This is the ingredient everybody already knows is in the recipe, but that wasn't always the case.
Back in 2003, Brad Johnson led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a win over the Oakland Raiders. Two years earlier, Trent Dilfer got his Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams won their trophies on the backs of amazing defenses and solid running games.
Since then, this is the list of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks: Tom Brady (twice), Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Peyton Manning, Eli Manning (twice), Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
The list of Super Bowl-losing quarterbacks is less elite and includes names like Jake Delhomme, Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Grossman. So, while it's possible to get to the big game without a big-time quarterback in today's NFL, you're not winning that game without one.
But what does elite mean?
While everyone has a different definition, here's one that encompasses those winners above and other quarterbacks people generally agree upon as elite: An elite quarterback is able to single-handedly make his teammates better. He will take players that were average and make them look like Pro Bowlers. He is extremely difficult to shut down and doesn't need great players around him to consistently win games.
There you go.
Teams in the playoff hunt with elite quarterbacks: Broncos, Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Giants
The jury is still out: Texans, Falcons, Colts, Bears, Seahawks, Redskins, Cowboys