50 Biggest Choke Artists in NFL History

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIJune 22, 2011

50 Biggest Choke Artists in NFL History

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    Over the illustrious history of the National Football League, there has been a fair share of chokers—players or coaches that fail in the spotlight when it matters the most.

    Granted, some of these choke artists never won a title, but some of them have—but they'll always be remembered as chokers. 

    Choking has almost became an art, as the player or coaches fails in such dramatic fashion that it's almost like someone wrote the storyline before it even happened. 

    Here are the 50 biggest choke-artists in NFL history.

    I hope you all enjoy and be sure to leave some feedback!


    This article was first seen at PatriotsPlus.net. Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @         TonySantorsa. 

50. Bobby Petrino

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    Bobby Petrino will always be hated in the city of Atlanta, as he simply cracked under the pressure and abandoned the team mid-season in 2007.

    Petrino had only coached Atlanta for a grand total of 13 games while only winning three of them.

    I guess Petrino is better off staying at the college level.  

49. Y.A. Tittle

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    The only thing missing out of Y.A. Tittle's illustrious career is a championship.

    Tittle was a seven-time Pro Bowler, three-time All Pro and an NFL MVP, but had never won the game game for the New York Giants. 

48. Dan Fouts

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    Dan Fouts is a walking example of why teams who rely on passing the ball tend to fail in the playoffs.

    During Fouts' 15-year career with the San Diego Chargers, he managed to pass over 4,000 yards three times and tossed an amazing total of 254 career touchdowns. However, Fouts' solid passing abilities did not translate into playoff victories as he posted a 3-4 career record in the postseason. 

47. Adrian Peterson

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    Adrian Peterson is arguably the most talented running back in the NFL today, but will be forever remembered for his awfully timed fumbles in the 2010 NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints.

    Peterson fumbled the ball twice as well as botching a hand-off from Brett Favre.

46. Drew Bledsoe

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    Drew Bledsoe may have had all the talent in the world, but he always found a way to throw the game away.

    Granted, Bledsoe's lone shining moment came in the 2002 AFC Championship game when he replaced the injured Tom Brady and led the New England Patriots to the victory, but he's been known for throwing costly interceptions.

    In fact, Bledsoe's last pass thrown in the NFL was an interception before he was replaced by Tony Romo back in 2006 with the Dallas Cowboys.  

45. Barry Sanders

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    It's so hard putting the blame on Barry Sanders, as he played for such an awful Detroit Lions team, but he could never take the Lions to the next level.

    Sanders was the sole reason that the Lions found ways to win games, but he choked in the postseason—especially in outdoor games as he only averaged 2.8 yards per-carry. 

44. Wade Phillips

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    Wade Phillips is certainly a knowledge NFL coach, but he's not best suited as a head coach due to his awful 1-5 career postseason record and numerous "choke jobs." 

43. Rex Ryan

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    Many people may believe that Rex Ryan is not a choker, but he's yet to get over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

    Ryan's first two years with the New York Jets, he's led them to two AFC Championship games, however the Jets lost both of them.

    Until the Jets move into the Super Bowl, Ryan will be known as a choke artist. 

42. Tom Brady

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    It's so hard to believe that Tom Brady is considered to be a choker, due to his heroic game-winning drives and his key role in the New England Patriots' dynasty—but as of late, Brady's postseason performances have been awful.

    Brady has lost his last three playoff games, including Super Bowl XLII, when the Patriots were set to go undefeated, however they lost to the New York Giants. 

41. Matt Hasselbeck

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    The moment displayed in the video will forever be remembered as a choke job done by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

    For Hasselbeck's credit, he did throw a touchdown pass, but it was to the Green Bay Packers, not the Seattle Seahawks. 

40. Earnest Byner

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    Earnest Byner will forever be remembered for "The Fumble."

    Do I really need to get into much more detail? Just watch the video if you don't already know. 

39. Sage Rosenfels

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    Sage Rosenfels never really made it in the NFL, and his most memorable moment is one that Houston Texans fans soon want to forget.

    Rosenfels and the Texans were up big on the Indianapolis Colts, however Rosenfels fumbled the ball twice which led to a Colts come-from-behind victory with a score of 27-24. 

38. Shawne Merriman

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    Shawne Merriman is not only a PED user, but he's a major choke artist.

    Merriman is best known for his amazing ability to get to the quarterback with his 43.5 career sacks, however in the postseason Merriman has only recorded an awful two sacks in five games. 

37. Champ Bailey

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    Champ Bailey may go down as one of the best cover-corners in NFL history with the great ability to make a game-changing play—but he's yet to win a Super Bowl and doesn't have any true defining moments in his career. 

    In five playoff games, Bailey has managed to only pick off the opposing quarterback twice as well as only deflecting four passes. 

36. Tony Dungy

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    Tony Dungy wasn't able to win a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, and a year after he was fired, Jon Gruden came in and took practically the same team that Dungy had and led them to a Super Bowl victory over the Oakland Raiders.

    Sure, Dungy won a Super Bowl in Indianapolis—but it was only one, and it was with one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game, Peyton Manning

35. Philip Rivers

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    Philip Rivers is simply a great regular season quarterback but he's an awful postseason quarterback. 

