The Super Bowl 50 Golden Team … and where we differ


GreeneJoeOilers

(Joe Greene photo courtesy of Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)

Talk of Fame Network

The NFL asked the 46-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee to pick a Super Bowl 50 Golden Team honoring the best players in the first 49 Super Bowls. Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge all cast ballots for the team.

There was only one unanimous selection by the 46-member committee — placekicker Adam Vinatieri. The Talk of Fame Network hosts agreed on 14 of the 26 positions. We list our ballots below, along with the  Super 50 selection, plus a comment on the position by one of the three hosts.

QUARTERBACK

montanadeux

(Joe Montana photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Super 50 selection: Joe Montana

Ron Borges: Joe Montana

Rick Gosselin: Joe Montana

Clark Judge: Joe Montana

JUDGE: This wasn’t as easy as it sounds. You have three quarterbacks who won four Super Bowls — Montana, Tom Brady and Terry Bradshaw. Montana and Bradshaw are 4-0 in Super Bowls; Brady is 4-2.  But Montana has the advantage because of his performance within those games. He had 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

RUNNING BACKS

HarrisFranco

(Franco Harris photo courtesy of Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)

Super 50 selections: Franco Harris, Emmitt Smith

Ron Borges: Franco Harris, Timmy Smith

Rick Gosselin: Franco Harris, Larry Csonka

Clark Judge: Franco Harris, Emmitt Smith

BORGES: Tim Smith is the only player in Super Bowl history to rush for over 200 yards, running for 204 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl XXII. He also had the third and eighth longest runs from scrimmage, 58 and 43 yards. That the rookie runner may be the game’s greatest one-hit wonder should not detract from his only Super Bowl appearance. He had a career in one day.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jerry Rice

(Jerry Rice photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Super 50 selections: Jerry Rice, Lynn Swann

Ron Borges: Jerry Rice, Lynn Swann

Rick Gosselin: Jerry Rice, Lynn Swann

Clark Judge: Jerry Rice, Lynn Swann

GOSSELIN: Vinatieri may have been the only unanimous selection to the Super Bowl 50 Golden Team — but the two wide receivers had to be near unanimous. Rice and Swann won four Super Bowls apiece and both were game MVPs. They rank 1-2 in Super Bowl history in receiving yards.

TIGHT END

FlemingMarv

(Marv Fleming photo courtesy of Vern Biever/Green Bay Packers)

Super 50 selection: Jay Novacek

Ron Borges: Dan Ross

Rick Gosselin: Marv Fleming

Clark Judge: John Mackey

GOSSELIN: Tight ends are dual positions, a combination of blocker and receiver. The Golden 50 team went with the elite receiver. Novacek caught 17 passes for 148 yards and two TDs in three Super Bowl victories. I went with the blocker. Fleming played in five Super Bowls for two run-centric franchises. He won consecutive Super Bowls with the Packers in 1967-68 and consecutive again with the Dolphins in 1973-74. His teams rushed for 130, 163, 184 and 196 in those victories. Bob Griese threw only seven passes in one of the Miami victories.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

ShellArt

(Art Shell photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders)

Super 50 selections: Art Shell, Forrest Gregg

Ron Borges: Art Shell, Forrest Gregg

Rick Gosselin: Art Shell, Joe Jacoby

Clark Judge: Art Shell, Joe Jacoby

BORGES: Shell was 2-0 in Super Bowls and anchored a line that rushed for 383 yards in those victories. Shell also had one of the most dominating blocking game’s in Super Bowl history, not allowing Pro Bowl defensive end Jim Marshall to record a tackle or an assist in a 32-14 win over the Vikings in Super Bowl XI. Forrest Gregg was the best blocker on a Green Bay offensive line that dominated the first two Super Bowls. The Packers rushed for 293 yards and three scores and outscored their opponents 68-24 while quarterback Bart Starr was seldom touched.

