Jim Kelly boasts plenty of Hall of Fame credentials. Great performances in the Super Bowl are not among them, and this 40-car pileup at rush hour in this 37-24 loss to Washington was the most disastrous of the bunch. The prolific Bills offense failed to score a single first-half point and Kelly's frantic comeback effort (Super Bowl record 58 attempts) produced too little too late. Even worse: The enduring image of the game is a glassy-eyed Kelly being helped off the field by Buffalo staff after suffering an injury.
2 of 10John Biever/SI
Neil O'Donnell (XXX)
O'Donnell had a rather respectable effort, other than the fact that he threw two beautiful passes into the arms of wide-open Cowboys cornerback (and SB MVP) Larry Brown, which set up two Dallas touchdowns in the Boys 27-17 victory. They remain two of the more inexplicable passes in Super Bowl history, they launched a cottage industry of conspiracy theories, they were the difference in a game in which the Steelers were otherwise quite competitive.
3 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
Rich Gannon (XXXVII)
Gannon set an NFL record with 10 300-yard outings in 2002, on his way to league MVP honors. But deciphering the Oakland offense proved mere child's play for Tampa head man Jon Gruden, who had led the Raiders the year before. Gannon collapsed like the Bay Bridge in a major earthquake against his old coach, throwing a Super Bowl-record five interceptions -- three of which were returned for TDs in the 48-21 loss. The Oakland organization has never recovered.
4 of 10Andy Hayt/SI
John Elway (XXIV)
Elway played poorly in the three Super Bowl losses that threatened to define his career before he rode out in a blaze of back-to-back championship-winning glory. Few efforts were more putrid than this 55-10 debacle. The performance looks more gruesome when contrasted against the best-ever Super Bowl effort Joe Montana orchestrated when the San Francisco offense stepped on the field after every failed Denver drive.
5 of 10Neil Leifer/SI
Billy Kilmer (VII)
It's never a good sign for a quarterback when the other team's free safety wins Super Bowl MVP honors, as Miami's Jake Scott did after the Dolphins 14-7 win. Kilmer was under assault all day by the dominant Manny Fernandez and undefeated Miami's defensive front. Kilmer had trouble leading the Redskins offense past midfield, let alone into the end zone, and if not for the comedic stylings of Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian, the Redskins would not have scored a single point.
6 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Kerry Collins (XXXV)
Collins has had a relatively prolific pro career, but he'll forever be associated with this Chernobyl-style meltdown in Tampa in which the Giants failed to score a single offensive point in a 34-7 defeat. At least Collins was an egalitarian in his effort: four members of Baltimore's 11 defensive starters picked off a pass.
7 of 10AP
Fran Tarkenton (IX)
The Vikings remain one of the small handful of offenses that were shutout in a Super Bowl (Minnesota's lone points in the 16-6 loss to Pittsburgh came on a blocked punt). Tarkenton's fiery Hindenburg of an outing is a large reason why. The Hall of Famer's 14.1 passer rating remains one of the worst by any Super Bowl starter and perhaps the worst game of his long, record-setting career.
8 of 10AP
Earl Morrall (III)
Morrall was a stud in 1968, earning MVP honors in relief of the injured Johnny Unitas, while leading the NFL's No. 2 scoring offense. He pulled up lame in the Super Bowl with bad passes and bad decisions that ruined what should have a coronation for Baltimore: before the 2007 Patriots, the 1968 Colts were the single most dominant team of the Super Bowl Era. Jets QB Joe Namath gets all the acclaim for guaranteeing victory over the mighty Colts. But the Jets defense deserves great credit for humiliating Morrall and the Baltimore offense in the 16-7 win.
9 of 10Richard Mackson/SI
Tony Eason (XX)
Eason remains the only Super Bowl starting quarterback who failed to complete a single pass, though WR Stanley Morgan dropped what should have been an early TD. Still, Eason's most effective play on this day seemed to be curling up into a fetal ball in the face of the brutal Bears pass rush. It was so bad for Eason in the 46-10 loss that New England's Hall of Fame left guard John Hannah reportedly demanded that coach Raymond Berry bench the quarterback in favor of old warhorse Steve Grogan, which he did. Hannah has never said a nice word about Eason since.
10 of 10Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Craig Morton (XII)
Based on the assumption that it gets no worse than zero -- Morton's record-low passer rating on this day -- this is easily the worst performance by any quarterback in Super Bowl history. Let's put it this way: if Morton had simply thrown 15 passes into the dirt in 15 attempts, his passer rating would have been an Tony Eason-esque 39.6. He was eventually replaced by the legendary Norris Weese, who was no better (4 of 10 for 22 yards), but who at least guided Denver to its only touchdown in the 27-10 loss after a long Rick Upchurch kick return. Send comments to email@example.com.
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