    Rivers career regular season quarterback rating is a stellar 97.2, but in the playoffs it's just an average 79.2. 

34. Jim Caldwell

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    In my opinion, Jim Caldwell is a sock puppet and that Peyton Manning is the real coach of the Indianapolis Colts. 

    Caldwell choked in Super Bowl XLIV and choked in the 2010 NFL playoffs against the New York Jets. 

33. Michael Vick

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    Michael Vick may be an electrifying player, but come the playoffs, he's nothing but average.

    Vick has a career 2-3 postseason record as he's only completed 56 percent of his passes in those five playoff games. Also, Vick has thrown costly interceptions in many of his playoff appearances as he's got a total of four career interceptions. 

32. Kordell Stewart

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    Kordell Stewart was the quarterback of many solid Pittsburgh Steeler teams, but was never able to led them to a Super Bowl as his career playoff record is just 2-2. 

31. Tony Romo

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    Tony Romo will be forever remembered for his botched snap against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2006 Wild Card round. Romo's botched snap on a field goal attempt of just 19-yards, but Romo muffed it and the Cowboys lost the game.

    Also, Romo's performance as a passer in the playoffs hasn't been all that impressive has he's only completed 59.3 percent of his passes in just four playoff games. 

30. Terrell Owens

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    Terrell Owens will go down as one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game, but his performances in the postseason have been average at best.

    Owens has always put up big numbers, but that's not what matters the most. He's only caught five touchdowns in a total of 12 games.  He needs to improve his production if he wants to be the team's go-to-man in the playoffs. 

29. David Garrard

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    During David Garrard's five years as a starting quarterback in Jacksonville, I've always said that the Jaguars will only go as far as Garrard will take them—and it's true.

    Garrard is nothing but an average quarterback, as he's only led the Jaguars to one playoff appearance. 

28. LaDainian Tomlinson

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    LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the many San Diego Chargers that never performed well when it counted the most in the postseason.

    Tomlinson is definitely a first-ballot Hall of Fame player, but in the playoffs, he only averages a very mediocre 3.6 yards per carry. 

27. Steve McNair

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    Steve McNair may have a winning postseason record, but he was still a choke artist.

    McNair did led the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, but he did not perform well as he did not score one touchdown—not to mention failing in the last seconds of the game to score a game-tying touchdown. 

    It's a shame he was tragically taken away from the game and the world too early.

26. Brett Favre

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    Brett Favre may be a Super Bowl champion, but in my books, he's nothing but a choke artist.

    Favre is the typical gun-slinging quarterback, as his arms has lost him multiple playoff games, including the 2010 NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints.

25. Randall Cunningham

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    Randall Cunningham was one of the most explosive quarterbacks in NFL history, but he was never able to win a Super Bowl thanks to his horrid 3-6 career postseason record. 

24. Rich Gannon

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    Rich Gannon put up extremely impressive numbers during his time as an NFL as well as posting a solid 76-56 career record. However, Gannon's regular success didn't transfer very well into the playoffs.

    Gannon's career playoff record is 4-3 and one of those three losses came in Super Bowl XXXVII.

23. Thurman Thomas

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    Thurman Thomas was key part of the early 1990s Buffalo Bills teams that lost four-straight Super Bowls.

    Thomas virtually did not show up in any of the Bills' Super Bowl loses and much of the blame should be placed on the Hall of Fame running back. 

22. Gary Anderson

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    Don't you just feel bad for Gary Anderson? He recorded the first-ever perfect field goal percentage in NFL history, however his only kick that he missed that season came at the biggest time—the 1999 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. 

21. 1993 Houston Oilers

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    The entire 1993 Houston Oilers are all choke artists.

    In the team's 1993 Wild Card match-up against the Buffalo Bills, Houston was leading 35-3 in the third quarterback, but somehow managed to blow that lead and lose 41-38—how on earth is that possible? 

20. Norv Turner

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    The only time when Norv Turner isn't choking is "Norvember." 

    Turn is infamously known for his San Diego Chargers starting off extremely slow and then picking up in the later months of the season, but once in the playoffs, they always fall to advance. 

    Turner's currently playoff record is 4-4. 

19. Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss may have been great for the Minnesota Vikings during the their postseason runs, but for the New England Patriots, he was transparent.

    Moss suited up in four playoff games as a Patriot and only managed to catch 12 passes for just one touchdown. 

18. Jeff Fisher

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    Jeff Fisher will go down as one of the best regular season head coaches in NFL history—thanks to his horrid 5-6 record in the postseason.

    Fisher simply could never win the big game as head coach of the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans. 

17. 2001 St. Louis Rams

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    The 2001 St. Louis Rams will not only be remembered as the "Greatest Show on Turf," but as the "Greatest Choke on Turf."

    The Rams were heavily favored to take down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI, but thanks to a late drive led by Brady and the game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri, the Patriots took down one of the most explosive offenses in the history of the NFL. 

