leather helmets and played in bare feet before a crowd of hundreds on a High School football field. Making the post season is almost a given at this point

With success comes an elevated sense of entitlement . We have went from just hoping to see a competitive product on the field , to looking at this team as a possible Super Bowl contender . Fans like MNChiefsfan even wrote at length about how expectations have changed. I completely agree with this assessment. We can't look at ourselves as cellar dwellers anymore. However, where I think I differ from the majority (at least on AP) is that I believe we have to raise our standards of what is considered good play and what is not. If we are really going to raise our expectations for this team, we can't be content with squeaking out victories every week against bad teams with second or third string QB's . And with the defense playing lights out, the special teams playing very well, the burden of improvement lies on the offensive side of the football.


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The Chiefs 2013 offense

The weak link of the 2013 team has been the offense. The Chiefs enjoy the best staring field position the the NFL, taking over at their 35 yard line on average. Yet, they are only 12th in points per game. That stat is also blown up by the fact this team has scored five non offensive TD's this year. With the amount of turnovers this defense is creating , that is not acceptable. In all reality , this should be a top five offense. Oh , by the way, we have punted the second most times in the NFL

Then there is the issue of red zone efficiency. The Chiefs score a TD in 50% of their red zone possessions. That is good for 19th in the NFL. Many of the failures of the offense can be attributed to a shaky line, new scheme and new players having issues of continuity. Then again, this offense has had better part of six months to iron out problems with all of the roadblocks I listed above. Does the problem lie with Alex Smith?

Afterall, Smith is in the bottom half of the NFL in most important statistical categories. The Chiefs invested not one, but two second rounds picks to attain his services. He has had his moments , but he has also had moments where the team has won in spite of him. Is he the answer long term? That is a question every Chiefs fan needs to ask

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Average QB's in the Super Bowl.

who/what is average?

The hope I hear from most fans on AP is that the overall team is better than any one player.That if we play ball control offense, hard nose defense and filed position , then we have a great chance of winning the Super Bowl. These same fans must have either been too young to have seen this team play in the 90's, blocked those years out of their minds , or just now have become fans of this team. Because we played that way all through the Marty era , only to see this team falter against less talented teams with better QB's . But fans fans insist that Alex Smith is a QB good enough to win a title with this team around him. Even the most die hard fans will concede that Smith is an average QB in this league. An ''average'' QB that is in the bottom half of the NFL in almost every passing category (but I digress). Be that as it may, most fans see him as someone that can get this team a championship that has alluded this city for forty years. Hear tell on AP, ''many'' titles have been won by QB's as good or even worse than Alex Smith. Why, just look at Trent Dilfer, AP's shining example of ''mediocrity '' winning the most prized trophy in all of sports . If lowly Trent Dilfer won a ring, surely Alex Smith can win one right?

So how many average QB's have actually won a title? What is their story? Are they truly average , or are we not giving them enough credit? That is the question I hope to answer with this post

But first , we have to widdle down this list a little bit. There have been 29 different QB's that have won a championship. I don't know about you, but I don't feel like breaking down every one of them. So I will eliminate some guys from this list

If you are in the Hall of fame, you are above average


If the sports writers of America have deemed you worthy of having your bust next to the greatest players of all time in Canton, who am I to say they are wrong and you are just an average player? That doesn't mean that there aren't some guys I don't think deserve to be in there. But it isn't up to me to judge if they ultimately belong or not. If they are in the Hall of Fame they are scratched off the list. There goes Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Joe Montana,Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Roger Staubach

If you have two rings , I can't call you average

If you win one ring, maybe it is a fluke. Maybe the sun and stars aligned for you that one year. But it is HARD to win a title, So if you win more than one, I have to think you had a little something to do with your teams success. So bye bye to Jim Plunket, Ben Rothlesberger, Eli Manning and Tom Brady

If you will be in the Hall of Fame, you are better than just average

There are several players that have won it all , who, are either still playing , or haven't met the five year moratorium for getting into the HOF. These are guys that will be enshrined in Canton one day. Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Drew Brees Peyton Manning and Aaron Rogers are guys that we all can agree are/were elite QB's when they played.

So of the 29 winning QB's, nineteen have already been eliminated off the list of average guys. That isn't boding well for the ''average QB's can win it all argument''. But now is where the fun begins. Now we look at the guys and truly see if they were just average , or better yet, better than Smith is.

