After 44 big games, who earns first-team All-Super Bowl?
In selecting an all-time Super Bowl team, it’s important to establish clear criteria. While there is nothing more subjective than all-time teams, the criteria is certainly individual performance, but performance that leads to team success carries more weight. Multiple game appearances help, so longevity counts.
All-time Super Bowl Team:
QB Joe Montana, San Francisco
This is one of a couple of positions where there is no argument. With four Super Bowl wins, Montana has a career passer rating of 127.8, the best ever. Joe Cool tossed 11 touchdown passes to six different receivers with no interceptions. During his Super Bowl career, he threw 28 passes on third down, completing 19 of them for 14 first downs and one touchdown. There was no one better in the big game.
Notables: Tom Brady, New England; Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh; John Elway, Denver; Kurt Warner, St. Louis and Arizona
RB Franco Harris, Pittsburgh
There is no shortage of candidates at running back. Harris rushed for 354 yards in Pittsburgh’s four Super wins in the 1970s and had another 114 yards receiving. In the four games, Harris had 18 touches on third down resulting 10 first downs and three touchdowns. And Harris is the only runner with more than 100 carries in history.
RB Roger Craig, San Francisco
In three Super Bowls for San Francisco, all wins, Craig amassed 413 yards from scrimmage with four touchdowns, including 101 yards receiving in Super Bowl XXIII.
Notables: Larry Csonka, Miami; Emmitt Smith, Dallas; Terrell Davis, Denver; John Riggins, Washington
WR Jerry Rice, San Francisco
Rice is another no-brainer. Let’s see: most receptions in a career (33), most yards receiving in a career (589) and game (215), most yards from scrimmage in a career (604), the only player to score three TDs in a game twice. Oh, and he earned an MVP. And 77 of his receiving yards and a touchdown came at age 40 for Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII.
WR Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh
Fans who saw him in the Super Bowl probably remember flying, acrobatic catches. But Swann meant more to the Steelers than just a couple of circus catches. He is second all-time with 364 receiving yards, all coming in three Super Bowls. In his first Super Bowl appearance with the Steelers, Swann was limited to punt return duty.
Notables: Deion Branch, New England; John Stallworth, Pittsburgh
TE Jay Novacek, Dallas
One of quarterback Troy Aikman’s favorite clutch targets, Novacek scored the first Dallas touchdown in both Super Bowl XXVII and XXX. In three wins he totaled 148 yards and two scores on 17 catches.
Notables: Shannon Sharpe, Denver and Baltimore; Marv Fleming, Green Bay and Miami
LT Jon Kolb, Pittsburgh
The only constant along the Pittsburgh offensive line during their run of four Super Bowls in the 1970s, Kolb led the way for Franco Harris’ running and protected Terry Bradshaw in the passing game.
Notables: Mark Tuinei, Dallas; Matt Light, New England
LG Nate Newton, Dallas
Emmitt Smith became the all-time leading NFL rusher thanks in large — and we do mean large — part to Newton. In Newton’s three Super Bowls, the Cowboys scored 52, 30 and 27 points.
Notable: Bob Kuechenberg, Miami; Russ Grimm, Washington
C Jim Langer, Miami
Langer anchored the line during Miami’s back-to-back titles in the 1970s. In Super Bowl VIII, Miami rushed 53 times for 196 yards, most of it straight up the middle with bruiser Larry Csonka.
Notables: Ray Mansfield, Pittsburgh; Mike Webster, Pittsburgh
RG Joe Andruzzi, New England
In three New England wins, the Patriots rushed for 372 yards, and Andruzzi helped protect MVP Tom Brady allowing him to stay comfortable in the pocket.
Notables: Jerry Kramer, Green Bay; Gerry Mullins, Pittsburgh; Larry Little, Miami
RT Erik Williams, Dallas
The heart and soul of the Cowboys’ offensive machine was the offensive line. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin were the beneficiaries.
Notables: Forrest Gregg, Green Bay; Norm Evans, Miami