With his team’s convincing defeat of the Denver Broncos in this year’s Super Bowl, Russell Wilson joined the illustrious group of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. A Super Bowl victory is an indelible accomplishment in any football player’s career; for quarterbacks, however, Super Bowl victories tend to separate the elite ones from the good ones. A second-year quarterback this past season, Russell has taken that all-important step to elite status. Analysts did not rate him as highly as other quarterbacks in his draft class, but he has effaced any residual doubt in his abilities. As a corollary, as with any Super Bowl-winning quarterback, he will face exceedingly high expectations next season.
These high expectations can quickly turn the attendant boons of winning a Super Bowl into banes for a quarterback. Whether he likes it or not, Russell Wilson is a household name. In the immediate wake of his championship, Wilson appeared on talk-shows, and analysts extolled his play and maturity. His marketability has skyrocketed, and endorsements await him around every corner. But, in turn, Wilson now faces tremendous pressure. Indeed, the paradigm has changed for Wilson. He is no longer chasing success, but trying to stay on top. Given the vagaries of professional football, as any fan knows, the pedestal atop the ladder of success is oftentimes more precarious than the bottom rungs. Wilson’s play in the future will be analyzed to wearisome extents; his missteps will be magnified as a result. In other words, the spotlight will follow Wilson for the rest of his career.
Elite quarterbacks often find ways to sustain this kind of pressure. After winning the Super Bowl in 2001, Tom Brady struggled through a 9-7 season wherein his team did not make the playoffs. He bounced back to lead his team to two consecutive Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004. The quarterback whom Brady beat in 2001, Kurt Warner, followed a similar route after winning his first Super Bowl. Warner’s St. Louis Rams won the title in 1999, struggled in 2000, and returned to the Super Bowl in 2001 as heavy favourites. Great quarterbacks find ways of getting back to the Super Bowl, and now that task of getting back faces Russell Wilson.
That first year after winning the Super Bowl, though, can be the toughest, as the examples of Brady and Warner make manifest. Aside from back-breaking expectations, every team guns for the Super Bowl champions, and vanquishing last year’s winners usually starts with disrupting the quarterback. Perhaps Russell Wilson is prepared for the pressure emanating from fans and the media, but he may not be ready for his on-field opponents. Opposing defenses will try to do whatever it takes to confuse, undermine, and irritate the league’s newest golden boy. In twenty years, Wilson might look back on the 2014 Super Bowl as his greatest career achievement, but, as things stand currently, his career has just begun—a career in which he has a big target on his back.
As we all wait with bated breath to see what Wilson and the Seahawks muster next season, this list looks back at the last ten Super Bowls before this past season. This list is not a homage; it is not interested in eulogizing Super Bowl performances. Rather, it looks at what the Super Bowl-winning quarterback from each championship team did the year after winning it all. While some of the following quarterbacks floundered the year after winning the Lombardi, some continued their amazing play.
10 2004: Tom Brady - Superbowl XXXVIII
9 2005: Tom Brady - Super Bowl XXXIX
8 2006: Ben Roethlisberger - Super Bowl XL
7 2007: Peyton Manning - Super Bowl XLI
6 2008: Eli Manning - Super Bowl XLII
5 2009: Ben Roethlisberger - Super Bowl XLIII
4 2010: Drew Brees - Super Bowl XLIV
3 2011: Aaron Rodgers - Super Bowl XLV
2 2012: Eli Manning - Super Bowl XLVI
1 2013: Joe Flacco - Super Bowl XLVII
Joe Flacco is a lucid example of the kind of unrealistic expectations that get foisted upon Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. For several years, so many of the league’s quarterbacks overshadowed Flacco, the strong-armed, yet inconsistent quarterback of the defensive-minded Ravens. Flacco’s Super Bowl victory, then, pushed his name to the fore, and he was awarded with a lucrative contract in the 2013 offseason. Flacco was not ready to join the ranks of elite NFL quarterbacks, though. In 2013, he threw 19 touchdowns and 22 interceptions; his QB rating was 73.1. With an 8-8 record, Flacco’s Baltimore Ravens failed to make the playoffs.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheRichest?Get Your Free Access Now!