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via www.halloffamememorabilia.com

Ken Stabler Super Bowl XI

Case for being above average

Stabler was a four time Pro Bowler and two time All Pro. He was NFL MVP and offensive player of the year in 1974. He also won the Bert Bell award in 1976. He led the NFL in Td passes in 1974 and 1976. He was named to the NFL all decade team of the 70's. He was a three time HOF finalist. Stabler was also one of the most accurate passers of his era

Case for being average

Stabler never really enjoyed the same success in Houston and New Orleans as he did on a loaded Raider team. He also threw 28 more interceptions than touchdown passes in his career. He was far less effective later in his career and missed multiple games with injuries before retiring with a lowly Saints team in 1984

Final verdict

I almost left Stabler off this list all together. He was a decorated player when he played and is a border line Hall of famer. The Snake was defiantly an above average player when he played

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via mentalfloss.com

Joe Theisman Super Bowl XVII

Case for being above average

Theisman was the signal caller for one of the best offenses in the NFL for the Redskins in the late 70' to early 80's. He was named NFL MVP and offensive player of the year in 1983. He won the Bert Bell award in 1982. He was named to two Pro Bowls, taking home the Pro Bowl MVP award in 1983. In addition to winning Super Bowl seventeen, he also started in Super Bowl eighteen. He still holds the Redskins all time record for career passing yards.

Case for being average.

Theisman was the beneficiary of playing for offensive guru Joe Gibbs who won with multiple quarterbacks. Was he just a system QB? He also had the benefit of having a Hall of Fame RB n the backfield with him(John Riggens) as well as having a multitude of talented receivers and a famous offensive line with several Hall of Famers on it. He only threw for over twenty TD's in a season twice.

Final verdict


Theisman may never get the respect he deserves because of his quirky behavior off the field. But he was a tough, competitive, successful QB for most of his career, He was one of the best QB's of his era . Theisman was a franchise QB in his day. He was definitely an above average QB

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Doug Williams Super Bowl XXII


Case for being above average

Williams walked into an almost impossible situation when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978. The Buccaneers won a total of two games in two seasons before selecting the gunslinger out of Grambling University . The result was instant success. The Buccaneers went to the NFC championship under Williams in 1979. They made the post season three of the five years Williams was under center. When Williams left for the USFL in 1983, the franchise reverted back to it's losing ways , winning only two games that season and they wouldn't make the playoffs again until 1997. Williams went to the Redskins in 1986 and in 1987, he set a Super Bowl record for most TD's in a game and was named MVP of the game. He ranks seventeenth in fourth quarter comebacks despite only starting 81 games

Case for being average

Williams completion percentage was down right embarrassing . He only completed 47 percent of his passes with the Buccaneers. He only had one season where he threw twenty TD's. He has almost as many interceptions as touchdowns in his career. He doesn't have a lot of games under his belt, starting only 81 games in a nine years span. Despite his performance in the Super Bowl, he only had a 5-9 record as a starter for Washington. He averaged less than 7 YPA for his career. Had the third lowest QBR of any QB to win the Super Bowl

Final verdict

Williams is a tough player to judge. He really only had five years of starting experience and never put up eye popping stats. So was he a franchise QB? All I know is the Bucs were a dumpster fire before he arrived, were respectable why he was there and immediately reverted back to sucking when he left. Also, I don't think average QB's set Super Bowl records for passing. ''But Saints'', ''you downplay the fact Smith has won so many games''. ''So why is Williams above average''? I will answer that. First, Smith never turned around the 49ers . He was drafted there in 05 and never improved the team until Harbaugh came there in 2011. Smith won 38% of his games between 05-10. His backups won 39% of games he missed during that time.

So not only did Smith not improve the team, his backups(albeit slightly) won more games in his absence. He also has had the benefit of an elite running game, defense and head coach the past three years. Williams never had those benefits, as he had to take over for an expansion franchise with no history of success. I am more impressed with Williams winning consistently with a dreadful Bucs squad than I am Smith winning with elite talent and coaching behind him. People won't respect what Williams did with the Bucs and it is unfortunate. I do respect what he did and that is why I say Williams was an above average QB

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via cdn.bleacherreport.net

Phil Simms Super Bowl XXI

Case for not being average

Simms was a two time Pro Bowler , taking home the MVP award in 1985. He was named Super Bowl MVP .He was named league MVP in 1986. He still is the Giants all time leader in passing yards and wins as a starter. He was named Sports Illustrateds most underrated QB of all time in 2001. He won an impressive 95 of his 159 starts in his NFL career. He has 64 game winning drives for his career . After he retired in 1993, the Giants didn't have a playoff appearance until 1997

Case for being average

Simms had the benefit of having one of the greatest Head coaches of all time and always had an elite defense to back him up. So he was never really asked to completely carry a team. He was replaced in 1990 and the team still was able to win a championship that year. He also missed numerous games with injuries throughout his career. He never really compiled great numbers, despite being on a winning team with a lot of talent

Final verdict

Simms is another QB that has been in the discussion for the Hall of Fame. He was Troy Aikman before there was a Troy Aikman. He was a guy that was able to deliver time and time again in big games . He was one of the most underrated players of all time and was a QB that was most certainly above average

