Playing in the Super Bowl is the pinnacle for most NFL players. Only a few will ever get their hands on one of those coveted rings. However, not all Super Bowl rings are of equal value in terms of what a player contributed to his team’s ultimate win. So today, we’re going to take a look at some of the least-skilled Super Bowl winners of all-time.
Some of these players carved out careers as backups while others were simply in the right place at the right time. Check out the list below via the Sportster.
30. Jacoby Jones
Like Kenjon Barner, who also features on this list, Jones was an average wide receiver who had the advantage of being a decent kick returner. After washing out in Texas, he changed teams to the Baltimore Ravens. This was when Joe Flacco was their starting quarterback and they also had offensive talent like Torrey Smith. But despite finding himself on a Super Bowl-winning team, Jones never turned into an elite superstar.
The Ravens had a strong defense, which was the most important aspect of their road to victory. Yes, Jones provided a stunning highlight reel moment but the truth is that statistically, he ended up being one of the least-skilled wideouts to win the trophy. This is especially true when his overall career stats are taken into consideration. In the end, his career just fizzled out, a sad reflection of his potential.
Hostettler was a back-up quarterback who enjoyed the rare distinction of starting and winning a Super Bowl. He will freely admit to being one of the least-skilled signal-callers to achieve this feat. But in the end, he can always lay claim to playing a significant role in the most prestigious event in football. Even some of the most talented elite QBs in history can’t claim this.
The New York Giants had an all-time defense in 1990. They effectively blocked their way to the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills. Hostettler was Phil Simm’s backup and found himself as the starter when Simms broke his foot. He didn’t melt under the pressure and played a solid game in the final. Luckily, the core of the team was strong enough that they didn’t need him to be elite on that day, but he didn’t let the team down either.
Mendenhall never reached the lofty heights of a first-round pick. This disappointed many people because it appeared he would emerge as a world-beater. While he did have some good seasons, he was never as productive as he should have or could have been based on the Steelers’ investment in him. By the time Super Bowl XLIII came around, he was the least-skilled and most insignificant member of their offense.
His lack of motivation was obvious because he failed to continuously turn it on. 2009 and 2010 were good years for the former University of Illinois standout. However, he was in the right place at the right time to take home a Super Bowl ring. In the end, his heart was no longer in the sport. This made him incredibly unpopular with his coaches because he just stopped caring.
Stokley played for five NFL franchises throughout his career and found himself on two Super Bowl-winning teams overall. He only managed to play in over 10 games eight times in 15 seasons. This says a lot about his value as a player. In short, he filled a spot as an alternate wide receiver. But it’s insane that he has two rings while the likes of Dan Marino and Jim Kelly never won one.
The Virginia native deserves credit for carving out a niche for himself but that still doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the least-skilled wideouts to get his hands on the Vince Lombardi trophy. In fact, that is the kind of career some dreams are made of. Fewer games played means less physical damage, but he still managed to achieve glory. There’s no arguing with that.
Leftwich featured as the Steelers’ starting quarterback when Ben Roethlisberger suffered injuries, but struggled immensely. He arrived in Pittsburgh after four years on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster. There was a time when the Jags thought they had a generational talent, but he never managed to develop into that kind of once-in-a-lifetime player.
The Marshall alumnus enjoyed two spells as Roethlisberger’s backup during his Steelers days and this led to him winning a Super Bowl ring. He became one of the least-skilled quarterbacks to touch the Vince Lombardi trophy. Sure, this list could have just about backup quarterbackss, but Leftwich is one of the most interesting of them. He obviously learned something from sitting back and watching, because he’s now an offensive coordinator for one of the NFL’s best teams in Tampa Bay.
There was a time when people thought that Flynn could be a top starter in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers swiftly ended his hopes of being the Packers’ starting quarterback because he was Aaron Rodgers. He did throw a franchise-record six touchdowns in one game but could never do enough to oust his teammate and rival. However, he did enjoy one of the best seats in the house when the Packers won a Super Bowl against the Steelers.
The Seahawks thought that Flynn was more talented than he actually was. He competed with rookie Russell Wilson for the starting position in 2012, which is putting it generously. Flynn was one of the least-skilled Super Bowl winners ever and was simply lucky to land where he did in the draft. His huge games as Rodgers’ backup led to him enjoying a lucrative contract when he moved on. But the rest of his career was nothing special.
