Randy Moss
Randy Moss: Career retrospective
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Randy Moss was such a force he got us to pay attention to a small college in West Virginia. He was dominant from the second he stepped onto an NFL field. While there is no good argument against Jerry Rice as the best receiver of all-time, when you are talking about who is second on that list, Moss is right there in the running. Let’s take a look back at the career of Moss, from those troubled early college days up through him becoming a TV personality and everything in between.   1 of 22 Legal issues cause problems despite incredible high school career Robert Laberge/Allsport/Getty Images Despite playing his high school ball in West Virginia, Moss was a nationally-known prospect. All the big schools wanted him, and Moss decided to go to Notre Dame, which was his dream. Lou Holtz called Moss the best high school player he had ever seen. However, while still in high school Moss was involved in a fight with a fellow student, purportedly over racist language being used. Moss pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was also expelled from high school and had his offer from Notre Dame rescinded.   2 of 22 Moss redshirts at Florida State, but more issues arise Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images With the Irish off the table, Moss decided to go to Florida State, which wasn’t scared off by his legal issues. Moss was required to redshirt during his freshman year, but he would never suit up for the Seminoles. A positive marijuana test got Moss 60 more days in jail, but also got him booted from Florida State as well.   3 of 22 Randy lands at Marshall Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images Wanting to play right away, Moss decided to return to his home state to play for the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall was still a Division I-AA (now FCS) school, which meant Moss would be able to play immediately in the 1996 season without having to sit out another year.   4 of 22 Moss dominates at the I-AA level Kypros/Getty Images Moss immediately showed why schools like Notre Dame and Florida State wanted him. As a redshirt freshman, Moss set I-AA records left and right. He finished with a freshman record of 1,709 yards on 78 catches, a record that still stands. Randy also had 28 touchdown receptions, which tied Jerry Rice’s record. Marshall went undefeated and won the I-AA title. Naturally, Moss had four touchdowns in the championship game.   5 of 22 Marshall moves to Division I-A, but Moss still dominates Robert Laberge/Allsport/Getty Images The 1996 season would be Marshall’s final year at the I-AA level. In 1997, they moved up to Division I-A (now the FBS) and joined the MAC. The move did not deter Moss or the Thundering Herd. Marshall won the MAC title in its first year in the division, and Moss was an All-American thanks to 96 catches for 1,820 yards and 26 touchdowns in 13 games. Despite playing for a small school new to I-A football, Moss was a Heisman finalist alongside Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf, and winner Charles Woodson.   6 of 22 Off-field issues cause Moss to drop in the Draft Joseph Patronite/Getty Images After only two seasons of college ball, Moss declared for the NFL Draft. He was clearly the most-talented receiver available, but there were concerns about his past. Not many NFL prospects have jail time and two program dismissals to their name, after all. These questions caused Moss’ stock to drop until the Minnesota Vikings took a chance and selected Randy with the 21st pick. They would be happy about that.   7 of 22 A rookie season for the ages Mark Brettingen/Getty Images Playing alongside Cris Carter, and with Randall Cunningham under center, the Minnesota Vikings went 15-1 in 1998 and set a record for the most points scored in a season. Moss was a big reason for that. He had 69 catches for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns, with that last number being a rookie record. Unsurprisingly, Moss was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year and made a Pro Bowl.   8 of 22 Two more Pro Bowl appearances Mark Brettingen/Getty Images The next couple of seasons were more of the same from Moss, even when the team moved from Randall Cunningham to Daunte Culpepper under center. Moss went over 1,400 yards in 1999 and 2000 with double-digit touchdowns both times. He was a Pro Bowler both of those years and was the Pro Bowl MVP in 1999 thanks to nine catches for a record 212 yards.   9 of 22 The Randy Ratio meets the Randy Rules Mitchell Layton/Getty Images In 2002, Dennis Green was replaced by Mike Tice as head coach. Tice decided the number-one thing he needed to do was get Moss the ball. It became known as the “Randy Ratio,” and it involved Tice trying to get at least 40 percent of Minnesota’s passes going in Moss’ direction. Meanwhile, defenses responded with what became known as the “Randy Rules,” which involved jamming Moss at the line of scrimmage and doubling him with a safety on basically every route. While Moss finished with 106 catches, he only had seven touchdowns, and the “Randy Ratio” was abandoned halfway through the 2002 season, when the Vikings went 6-10.   10 of 22 Moss is traded to Oakland Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary The 2003 season in Minnesota went quite well for Moss (career-high 111 receptions) but in 2004 he set then-personal lows and failed to hit 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Also, he pretended to moon the Packers’ fans and Joe Buck freaked out.  After that down 2004 campaign, Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris and the seventh-overall pick in 2005, which they spent on…receiver Troy Williamson.   11 of 22 The lost years with the Raiders Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary Moss’ first season in silver-and-black went reasonably well, as he had 60 catches for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns. However, in his second season, he had a mere 42 catches for 553 yards and only three touchdowns. Moss was unhappy during that second year. We know this because he kept saying he was unhappy and that he wanted to move on from the team.   12 of 22 Randy is traded to the Patriots Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images Fed up with Moss, and watching his numbers drop, the Raiders were willing to trade the already-legendary receiver away. Oakland agreed to deal Moss to New England for a mere fourth-round pick. Hey, he was coming off a year with only 553 yards. Maybe he was washed up, right?   13 of 22 The record-breaking 2007 season Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images Not so much. Moving to New England and playing with Tom Brady gave Moss the motivation he was looking for. You remember the 2007 season. The Patriots set a record for the most points ever in a season, breaking the record set by Moss’s 1998 team the Vikings. New England also went 16-0 during the record season and came within one victory of an undefeated season. The Pats fell short, but Moss had 23 touchdown receptions that year, an NFL record that still stands.   