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Run or pass? Mobile quarterbacks don't end up in Super Bowls

I took a look at the 10 best running performances by quarterbacks in NFL history and how their teams fared during those seasons. Not one of those top-10 performances led to a Super Bowl win or an appearance in a Super Bowl.

In fact, as a group, the 10 running quarterbacks were barely over .500 in the win-loss column. The combined record for the quarterbacks is 78-71-2, or 52 percent.

Michael Vick has four of the top-10 rushing seasons. In 2004, Vick led his team to an 11-4 record while recording the fourth-best rushing season for a QB with 902 yards. But Vick's team didn't go very far in the playoffs. I'm not saying it was his fault -- or the fault of any of these quarterbacks -- but the running QB has yet to trump the throwing QB.

Here are the top 10 all-time season running performances by quarterbacks.

  1. Michael Vick (2006): 1,039 yards and a 7-9 record
  2. Bobby Douglas (1972): 968 yards and a 4-9-1 record
  3. Randall Cunningham (1990): 942 yards and a 10-6 record
  4. Michael Vick (2004): 902 yards and an 11-4 record
  5. Robert Griffin III (2012): 815 yards and a 9-6 record
  6. Michael Vick (2002): 777 yards and an 8-6-1 record
  7. Cam Newton (2012): 741 yards and a 7-9 record
  8. Cam Newton (2011): 706 yards and a 6-10 record
  9. Michael Vick (2010): 676 yards and an 8-4 record
  10. Steve McNair (1997): 674 yards and an 8-8 record

Only five of these top-10 performances helped get that quarterback into the postseason -- Vick (2002, 2004 and 2010), Cunningham (1990) and RG3 (2012). In the seven postseason games played by these quarterbacks, the record is 2-5 -- with both victories by Vick. In five postseason games, Vick has rushed 36 times for 271 yards (7.5 per rush), and he also scored the only rushing postseason touchdown of the quarterbacks on this list.

In the next few years we are going to see some outstanding rushing seasons from the young quarterbacks in the NFL, but the question remains: Can those running quarterbacks can lead a team to a Super Bowl win? So far the answer is no.


Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.
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