Barner has played for a total of seven different NFL franchises. And this doesn’t include three spells as a Carolina Panther or two with the Philadelphia Eagles. He must like living out of his suitcase because he moves around a lot. The reason is that he fills a spot on rosters and is a decent return specialist. Because of this, he became one of the least-skilled players to win a Super Bowl.
In fact, Barner was the fourth running back option on the Eagles’ roster at the time. He was definitely not sensational in his natural position but could contribute in a specialist role. For most teams, this isn’t enough for them to keep him around unless they really need somebody to return punts. Meanwhile, he also damaged his reputation after failing an NFL drug test in 2020.
New York Jets’ fans will go crazy about Namath’s inclusion on this list because he is a franchise and NFL legend. There’s no doubt that he is one of the greatest personalities in the history of the game, but that doesn’t mean he was an incredible quarterback. In fact, a look at the cold hard numbers shows that he was one of the least-skilled Super Bowl-winning signal-callers ever.
With a miserly QB rating of 65.5 and a career total of 173 touchdowns to 220 interceptions, Namath’s overall contribution was questionable. Of course, this was a different era, so passing statistics have to be taken in context, but it definitely makes for an interesting discussion. Furthermore, he won the Super Bowl MVP award without throwing or scoring a single touchdown. That’s what we call a quarterback bias.
One thing that is for sure is that Osweiler was not Peyton Manning. The latter is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time while the former was one of the least-skilled NFL signal-callers. For a spell in 2015, it looked like Osweiler was the next big thing when he replaced an injured struggling Manning. But this didn’t last for long and Manning took back the starting spot. Osweiler was Manning’s backup in their heroic 2016 Super Bowl win.
Unfortunately, Osweiler believed his own hype. He departed Denver for the Houston Texans on a lucrative contract where he proved that he didn’t have the consistent ability to be a brilliant NFL QB. He then returned to Colorado with his tail between his legs. He didn’t enjoy sitting behind Manning, but at the end of the day, without the legend, he wouldn’t have obtained the one and only Super Bowl ring of his career.
Pass has the distinction of being a three-time Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots. Indeed, he even could have won a fourth with the New York Giants but he couldn’t keep his roster spot. Credit has to go to head coach Bill Belichick because he consistently created efficient systems that didn’t rely on using the most talented players. That’s how Pass, one of the least-skilled winners ever, managed to get his hands on three rings.
First of all, he played running back, but his best attribute was his versatility. Throughout his career, he played on special teams, as a cornerback, and also as a wide receiver. He didn’t light fires in any of these positions but he did perform with solid consistency which made him a useful roster option. Injuries affected the end of his career, but he enhanced his value with a strong work ethic.
Loville basically made a career out of being a solid backup running back. He definitely wasn’t an elite player, but he didn’t need to be. He won his first Super Bowl with the 49ers in 1994, and then two more with the Broncos. Good work if you can get it. To sum up, he made the most of his position as a roster fill-in because he was consistently one of the least-skilled players on his teams.
After enjoying a quiet retirement, Loville made headlines again for unsavory reasons. Federal police indicted him for his role in a drug trafficking ring. Allegedly, he intimidated their enemies by threatening to behead them. Not the best look for a man lucky to win three SuperBowls.
Being a good athlete doesn’t always mean that you’re going to be a top football player. NFL scouts across the country should take heed of Wilson’s case. He once said that football was the sport that he was the worst at, but that didn’t stop him from putting up tremendous numbers in college.
However, even though he was a two-time Super Bowl winner, Wilson’s career was unremarkable. He spent most of his time with the Raiders as a backup for Jim Plunkett. The only time he was a starter was during their first losing season since 1981. After two difficult seasons with the Patriots, he finished his career.
Romanowski has to be on this list of least-skilled players. A toxic presence on every team he played for, he was most famous for being extremely dirty. Furthermore, his statistics are distinctly average. But he still managed to be a two-time Pro Bowl selection and won four Super Bowls.
Officials threw him out of games for several offenses like kicking opponents in the head and trying to break their fingers. Romanowski also crushed the eye socket of one of his teammates during practice. You didn’t want to get on the wrong side of this man. He relied on cynical, underhanded tactics because naturally, he was one of his team’s least-skilled players.
Forever famous because of the helmet catch, Tyree wasn’t actually that good. The Giants star lasted for six years in the NFL, but his numbers reveal a lack of overall impact. His epic moment in Super Bowl XLII is at odds with his overall numbers. That’s illustrated by the fact Tyree only caught 54 passes throughout his entire career.