14 of 22 Two more successful seasons in New England Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images Moss would spend two more seasons with the Patriots, both of which went well. In fact, he had 69 catches for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2008 even though an injury to Brady left Matt Cassel as the quarterback. In 2009 Brady came back, and Moss’s numbers were even better.   15 of 22 A return to Minnesota doesn’t go well Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images Staying content was never Moss’ thing. Despite the success in New England, Moss said that he felt unwanted heading into the 2010 season. After four games and nine catches, the Patriots traded Randy back to the Vikings for a third-round pick. The reunion didn’t go as either side hoped. After a few weeks back in Minnesota, Moss was criticizing his teammates and telling the Vikings’ owner that head coach Brad Childress should be fired. For his malcontented behavior, Moss was waived after four games.   16 of 22 Moss moves to the Titans (remember that?) Bob Levey/Getty Images Randy had been on two teams already, but there was still plenty of time left in the 2010 season. Moss was claimed off waivers by the Tennessee Titans, the only team to submit a claim for him. He played eight games for the Titans, but only had six catches for 80 yards. Tennessee passed on signing Moss after finishing the season.   17 of 22 Randy retires, but comes back with the 49ers Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Lacking any interest heading into the 2011 season, Moss decided to retire. However, the itch to play would be too strong. Randy announced he played to return for the 2012 season, and he managed to get the 49ers to agree to sign him to a one-year contract.   18 of 22 Moss retires for good this time Scott Halleran/Getty Images Moss was not a key figure on the 2012 49ers squad. He was only in the starting lineup for two games and mostly served as a depth receiver. In the end, Randy had 28 catches for 434 yards and three touchdowns. When the 2012 campaign ended, Moss retired, and this time it stuck.   19 of 22 Randy Moss Motorsports John Sommers II/Getty Images Moss had interests outside of football. In high school, he was a stellar basketball player and track athlete. However, he also had an interest in auto racing. In 2008, Moss launched Randy Moss Motorsports and bought a 50 percent share of the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports team on NASCAR’s truck racing circuit. However, the team would be shut down in 2012.   20 of 22 Moss becomes a TV analyst Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images Moss was never shy about talking when he played, so the move to being a talking head made sense. He got his first taste of it soon after leaving the Niners, joining Fox Sports 1’s “Fox Football Daily” show. However, it’s in 2016 when he would begin his ascent after joining ESPN. Moss is now a member of the “Sunday NFL Countdown” team, ESPN’s premier NFL show.   21 of 22 Randy is enshrined in the Hall of Fame Joe Robbins/Getty Images In 2018, the inevitable happened when Moss was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The next year, Moss would get another career-capping acknowledgment. In 2019, Randy was named as a member of the NFL’s All-Time Team for its 100th anniversary.   22 of 22 A dominant physical force and an equally dominant force of personality Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images Few players mixed speed and size quite like Moss. He had maybe the best rookie season of any receiver, and also perhaps the top season ever when he had 23 receiving touchdowns for the 2007 New England Patriots. Moss made six Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams, and he’s in the top 10 in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. In fact, as of right now he is second to only Rice in touchdowns. Sure, he was outspoken, and he wore out his welcome time and time again. In the end, the talent usually won out. Moss is in the running for being the second-best receiver of all-time (even though he said that he’s better than Rice).
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The best individual seasons that didn’t result in an NFL MVP award
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The 2020 NFL season involved a few dominant individual performances. Barring a tie for this year's MVP award, all but one of those will join the league's collection of near-misses. Here is who this year's "others receiving votes" contingent will join among the best NFL seasons of the MVP era (1957-present) that did not result in a trophy.   1 of 30 30. Roger Craig, 1985 David Madison/Getty Images Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey have joined Craig in the 1,000-1,000 club, but both did so in increasingly friendlier offensive eras. With Jerry Rice not making an immediate impression as a rookie, the 49ers leaned on their third-year fullback. Bill Walsh made Craig a rarely seen chess piece, and the former Nebraska hurdler delivered. Craig rushed for 1,050 yards but caught an NFL-most 92 passes to gain 1,016 through the air. He added a career-high 15 touchdowns. Marcus Allen earned MVP acclaim in this season, which is better known for the Bears and Ronnie Lott's pinkie. But Craig's versatility opus still stands out.   Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire With Peyton Manning throwing him passes, Harrison never had a reasonable MVP path. But his age-30 season came closest. Although Harrison did not receive a vote, he was far and away the NFL's best wideout that year and moved the position into new statistical terrain. Harrison set the NFL's single-season receptions record in Week 15, and immediately threw the ball back to officials upon doing so, and shattered Herman Moore's mark with 143 by year's end. Hines Ward was a distant second with 112. Harrison's 1,722 yards led the field by nearly 400 as well. This set the table for Manning's run of MVPs.    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images While a "feat. Randy Moss" credit is necessary, Cunningham proved he could thrive as a pocket passer. The unretired quarterback experienced frequent criticism as a passer in Philadelphia, but at 35, he took advantage of the best weaponry array of his career. Terrell Davis' 2,000-yard season clinched MVP honors, but Cunningham threw for 3,704 yards in 34 touchdown passes in 14 starts. The Vikings had gone 9-7 in 1997; with Cunningham (and Moss) in '98: 15-1. Behind Cunningham, Minnesota broke a 15-year-old scoring record with 556 points.   Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports This was not a good year to wage an MVP campaign, with Patrick Mahomes setting the league ablaze. But Donald coasted to Defensive Player of the Year acclaim, soaring to a 20.5-sack season. The Rams defensive tackle flourished under Wade Phillips, helping them to Super Bowl LIII. While their defense was not statistically great, Donald helped compensate — most notably in Los Angeles' epic Monday-night win over Kansas City, when Donald stripped Mahomes twice. Donald seized the "best defender alive" belt during J.J. Watt's previous injury hiatus and has not given it back.   Focus on Sport/Getty Images From 1990-97, either Smith or Barry Sanders won the rushing title. Behind another dominant offensive line, Smith took his turn in 1995 and led Dallas to its third Super Bowl title in four years. Smith broke John Riggins' 12-year-old record with 25 rushing touchdowns — 10 more than anyone else in 1995 — and led the league with 1,773 rushing yards. Four of Smith's five O-linemen made the Pro Bowl, with Hall of Fame guard Larry Allen — not present on the previous two Cowboy Super Bowl teams — debuting as a full-time starter in '95. Brett Favre's first MVP season edged out Smith.   6 of 30 25. Rob Gronkowski, 2011 Jeff Fishbein/Icon Sportswire Gronkowski began his long run as the NFL's best tight end in his sophomore campaign. Despite being a second-round pick with an injury past, Gronk set the tight end receiving record (1,327 yards). That has been broken, but the ex-Patriot icon's 17 touchdown catches remain the tight end standard. Gronkowski's emergence helped the worst of Bill Belichick's Patriots defenses (31st in yards) to Super Bowl XLVI and opened the door to another set of Tom Brady Super Bowl appearances (four pre-Gronk, six post). Brady finished with a career-high 5,325 yards in 2011. No tight end dominated more than Gronk during his Pats years.   7 of 30 24. Deacon Jones, 1967 Vic Stein/Getty Images Although sacks were not official until 1982, pass rushers had field days dropping QBs in anonymity. Defenders could mug receivers, and O-linemen were heavily restricted in how they could block until the late 1970s. Jones also had his since-banned head-slap maneuver. That said, Jones was an all-time menace in his heyday. Accounts vary on his masterpiece season, but the Rams defensive end recorded between 21.5 and 26 sacks during a year in which Los Angeles went 11-1-2 to lead the NFL. This was Jones at his peak, at age 29, he teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen to power a talented Rams team.    8 of 30 23. Jim Brown, 1959 Malcolm W. Emmons/Sporting News via Getty Images This list could devolve into "Best non-MVP Jim Brown seasons." The Cleveland phenom was in the heart of an unparalleled prime in his third season. The result: a runaway rushing title. Only two running backs eclipsed 900 rushing yards in 1959. Brown came in at 1,329 — 293 ahead of second-place J.D. Smith of the 49ers — in the 12-game season. Cleveland had two Hall of Famers in its backfield that year, in Brown and Bobby Mitchell. They combined for over 2,000 yards. The 1957 and '58 MVP, Brown scored 14 touchdowns but lost out to Johnny Unitas for the award.   9 of 30 22. Jamal Lewis, 2003 Bill Vaughan/Icon Sportswire No. 3 on the all-time single-season rushing list, Lewis lost out on MVP acclaim when Peyton Manning and Steve McNair shared it. Lewis bizarrely ranked fourth, behind Brady as well, after carrying Baltimore's offense to a 10-6 record and an AFC North title. The Ravens used a first-round pick on Kyle Boller and used him and journeyman Anthony Wright in Lewis' fourth year. The Ravens ranked 32nd in passing yards but turned to their hardnosed back, who broke the single-game rushing record in Week 2 (295 yards) and finished with 2,066 to go with 14 TDs. This was Lewis' only Pro Bowl or All-Pro season.   Monica Davey/Getty Images Voyaging to back-to-back Super Bowl routs, the Cowboys were 3-0 against the 49ers from 1992-93. Each win came by double digits. With Sanders as a one-year hired gun, San Francisco beat Dallas twice en route to a Super Bowl blowout. The era's premier cover man changed the course of modern NFL history, joining Steve Young and Co. in stopping a Cowboys three-peat. Despite signing in September and missing two games, Sanders intercepted six passes and took three back for TDs. The ex-Falcon and future Cowboy totaled 303 return yards and dueled with No. 1 wideouts, helping the 49ers go from 16th to sixth in scoring defense.   11 of 30 20. Ray Lewis, 2000 John Iacono/SI/Icon Sportswire Statistically, Lewis' 2003 Defensive Player of the Year campaign was better. But the Ravens middle linebacker made a defining team defensive season possible. Wearing bigger shoulder pads and sporting a bulkier physique due to the era, Lewis was still a sideline-to-sideline demon who led Baltimore to a 12-4 record. Lewis' 137 tackles (14 for loss) and two INTs were not career-highs, but the Ravens held the opposition to 10.3 points per game — the lowest in the 16-game era's 43 years — and won two games in which its offense failed to score a touchdown. The Super Bowl champs do not hit these heights without their 25-year-old leader.   MSA/Icon Sportswire Johnson did not receive an MVP vote, with Adrian Peterson edging Peyton Manning during a season that featured a 4-12 Lions team, but he left no doubt as to the NFL's wideout of the moment. Megatron broke Jerry Rice's 17-year-old record with a 1,964-yard season. Only one receiver, Andre Johnson, came within 400 yards of the 6-foot-5 marvel in 2012. While today's wideouts have easier paths to production, and the Lions phenom only scored five TDs, Megatron dropped both of his 200-yard games on playoff opposition and broke Rice's record in an 11-catch, 225-yard Week 16 day against a Falcons team on its way to the NFC's No. 1 seed.   13 of 30 18. Randall Cunningham, 1990 Bettmann/Getty Images Cunningham ran into perhaps the toughest MVP luck of anyone, finishing second in the AP balloting four times. Joe Montana won in 1990, but Cunningham received 18 votes (to the 49ers QB's 26) and had a clear case. The Eagles QB dropped an ahead-of-its-time 3,466-942 passing-rushing double that featured 30 TD passes and five more rushing scores. Cunningham's 30 touchdown passes —  highlighted by this one — ranked second to Warren Moon, and in a season in which the Eagles defense ranked only 12th, their quarterback powered the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth out of an all-time great division.    Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire Reed's "best safety ever" claim began in his third season. The Ravens were still trying Kyle Boller at quarterback and ranked 31st in total offense. They still went 9-7, behind the league's No. 6-ranked defense. Reed was at the epicenter of this effort, intercepting nine passes and returning them for a then-record 358 yards. Reed thwarted a Browns game-tying touchdown attempt with a 106-yard pick-six; he broke this NFL record four years later. Overall in 2004, the ex-Miami Hurricane totaled 12 forced turnovers for 402 yards and two TDs. It is hard for a modern safety to be more productive.   