For an NFL quarterback, winning the Super Bowl means everything. One Super Bowl title can transform the perception of a quarterback's entire career. Throughout the 50 year history, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks have come from all different backgrounds.
There have been young quarterbacks that blossomed into a great situation. For example, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks became the missing link. First of all, Wilson should have been drafted prior to the third round of the 2012. However, once he fell into the lap of Pete Carroll and company, there was no looking back. He won a Super Bowl title in his second season and was one Marshawn Lynch handoff away from winning a second championship. Despite the heartbreaking Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, Wilson will always have solace in his first championship.
Other quarterbacks have been moments away from a Super Bowl title, but haven't been so lucky. Remember when Colin Kaepernick was the next great quarterback leading the San Francisco 49ers? He was also a couple yards short of winning a Super Bowl. Since then, Kaepernick lost his starting job. He's also playing for his third head coach.
That's why it's so important to seize the opportunity when it arises. Second chances don't always come. Ask Dan Marino. He spent 17 years slinging the pigskin for the Miami Dolphins. After winning the AFC during the 1984 season, Marino never brought the Dolphins back to the Super Bowl in eight more playoff appearances.
Here are 15 active NFL quarterbacks that deserve a Super Bowl title.
15 Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick was a seventh round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft. Throughout his 11-year career, Fitzpatrick has failed to make the postseason. He was so close to snapping the streak in 2015, but Fitzpatrick turned into the Jets' version of Tony Romo in the season finale against Buffalo. Three interceptions doomed the Jets and they were left wondering what could have been. He led the Jets to a 10-6 record last season. It was the first time Fitzpatrick ever had a winning season. However, expectations are large for the 2016 season. Currently, Fitzpatrick has a 43-61-1 record in the NFL.
14 Robert Griffin III
Remember when Robert Griffin III was special? The former Heisman Trophy winner out of Baylor melted hearts of Washington Redskins' fans everywhere. Griffin passed for 3,200 yards as rookie, leading the Redskins to the NFL playoffs in 2012. Unfortunately, the postseason was the beginning of the end. Griffin injured his knee late in the season, but returned for the playoff game. He started the game with flawless execution until another hit hobbled the rookie QB. Instead of heading to the bench, Griffin played until his knee finally succumbed to the pressure. He was never the same, and things spiraled out of control once Jay Gruden was hired as head coach.
13 Brock Osweiler
Brock Osweiler was the perfect soldier for the Denver Broncos until it was time for free agency. Due to Peyton Manning's ineffectiveness and old age, Osweiler started seven games for the Broncos in 2015. He helped the team earn the no. 1 seed in the AFC. But when it was time for the playoffs to start, the coaching staff went with the veteran. Manning could barely throw the ball. Yet, when the dust settled, the Broncos were Super Bowl champions. Osweiler has a ring, but he wasn't the starter. It's also the reason why he's not in Denver anymore.
12 Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler entered the NFL after four seasons with the Vanderbilt Commodores. The four-year starter only had 11 wins for the Commodores, but he was considered to be a can't miss prospect in 2005. Cutler finished his college his college career with 8,697 yards and 59 touchdown passes. He also threw 36 interceptions for Vanderbilt. Still, Cutler was billed to have all world talent. In 10 seasons, that talent has led to one playoff appearance. During the 2010 NFL season, Cutler led the Chicago Bears to the postseason. After winning his first game against the Seahawks, Cutler entered a showdown with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. He only threw 14 passes before leaving the game with an MCL sprain.
11 Mark Sanchez
Did Mark Sanchez really just fall into the perfect spot for a Super Bowl title? Despite the jokes, Sanchez hasn't had the worst career ever. However he may have had the NFL's most iconic moment. Yes. The "butt" fumble. Personally, the analysis of the play was never really that funny. Maybe it would have been hilarious if the butt actually caused the fumble, but that clearly wasn't the case. Unfortunately, he's never really lived the play down. The game happened on Thanksgiving night against the New England Patriots, the perfect recipe for a social media explosion. However, there's more to Sanchez than that one fumble. First of all, he's had plenty of fumbles.
