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Super Bowl Performances

Sports | By The Top 13 on February 4, 2010

With Super Bowl XLIV just days away, the focus in Miami this week is on who will step up from the Indianapolis Colts or New Orleans Saints to bring his team a championship. Will it be Colts quarterback Peyton Manning or his counterpart for the Saints, Drew Brees? Or will someone unexpected be the hero? Either way, the star of Sunday's game will join a short list of NFL greats who played their best on the biggest stage. Here are the Top 13 Super Bowl Performances.

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Steve Young

1

Steve Young

Super Bowl XXIX

In leading the 49ers to a 49-26 stomping of the San Diego Chargers, Young cemented his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the league with one of the greatest days in football history. The former BYU star went 24 of 36 for 325 yards and six passing touchdowns, including three to his favorite target, Jerry Rice. Young didn't throw a single interception during his MVP performance and tacked on 49 yards rushing to his gaudy passing numbers.

Jerry Rice

2

Jerry Rice

Super Bowl XXIII

Many people forget how dominant Rice was in this game simply because Joe Montana's pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left capped one of the greatest drives in Super Bowl history and led the 49ers to a 20-16 come-from-behind win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Truth be told, there is no way the 49ers would have been in position to win that game had it not been for Rice's play throughout the game. The greatest receiver of all time tallied 11 catches for 215 yards (including two critical catches for 44 yards on that final drive) and one touchdown in an MVP winning effort.

Timmy Smith

3

Timmy Smith

Super Bowl XXII

Easily the least recognizable name on our list, Smith (who only ran for 126 yards during the entire regular season) set a Super Bowl rushing record with 202 yards in the Redskins' 42–10 clubbing of the Denver Broncos. Smith exploded for 122 yards on five carries in the second quarter and had touchdown runs of 58 and four yards to round out his huge day before disappearing into obscurity again.

Phil Simms

4

Phil Simms

Super Bowl XXI

In what many call the most perfect performance in NFL history, Simms lead his Giants to a 39-20 win over the Broncos by completing 22 of 25 passes (a Super Bowl record 88 percent completion rate) for 268 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. As if that weren't enough, Simms also got the job done with his feet, adding 25 yards on the ground.

Marcus Allen

5

Marcus Allen

Super Bowl XVIII

Heading into this game, the conventional wisdom was that the Raiders wouldn't be able to run against the Washington Redskins' top rated defense. But someone forgot to inform Allen of this, as he carried the ball 20 times for 193 yards and two touchdowns, including the longest run from scrimmage in Super Bowl history, a masterful 74 yard run to end the third quarter. By winning the Most Valuable Player trophy, Allen became only the third player in NFL history to win both the Heisman Trophy and the Super Bowl MVP.

Joe Montana

6

Joe Montana

Super Bowl XXIV

Montana won three Super Bowl MVP trophies during his illustrious career, but this effort is widely considered to be his best. After leading the 49ers to a fourth quarter comeback drive to beat the Bengals the year before, Montana's 297 yards passing and five touchdown throws made sure there was no need for late game heroics in this 55-10 drubbing of the Broncos.

Ray Lewis

7

Ray Lewis

Super Bowl XXXV

The Ravens came into Super Bowl XXXV sporting what many were calling the greatest defense ever (many still stand behind this claim) and the centerpiece of that defense was undoubtedly NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis. While accumulating 11 tackles and six assists, and knocking down four passes, Lewis helped his Ravens defense hold the Giants to just 11 first downs and 152 total yards on the way to a 34-7 victory. His dominating performance made Lewis the first linebacker on a winning team to be named Super Bowl MVP.

Lynn Swann

8

Lynn Swann

Super Bowl X

His four catches may seem rather pedestrian, but there was nothing ordinary about Swann pulling down two of the most memorable grabs in Super Bowl history to help the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 21-17 win over the Cowboys. Swann, who totaled 161 yards receiving and a score, made a leaping grab over Dallas defensive back Mark Washington to keep a second quarter drive alive and then topped that amazing catch with a game clinching, 64-yard TD catch in the fourth. Swann was the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP.

John Riggins

9

John Riggins

Super Bowl XVII

Much like Marcus Allen's performance described above, John Riggins was viewed as a likely non-factor heading into this game against the ferocious top-ranked Miami defense. Also like Allen, Riggins ignored the conventional wisdom and turned in an MVP-winning performance. Behind one of the greatest offensive lines of all time - known as the Hogs - Riggins pounded the Miami defense with 38 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown. Add his 15 yards receiving to that total and Riggins alone outgained the entire Miami offense.

Rod Martin

10

Rod Martin

Super Bowl XV

Martin intercepted the first pass Philly's QB Ron Jaworski threw in the game, setting up the Raiders' first touchdown, but he wasn't done there. He finished the game with three interceptions, a Super Bowl record, the last to stall a fourth quarter Eagles' drive that allowed the Raiders to run out the clock.

Kurt Warner

11

Kurt Warner

Super Bowl XXXIV

Capping off an incredible year that saw him win the NFL MVP for his dominant regular season, Warner kept the momentum going in the Super Bowl, where he completed 24 passes for 414 yards in the Rams 23–16 win over the Tennessee Titans. In a game where touchdowns were hard to come by, Warner threw two scoring passes on his way to becoming only the sixth player to win the regular season and Super Bowl MVPs in the same season.

Thurman Thomas

12

Thurman Thomas

Super Bowl XXV

Thomas' 190 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown surely would have been enough to land him the Super Bowl MVP trophy had Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood not pushed the potential game winning 47-yard field goal just to the right of the goalpost. Instead, the Giants prevailed 20-19 and Ottis Anderson, who totaled only 109 yards, picked up the award. Thomas' 135 yards on the ground still stand as a high mark for a running back on the losing end of the big game.

Troy Aikman

13

Troy Aikman

Super Bowl XXVII

Aikman's performance in Super Bowl XXXVII is an easy one to overlook. Sure, he was surrounded by one of the best offenses in NFL history, and sure, the Dallas defense forced Buffalo to turn the ball over an astounding nine times, but it was Aikman's leadership of the Cowboys' offense that gets him the final spot on the Top 13. Completing 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns, Aikman led the Cowboys to a 52-17 victory in the first of their back-to-back Super Bowl wins over the Bills.

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Comments Leave a comment

jason ★★

I could see Manning putting up a game like this on Sunday.

8:54 AM   Feb 04, 2010

PulpAffliction ★★

Kurt Warner is sexy.

9:54 AM   Feb 04, 2010

abujabu 

warner holds the top 3 passing performances in super bowl history. He should be higher or on the list multiple times

10:05 AM   Feb 04, 2010

jasun 

A really fun thing to do is to look at the stats for the MVPs for the first few SBs.

Also, this was "Super Bowl Performances", not "Multiple Super Bowl Stat Lines". Were it, The 49ers would own the top 4 or 5 spots.

10:19 AM   Feb 04, 2010

stillathreat ★★

As it is, there are too many 49ers on this list. But I hate the 49ers.

10:23 AM   Feb 04, 2010

jasun 

agreed with the 49ers hate.

10:32 AM   Feb 04, 2010

brian 

as do i.

10:33 AM   Feb 04, 2010

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