15 of 30 16. Barry Sanders, 1994 Brian Cleary/Getty Images The Lions went from starting three QBs in 1993 to turning to Scott Mitchell and a 36-year-old Dave Krieg in 1994. Fortunately, they had the era's best running back. Sanders broke through to power the Lions back to the playoffs, rushing for 1,883 yards on 5.7 per carry. Detroit ranked 24th in passing yards in a 28-team league. Sanders' masterpiece came in Week 3 when the Lions beat the defending champion Cowboys after their running back's 40-carry, 194-yard night. This was the second of Sanders' four rushing titles; he led the league by more than 300 yards.   16 of 30 15. J.J. Watt, 2014 Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire This Watt version became the only defender to receive more than one MVP vote since James Harrison in 2008. Watt garnered 13 — the most any defensive player has since Lawrence Taylor won the award in 1986. Watt recorded 20.5 sacks, a career-high 51 QB hits and 29 tackles for loss (tied, with 2015 Watt, for second in the TFL era). His MVP push centered on touchdowns. The fourth-year Texan scored five — on a pick-six, a fumble-six and, in a one-year-only role, three as a tight end. Illustrating defenders' MVP futility, this perfect storm could not top Aaron Rodgers' third-best season.    17 of 30 14. Jerry Rice, 1995 Joseph Patronite/Getty Images In a year that featured passing numbers balloon leaguewide, the 49ers played five games without Steve Young. At 33, Rice confirmed his prime was not finished. In the middle of an unapproached span of 10 first-team All-Pro nods in 11 years, Rice broke the single-season receiving record with 1,848 yards. In the five-game stretch with second-year backup Elvis Grbac, Rice posted four 100-yard games — including a 161-yard performance in a 49ers upset win in Dallas. The all-time receiving kingpin punctuated his season with a 289-yard showing on a December Monday night against the Vikings.   18 of 30 13. Lester Hayes, 1980 Arthur Anderson/Getty Images In the third year of the NFL's shift toward a pass-focused product, Hayes dropped a throwback season that made a major difference in a Super Bowl push. During eight of his 10 seasons, the Raiders cornerback did not surpass four interceptions. "The Judge" snared 13 INTs in his fourth season and posted 273 return yards. Hayes had four more called back due to penalty and later managed five playoff picks. Yes, the since-banned Stickum was heavily involved. But Hayes did not stack these picks against bad QBs; he intercepted a pass in 12 games. In the 40 seasons since, only one player — the Cowboys' Everson Walls — has even reached 11 INTs.   Tony Medina/Icon Sportswire Venturing into Sanders territory and doing so in a pass-crazed era, Johnson set the NFL record for scrimmage yards with 2,509 in his second season. "CK2K" spawned because of this season, and although the Titans' 8-8 record (after an 0-6 start) kept Johnson off the MVP radar, it remains an all-time great slate in rushing annals. After being held under 100 yards in four of his first five games, Johnson finished with 11 straight three-digit outings. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and accomplished all this against teams geared toward stopping him and not Vince Young.   20 of 30 11. Charley Hennigan, 1961 Joe Robbins/Getty Images So obscure that photos have proven elusive, Hennigan was the 1961 AFL champion Oilers' top yard-gainer. But the wide receiver's total resided in another stratosphere compared to peers. In a 14-game season, Hennigan posted 1,746 yards. Even in what became a pass-friendly AFL, that total bested all other receivers by nearly 600. The 6-foot-1 ex-high school biology teacher's 82 catches did not lead the league, and Bill Groman's 17 TD grabs paced the Oilers. Hennigan, however, averaged 21.3 yards per catch and had three 200-yard games in teaming with George Blanda. Hennigan's single-season record stood for 34 years.   21 of 30 10. J.J. Watt, 2012 Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire Watt is far from the best player on this list, but it is impossible to exclude his second season. The Texans defensive end delivered one of modern sports' signature breakouts, running up a mind-boggling combination of numbers. Watt's 20.5 sacks led the league, but his peripheral stats are more impressive. The interior pass rusher recorded 39 tackles for loss. For perspective, no one else since TFLs became charted (in 1999) has surpassed 30. No non-Watt season has ever topped 28. The 23-year-old sensation also forced four fumbles and tallied 16 passes defensed — seven more than any other D-lineman that year — in the Texans' 12-4 season.   22 of 30 9. Earl Campbell, 1980 Bill Smith/Getty Images Winding down their "Luv Ya Blue" run, the Oilers traded Dan Pastorini for Ken Stabler in 1980. The future Hall of Famer threw 13 TD passes and 28 INTs. The Oilers still went 11-5 and won the AFC Central for the first time. This happened because Campbell was unstoppable in his third season. Browns QB Brian Sipe won MVP honors, but this was Campbell's defining season. He amassed career highs in rushing yards (1,934) and yards per carry (5.2) and dominated despite presenting nary a receiving threat (47 yards). Campbell's career steadily declined after this, but his '80 season is a time-capsule rushing year.   Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire The heart of Brees' Saints dominance saw Dan Marino's 27-year-old single-season yardage record fall and the New Orleans QB lead the NFL in touchdown passes (46) and completion percentage (a then-record 71.2 figure). But Aaron Rodgers garnered 48 of the 50 MVP votes while leading a 15-1 Packers team. Helping Jimmy Graham become an all-time fantasy sleeper, Brees threw for 5,476 yards to lead a 13-3 Saints team. The future career pass yardage kingpin threw at least one touchdown pass in every game, on his way to breaking Johnny Unitas' record for consecutive games with a TD toss in 2012. That currently stands at 54.    24 of 30 7. Randy Moss, 2007 Robert E. Klein/Icon Sportswire The season that lifted Tom Brady onto the elite quarterback tier can be traced to the Patriots swindling the Raiders for Moss . Bill Belichick giving up a fourth-round pick for the 30-year-old superstar transformed the Patriots, and though Brady was the unanimous MVP, Moss kind of deserved co-MVP acclaim. Moss caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and an NFL-record 23 touchdowns. Just as he catalyzed the 1998 Vikings, Moss lifted the Pats to the NFL's lone 16-0 season. Brady's TD number ballooned from 24 in a non-Pro Bowl 2006 season to 50. That record has fallen; no one has approached Moss' TD standard.   25 of 30 6. Jerry Rice, 1987 John McDonough/Icon Sportswire Fantasy players in the discipline's infancy cleaned up if they drafted Rice in his third season. It is both a dominant display indicative of the wideout deity's future while simultaneously a tantalizing "what if?" year. Due to a players' strike, Rice played 12 games. He caught 22 touchdown passes. Only one other player topped eight  that year. Rice also added a rushing score, and his 1,078 yards would have led the league had Cardinals wideout J.T. Smith not crossed the picket line. The 49ers went 13-2, and Rice and Joe Montana split MVP votes in a year when John Elway won. It took Moss all 16 games to break Rice's record.   