However, you have to give him credit for making it count when it mattered. Tyree is now the Director of Player Development for the New York Giants. He’s also famous for being very strict with his family. The former receiver doesn’t permit his children to use any devices.
Another example of a player who enjoyed a career made up of backup status. Garett spent seven seasons on the sidelines in Dallas and was very happy with his lot. The quarterback sensationally only attempted 294 passes in his entire NFL career, but still managed to snag two Super Bowl rings.
The Cowboys were dominant in the ’90s even though that feels like a long time ago now. Somebody needed to do Garrett’s job behind Troy Aikman, so he stuck to his guns and remained on the roster. He’s currently working as an offensive coordinator for the New York Giants.
College football success doesn’t always translate to the NFL for players or coaches. That’s exactly the case for Carr, who the Texans drafted as their next great hope. During his last year at Fresno State, he threw for over 4800 yards and 46 touchdowns. In short, he had everything to be a great quarterback.
Things didn’t work out the way they were planned for Carr. It wasn’t always his fault though. He fell victim to record-breaking sack numbers and unfortunate injuries. This led to a nomadic career, although he did get a Super Bowl ring as a back-up for the Giants. The NFL Network hired him as an analyst after a few years of working at a high school.
Maybe it’s a bit harsh to call Sweed a bad player, as injuries decimated his career. But if you take a look at his numbers you can see why he’s on this list. A wrist injury ended his hopes of being a first-round pick. Finally, the Steelers drafted him with the 53rd overall pick.
He stuck around long enough with the Steelers to win Super Bowl XLIII in 2008. However, his numbers reveal the damning truth. Seven catches and 69 yards really says it all. Sweed left the NFL for Canadian football but only lasted a few seasons up North too. It’s a tale of what could have been. In the beginning, it looked like he had phenomenal talent, but he played like one of the least-skilled athletes in Steelers’ history.
Fleming was the first player to win four Super Bowls. This is obviously an outstanding achievement, but the fact of the matter is that he wasn’t really that good. He was a tight end during an era when the role was first and foremost used as a blocker. As such, statistics don’t capture the imagination at all. Statistically, he was one of the least-skilled winners ever.
But he must have done something right because he won five championship rings. However, two of them have since been stolen. Fleming is also famous for having been the victim of a long-term identity theft scam. He averaged just over a touchdown a season during his career in the 1960s and 1970s, looking like one of the least-skilled players in the NFL.
The Seattle Seahawks in 2013 were a great all-round side. With an outstanding defense and a grinding running game led by Marshawn Lynch, it’s no wonder they went to and won the Super Bowl. But not everybody contributed equally to their success. That’s where Harvin comes into the discussion.
He was a midseason acquisition to bolster their roster numbers. Seattle paid Minnesota a lofty price for his services. However, he did get his hands on a Super Bowl ring and even ran in the second-half kickoff for a touchdown. Despite his reputation as a game-changer, injuries and erratic behavior, including fighting with teammates, eventually led to his rapid departure from the NFL.
Jackson owes Russell Wilson a lot. If it wasn’t for the efforts of the latter, then Jackson wouldn’t be a Super Bowl winner. Depressingly average, he was never able to lock down the starting position. However, he did secure backup duties with the Seahawks. During the time, that was a great spot to be in.
The worst part is that Jackson was a second-round pick. Unfortunately, he was a very underwhelming player and his numbers reflect how bad he was. Fortunately, Wilson was one of the best in the league unlike Jackson, who is now out of the NFL. Not the greatest NFL quarterback by any means, but a Super Bowl winner nonetheless.
The Patriots’ golden era has come to an end. But not every player has contributed equally to their dominance. Enter Floyd, whose time in Boston was unexceptional. As individuals go, he’s one of the least-skilled players to put on a Patriots’ uniform this decade. In fact, most people probably forgot that he exists.
As a former 13th overall pick, the receiver seemed perfect for the Patriots’ pass-heavy game. However, that just wasn’t the case. His time in their uniform was extremely mediocre. While he won the Super Bowl in 2016, his actual contribution was minimal. Floyd was benched for their first two playoff games and the Super Bowl but received a ring as one of the least-skilled members of the team.
During the ’70s, the Steelers were a force of nature. With nine future Hall of Famers on their books, they had strength in depth. ‘The Iron Curtain’ was one of the best defenses in NFL history. However, they did lack brilliance in one position. Enter Gerala, one of the least-skilled kickers to win a Super Bowl.
