The Super Bowl is the biggest prize in football and at the conclusion of this season the Lombardi Trophy will be handed out for the 50th time. It truly is a trophy that takes a collective unit to win. Sure, having a great quarterback may be the most important ingredient to getting one, but you still need a running game, great pass protection, sure-handed receivers, a stout defense and reliable special teams. You also need a helluva coach to give your team the edge over 31 other teams.
However through the Super Bowl's history some less deserving players have slipped through the cracks to get themselves a ring.
There are truly hundreds of players that could have made this list, but I tried not to only use bench players who never played a second and keep a nice mix of starters as well as backups.
Some might not agree with everyone on this list as a couple of them are somehow in the Hall of Fame despite having well below average career numbers and some downright awful statistical seasons.
Anyhow, there was no way to fit everyone deserving so feel free to add a comment with anyone we missed or anyone you think should have made the list of top 20 worst players to win a Super Bowl.
With that said, let's begin!
20 20. Terry Bradshaw
Some people may not agree with Bradshaw being on the list at all since he won four Super Bowls and somehow won two Super Bowl MVP awards. However, his career stats are below average and he was simply a great game managing quarterback who was fortunate to play with one of the best defenses in NFL history.
For his career Bradshaw barely threw more touchdowns than interceptions totaling 212 to 210 and had a 70.9 QB Rating which is definitely below average, especially for a Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Long story short, how many Super Bowl rings would Bradshaw have if he didn't have the Steel Curtain? Would he be able to lead a team to a Super Bowl at all if he was their best player?
19 19. Brad Johnson
Johnson may be one of the all time best “game managing” quarterbacks and he did have a good game in his lone Super Bowl win with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Raiders. He had over 200 yards passing and threw two touchdowns with only one interception in the game, but the win is really because of the dominating defense.
In that game the Bucs defense scored 21 points and put a stop to the best offense in the league that season. Johnson had better career numbers than most of the quarterbacks on the list totaling 166 touchdowns to only 122 interceptions in 17 seasons.
However that averages out to only nine touchdowns per season which is not the sign of an elite QB.
18 18. Jim Plunkett
Plunkett was able to perform pretty well in the playoffs and his two Super Bowl wins posting numbers in both games that did not come close to his dismal career statistics. He won both Super Bowl XV and XVIII winning MVP in XV while throwing three touchdowns which may have been his best game ever.
In both games he was still outplayed by the opposing quarterback even with his MVP performance.
Plunkett lands a spot on the list because his career numbers are atrocious with much more interceptions than touchdowns and posting the second worst QB rating for any Super Bowl winning quarterback. His career numbers are 164 touchdowns to 198 interceptions with a QBR of 67.5 through 16 years.
17 17. Trent Dilfer
Who remembers Trent Dilfer? If you do it is probably either because you are a Ravens fan or watch Monday Night Football where he has become a respected football analyst. Like a few other quarterbacks who made this list, Dilfer was able to get a Super Bowl ring because he played with arguably the best defense in NFL history.
The Ravens defense absolutely dominated that game and became one of three Super Bowl winning teams to not allow the opposing offense to score at all.
Basically Dilfer had one goal for that game: do not lose the game because of turnovers and he managed it well enough. He also was the first quarterback in NFL history to be cut the season after winning a Super Bowl.
16 16. Dale Hellestrae
Don’t worry Jason Garrett, you are not the only player on this list that was able to cruise to Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys during the 90s. Hellestrae was the long snapper for the potent Cowboys offense that rarely punted or needed field goals to win games.
Not a bad way to win three Super Bowl rings and he actually made a contribution technically since he was long snapping in games (unlike Jason Garrett).
He may not have been a terrible player like some of the guys that made the list, but he certainly did not have to do very much (snap the ball about four times per game when he played) to be part of the three ring club.
15 15. Jeff Hostettler
Hostettler was a backup quarterback his entire career and was basically drafted back in 1984 specifically to back up Phil Simms on the Giants. His shot came in 1990 when Simms went down with a broken foot so Hostettler had to make it happen.
Fortunately for him the Giants had a killer defense that led the team to a Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills that year. Hostettler played okay that game and probably had some luck on his side. He was able to put up over 200 passing yards while throwing one touchdown and an interception which was enough to help the team get a win.
He could be in the conversation for one of the best backup quarterbacks, but that is all he was throughout his career.
14 14. Joe Namath
It is really hard to say Namath did anything more than guarantee a Super Bowl win and demand attention with his off-field antics which seemed to make him famous. Unfortunately, his numbers certainly do not match his hype.
I am not sure how he won a Super Bowl and somehow managed to win the MVP for the game, but it seems that it has placed him in good enough standing to make the Hall of Fame. He did not even score or throw a touchdown in that game.
He has the absolute worst QB rating of any quarterback to win a Super Bowl in history with a really lousy 65.5 and a career total of 173 touchdowns to 220 interceptions.
13 13. Kole Ayi
Ayi only played a couple years in the NFL and I am definitely not surprised if nobody remembers him. He just happened to be on the Patriots roster when they won the Super Bowl and although he was injured during the post-season he still received a ring.
He really did not play much throughout his two year career and was on three teams before being cut, traded or injured and apparently he was just not a good NFL player,
However, he was good in college or at least good enough to be inducted into the University of Massachusetts Hall of Fame.
12 12. Doug Williams
Williams had the best game of his career in Super Bowl XXII winning the MVP and setting the record for yards and touchdowns with 340 and four in the game.