26 of 30 5. Marshall Faulk, 1999 Todd Warshaw/Icon Sportswire In a three-year stretch when the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" claimed three MVP awards, Faulk scored 26 touchdowns to win the award in 2000. His Rams debut may have been better. Acquired from the Colts that spring, Faulk became the second player in NFL history to go 1,000-1,000. Kurt Warner won the 1999 MVP, but Faulk was the biggest difference between a bad 1998 Rams team and its Super Bowl champion outfit. The explosive back reached 2,429 scrimmage yards — still second-most all time — and averaged 5.5 per carry in his age-26 season, one that drove St. Louis to a championship.    27 of 30 4. Reggie White, 1987 George Gojkovich/Getty Images In addition to Rice's unfathomable TD edge on his peers, 1987 featured a fellow all-time great lap his contemporaries in sacks. Like Rice, White played 12 games because of the strike. He registered a career-high 21 sacks — 8.5 more than anyone else. While the historically gifted power rusher was a star from the jump after two USFL seasons, White's monster third NFL slate did not come from big games. He notched a sack in 11 games and got to 21 without a four-sack showing. White's consistency would remain until the late 1990s. The record Michael Strahan owns would be buried had the NFL's regulars played 16 games in 1987.   28 of 30 3. Eric Dickerson, 1984 David Madison/Getty Images During their lengthy period without a reliable quarterback, the Rams landed an offensive centerpiece in the 1983 first round. A year later, Dickerson set the NFL rushing record. After totaling 390 carries as a rookie, Dickerson logged 379 and turned those into 2,105 yards — a number that has topped info graphics for a generation. He rushed for 14 TDs, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and was so effective the Rams barely threw to him (139 yards). The Rams made the playoffs with career backup Jeff Kemp as their primary starting quarterback, ranking 27th in passing and winning 10 games. Dan Marino cruised to MVP honors in '84.   29 of 30 2. O.J. Simpson, 1975 George Rizer/The Boston Globe via Getty Images Simpson's prime goes understandably overlooked now, but in addition to his 1973 2,000-yard MVP season, the Bills running back was perhaps even better two years later. At 28, Simpson led the NFL in rushing for the third time in four years. He got to 1,817 yards on 5.5 per carry but far exceeded his '73 work in other areas. After a 12-TD 1973, Simpson scored 23 times in '75 and eclipsed his scrimmage-yards total as well by reaching 2,243 — easily the best mark in the NFL's 14-game era. Buffalo went 8-6 and missed the playoffs, further obscuring this transcendent season.    30 of 30 1. Jim Brown, 1963 Focus on Sport via Getty Images Y.A. Tittle's 36 touchdown passes earned him MVP honors; the Giants finished 11-3 to the Browns' 10-4. But there is no satisfactory explanation for the most dominant player in NFL history's best season receiving seven votes to Tittle's 33. Brown's 1,863 rushing yards broke his own NFL record by 336. He averaged 6.4 per carry and a career-best 133 per game and totaled 15 TDs. A better illustration of the gap between Cleveland's fullback terminator and the other men paid to take handoffs: Jim Taylor — the 1962 MVP — ranked second with 1,018 yards. Respected as he is, Brown is underrated. His three MVPs are not enough.
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Ranking the QB matchup of every Super Bowl
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Fair or not, quarterbacks get a healthy amount of praise and/or criticism for their teams' success. Having the ball in your hands tends to have certain responsibilities, after all. Whether it's playing mistake-free or carrying their teammates on their backs, quarterbacks play a huge part in the outcome of a game, especially the Super Bowl.The championship game brings together the last passers standing from each conference. Both bring a different flair to the position, but the goal remains the same: Win the game. This has produced some epic quarterback duels, from both players trading scores or young upstarts making names for themselves by knocking off the top dogs. The Super Bowl brings out the best in quarterbacks or crushes them under immense pressure. Either way, it's highly entertaining. With that in mind, here is a ranking of every Super Bowl quarterback matchup.   Focus on Sport/Getty Images Fans and experts called this the “Blunder Bowl” for a reason. Despite having great quarterbacks in Johnny Unitas and Craig Morton, neither showed up for the biggest game of the year. Unitas didn’t even finish the game, getting knocked out in the second quarter but not before he threw two interceptions compared to just three completions. Morton survived the game but didn’t fare any better, throwing three interceptions and completing less than 50 percent of his passes. Many people want to forget this one.   Brian Bahr/Getty Images Some of the greatest quarterbacks in the game have played in the Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins are not among them. Both teams rode running games and strong defenses. It seems that any quarterback who played it safe could’ve been behind center and would have made it to the game. The Super Bowl only confirmed those suspicions. Collins got roughed up by one of the best defenses of all time, getting picked off and sacked four times each. Dilfer technically won the duel by getting the win but didn’t do much, completing less than 50 percent of his passes but throwing for a touchdown. Most Super Bowls have at least one quarterback who performs well. This one had none.   Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Yes, it’s Peyton Manning, but he was a shell of his former self, relying on the excellence of his defense to win. Cam Newton established himself as one of the faces of the NFL with 3,837 passing yards, 636 rushing yards and 45 total touchdowns. Newton was expected to excel, but not even he could solve the Denver D. Newton was sacked six times and threw one interception. He also lost two fumbles in a messy game. Manning held on for dear life, throwing for only 141 yards and taking five sacks. Manning-Newton is a great generational debate. Unfortunately, the reality in 2016 was so much worse.   4 of 54 50. Super Bowl VII: Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, and Billy Kilmer, Washington Redskins Focus on Sport/Getty Images Both Super Bowl quarterbacks had less than ideal starts to the season. Bob Griese fractured his leg early in the year, while Billy Kilmer was replaced three games into the season by a 38-year-old Sonny Jurgensen before gaining the starting job again after the veteran went down with an Achilles injury. Both weren't much of a factor in this Super Bowl. Griese leaned heavily on Larry Csonka and the stable of running backs behind him, completing only eight passes on 11 attempts. Kilmer did the same but ended up contributing to the Redskins' woes with three interceptions. This was not a quarterback duel fans would remember.   