Does a quarterback’s salary always dictate the quality of play their team will get from them? History says a resounding no. From 2000 to 2012, eight Super Bowls victories came from the team with the quarterback who was earning less money. For instance, in 2011, the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers was paid $7.2 million while the losing Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger was making $11.6 million.
We’ve learned over the years that you don’t have to spend loads of money (by NFL standards, of course) on a quarterback in order to be successful. After all, backups don’t make nearly as much as starters do, but their role is to be there in case of a serious injury. The hope is that the backup has what it takes to fill those shoes in a worst case scenario, and sometimes they do. For instance, in 2012 the San Francisco 49ers’ Alex Smith was knocked out with a concussion, but backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was able to claim the starting spot and lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl. While he didn’t win, it proved that even a backup earning less than $1 million, as Kaepernick was in 2012, can carry a team to the Super Bowl.
On the other hand, many people have questioned the merits of some quarterbacks who have won the Super Bowl in the past. Luck, a good defense and a strong running game can all take pressure off a mediocre QB, and it can sometimes be enough to earn them a Super Bowl ring. But regardless of a quarterback’s salary, or even talent for that matter, the fact remains, once a Super Bowl champion, always a Super Bowl champion. This list is dedicated to the top ten lowest-paid quarterbacks to have ever won the Super Bowl. All their salaries have been adjusted for inflation according to values from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the players are arranged in order based on inflation numbers. These numbers show just how the game has changed over the years. In fact, some of these players were paid less money than what it cost to get thirty seconds of ad time in the games they won.
10. Mark Rypien – Super Bowl XXVI – $1.5 Million ($2.57 Million Today)
Mark Rypien is the only Canadian quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl MVP award. The Calgary native won it all with the Washington Redskins in 1992. Rypien was not heralded as being a stellar quarterback, but his play made it so teams in the Canadian Football League tried to lure him into playing for them. CFL organizations were offering Rypien deals for up to $3 million US per year. However, he never signed any deals with the CFL and stayed with the NFL for the rest of his career.
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