How this kicker survived so long during the Pittsburgh dynasty, we don’t know. His field goal percentage is scandalously low as he only recorded a 60% success rate. Luckily for him, the rest of the team was so good it didn’t matter. He had no place on that roster but enjoyed the fruits of its labors nonetheless.
The Ravens’ defense was outrageous in the 2000 season as they went on and won the Super Bowl over the New York Giants. But their offensive attack definitely didn’t match their defense and they certainly weren’t a pass-heavy team. In short, the defense carried several players through to the end of their winning year.
Taylor was one of these. He was a blue-chip prospect from Florida with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. But fortunately for him, the Ravens had an all-time great defense. He coasted along, putting in middling figures. To sum up, he wasn’t an elite player and definitely not an all-time great.
Possibly the worst starting quarterback in Super Bowl history, Johnson has a special place in most fans’ hearts because he was so inept. He arrived in Tampa as a journeyman and never expected to win himself a ring. In 2002, that’s exactly what happened. Only in Florida right?
Fortunately for Johnson, Tampa’s overall roster was exceptional. Their defense, in particular, was one of the best in the 21st century. This reduced the pressure on Johnson to perform. However, in their Super Bowl-winning season, he actually was better than at any other time in his career. But he didn’t last long with the Buccaneers. Regardless, he still has his ring.
Here’s an example of being in the right place at the right time. Morgan’s NFL career appeared to be passing him by when he got his hands on a Super Bowl ring in 2006. Things were supposed to be better for Morgan, who was a second-round pick for the Browns. But he never got a long-term contract because he never did anything brilliant.
Then he moved to Pittsburgh at the end of his career. With retirement on the horizon, he lucked out and was a part of their championship-winning roster. His contribution was minimal at best as one of their least-skilled players. Soon after winning, he headed off into the sunset.
Johnson’s time with the Ravens was short but sweet. He won the Super Bowl in 2001 despite being mediocre at best. Despite the fact he turned out useless, Johnson was actually a second-round pick. Considering his overall contribution to Baltimore’s success, he wasn’t worth it.
Over the course of his time with the Ravens, he fell lower and lower on the depth chart. In sum, it was actually better not to play him because he was terrible on the field. Luckily the Ravens’ style of play didn’t require their receivers to be dynamic because Johnson definitely wasn’t.
Davey had a dream job. He was the backup to Tom Brady for three glorious seasons and walked away with a pair of Super Bowls. When you’ve got a prime Brady in front of you, then you know that there’s not much chance of you getting a look in. But somebody needs to do it, right?
Luckily for the Patriots, Davey never needed to play a snap during his time in Boston. It would have been quite the drop-off in quality for them. We’re not hating on him either. There’s a reason why his only three years in the NFL were his time as a backup. One of the least deserving Super Bowl winners ever.
Vereen looked great when he was in New England. But when you’ve got a team of world-beaters around you, your own level rises. The warnings signs were there when the Patriots didn’t re-sign one of their homegrown second-round picks. He managed to stick around long enough to win the Super Bowl in 2015, but it was downhill from there.
Fulfilling the pass-catching running back role for the Patriots is probably one of the best jobs in football. It’s not so difficult to look better than you are. The New York Giants swooped him but that turned out to be a big mistake. In short, he became anonymous.
Most people will say that the most important player on the field is the quarterback. At the very least, they usually get the credit when things go well and the blame when they do not. Without an elite QB, it’s very difficult for your attack to do anything meaningful. But somehow, the Ravens somehow managed to win the Super Bowl with the average Dilfer.
The oft-mentioned Ravens defense was magnificent in 2001. To sum up, they carried Dilfer through to the final and stood firm to seal glory. Dilfer had half a season as a starter for the Ravens before stumbling along and winning a Super Bowl ring. Some players are born lucky. Even though they are the least-skilled players on their rosters, they float along to a Super Bowl ring.
Technically he didn’t play, but he was on the squad. This 325-pound giant was the backup quarterback to Eli Manning in 2006. Fortunately for the Giants, Manning was famously durable so Lorenzen didn’t get many minutes. This was very fortunate because Lorenzen was one of the least-skilled quarterbacks in the league at the time.
However, he did collect a Super Bowl ring in 2008 and then never played in the NFL again. Lorenzen’s physique saw him become the butt of many jokes due to his size. In short, he didn’t last long in the big league before heading off to arena football and radio work.