5 of 54 49. Super Bowl II: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, and Daryle Lamonica, Oakland Raiders Focus On Sport/Getty Images The wily veteran vs. the young gunslinger: Starr was playing in what was the last season of his Hall of Fame career, while Lamonica was setting the AFL on fire with his powerful arm. The “Mad Bomber” found out it takes a lot more than a big arm to win the Super Bowl, though, as Starr managed the game to perfection to win his second straight championship. For all his production in the regular season, Lamonica couldn’t move the ball against a stingy Green Bay defense. It didn’t help that the Packers were eating the clock with long possessions, keeping the explosive Oakland offense on the bench. Lamonica got some garbage-time yards and finished with 208 yards and two touchdowns, but Starr expertly led the Packers behind an efficient 202 yards on 13 completions with one touchdown.   6 of 54 48. Super Bowl VIII: Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings Focus on Sport/Getty Images Much like in the previous year’s Super Bowl, Bob Griese didn’t have to do much to help the Dolphins win their second straight championship. He had to complete six passes this time while leaning on Larry Csonka again. Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton did his best to dance and scramble the Vikings back in the game but found it hard to do anything against Miami. He finished with 182 passing yards and one interception. It was another snoozer of a quarterback matchup.   Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Image After the previous few Super Bowl quarterback matchups, this one was a dud. It wasn’t the talent level that was the problem. Ben Roethlisberger got hurt during the season and still put up 2,385 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games. Matt Hasselbeck rode Shaun Alexander's 28-touchdown MVP campaign and threw for 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions. The Super Bowl was another story. The game was plagued by questionable officiating, and the players didn’t do much to make it any better. Roethlisberger went 9-of-21 in his pass attempts and was intercepted twice. Hasselbeck did better, with 273 pass yards, but was sacked three times. It was an ugly game in terms of quarterback play.   Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images With one of the greatest quarterbacks ever on one side and an emerging star in Los Angeles on the other, you would have thought Super Bowl LIII's quarterback matchup would have produced better results. Unfortunately fans were subjected to one of the most boring offensive displays in this pass-heavy era of football. Jared Goff, who passed for 4,688 passing yards and 32 touchdowns in the 2018 season, was stoned by Bill Belichick, looking lost while only completing 50 percent of his passes and guiding the Rams to three points. Brady, who was no slouch with over 4,300 passing yards, threw his signature dump-offs and slants for a yawn-inducing 262 yards and wasn't directly responsible for any points scored by New England. Many were expecting fireworks for this matchup but instead got one of the most infuriating Super Bowl games ever.   9 of 54 45. Super Bowl XX: Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears, and Tony Eason, New England Patriots Focus on Sport/Getty Images You could’ve literally put any quarterback against the Chicago Bears defense in 1985, and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Bears were going to win no matter what. Jim McMahon was a solid quarterback, completing 12 passes for 256 passing yards, but Tony Eason couldn’t do anything, missing all six of his pass attempts before getting knocked out of the game. This couldn’t be a more forgettable matchup.   10 of 54 44. Super Bowl I: Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, and Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs James Flores/Getty Images The first Super Bowl featured two of the era’s most accurate passers. Len Dawson led the AFL with a 56 percent completion percentage, while Starr completed 62.2 percent of his passes to lead the NFL. Even though Dawson crushed Starr in the touchdown department (26-14), it was Starr who prevailed in the championship game. After star receiver Boyd Dowler went down, Starr rode veteran tight end Max McGee the entire game, completing seven passes to him for 138 yards. Dawson couldn’t keep up with Starr, finishing with 39 fewer pass yards and throwing a critical third quarter interception that gave Green Bay the momentum the rest of the game. The Packers won, 35-10.   Focus on Sport/Getty Images The Colts were 18-point favorites to destroy the less-productive Jets. A big reason for that huge spread was Morrall, who led the NFL with 26 touchdowns in 1968. Joe Namath, who was looked like a woefully inferior quarterback in comparison, boldly claimed the Jets would win the Super Bowl three days before the game was played. The rest was history. Morrall couldn’t solve the Jets defense, throwing three interceptions before being replaced by veteran Johnny Unitas. Namath, on the other hand, dinked and dunked his way past the Colts’ blitzing defense, finishing with 206 yards on 17 completions. He may not have torched the AFL during the season, but he did what he needed to do to win the league’s first Super Bowl.   12 of 54 42. Super Bowl IX: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings Focus on Sport/Getty Images With two historic defenses in this Super Bowl, there was little hope that either quarterback was going to flex his muscles much. Terry Bradshaw found some success getting on Franco Harris’ back and riding his 158 rushing yards. He finished the game with nine completions and a touchdown. Fran Tarkenton once again was foiled by a great defense, throwing three interceptions, and the “Steel Curtain” stuffed Chuck Foreman time and time again.   13 of 54 41. Super Bowl IV: Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs, and Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings Focus on Sport/Getty Images Joe Kapp wasn’t a passer like Len Dawson, but he was so tough on runs from the quarterback position that he earned the nickname “indestructible.” Dawson had a rough season, missing six games with a knee injury, and he barely qualified for the playoffs. The fortunes flipped in the Super Bowl. Kapp never had to play against a defense as big as the Chiefs'. He struggled to find receivers, throwing two interceptions, and ran for only 9 yards. On the other side of the field, Dawson had an easier time taking advantage of open receivers on the short routes, throwing for 142 yards on 12 completions with one touchdown. Neither quarterback lit the world on fire, as the defenses dominated this game.   