16. Bill Polian

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    General manager Bill Polian may be a Super Bowl champion, but he's been apart of some of the greatest playoff woes in NFL history.

    Polian not only witnessed his Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts teams fail several times in the playoff but he was also a part of the Buffalo Bills' four-straight Super Bowl fails in the early 1990s. 

15. 2007 New England Patriots

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    The 2007 New England Patriots are the greatest team to never win a Super Bowl—and had one of the greatest choke jobs in the history of sports.

    The Patriots entered Super Bowl XLII with an amazing 18-0 record, but they lost their first game of the season when it mattered the most. 

14. Nate Kaeding

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    Nate Kaeding may be one of the best regular season kickers in NFL history, but come the playoffs, he's only made 53 percent of his kicks—now that's choking under pressure. 

13. Peyton Manning

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    Peyton Manning may be considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, but he'll forever be known as a choker—even with his Super Bowl XLI ring. 

    Manning's playoff record is absolutely horrific as he's only won nine of his 19 games—which is just one game short of being .500.

    I'm sorry, but a quarterback of his caliber, he should have won far more than just one Super Bowl, no matter how average the team is around him. 

12. Jackie Smith

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    Tight end Jackie Smith is one of the greatest offensive tight ends in NFL history, however he put up his huge numbers as a member of the lowly St. Louis Cardinals.

    Smith's only big moment in the spotlight came in Super Bowl XIII, his final game in the NFL, where he had a sure-touchdown but managed to drop the pass thrown by Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Roger Staubach.

    Smith will be remembered for putting up "meaningless" stats with the Cardinals, but as a member of the Cowboys in the league's biggest spotlight, he failed miserably. 

11. Andy Reid

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    Andy Reid may have a winning record in the postseason at 10-9, but he's been a part of quite a few miserable failures done by his Philadelphia Eagles. 

    Reid made the NFC Championship in four consecutive years, but failed to win any of them. However in 2005, Reid's Eagles finally won an NFC Title, but lost against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. 

10. Mike Vanderjagt

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    Anyone who's watched football over the past decade are well-aware of kicker Mike Vanderjagt.

    Vanderjagt was great in the regular season, but his stellar leg did not translate well into the playoffs.

    Vanderjagt will always be known as "Vanderchoke."

9. Scott Norwood

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    I can't help but feel bad for kicker Scott Norwood—he's the main reason why the Buffalo Bills lost Super Bowl XXV, as he missed a 47-yard attempt that would have sealed the victory for the Bills.

    Norwood then retired in 1991, despite being the Bills' all-time leading scorer. 

8. Ryan Leaf

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    Not only is Ryan Leaf one of the biggest busts in NFL history, but he's also one of the biggest chokers ever.

    Leaf, the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft, proved to be worth absolutely nothing as he only played two years with the San Diego Chargers before being cut. Leaf then joined the Dallas Cowboys, but was even more terrible.

    Leaf retired with an awful record of 4-17 in just three seasons in the league. 

7. Dan Reeves

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    Dan Reeves is definitely a great NFL coach, but he never found a way to win a Super Bowl as he appeared in a grand total of four of them.

    Despite being a solid coach, he's still a choke artist. 

6. Fran Tarkenton

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    Fran Tarkenten was one of the main reasons why the Minnesota Vikings were so good in the 1960s and 1970s, but he was also a main reason why the Vikings choked in every single meaningful game they played. 

    Tarkenten retired with an awful 0-4 record in the Super Bowl. 

5. Dan Marino

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    You can only blame Dan Marino for so much, as his Miami Dolphins failed to win any Super Bowl during his illustrious 17-year career. 

    Marino had an awful 8-10 record in the postseason and just wasn't the same dominant quarterback that he was in the regular season once playoff time rolled around. 

4. Donovan McNabb

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    Donovan McNabb will be remembered by Philadelphia Eagles fans as the biggest choker in team history—McNabb took the Eagles places, but he was never able to win a Super Bowl for the city of Philadelphia. 

    There are stories of McNabb getting sick towards the end of big games because he was out of shape, but even if he wasn't sick, McNabb was never able to win any big games for the Eagles.

3. Jim Kelly

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    Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly had an impressive NFL career has he throw a stellar total of 237 touchdown passes, but the Buffalo Bills all-time leading passer never won a Super Bowl—despite playing in four of the game. 

2. Marv Levy

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    Along with Jim Kelly, Marv Levy managed to led his Buffalo Bills to four-consectutive Super Bowls, but did not win any of them.

    No matter how great Levy's regular season record was, standing in at 143-112, he choked when it matter the most. 

1. Marty Schottenheimer

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    If there were no such thing as playoffs or Super Bowls, then Marty Schottenheimer would be the greatest coach in the history of football, thanks to his amazing 200 career wins and just 126 loses and one tie. 

    However, once Schottenheimer's teams reached the post-season, they failed so miserable on such a regular basis. Schottenheimer's post-season record stands at an aboslute emabrassing 5-13. 

    Schottenheimer coached the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and the San Diego Chargers all to playoff apperances, but none of them were good enough to win a Super Bowl.

    Marty Schottenheimer is the biggest choke artist in NFL history.