In the NFL, regular season statistics only get you so far in the eyes of history.
To be great, players have to deliver in the playoffs.
The following is a list of the six current players with the most disappointing playoff resumes.
Determining this list is more than just a quantitative endeavor. Indeed, several players on this list have had strong individual performances in playoff games, but each has made a habit of coming up short in the postseason.
Is it unfair to single out an otherwise great player for their teams’ failure to win in the playoffs? Maybe, but in the NFL, all that matters is winning.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Dan Marino.
We all know that Michael Vick is a once-in-a-generation talent. Let’s just put that argument to bed. His playoff stats aren’t so impressive, however.
In six career playoff games, Vick has completed just 54.2 percent of his passes, with five TDs and three INTs. Even worse, he has never done better than a 79.9 passer rating in any playoff game he has started.
Those are pedestrian numbers at best.
To cap it off, he has appeared in exactly zero Super Bowls.
Until Vick can lead his team to a Super Bowl, his career will be considered by many to be a letdown.
I have a soft spot for Donovan McNabb. Even after this. (I’m a Packers fan.) But he just never lived up to the promise that his talent afforded him.
McNabb has a respectable 9-7 career playoff record and one Super Bowl appearance, but given his incredible natural talent, this just seems below average.
His Super Bowl appearance was volatile (357 Pass YD, 3 TD, 3 INT) and resulted in a loss.
This selection is probably a little controversial, but given how great he might have been, his lack of a championship will always stick out like a sore thumb.
LaDanian Tomlinson is perhaps the greatest running back of the last 10 years, but his incredible production has not carried over into the playoffs.
In 10 career playoff games, he gained just 468 yards (and a 3.6 yard average) and scored only six touchdowns.
Ironically, perhaps his best postseason performance came last season, when at the age of 31, he gained 141 yards on 35 carries and scored three times (once in the air).
While that certainly speaks well of his longevity, its hard to ignore the disappointingly bad numbers he put up throughout his prime.
I, for one, hope LT can get himself a Super Bowl ring, but being on the Jets will make that enterprise pretty difficult (zing!)
Tony Romo has won exactly one playoff game in four chances.
I could do a more in-depth analysis of his stats, but instead:
Being great in the playoffs is, to a large extent, a matter of character. That is an unfortunate reality for Jay Cutler.
By all accounts Cutler has the tools to be a Pro Bowl-caliber QB. But time and again, he has proven himself to be unreliable in big games, devoid of leadership qualities, and unwilling to live up to and learn from his shortcomings.
To put it bluntly, if I was building an NFL team, Jay Cutler would be near the bottom of QBs I would want.
His playoff record is conspicuously short, but his solid play in last season’s divisional round was completely overshadowed by his controversial early exit in the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
He may or may not have been seriously injured the way he claimed (I will forever doubt his inability to finish the game), but his play in the first half (6-14, 80 Pass YD, 1 INT) was anything but stellar.
The chorus of criticism will only grow following that performance last season. If Cutler ever wants to be seen as anything but an over-privileged, under-performing disappointment, he will have to prove that he can lead a team through the playoffs.
So far, he is 0-for-1.
Maybe I’m alone in this opinion, but I think Philip Rivers is wildly overrated.
Exhibit A: His career playoff record is 3-4.
Exhibit B: He has never played in a Super Bowl.
Exhibit C: His career playoff stats are as follows:
Game 1 (Loss, 24-21 vs. New England): 14-32, 230 YD, 0 TD, 1 INT.
Game 2 (Win, 17-6 vs. Tennessee): 19-30, 292 YD, 1TD, 1 INT.
Game 3 (Win, 28-24 vs. Indianapolis): 14-19, 264 YD, 3 TD, 1 INT.
Game 4 (Loss, 21-12 vs. New England): 19-37, 211 YD, 0 TD, 2 INT.
Game 5 (Win, 23-17 vs. Indianapolis): 20-36, 217 YD, 0 TD, 1 INT.
Game 6 (Loss, 35-24 vs. Pittsburgh): 21-35, 308 YD, 3 TD, 1 INT.
Game 7 (Loss, 17-14 vs. NYJ): 27-40, 298 YD, 1 TD, 2 INT.
For those scoring at home, that’s at best three solid performances in seven postseason games.
The prosecution rests.