Focus on Sport/Getty Images The 33-year-old Jim Plunkett revived his career with the Raiders after stinking it up in New England and San Francisco. With Ron Jaworski leading the Eagles with 3,529 yards and 27 touchdowns in the regular season, this was set to be a great matchup. Well, at least Plunkett came to play. Plunkett put on a deep-ball clinic, throwing for three touchdowns and 261 yards on 13 completions. Jaworski, on the other hand, went the opposite direction, getting picked off three times. The Eagles scored only 10 points, and the Raiders won easily.   15 of 54 39. Super Bowl XVII: Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins, and David Woodley, Miami Dolphins Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images The quarterback position and the Miami Dolphins have a curious relationship. The team reached four Super Bowls to this point without a quarterback who put up huge numbers. Even though this matchup featured the top-rated passer in the NFC in Joe Theismann, not even he was enough to make this duel intriguing with David Woodley behind center for Miami. Woodley completed four of his 14 pass attempts for 96 yards, with a majority of them coming from a 76-yard scoring connection with Jimmy Cefalo in the first quarter. Theismann did his best to make the quarterback battle semi-exciting, completing 15-of-23 passes for 143 yards with two touchdowns. His two interceptions were an eyesore though, making this matchup a bore.   16 of 54 38. Super Bowl XI: Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders, and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings Focus on Sport/Getty Images The third time was not the charm for Fran Tarkenton. Even after establishing himself as the league’s all-time leader in pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns, he couldn’t get over the hump to win a Super Bowl. Tarkenton had trouble with the Raiders' 3-4 defense filled with aggressive, hard-hitting players. Ken Stabler, on the other hand, had no problem solving the Purple People Eaters defense, handing the ball off to Clarence Davis and Mark van Eeghen and managing the game perfectly by completing 12-of-19 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.   17 of 54 37. Super Bowl VI: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, and Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images Two young, hotshot quarterbacks met in Super Bowl VI, with Roger Staubach earning the starting job in his third year, while Bob Griese threw for nearly 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. The former Navy Vietnam veteran rode a productive run game and chipped in with 119 yards on 12 completions, including two passing touchdowns. Griese couldn’t carry the load after his running game failed him, throwing for 134 yards, getting picked off once and fumbling the ball. He would have a chance to redeem himself soon enough.   18 of 54 36. Super Bowl XII: Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys, and Craig Morton, Denver Broncos Bettmann Collection/Getty Images Roger Staubach replaced Craig Morton as the Dallas Cowboys quarterback in 1971, and Dallas never looked back. Morton got a chance for revenge against his former team in Super Bowl XII. He did not capitalize. Morton fell victim to Dallas’ Doomsday Defense, throwing four interceptions and completing only four passes for 39 yards. Staubach had more success against the vaunted Orange Crush Denver defense, throwing for 183 yards and one touchdown. This was hyped a revenge game but ended up being a dud.   19 of 54 35. Super Bowl XIV: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Vince Ferragamo, Los Angeles Rams Focus On Sport/Getty Images It was already a miracle that the Rams made it into the playoffs, and they got to the Super Bowl, which was even more unbelievable. But it was no thanks to quarterback Vince Ferragamo. The fourth-round draft pick was expected to get outdueled by Terry Bradshaw, and he didn’t do much to fight that. Ferragamo finished the game with 212 passing yards but never hit pay dirt for a score and had one pass intercepted. Bradshaw may have had three passes picked off, but he added two touchdowns and threw for 309 yards. There wasn’t much back and forth like there was with him and Staubach the previous year. It was all Bradshaw this time.   20 of 54 34. Super Bowl XVIII: Jim Plunkett, Los Angeles Raiders, and Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks usually provide a matchup full of potential. With MVP-winning Joe Theismann and Jim Plunkett still showing off his big arm, everyone was expecting an explosive Super Bowl. Neither delivered. Plunkett took a backseat to running back Marcus Allen, who rushed for 191 yards. The Raiders quarterback at least notched one touchdown. Theismann couldn’t even manage that, throwing two interceptions. The Raiders made the Super Bowl a laugher, winning 38-9.   Rob Brown/Getty Images Before Phil Simms was doing Super Bowl broadcasts, he was on the field winning one. The “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” Giants defense may have gotten the headlines, but Simms led the offense with 3,487 passing yards. John Elway was already entertaining crowds with his ability to scramble. In the Super Bowl, Simms outdueled Elway with three touchdowns, while Elway had a tough time moving the ball against Lawrence Taylor and Co. He still finished with over 300 yards passing, but he was unable to make the Super Bowl intriguing.   22 of 54 32. Super Bowl XLVIII: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, and Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images You would think in a matchup featuring a record-setting Peyton Manning, who threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, would be exciting no matter what. It was quite the contrary when he ran into the Legion of Boom. Manning was throttled by Seattle, throwing two interceptions, getting sacked once and losing a fumble. Russell Wilson gobbled up the extra possessions his defense gave him, managing the game perfectly with 206 yards and two touchdowns. What was supposed to be a competitive matchup ended up being a laugher.   