GUARDS

ShellUpshaw

(Shell, Upshaw photo courtesy of the Oakland Raiders)

Super 50 selections: Gene Upshaw, Larry Allen

Ron Borges: Gene Upshaw, Jerry Kramer

Rick Gosselin: Gene Upshaw, Bob Kuechenberg

Clark Judge: Gene Upshaw, Jerry Kramer

JUDGE: This is one of the most difficult positions to judge, and I understand why Rick loved Kuechenberg. He played in three straight Super Bowls, won two and in the two victories the Dolphins ran for 184 and 196 yards. But I understand Kramer, too, one reason Ron and I voted for him. The Packers were a run-first club that won Super Bowls I and II and had 160 and 133 yards rushing, and it was the guards — with Kramer first in line — that led that power sweep.

CENTER

HullKent

(Kent Hull photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bills)

Super 50 selection: Mike Webster

Ron Borges: Mike Webster

Rick Gosselin: Kent Hull

Clark Judge: Mike Webster

GOSSELIN: Webster started only two of Pittsburgh’s four Super Bowls in the 1970s. The Steelers failed to rush for 100 yards in either game and Bradshaw was sacked four times in one of them. I went with Hull who started in four consecutive Super Bowls for the Bills in the 1990s. Buffalo rushed for more than 100 yards in two of the games and had Scott Norwood hit that 47-yard field goal against the Giants, Hull might already be in the Hall of Fame.

DEFENSIVE ENDS

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles at Candlestick Park Sunday, November 29, 1992. 49ers Beat Eagles 20-14. 49ers Beat Eagles 20-14. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Reggie White (92) talks to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young (8). (AP Photo/Al Golub)

(Reggie White photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Super 50 selections: Reggie White, Charles Haley

Ron Borges: Reggie White, Richard Dent

Rick Gosselin: Reggie White, Charles Haley

Clark Judge: Reggie White, Bruce Smith

JUDGE: White was easy. It was the second choice that wasn’t, and, OK, so Bruce Smith had two sacks in four Super Bowls. He was a dominant pass rusher who drew constant double teams. I don’t care what his numbers were. I care that quarterbacks had to know where he was. The same, of course, goes for Haley, who had 4.5 sacks in five Super Bowls.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

WhiteRandy

(Randy White photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)

Super 50 selections: Joe Greene, Randy White

Ron Borges: Joe Greene, Randy White

Rick Gosselin: Joe Greene, Randy White

Clark Judge: Joe Greene, Randy White

GOSSELIN: This was one of the easiest positions. Joe Greene won four Super Bowls and Randy White was an MVP in another Super Bowl. Both are Hall of Famers.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

HowleyChuckPR

(Chuck Howley photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)

Super 50 selections: Jack Ham, Lawrence Taylor

Ron Borges: Chuck Howley, Rod Martin

Rick Gosselin: Jack Ham, Ken Norton

Clark Judge: Jack Ham, Lawrence Taylor

BORGES: Rod Martin’s 3 interceptions were so remarkable a performance I felt it needed to be acknowledged over LT, who did little of note in his two Super Bowl wins. Howley was Super Bowl V MVP in a losing effort, the only player to ever do so. He had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He returned the following year and was again considered in the MVP vote after his interception and fumble recovery helped lead the Cowboys to their first SB title.

INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS

LambertJack

(Jack Lambert photo courtesy of the Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)

Super 50 selections: Jack Lambert, Ray Lewis

Ron Borges: Jack Lambert, Ray Lewis

Rick Gosselin: Jack Lambert, Lee Roy Jordan

Clark Judge: Jack Lambert, Ray Lewis

JUDGE: Lambert was easy. The second was not.  Rick liked Jordan because in his three Super Bowls he 14 tackles in one game and 11 in another. Ron and I chose Lewis because he was an MVP in one Super Bowl and the inspiration for Baltimore in the other. OK, so he didn’t do much in Super Bowl XLVII. Ask the Ravens who motivated them. It was Lewis.

