Joe Flacco and the Best QB Postseasons in NFL History
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Joe Flacco silenced his skeptics with a Super Bowl MVP performance on Sunday.
It was not completed, however, without the momentum and confidence he possessed entering the big game.
Flacco was supreme throughout the 2013 NFL playoffs, so a strong game against the San Francisco 49ers did not surprise. And it capped off what was one of the best postseasons by a quarterback in league history.
Therefore, in accordance with Flacco's historic display, let's check out other great quarterback playoff performances.
Pro football has shifted more than once from a run-first to a pass-first league. But in the early days of the Super Bowl, the NFL was more run-oriented, which obviously meant quarterbacks were relied on significantly less.
Still, that doesn't mean we should forget about the following honorable mentions. And as you can see, quarterbacks became greater contributors as the years went by.
Bart Starr, Packers, 1966-67 Playoffs (two games):
Six touchdowns, one interception, 68.6 completion percentage and 554 passing yards
Joe Namath, Jets, 1968-69 Playoffs (two games):
Three touchdowns, one interception, 46.8 completion percentage and 472 passing yards
Kenny Stabler, Raiders, 1976-77 Playoffs (three games):
Four touchdowns, zero interceptions, 61.2 completion percentage and 501 passing yards
Doug Williams, Redskins, 1987-88 Playoffs (three games):
Seven touchdowns, two interceptions, 48.8 completion percentage and 666 passing yards
Joe Montana, 49ers, 1988-89 Playoffs (three games):
Eight touchdowns, one interception, 62.2 completion percentage and 823 passing yards
Kurt Warner, Rams, 1999-2000 Playoffs (three games):
Eight touchdowns, four interceptions, 63.6 completion percentage and 1,063 passing yards
Phil Simms, Giants, 1986-87
Throughout the 1986-87 postseason Phil Simms tossed eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.
He was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXI, completing 22-of-25 passes for 268 yards and three scores.
The Denver Broncos never had a chance.
Interestingly enough, Simms threw more picks than touchdowns during the regular season.
This just goes to show what the postseason brings out in quarterbacks.
Joe Montana, 49ers, 1989-90
The greatest quarterback in NFL history gave his best playoff performance in January of 1990.
Joe Montana tossed 11 touchdowns with no picks, winning a third Super Bowl MVP award.
He finished with 800 yards and a 78.3 completion percentage, and San Francisco's offense scored 126 points in three games.
But this feat was on another level because Montana's managed it in repeat fashion, with the expectations of winning astronomically increased.
Troy Aikman, Cowboys, 1992-93
Winning three Super Bowls in his career, Troy Aikman's best individual postseason came during Jimmy Johnson's first Vince Lombardi Trophy victory.
Facing the two-time AFC champion Buffalo Bills, Aikman threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys routed Buffalo.
Aikman threw eight touchdowns and no picks during this postseason. The former quarterback for Big D also completed 68.5 percent of his attempts and was named Super Bowl XXVII MVP.
Steve Young, 49ers, 1994-95
Living in the shadow of Joe Montana, Steve Young was pressured to quarterback San Francisco to at least one Super Bowl win.
And he did.
Young completely thrashed the competition en route to throwing nine scores and zero picks, six of which came against the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.
Young closed out the postseason with 623 yards passing, a 60.9 completion percentage and added 128 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Tom Brady, Patriots, 2004-05
Tom Brady's best playoff performance came during his last Super Bowl victory run.
In throwing five touchdowns with no picks and sporting a 67.9 completion percentage, Brady also finished with 587 yards passing.
Although he was named Super Bowl MVP in his first two appearances, Brady's repeat gets the nod. Just like Joe Montana, it's more difficult to immediately pull off the encore, yet Brady was near flawless.
Kurt Warner, Cardinals, 2008-09
Yes, Kurt Warner was named Super Bowl XXXIV MVP and put up insane numbers with the Rams.
But we must also check out the personnel around him. The Greatest Show on Turf featured Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
What the Arizona Cardinals provided throughout 2008 and in the 2009 postseason is not comparable—aside from Larry Fitzgerald.
Still, Warner threw 11 touchdowns with only three picks. He also had a 68.1 completion percentage.
He also became only the second quarterback in NFL history to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl (Craig Morton, Cowboys in 1970 and Broncos in 1977).
Drew Brees, Saints, 2009-10
Drew Brees shreds defenses year in and year out.
But his 2009-10 postseason run to a Super Bowl was miraculous.
He racked up 732 passing yards with eight touchdowns and did not get intercepted. Brees also picked opponents apart with a 70.6 completion percentage, which led to the New Orleans Saints' first Super Bowl win.
Aaron Rodgers: Packers, 2010-11
Bart Starr may have two Super Bowls, but Aaron Rodgers carried Green Bay to a fourth Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Certainly the defense was key in the run, but Rodgers was also off the charts.
In four games he compiled 1,094 passing yards and completed 68.2 percent of his passes. Additionally, Rodgers threw nine touchdowns to two picks and rushed for two more scores.
He diced up the Pittsburgh Steelers for 304 yards and three scores in the Super Bowl, a defense that had won the Steel City its two previous trophies this century.
Eli Manning, Giants, 2011-12
Eli Manning realized one Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady wasn't enough.
So, he snuck the Giants into the 2012 playoffs and went on a steamroll.
Throwing for 1,219 yards in four games, Manning connected on nine touchdowns and was intercepted just once. He completed 65 percent of his attempts in this postseason and was an unreal 30-of-40 for 296 yards in Super Bowl XLVI.
Regardless of Big Blue in the regular season, just hope your team doesn't face them in January as long as Eli is at the helm.
Joe Flacco, Ravens, 2012-13
Although Joe Flacco only had a 57.9 completion percentage in January/February of 2013, he didn't throw an interception.
The end result was tossing for 1,140 yards and 11 touchdowns in four games. Flacco also outplayed Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive road playoff contests, which immediately propels him into the upper-echelon of current quarterbacks.
Possessing more confidence now than ever before, Flacco will keep the Ravens as Super Bowl contenders for quite a while.