He was on a very talented Redskins team that went off that season setting all kinds of NFL records on their way to the Super Bowl.
However, Williams is on this list because his career statistics were average at best and he has the third lowest QB rating of any Super Bowl winning quarterback with a measly 69.4 for his career.
11 11. David Carr
He may be one of the biggest draft busts of all time, but David Carr has a Super Bowl ring. Before researching for this article I had no idea. Turns out he was backing up Eli Manning in 2011 when the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.
He did not play a snap that year or that postseason, but he was there and got a ring.
Some say he deserved a ring after the rough go he had his first years with the Houston Texans taking over 70 sacks in his rookie season. That is a lot, especially for a rookie. He was a tough player for the most part and had his best year in 2004 when he was starting for the Texans.
After 2006 he was let go and was a backup quarterback ever since retiring a season after the Giants got him a Super Bowl ring.
10 10. Ken Stabler
Stabler, like Bradshaw was a game managing quarterback who had really terrible numbers through his NFL career and had one of his better games in his lone Super Bowl appearance passing only when needed. Although he posted a better career QB rating than Bradshaw with 75.3, he threw far more interceptions than touchdowns.
To make things worse for Stabler, he was only able to pass more touchdowns than interceptions in five out of 15 seasons.
9 9. Patrick Pass
Pass nearly had four Super Bowl rings in his brief NFL career, but was not able to maintain his roster spot on the Giants in 2007 to earn a fourth ring.
He played fullback and special teams for the Patriots in the early 2000s when they won three Super Bowls in four years behind Tom Brady and a powerful offense. Pass did not really play a big role on the team, but came away with three rings.
I probably could have added some more players from the Patriots to this list.
8 8. Derek Loville
Loville was a career backup running back and was fortunate enough to land on a couple really good teams throughout his time in the NFL and walk away with three Super Bowl rings.
In 1994 he played backup on the 49ers behind Ricky Waters and did not see much field action. The 49ers had a stout team including Steve Young and Jerry Rice on offense along with Deion Sanders holding down the defense.
He also played for the Broncos when they won the Super Bowl two years in a row in 1997 and 1998. Once again he was a rarely used backup player on a stout team that featured John Elway, Terrell Davis, Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe on offense with Bill Romanowski running the defense.
7 7. Roy Gerela
Gerela has one of the worst field goal percentages I have ever seen barely getting over 60% of his kicks through the uprights.
How could he maintain his spot on a roster when missing 40% of his field goals?
The answer is the 70s Steelers team that boasted nine (future) NFL Hall of Fame players and a defensive line that earned the name “steel curtain” for their ferocious defense. The Steelers of the 70s apparently did not need a good kicker and went on to win three Super Bowls despite Gerela’s poor kicking game.
6 6. Don Warren
Wait a minute, didn’t this guy help revolutionize the tight end position playing in the first two tight end set and become one of the first true H-Backs in the NFL?
Yes, however he will not be remembered for being a stud NFL player who played a major role earning three Super Bowl rings. The most passes he caught in a season were a measly 31 and he only had seven touchdowns after 14 seasons.
Apparently he was the second tight end in the two tight end formation.
5 5. Marc Wilson
Wilson was drafted right in time to win two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders in 1980 (the year he was drafted) and 1983. For some reason he was handed the starting job after Jim Plunkett helped them win the Super Bowls and despite starting the majority of his career, his numbers were well below average.
Some people have even gone as far as saying Wilson was the JaMarcus Russell of his era. Jim Plunkett made the list too, but was definitely better than Wilson.
4 4. Jason Garrett
Who knew that a career backup QB who was rarely needed or called upon (thanks to Troy Aikman) would be handed two Super Bowl rings? Years later, Garrett is still roaming the Cowboys sidelines in hopes of being handed another ring, but this time as a head coach.
He was on the dominant Cowboys team during the 90s and was able to take home a couple Super Bowl rings without much effort on the team.
Hopefully for Cowboys fans he can make something happen soon and earn a Super Bowl ring before Mr. Romo calls it quits.
3 3. Jared Lorenzen
Does anyone remember this guy? He also was handed a Super Bowl ring as a backup quarterback to Eli Manning back in 2007 with the Giants.
Not in a mean way, but he was by far the largest quarterback I have ever seen. He definitely looked more like a full-back or maybe an offensive lineman.
However, he seems like a fun guy to be around and was able to get a Super Bowl ring while not lifting a finger during his two year NFL stint.
2 2. Hubert Ginn
Ginn was a fourth string running back for the undefeated Miami Dolphins in 1972 that went on to win the Super Bowl and he would have won another ring with them in 1973 if he had not demanded a trade in the middle of the season, apparently tired of winning.
He was traded and remained a fourth string running back for the Colts while the Dolphins went on to win another Super Bowl. Further on in his career (and still a fourth string running back) he was able to get another Super Bowl ring with the Raiders in 1976.
Could have had three rings though, haha!
1 1. Marv Fleming and Mike Wilson
So I could not just pick one of these guys for the number one spot because they both were able to walk away with four Super Bowl rings despite having no real impact on the field and below average career numbers.
Fleming played for 12 seasons splitting time with the Packers and the Dolphins during the 60s and 70s winning two Super Bowls with each team during that time. He averaged a bit over one touchdown per season during his career.
Wilson was drafted by the blistering 49ers of the 8’s right in time to win a Super Bowl in his rookie season and three more over the next few seasons. He had a few good seasons with the 49ers, but only had one catch in his four Super Bowl appearances.
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