The 5 highest QB grades in Super Bowls in the last 10 years
As Pro Football Focus finishes up its 11th season of NFL grading with next week’s Super Bowl matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, we thought it was a good time to take a look back at the top quarterback performances among QBs in the biggest game of the year.
Unsurprisingly, each player on this list won his respective game in helping his team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. With Matt Ryan and Tom Brady coming into this year’s big game ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the league in PFF’s QB grades, quarterback play should once again be a determining factor.
Here are the five highest QB grades in Super Bowls in the PFF era — spanning from 2006 to 2015:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XLV, 94.3
In quite possibly the best game of his career, Rodgers led the Packers to a 31-25 win over the Steelers back in 2011 with a stat line of 24-of-39, 304 yards and 3 TDs. His performance was even better than that, having been hurt by six drops by his receivers. Whether it was his prowess deep (4-of-7 for 105 yards, 2 TDs), his poise under pressure (72.7 adjusted completion percentage), or the fact that almost three-quarters of his yards came through the air (as opposed to after the catch), no defense was stopping Rodgers from winning this game. On the biggest stage of his career, Rodgers played out of his mind to deliver Green Bay its first Super Bowl victory since 1996.
2. Eli Manning, New York Giants, Super Bowl XLVI, 90.8
In the second of his two Super Bowl victories over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Manning played spectacularly throughout. Perhaps most impressive about Manning’s performance in this game was his ability under pressure to deliver the ball, finishing with a passer rating of 105.4 on 12-of-14 for 130 yards. With his lone touchdown coming from a clean pocket, Manning was fantastic down the middle of the field from 0-19 yards completing 15 of 16 for 142 yards and the touchdown. With 64.3 percent of his yards coming via the air, Manning capped off the best season of his career with arguably the best game of his career.
3. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XLVII, 89.1
Often heralded for having the best postseason run of any quarterback in NFL history, Flacco didn’t disappoint from a grading standpoint in the season finale. Flacco earned a perfect adjusted completion percentage under pressure, completing all five of his aimed throws for 60 yards while also torching San Francisco deep with a passer rating of 129.5 on throws over 20 yards. While this game came down to a defensive stop by the Ravens, Flacco did well more than enough to lead Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory.
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVIII, 88.6
While Wilson only completed 18 of 25 throws for 206 yards and 2 TDs in Seattle’s blowout win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Wilson got his excellent grade with a combination of a few big-time throws, his ability as a runner, and by protecting the football. With running back Marshawn Lynch largely ineffective as a runner, Wilson added 26 yards on three rushes. Wilson worked the middle of the field well, completing 11 of 13 passes for 130 yards and 2 TDs, while finishing the game with an adjusted completion percentage of 80.
5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XLIII, 87.8
In the Super Bowl remembered for the game-winning Santonio Holmes catch in the back corner of the end zone, Roethlisberger completed 70 percent of his passes while also standing tall under pressure, as he averaged 9.2 yards per attempt with a passer rating of 90.4 on disrupted dropbacks. His receivers dropped three passes that hurt an average-looking box score stat line, but Big Ben’s work in the intermediate game was fantastic, as he finished 6-of-8 for 122 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. While most will credit Holmes for the catch, Roethlisberger finished the game with the drive of his life to win the game over the Cardinals, which landed him at fifth on this list.