When there have been 54 Super Bowls, you’ll have plenty of stellar performances. When taking into account fans are usually seeing two top tier quarterbacks facing off in the biggest game of the year, it’s no wonder we’ve seen loads of legendary performances by quarterbacks.
Every Super Bowl is different and the game of football has changed so much since the first one. Offenses are much more high tempo and are generating more yards and points by a wide margin. This causes it to be difficult to compare quarterback performances throughout different eras of the NFL.
Here, I’m settling the argument by giving you the five best Super Bowl quarterback performances all time.Best Super Bowl Quarterback Performances of All Time
5. Aaron Rodgers , Super Bowl XLV
I know I am going to catch some flack for this pick, but I really don’t care. Aaron Rodgers is very much deserving of the number five spot. His stats may not seem worthy of the top five. He was 24/39 with 304 yards and three touchdowns. Sure, that’s a solid performance, but how is that top-five of all time?
For starters, he posted a passer rating of 111.5, with an overall game grade of 94.3. That is the highest by a quarterback in a Super Bowl since 2006, according to Pro Football Focus .
While that might still not convince you, take into account all that didn’t happen. I know, we shouldn’t judge on “what ifs,” but this is an extenuating circumstance. Packers receivers dropped five passes. Two of those drops were sure touchdowns by receiver Jordy Nelson, and the one by receiver James Jones was at the very least a large gain into Steelers territory, if not a score as well. Rodgers was placing every single pass on the money and this game was a perfect example of using the eye test instead of just the box score. If not for a good amount of drops, the Packers would’ve routed the Pittsburgh Steelers.
4. Troy Aikman, Super Bowl XXVII
Anchored by Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith, this Buffalo Bills defense was no joke. There was a reason they were in their third straight Super Bowl, and it certainly wasn’t luck. With the way Troy Aikman picked their defense apart, you would think he was playing a second-string defense. After giving up a touchdown within the first five minutes and going down 7-0, it was all Aikman from there. The Dallas Cowboys dominated the rest of the way and dismantled the Buffalo Bills to a tune of 52-17.
Aikman was certainly on point, throwing for 273 yards and four touchdowns. He didn’t hurt his team either, as he didn’t turnover the ball in the air. His passing was the gold standard of efficiency too, as he completed 22 of his 30 passes for a completion percentage of 73%. All this was done against the same defense that forced five turnovers and limited the Dan Marino-led Miami Dolphins to just 33 rushing yards in the AFC Championship Game the matchup prior.
3. Steve Young , Super Bowl XXIX
Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers absolutely annihilated the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Not only did the 49ers put up 49 points in a 49-26 victory, but Steve Young threw for six touchdowns. The only stat of Young’s that wasn’t mind-numbingly excellent was his 67% completion percentage, and even that is an absurdly good stat. Young threw for 325 yards and posted a passer rating of 134.8 in a game that was never going to go the Chargers’ way.
The most amazing part of this game was that he didn’t have much of any running game to fall back. Usually a solid running game opens up some passing lanes. However, on 24 carries, San Francisco’s running backs only posted 79 rushing yards (average of 3.29 yards per carry). All this was done against a Chargers defense whose defensive line alone had 30 sacks on the season and had legendary linebacker Junior Seau and legendary safety Rodney Harrison on the team. In the end, it didn’t matter however, as the 49ers and possibly the best offense of all time embarrassed the Chargers on national TV.
2. Phil Simms, Super Bowl XXI
It is very tough for any quarterback to usurp Steve Young’s performance in Super Bowl XXIX, but Phil Simms did just that with his performance in Super Bowl XXI. The Simms-led New York Giants turned a 10-9 halftime deficit into a 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos. The Broncos had three Pro Bowl players in their secondary, but it just didn’t matter. Simms was the epitome of efficiency in likely one of the most overlooked Super Bowl performances of all time.
Simms threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Alone, it isn’t very impressive. However, combine that with his passer rating of 150.8 and his completion percentage of 88%, and Phil Simms does in fact deserve to be this high on the list. As of September 2020, in a much more passing-oriented league, the average completion percentage was 66% with an average passer rating of 96. To bludgeon those averages against a solid defense in the 80’s during a completely different era is mind-boggling, to say the least.
He might not have had the best career, but Phil Simms certainly showed up when New York needed him to.
1. Joe Montana , Super Bowl XXIV
What if I told you a quarterback was able to take the best of both Simms’ and Young’s performances? Well, that’s exactly what happened when San Francisco spanked the Denver Broncos, 55-10. While the 49ers defense was a huge reason why the Broncos never stood a chance , Montana was just as big of a reason. They scored on eight of their first eleven drives, held the ball for a time of possession just shy of 40 minutes and gained over 460 yards of offense in the early 90’s when offense was at more of a premium.
Montana channeled his inner Phil Simms by completing 22 of his 29 passes for a completion percentage of 76%. He also added in 297 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating of 147.6 is among the top all time, and few have been even close to that number even in today’s more offensive dominant era. There are many reasons why Joe Montana is considered by many to be the “GOAT” among quarterbacks, and this performance is just another reason why.