By Steve Rushin
January 30, 2013
Joe Montana won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and was named MVP in three of them.
John W. McDonough /SI

This week, in a very special Rushin Index, we look at the Top Joes in Super Bowl history. These are not the Top Joes in all of history -- there is no Shoeless Joe, no Joe Louis, no Joe Dirt -- but then again they might be the top Joes in all of history. You'll find that most famous Joes, regardless of profession, have a deep and abiding connection to the Super Bowl. It is -- more than any other sporting event-- inextricably associated with a single given name. And that name is Joe.

1. Joe Montana

The man won four Super Bowls, was named MVP in three of them and still looks like he could lead the current 49ers">49ers in Sunday's game, despite appearing in commercials for something that sounds synonymous with letting yourself go: He sells "relaxed-fit" shoes, which the wearer of relaxed-fit jeans will never see.

2. Joe Greene

Another four-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer, Greene is equally remembered for his place in Super Bowl commercial history -- the '79 Coke ad in which he flings his number 75 jersey at a kid, who replies with one of the great advertising catchphrases of all time: "Wow, thanks Mean Joe."

3. Joe Gibbs

He coached a Joe-riddled Redskins team to four Super Bowls, three of which they won, behind -- literally behind -- the strength of Joes like ...

4. Joe Jacoby

A three-time Super Bowl winner and one of the original Hogs, Jacoby opened the hole for John Riggins to run 43 yards on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter against Miami to win Super Bowl XVII. But not before offensive line coach Joe Bugel conferred with Joe Gibbs about whether or not to go for it on fourth-and-Joe.

5. Joe Namath

He "only" won one of them, Super Bowl III, but this Joe guaranteed it, and his sideburns memorably transfixed Homer Simpson's mother, who could only stare while Howard Cosell intoned: "Joe Willie Namath, swaggering off the field, his sideburns an apogee of sculpted sartorium, the foppish follicles pioneered by Ambrose Burnside, Appomattox, 1865." (The following year, in Super Bowl IV, the Vikings' Joe Kapp was the losing quarterback, a rare reminder that Joes were and still are occasionally vincible.)

6. Joe Theismann

He won and lost the Super Bowl in consecutive years -- a run bookended by Joe Montana victories. If not for the Redskins' loss to the Raiders in 1984, the Super Bowl would have seen four consecutive victorious quarterbacks named Joe.

7. Joe DiMaggio

Speaking of 1984, the great DiMaggio said that year that he'd attended all but two of the 18 Super Bowls played so far. And though he wrongly predicted a Redskins win over the Raiders, wishful thinking was to be expected of a longtime Redskins supporter. "I've been a Redskins fan since the Sammy Baugh days," said DiMaggio, the biggest Joe on a football team full of Joes. (Really, the biggest Joe on a planet full of Joes.)

8. Joe Buck

The play-by-play man has called three Super Bowls so far for Fox, two more than the next-closest Joe --Theismann, who served as a color analyst on the 1985 Super Bowl.

9. Joe Robbie

He owned the Miami Dolphins when they won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1970s, then built Joe Robbie Stadium, which has hosted -- under various names -- five Super Bowls since 1989, making it second only to DiMaggio (and slightly ahead of Montana and Gibbs) in serial Super Bowl Joe-dom.

10. Joe Jurevicius

As a member of the Giants he lost a Super Bowl to the Ravens. But as a member of the Buccaneers, he not only won a Super Bowl but also made the cover of SI immediately after.

11. Joe Biden

A year ago he told a befuddled crowd in San Francisco: "The Giants are going to the Super Bowl!" Perhaps he was predicting that the San Francisco Giants were going to win the World Series. Or perhaps he was predicting that the New York Giants -- who were to face the 49ers in the NFC championship that week -- were gong to win the Super Bowl. Either way, his prediction was right (and remarkably bold).

12. (tie) Joe Perry and Joey Fatone

We remember little about the Ravens victory over the Giants in 2001, save for the halftime show, which featured both N'Sync and Aerosmith -- or as Ben Stiller called them in a taped introduction, while trying to persuade them to form a single supergroup: "You are N'Syncosmith! You are Aerosync!" Whatever you call them, Aerosync's Perry and N'Syncosmith's Fatone earned their spot on the list of all-time Super Bowl Joes, which is more than we can say for ...

14. (tie) Joe Flacco and Joe Staley

The Ravens' quarterback and the 49ers' left tackle have yet to play a down in a Super Bowl. But both will no doubt play key roles in Sunday's game. Alas, only one will emerge with a Super Bowl victory -- and a place of honor in our Ring of Joes.


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