10 Philip Rivers
9 Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford was the overall no. 1 draft pick in 2010 by the team formerly known as the St. Louis (LA) Rams. Countless knee injuries and a trade to the Philadelphia has Bradford on course to becoming a journeyman QB. With a record of 25-37-1, he's been a major disappointment. However, Bradford is only 28 years old. After playing 14 games last season, the NFL may see the best of the former Oklahoma quarterback. Overall, Bradford has 78 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. He can still make plays for the offense. More importantly, Bradford might be the best quarterback on the Philadelphia Eagles.
8 Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton has been impressive through his first five seasons in the NFL. He's posted a 50-26-1 regular season record. Last year, he was having an MVP type of season. In 13 games, Dalton threw for 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Unfortunately, the 2015 season ended with an injury, missing a chance to redeem playoff failures. So far, Dalton is 0-4 in playoff games, and the last few seasons were highly disappointing. For example, Dalton has one touchdown pass and six interceptions in his postseason career. It's dreadful for a quarterback of his stature.
7 Matt Ryan
6 Alex Smith
5 Carson Palmer
Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Don't tell that nonsense to Carson Palmer. The beloved Arizona Cardinals' quarterback left Cincinnati high and dry in 2011. The losing took a toll and Palmer threatened to retire. Eventually, Palmer was traded to Oakland, where he spent two seasons. During his three seasons with the Cardinals, Palmer has been lethal to opposing defenses. He's 29-9 as a starter with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, a knee injury cost Palmer a promising season in 2014. Now Palmer has an 83-76 record as a starting quarterback. Some believe he's a home field playoff advantage away from playing in his first Super Bowl.
4 Colin Kaepernick
The fall of Colin Kaepernick is astonishing. Some NFL pundits felt like he was the future of the NFL. After all, Kaepernick helped lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance and a pair of NFC Championship games. Since challenging Richard Sherman with that "sorry receiver," Kaepernick has struggled to win games. He's 10-14 in his last 24 starts. Kaepernick was also benched for Blaine Gabbert last season. Now the challenge is to get back into the starting lineup. He was so close to winning a Super Bowl title, but this isn't horseshoes or hand grenades. Still, Kaepernick has 56 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions.
We'll have to see if Chip Kelly is the type of coach that can resurrect Kaepernick's career. The problem is this 49ers team is not nearly as talented as the one who made it to three straight NFC Championship games under Jim Harbaugh.
3 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
The best storylines in the NFL always revolve around the play of Tony Romo. We all just wait for Romo to throw the season altering interception. Sometimes Romo throws a perfect pass that's ruled incomplete. Either way, he's never flourished in the postseason. In four playoff appearances, Romo has a 2-4 record. During the regular season, Romo has a 78-49 record with the Dallas Cowboys. However, Romo has had some uneven performances to say the least. From 2011-13, the Cowboys finished with a 24-24 record. All three seasons they were stuck at 8-8. Romo only missed one start in those years. Then Dallas implemented a heavy dose of the running game in 2014. Romo had his best season ever, completing 69.9 percent of his passes. He also had 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Romo only threw the ball 435 times that season. Barring injury filled seasons, it was the lowest amount attempts Romo had since starting 10 games in 2006.
2 Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck is supposed to be the best of the young quarterbacks in the NFL. However, he hasn't made it to the Super Bowl. In addition, Luck has not always thrived in the postseason. During his first three seasons, Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs. He progressed nicely to an AFC Championship game in 2014. So far, Luck has a 3-3 record in the postseason, but he fell off last season due to injury. Luck only played seven games and when he was in the lineup the superstar quarterback was awful. The Colts were 2-5 behind Luck's 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. With his new six-year $140 million contract in tow, the Colts expect Luck to be back to form in 2016.
1 Cam Newton
The Carolina Panthers were expected to flounder during the 2015 season. Cam Newton had other ideas for the Panthers. He led the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance. Newton earned NFL MVP honors with 35 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He also added 10 rushing touchdowns last season. Unfortunately, Newton had no answers for the Denver Broncos' defense in Super Bowl 50. Newton and the Panthers had the ball late in the fourth quarter. The potential game winning drive would have gone down in NFL lore. Instead, Newton fumbled and failed to recover the ball.
In a few years, he may find himself in the same predicament as Dan Marino and Colin Kaepernick.
Hopefully that doesn't happen as Newton was the most exciting player in the NFL last season. It's for the good of the game if a player as revolutionary as Newton finds a way to win the Super Bowl.
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