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via assets.nydailynews.com

Jim McMahon Super Bowl XX

Case for not being average

McMahon was a one time Pro Bowler. He won rookie of the year in 1982 and won comeback player of the year in 1991.He took two separate franchises to the playoffs He was 36-5 as a starter from 1984 -1988. We was 67-30 as a starter in his career. Nobody rocked the sunglasses in the club at midnight like McMahon did

Case for not being average

McMahon had very pedestrian statistics throughout his career. He never threw more than 15 TD passes in a season.He never had a 3,000 yard passing season. He missed numerous games with injuries . He never played a full sixteen game season.The Bears defense had to carry the offense for the 1985 Super Bowl

Final verdict

McMahon actually reminds me a lot of Alex Smith . Smith is has a better attitude and is respected more by his teammates. But both have had injuries in their career. Both are limited arm talents. Both are able to make plays with their feet. Both have won a lot of games with elite talent around them. And both had to be carried by their defenses .McMahon is the first guy I can say without a doubt was an average QB. He had some moxy, he had guts, but he was average at best. So what did it take for the Bears to overcome their average signal caller? How about the greatest defense of all time and the last Super Bowl winning team to lead the league in rushing the year they won. So if we can do both of those things, we have a shot with Alex Smith

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Jeff Hostetler Super Bowl Super Bowl XXV

Case for being above average

Hostetler made the Pro Bowl for his play in the 1994 season. He ranked top five in YPA twice in his career. He has two come from behind wins in the post season. He holds one of the lowest interception percentage in a season (1.4 in 1991) . He holds a 4-1 record in the post season. Hostetler beat a Buffalo team that was heavily favored in the Super Bowl. He won a playoff game with the Raiders for crying out loud. That alone makes a case he was above average. Plus the fact he had a killer mustache


Case for being average

Hostetler didn't get much playing time before 1990. In fact, he actually played WR and special teams before he got his chance to start at QB when Phil Simms went down with an injury. He only had 83 starts in twelve years as a player. He never did much after his Cinderella season, becoming a career journeyman. He only had two 3,000 yard passing seasons. His career QBR is a pedestrian 80.5. Only started sixteen games in a season once in his career

Final verdict

Hostetler is the quintessential Cinderella story. He was a guy that won a Super Bowl when no one thought he could. It is one of the best stories in NFL history. Hostetler also had a machine of a defense. That defense was number one scoring defense and the number two defense in terms of yards allowed that year. He also had a Hall of Fame head coach on the sideline. Hostetler was a very average QB. But again, he had a historically good defense that year. So it is another example of having to have a defense play at a historic level in order to over come mediocre QB play.

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via khq.images.worldnow.com

Mark Rypien Super Bowl XXVI


Case for being above average

Rypien was the QB for one of the most underrated Super Bowl winning teams of all time, the 1991 Washington Redskins. Washington enjoyed the best offense in the NFL that year with Rypien under center. Rypien was a two time Pro Bowler. He took home the NFC offensive player of the year award in 1991. He was named MVP of Super Bowl 26. He has the sixth lowest carer sack percentage in NFL history (3.58) . He led the NFL in yards per completion and adjusted net yards passing in 1991. He ranks 20th in ADJ passing yards for his career. He has a smoking hot daughter ,OMG!! Holds a 5-2 post season record

Case for being average

Rypien is the definition of one year wonder. He only started six games after leaving Washington in 1993. He only started sixteen games twice in his career. He posted a career QBR under eighty. If you are seeing a pattern here, Joe Gibbs was a pretty good coach. He made the most out of the passers he had and molded the offense to their strengths. And Rypien was never the same after Gibbs retired. He was backed up by the number two defense in the league that year. He has to be one of the ugliest dudes I have ever seen

Final verdict

If we are going by just that one year, Rypien was an above average QB. But I have decided to look at the overall career of guys as opposed to the individual year they won the Super Bowl. As I stated before, the 91 Redskins are the most underrated team in NFL history in my opinion. They were not only the number two defense in the NFL that year, they were also the top ranked offense as well.They outscored the opposition by a margin of 16 points per game. Rypien was a big reason they won that year. What he did was better than what Alex Smith is on pace for. But his overall career was pretty mediocre minus that one season

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via www.foxsportsflorida.com

Brad Johnson Super Bowl XXXVII


Case for being above average

Brad Johnson made the Pro Bowl twice in his career. He is one of only a handful of QB's to take three separate teams to the playoffs. He is a career sixty percent passer. He passed for over sixty percent of his passes thirteen years in a row, which was an NFL record. He passed for over 3000 yards in a season five times in his career. He owns the second most passing yards in a single season for the Washington Redskins. He holds a higher QBR than Hall of fame players like Troy Aikman and Warren Moon. He was top ten in several passing categories the year he won the Super Bowl

Case for being average

Johnson was a somewhat injury prone player, only suiting up sixteen games in a season five times in his career. He has a modest TD to INT ration (166 to 122) and has a low career TD percentage(3.8). He has a low career YPA (6.7). He won a Super Bowl on a team with a historically good defense. He became kind of a journeyman after he left the Buccaneers in 2004.