23 of 54 31. Super Bowl XXII: Doug Williams, Washington Redskins, and John Elway, Denver Broncos Mike Powell/Getty Images Redskins quarterback Doug Williams started the season on the bench but took over the starting job at the end of the season. In five games, he piled up 1,156 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he was running into a buzz saw in John Elway, who just completed another excellent season in which he threw for nearly 3,200 yards. Instead, Williams stole the show. The first African-American quarterback to start a Super Bowl threw four touchdowns. Unable to shake his Super Bowl woes, Elway threw three interceptions and was sacked five times. Williams wowed the crowd, but Elway couldn’t join him in making this a more entertaining game.   24 of 54 30. Super Bowl XIX: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins Sylvia Allen/Getty Images Montana vs. Mr. 5,000 — this was going to be the quarterback matchup to end all quarterback matchups. Dan Marino became the first quarterback to eclipse 5,000 yards in a season, and Joe Montana threw for 28 touchdowns. Well, at least one of them showed up. Montana destroyed Marino in a head-to-head battle, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another. Marino did the best he could, throwing for 318 yards, but he was picked off twice. Many people argued that Marino was well on his way to supplanting Montana at the top of the quarterback mountain, but the 49ers legend put those statements to bed.   25 of 54 29. Super Bowl XXIV: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and John Elway, Denver Broncos Icon Sportswire/Getty Images Two legendary quarterbacks faced off in Super Bowl XXIV, and both confirmed their respective reputations through their performances, for better or for worse. John Elway came into the game losing his last two Super Bowls, and he didn’t do much to quell criticism that he couldn't win the big game. He didn’t have his best season, and that inconsistency showed in the championship game, where he threw two interceptions and was sacked four times. Montana cemented his penchant for big performances, pummeling the Broncos into submission through the air with 297 passing yards and five touchdowns to set a Super Bowl record. He didn’t need Elway to give the fans a show.   Rick Stewart/Getty Images In 1991, Mark Rypien and Jim Kelly were lighting up the NFL. Rypien threw for 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Kelly continued to masterfully orchestrate the K-Gun offense, throwing for 3,844 yards with a league-high 33 touchdowns. Unfortunately, this was another matchup he did not capitalize on. Kelly got thrown around by the Washington defense, getting sacked five times and throwing four interceptions. Rypien took advantage of Kelly’s miscues, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns. This wasn’t the first or last time Kelly was bested on the biggest stage.   27 of 54 27. Super Bowl XXVIII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills Focus on Sport/Getty Images For the first time in NFL history, the same two teams made it to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years. Aikman-Kelly was set up to be a barnburner, with Aikman still commanding an efficient offense, while Kelly led the Bills to the best record in the AFC. Unfortunately for the Bills, history would repeat itself. Kelly attempted 50 passes but had a hard time moving the ball, with one interception and three sacks. Aikman didn’t have to dominate the game like he did the year before, with Emmitt Smith rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Aikman and the Cowboys coasted to another easy win, and the Jim Kelly Bills earned the dubious honor of being known as the greatest team to never win a Super Bowl.   28 of 54 26. Super Bowl XLI: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, and Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears Matt Kryger/Getty Images Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl was a momentous occasion with one of the greatest quarterbacks finally making it to the championship game. Too bad there wasn’t a similar quarterback on the other side of the field to make the game interesting. Rex Grossman was a fine quarterback, but he didn’t have the clout that would’ve made this a heavyweight battle. He finished the game with 20 completions for only 165 yards and was picked off twice. Not even Manning lit up the Miami sky. He finished with 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It wasn’t his best game, but he got the job done.   29 of 54 25. Super Bowl XXVII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images It was another year in which Jim Kelly dominated the AFC in the no-huddle offense, but a new challenger rose from the NFC. Troy Aikman led a Cowboys team that finished second in the league in scoring, throwing for 3,445 yards and 23 touchdowns. Aikman lit up the Bills, throwing four touchdowns and going 22-of-30 on his pass attempts. After throwing two interceptions, Kelly reinjured his knee that kept him out of the first two playoff games, knocking him out of the game. The Bills lost for the third straight year in the Super Bowl.   30 of 54 24. Super Bowl XXIX: Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, and Stan Humphries, San Diego Chargers Focus on Sport/Getty Images Stan Humphries was thrust into the national spotlight by making the Super Bowl with the surprise Chargers. He threw for 3,209 yards, but on the other side of the field he ran into Steve Young, the 49ers quarterback who had Joe Montana’s big shoes to fill and a lot of questions as to if he could win a big game. He made sure people knew he was ready against San Diego. Young torched the Chargers for 325 yards and six touchdowns, breaking Montana's previous record of five touchdown passes set in Super Bowl XXIV. Humphries' luck ran out against the 49ers, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked twice before being replaced in the fourth quarter. The one-sided affair made this a mediocre matchup.   31 of 54 23. Super Bowl XXV: Jeff Hostetler, New York Giants, and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills Rob Brown/Getty Images Jim Kelly and Buffalo’s no-huddle K-Gun offense was supposed to be the main draw in the matchup with Jeff Hostetler playing game manager filling in for an injured Phil Simms. The game was a lot more entertaining than that. Hostetler and Kelly battled to a near draw, with Hostetler throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown, while Kelly put up 212 yards, including 28 yards late in the fourth quarter to set up the potential game-winning field goal. However, as many Buffalo fans know, Scott Norwood missed the kick, giving the Giants the win.   32 of 54 22. Super Bowl XVI: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, and Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals Focus on Sport/Getty Images In terms of quarterback matchups, this was marquee-worthy. A young Joe Montana emerged for the 49ers, leading the league with a 63.7 completion percentage. On the other side, Ken Anderson won the NFL MVP and Comeback Player of the Year, throwing for 3,754 yards and 29 touchdowns. Their duel in Super Bowl was impressive. Montana started the scoring with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter and followed that up with a passing score in the second. After the 49ers jumped to a 20-0 lead at halftime, it was all Anderson from there. His third-quarter rushing touchdown was the only score that quarter, and he notched two fourth-quarter throwing scores, one of them with 22 seconds left to pull the Bengals within five. The only thing Anderson needed was time, something he was not afforded after a failed onside kick gave Montana his first Super Bowl win, starting a legendary career.   33 of 54 21. Super Bowl XXX: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, and Neil O'Donnell, Pittsburgh Steelers Focus on Sport/Getty Images Troy Aikman returned…