|The greatest Super Bowl subs ever|
By Jeff Merron
Page 2 staff
We're not talking special teams. We're not talking Tom Brady or Kurt Warner, who were expected to be subs, but started all, or almost all, season. We're talking true bench guys. Call them the Super Subs -- guys who came and took over a team in the middle or end of the season and led them to a Super Bowl victory. Guys who played little during the regular season who came off the bench during a Super Bowl and made the key plays. There haven't been many, but these were the greatest in Super Bowl history.
10. Jack Squirek, Raiders LB (Super Bowl XVIII: L.A. Raiders 38, Washington 9)
9. Dan Bunz, 49ers LB (Super Bowl XVI: San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21)
"The man made one great play on me," Alexander said later. "I never saw him coming. He arrived as soon as the ball arrived. I had no chance to get my feet down for some second effort. I don't even know who hit me, to tell you the truth. I just know we didn't get it in, and it would have changed the game around."
On fourth down, Bunz again played a key role in the goal-line stand. The Bengals handed off to fullback Pete Johnson. Middle linebacker Jack Reynolds stopped him, but gave Bunz credit for a huge assist. ''Because as big as he is, once he gets past the line of scrimmage, he's tough to stop," Reynolds said. "I think I hit him with my head mostly, but Dan Bunz had stacked him up."
8. J.R. Redmond, Patriots RB (Super Bowl XXXVI: New England 20, St. Louis 17)
7. Earl Morrall, Colts QB (Super Bowl V: Baltimore 16, Dallas 13)
The Colts trailed the Cowboys 13-6 at the intermission. Morrall, helped greatly by two second-half interceptions by Baltimore's defense, led the Colts to a touchdown and, finally, the game-winning field goal by Jim O'Brien as time expired. On the day, Morrall completed 7 of 15 passes for 147 yards.
6. Trent Dilfer, Ravens QB (Super Bowl XXXV: Baltimore 34, N.Y. Giants 7)
Though the Ravens were a defensive team, Dilfer did his job, playing efficiently (no INTs), and executing coach Brian Billick's game plan to perfection by tossing a 38-yard TD pass to Brandon Stokley in the first quarter and a 44-yard bomb to Qadry Ismail in the second quarter to set up a field goal. The Ravens led 10-0 at the half, and Dilfer's day -- 12 of 25 for 153 yards and 1 TD -- was good enough, and sweet redemption on unfriendly turf.
5. Dwight Smith, Buccaneers CB (Super Bowl XXXVII: Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21)
4. Jeff Hostetler, Giants QB (Super Bowl XXV: N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19)
Hostetler, who had less playing time than any previous starting Super Bowl QB, was nearly flawless in leading the Giants' ball-control offense against the Bills (New York had the ball for more than 40 minutes). Despite being sacked, bruised, and battered by the Bills' defense, he was 20-for-32 for 222 yards and a TD, without being picked off.
Hostetler finished second in the MVP voting, and many thought he deserved the trophy. "The Super Bowl was his game," said Giants tight end Mark Bavaro. "I'm not taking anything away from Phil, but Hoss is a great quarterback."
3. Max McGee, Packers WR (Super Bowl I: Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10)
McGee, 34, scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history, a very nice one-handed grab of a Bart Starr pass that went for 37 yards. He also scored on a 13-yard pass. William N. Wallace of the New York Times described that second TD catch: "He casually bobbled the ball, then caught it for six points, performing as if he were back in Green Bay during a routine practice on a Wednesday afternoon."
At the end of the day, McGee had seven catches for 138 yards and two TDs. The former Pro Bowler played his 12th and final season the following year, catching only three more passes.
2. Timmy Smith, Redskins RB (Super Bowl XXII: Washington 42, Denver 10)
But his Super Bowl was truly extraordinary. On only 22 carries, he set the Super Bowl rushing record of 204 yards and scored two TDs. In the second quarter alone, he ran for 122 yards on five carries, including a 58-yard TD run, and probably would have been named MVP -- if not for our No. 1 Super Sub.
Smith would play only 15 more NFL games after the Super Bowl, rushing for 470 yards on 155 carries during the 1988 season.
1. Doug Williams, Redskins QB (Super Bowl XXII: Washington 42, Denver 10)
Tampa Bay's QB coach then was Joe Gibbs. Williams had a great arm, but was erratic -- when Iran took hostages and the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, the joke circulated that the only person capable of overthrowing the Ayatollah was Williams.
Williams became a free agent in 1983, the same year his wife died of a brain tumor, and he played a couple of years in the USFL. When the league folded, he was unemployed until he got a call from Gibbs -- then the head coach of the Redskins -- offering Williams a job backing up Jay Schroeder. He took it.
Williams spent most of 1986 on the sidelines, throwing only one pass -- but in 1987, with Schroeder battling an injury, Williams played in five games, completing 81 of 143 passes for 11 TDs. He got the nod as the playoff starter.
In the Super Bowl, Willaims completed 18 of 29 attempts for 340 yards and four TDs and was named MVP.
And we can't fail to mention the second quarter: 9 of 11 for 228 yards and four TDs, leading the Redskins to 35 second-quarter points. Only one person wasn't completely surprised by Williams' performance: his former coach at Grambling, Eddie Robinson. "I've seen him do what he did today all the time at Grambling," Robinson said. "The only difference is, today he had a much bigger audience, that's all."
Also receiving votes:
Vince Ferragamo, Rams QB (Super Bowl XIV: Pittsburgh 31, L.A. Rams 19)
Percy Howard, Cowboys WR (Super Bowl X: Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17)
Thanks to ESPN studio production, ESPN Radio, and ESPN HR for nominations.