So Close Yet So Far: Stellar Performances by Losing Super Bowl Quarterbacks

Football is one of many sports today that require a unique combination of intellect and brute force. But it also requires the ability to dream big, and every player who straps on football equipment has the same dream as another: Play in the NFL and be a part of a Super Bowl team. In the end of the Super Bowl, there will be only one team at the top of space mountain, and their victory will be determined by their levels of intelligence, physical strength, and mental endurance. Often times, the team that falls just one game short of being on top of the world endure agony because they didn’t get to the top in spite of their incredible show on the turf, and the quarterbacks are often the main targets of blame. Here are five quarterbacks who, in spite of their decision to stand tall against the rain, found themselves on the other side of the scoreboard.

Steve McNair (Tennessee Titans, Super Bowl XXXIV)

The third overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, Steve McNair didn’t become an opening day starter for the Titans until his third season, in 1997 (the team was still called the Tennessee Oilers at the time). McNair had a breakout season, chucking 2665 passing yards and also rushing for 674 more, and repeated all his feats his second season as a starter. In 1999, the team’s first year as the Tennessee Titans, McNair won thirteen regular-season games for the team and pushed them through both of their playoff games. At last, the Titans arrived at Super Bowl XXXIV against the St. Louis Rams. McNair gave a relentless fight throughout the game, completing 22 of 36 passes for 214 yards, as well as rushing for a record-setting 64 yards on 8 carries (most rushing yards by a quarterback in a Super Bowl). McNair would have been able to push the game, with the Titans trailing 23-16 with less than six seconds to go, into overtime, had his completed pass to Kevin Dyson not been tackled down just inches shy of the goal line. McNair’s statistics reveal a valiant show of endurance, skill, and talent. But unfortunately, his skills went to waste because of a defense that gave up 414 passing yards and five scores. But McNair would be rewarded later for his play, as Football Nation would rank him as #35 on their list of Greatest Quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL Merger. Unfortunately, McNair, who passed away on July 4, 2009, did not live to see the ranking.

Jake Delhomme (Carolina Panthers, Super Bowl XXXVIII)

An undrafted free agent who was signed by the New Orleans Saintsสมัครเว็บ ufabet following the 1997 NFL Draft, Jake Delhomme didn’t step foot on an NFL field until the 1999 season. In six contract seasons with New Orleans, Delhomme appeared in just six games and threw for less than 800 total passing yards, in spite of his fan-favorite status. He entered the turning point in his career when he signed with the young Carolina Panthers in 2003. In his first appearance as a Panther, Delhomme threw for three touchdowns in a comeback victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After becoming the starter for the Panthers, his season was characterized repeatedly by fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives. With twelve regular-season wins, the Panthers climbed through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl. Carolina fans donned Delhomme’s #17 and expected him to give a show on the turf worth their pay. By the end of the game, the Panthers had fallen short. But the fans’ expectations of Delhomme had been accomplished. Delhomme had completed 16 of 33 passes for 323 yards, including three completions in the end zone. One of his touchdown passes, an 85-yarder to Muhsin Muhammad, remains the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history. But the main reason the Panthers lost was because of a game-winning field goal by the opposition. After the heartbreaking end to the historic season, Delhomme took the Panthers to the playoff two more times. Delhomme played his final season in 2011 with the Houston Texans. He remains the Carolina Panthers’ all-time record holder for passing yards and passing touchdowns.