Final Verdict

Johnson gets unfairly lumped into the same category as Trent Dilfer.Johnson was NOT on the same low level as Dilfer was. Unlike Dilfer, Johnson put up more impressive numbers and won more games throughout his career. He was an accurate game manager who had the arm strength to go deep. He also won a high volume of games in multiple places . His year in 2002 is better than what Alex Smith is on pace for. Johnson was one of the most underrated QB's the last 15 years . He wasn't an elite level player. But he was definatley an above average QB for many years in the NFL

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via cdn.bleacherreport.net


Trent Dilfer Super Bowl XXXV

Case for being above average

Dilfer helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to it's first post season birth in fifteen years in 1997, making a Pro Bowl that year in the process. He has the most career wins by a Buccaneers QB . As bad as the offense was in Baltimore, they weren't going anywhere with Tony Banks. The Ravens were 5-3 with Banks under center , even going five straight games where the Ravens didn't score an offensive touchdown. Dilfer came in and at least was able to move the ball. He won eleven straight starts at on point in his career.

Case for being average

Where to even begin? Dilfer has a completion percentage of only 55%. He has sixteen more interceptions than touchdowns in his career. He never had a 3000 yard passing season. He barely won over .500 of his starts . He has a career passer rating of 70.2. Dilfer ranks 152nd in ADJ per attempt in his career. He played for three separate teams after 2000, never starting more than eleven games the rest of his time in the NFL

Final Verdict

Dilfer is the name most brought up when people give examples of winning it all with an average QB. In fact, Dilfer was a below average QB. All it took for the Ravens to overcome bad QB play was the best defense ever in a sixteen game schedule, a top five running game and good special teams. The Chiefs have a really good defense. But are they the 2000 Ravens good? I am not so sure about that. And that Ravens team played in an era where the offenses were not nearly explosive as they are today. The rules also weren't heavily skewed toward the passing game as they are in this current climate. Could that team have won a Super Bowl playing in this day and age in the NFL? That is a question that can never be answered. But they would have had a much more difficult hill to climb in this day and age in the NFL to be sure.

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Joe Flacco Super Bowl Super Bowls XLVII


Case for being above average

Flacco holds every passing record for the Baltimore Ravens. He is the only QB to have a playoff win every year his first five years as a starter. He has the most road playoff wins by a QB( six) . He is tied with the most post season TD passes in a season (eleven). He is the only player in NFL history to have a passer rating of over a 100 in a playoff run. He has the most wins by a QB in his first eighty starts.He has many clutch wins on his belt and has maybe the strongest arm in the NFL

Case for being average

In an era of record breaking seasons by QB's,Flacco has put up pretty pedestrian numbers. He has never passed for 4000 yards in a season. He never has thrown for more than 25 TD's in a season. He has never made a Pro Bowl. Several of his post season wins came despite him playing poorly. He has always had a top running game and a defense, as well as one of the best head coaches and general managers in the NFL. He barely has completed over sixty percent of his passes for his NFL tenure. He is having a down year this year after losing several pieces form the Super Bowl winning team a year ago.

Final Verdict

Flacco may not put up the Madden numbers like his contemporaries are doing. But Flaccos is a big, strong armed QB who had has won a lot of big games in his young NFL career. despite him having a down year so far this season , Flacco is still one of the better QB's in the NFL and is a borderline elite player in this league

Conclusion

The idea that you can win with an average QB is more myth than reality. Almost two thirds of Super Bowls won , were won by franchise QB's . And at least half of the other Super Bowls were won by border line elite passers. The last Super Bowl that was won by what you could truly call an average QB was the 2000 Ravens. That was thirteen years ago. A lot has changed since then, including an emphasis on high octane passing attacks and a de emphisis on smash mouth defense . The Chiefs are trying to buck the trend with a conservative offense , a stifling defense and a QB that is well in the bottom half of most passing statistics. Will it work? Well it has for the first eight games of the season. But what happens when KC has to play a high powered offense? What happens when defense falters and the offense has to put up 30 points? Can this team do it? Even the much maligned 2000 Ravens offense scored more than 31 points four time that season. And teams like the 85 Bears, 2000 Ravens and 90 Giants had all time historic defenses. Time will tell if this team can overcome a deficiency at the most important position in all of sports. Considering it has only been done once since 2000 tells me I had better not hold my breath in anticipation of that happening . Because truth be told, teams with franchise QB's have always had a leg up when it comes to winning titles. That has never changed

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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