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5 Worst Super Bowl QB performances in NFL history

Over the last 56 Super Bowls, we have witnessed some incredible quarterback play, and also some lopsided signal caller performances.

From multiple interceptions to low ratings, quarterbacks, who play a big role in the outcome of a game, were either the low spot in an ugly Super Bowl win or the difference in losing for their team.

These are the moments where players could not live up to the hype in the biggest football game anyone could play in.

Here are the five worst Super Bowl performances by a QB in history.

Related: 5 best Super Bowl performances by a QB in history

5. Craig Morton – 0.0 passer rating at Super Bowl XII (1978)

worst performances from a qb super bowl history: craig morton
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Seven years after Morton did not have one of his best Super Bowl performances as a Dallas Cowboy in 1971, he faced his former team as a member of the Denver Broncos and had another bad game in the finale of the NFL season.

Morton only completed four of his 15 passes for 39 yards and was intercepted as many times as his successful throws to Broncos receivers. To put the icing on the cake, Morton had a quarterback rating of 0.0 as the the Cowboys defeated Denver, 27-10.

Related: Biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history

4. Fran Tarkenton – 102 yards, 3 INTs in Super Bowl IX (1975)

worst performances qb super bowl history: fran tarkenton
Green Bay Press-Gazette / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 1975 edition of the Super Bowl featured the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings in a game that was dominated by both defenses. Although there were no defensive touchdowns, the game’s opening score was a safety on a bad snap in the end zone of the second quarter to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.

Neither quarterback played that great because of the stifling defenses. Terry Bradshaw did not even complete double-digit passes, recording 9-of-14 for 96 yards and a touchdown. But he had a rating of 108 with his strong finish in the fourth quarter. On the flip side, Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton completed 11-of-26 passes for 102 yards. He was intercepted three times with a QB rating of 14.1.

Overall, Tarkenton’s offense had just nine first downs, a total of 119 total yards and turned the ball over five times. The Steelers took down Tarkenton and the Vikings, 16-6, thanks to Franco Harris. He rushed 34 times for 158 yards and a touchdown en route to earning Super Bowl MVP honors.

Related: Super Bowl MVP history and past winners

3. Kerry Collins – 112 passing yards and 4 INTs in Super Bowl XXXV (2001)

In 2001, The New York Giants went up against the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium and the Giants’ performance was one they would want to change.

New York quarterback Kerry Collins threw the ball 39 times, compared to just 16 plays on the ground. Collins completed 15 of his passes for 112 yards and no touchdowns. He also threw four interceptions in addition to being sacked four times.  

The only touchdown for the Giants was a 97-yard kick return by Ron Dixon. Collins, who was going up against one of the best defenses ever assembled, featured the likes of Ray Lewis, who was the Super Bowl MVP for that game, and fellow future Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, who recorded a team-high six tackles.

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2. Rich Gannon –  5 INTs in Super Bowl XXXVII (2003)  

SUPER BOWL XXXVII
MPS-USA TODAY Sports

The 2003 Super Bowl featured the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Raiders were going up against their former head coach, Jon Gruden, who helped quarterback Rich Gannon earn NFL Most Valuable Player honors the year before.

Gannon, who completed 24-of-44 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns, threw five interceptions. This represented the highest figure in Super Bowl history. Gannon’s first two picks came on a three-play stretch in the middle of the first half that killed the momentum for any chance to put points on the board. His other interceptions came as the Bucs got their largest lead, 34-3 following a pick-six in the third quarter.

In total, three of Gannon’s five interceptions were returned into the end zone for pick-sixes with his final two coming in the last two minutes. The reigning MVP’s five interceptions ultimately changed the course of the entire game as Tampa Bay went on to win 48-21.  

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1. Tony Eason – only Super Bowl QB to not complete a pass (1986)

NFL: Super Bowl XX
Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

If throwing five interceptions in a single Super Bowl is bad, what could be worse?

Well, how about not even being able to complete a pass?

Tony Eason and the New England Patriots were playing the Chicago Bears to conclude the 1986 season. Eason, who was going up against one of the best teams of all time, was unable to complete a pass after six attempts.

As a result, Eason’s backup, Steve Grogan came in and was able to somewhat get the offense going despite not putting up points on the board, trailing by as much as 41 points. Eason is the only quarterback in Super Bowl history to not complete a pass.