Many other great quarterbacks such as Jim Kelly, Warren moon, and Fran Tarkenton have never won a Super Bowl. Who are the quarterbacks in danger of joining them? This list is not about the best quarterbacks in the league today, but rather the quarterbacks who have enjoyed long successful careers, and don’t have much time left to win the big game. For example, this list will not include Andrew Luck.
Honorable Mention: Matt Ryan
5. Michael Vick
Michael Vick is the greatest running quarterback of all-time. Vick leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards with 6,010. He is the only quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. In that same season he rushed for 8.4 yards per carry, also an NFL record. Vick made the pro bowl four times, and after coming back from his suspension he earned the 2010 comeback player of the year award. With a 2-3 record, he never experienced much success in the playoffs. He only reached the divisional round once. As a backup on the Jets now, Vick may want to join another team in pursuit of a ring.
Matt Hasselbeck is still in this league! Hasselbeck is now a backup to Andrew Luck, but spent most of his career on the Seattle Seahawks. In an eight year span starting in 2003, Hasselbeck led the Seahawks to the playoffs six times. In 2005, he led them to the Super Bowl before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A three time pro-bowler, he holds many of the Seattle Seahawks team passing records. He ranks 16th all-time among quarterbacks with 11 postseason starts. In the 2010 wild card game Hasselbeck had the most memorable performance of his career. Sneaking into the playoffs at 7-9 and facing the defending Super Bowl champions (New Orleans Saints) as 11 point underdogs, Hasselbeck threw for four touchdowns in a huge upset. Hasselbeck has been a backup quarterback for the last few years as he rides out the end of his career.
Carson Palmer’s career has been marred by injuries. In 2005, Palmer’s second full season, he led the NFL with 32 touchdown passes and revitalized Cincinnati by notching a winning season for the first time in 15 years. His incredible 2005 season quickly ended on the first play in the playoffs when Kimo von Oelhoffen went low and tore Palmer’s ACL and MCL. He made a quick comeback, but two years later he had a partially torn ligament and tendon in his elbow which caused him to miss the majority of the 2008 season. Finally, his 2014 Cardinals were undefeated and looked like a strong Super Bowl contender until Palmer re-tore his ACL.
If not for the injuries and bad luck (I think playing on the Raiders for two years also counts as bad luck…) we might be talking about Palmer as one of the better quarterbacks of his generation. Among active quarterbacks he still ranks 9th in passing yards per game, 9th in touchdowns, 10th in completion percentage, and 11th in passer rating. If Palmer can make a 2nd comeback from an ACL tear he can anticipate returning to a very good situation in Arizona.
In 2004, three franchise quarterbacks were drafted in the first round: Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger. Unfortunately, Rivers is the only one left without a Super Bowl ring. However, statistically Rivers compares favorably to his 2004 draft counterparts. Over the course of their careers he has the highest completion percentage (64.7), yards per game average (247.7), and passer rating (95.7). His career totals trail the other two QBs’ only because he backed up Drew Brees for two years. He has led the NFL in numerous statistical categories. In 2008, he had an NFL best 105.5 passer rating. He led the NFL in passing yards in 2010. From 2008 to 2010, he topped the league in yards per pass attempt. Following two disappointing seasons, Rivers won the 2013 Comeback player of the year award with the help of coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, and was once again one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
Quarterbacks are often compared in terms of wins/losses, and that’s where Rivers falls behind. Both Roethlisberger and Manning have won two Super Bowls. Rivers is the only one out of the three to have a losing playoff record. Dan Fouts is a hall of fame quarterback who spent his entire career with the San Diego Chargers. Unfortunately, he is also known as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history to not win a Super Bowl. As Philip Rivers breaks more of Fouts’s team records, will he be able to win a Super Bowl?
1. Tony Romo
Did you know that Tony Romo is second all-time in career passer rating at 97.6? (Aaron Rodgers is first at 106.0 and Peyton Manning is third, 97.5.) Shocking! Although Romo is heavily criticized for his lack of postseason success, he’s been remarkably consistent in the regular season. Since taking over as the starter at the beginning of the 2006 season he’s finished 5th, 5th, 8th, 8th, 4th, 10th, 8th, and 1st in passer rating (2010 not included, only six games played). For an undrafted free agent in 2003, that’s not bad. Romo is a four time pro bowler coming off the best season of his career.
Romo is not often mentioned along the likes of Rodgers and Manning because of his inability to lead the Cowboys into the playoffs. For all his individual success since 2006, Dallas has only made the playoffs four times. They lost in the wild card round once, and divisional round three times. His fumbled snap as the holder of the game winning field goal in the 2006 wildcard round against the Seahawks is infamous. Romo has underperformed in other playoff games, most notably in their embarrassing 34-3 loss against the Vikings in 2009, he lost two fumbles and threw an interception. However, Romo performed well in the 2014 playoffs before the Cowboys controversial loss to the Green Bay Packers. Romo now has one of the best offensive lines in football and if Jerry Jones can keep their two most dynamic playmakers, the Cowboys will be set to compete for years to come. Romo is 34 years old, but Manning and Brady have shown us elite quarterbacks can be productive in their late thirties. Romo deserves to hoist the Lombardi trophy more than any other active quarterback without a Super Bowl ring.