CORNERBACKS

BlountMel

(Mel Blount photo courtesy of Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)

Super 50 selections: Mel Blount, Deion Sanders

Ron Borges: Mel Blount, Ronnie Lott

Rick Gosselin: Mel Blount, Herb Adderley

Clark Judge: Mel Blount, Mike Haynes

GOSSELIN: Sanders was a reputation pick. He won back-to-back Super Bowls with two different teams, San Francisco (1995) and Dallas (1996). He had four tackles two PBUs and an interception in the two games. I went with Adderley because he played in four Super Bowls and won three, two with the Packers and one with the Cowboys. He made 14 career tackles, broke up five passes and intercepted one.

SAFETIES

ScottJakeINT

(Jake Scott photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)

Super 50 selections: Jake Scott, Ronnie Lott

Ron Borges: Jake Scott, Cliff Harris

Rick Gosselin: Jake Scott, James Washington

Clark Judge: Jake Scott, Ronnie Lott

BORGES: Cliff Harris is one of only 13 players to start in five Super Bowls, winning two. He was a feared free safety on a team known for its “Doomsday Defense.’’ In SB V, the Colts completed only 11 passes with three interceptions. In SB VI, Miami totaled only 105 passing yards. In a Super Bowl XII, Denver was 8-for-25 for 35 passing yards, No one doomed Super Bowl receivers more frequently than Cliff Harris.

KICKER/PUNTER

Vinatieri

(Adam Vinatieri photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)

Super 50 selections: Adam Vinatieri, Ray Guy

Ron Borges: Adam Vinatieri, Ray Guy

Rick Gosselin: Adam Vinatieri, Ray Guy

Clark Judge: Adam Vinatieri, Ray Guy

JUDGE: Talk about slam dunks. Guy is the only punter in the Hall of Fame and Vinatieri — who nailed two last second, game-winning field goals — will be there one day. This category was a no-brainer.

KICK RETURNER

HowardDesmond

(Desmond Howard photo courtesy of Jim Biever/Green Bay Packers)

Super 50 selection: Desmond Howard

Ron Borges: Desmond Howard

Rick Gosselin: John Taylor

Clark Judge: Desmond Howard

BORGES: Desmond Howard broke the New England Patriots’ back in Super Bowl XXXI with a game-winning 99-yard kickoff return for a third quarter touchdown. Howard’s 90 yards in punt returns remains a Super Bowl record, as does his 244 total return yards. Taylor’s 15.7-yard career punt return average in three Super Bowls stands as a record.

COACH

GibbsJoeBanners

(Joe Gibbs photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

Super 50 selection: Chuck Noll

Ron Borges: Joe Gibbs

Rick Gosselin: Vince Lombardi

Clark Judge: Joe Gibbs

GOSSELIN: There have been 49 winning coaches in Super Bowls. None was under greater pressure to win than Lombardi in that first Super Bowl. That game wasn’t about the Packers. It was about defending the honor of the NFL. Lombardi won the first two Super Bowls with the worst teams of the Green Bay dynasty. It was an aging team winning on fumes and sheer will. Noll won four Super Bowls, all with the same Hall of Fame quarterback. Gibbs won three with three different quarterbacks — none of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

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6 Comments

  1. Rasputin
    February 4, 2016
    Reply

    Rice won 3 SBs, Gosselin, not 4. He played in a fourth with Oakland but of course lost to Tampa Bay.

    Kudos to Ron Borges for laying out strong cases for Chuck Howley and Cliff Harris. If one didn’t know better one might think he was the Dallas “representative” here. It’s a shame not a single member of the 1971 Cowboys is on this all time Super Bowl team (Gregg was injured so doesn’t count), considering that remains the only team to hold its SB opponent to no TDs. As great as Randy White was I might have gone with Bob Lilly instead. I think he still holds the SB record with a 29 yard sack of Griese, and was a key part of that Doomsday effort that held a truly great Miami team that would go undefeated the following year to only 185 yards (only 80 rushing) and no TDs.
    I agree on Gibbs. Him winning three SBs with three different QBs is one of the most impressive feats in NFL history. Noll was a lazy pick. I’d even agree with Gosselin’s Lombardi over Noll, though downing a still relatively weak AFL a couple of times wasn’t as impressive as what some coaches did later.

  2. Rasputin
    February 4, 2016
    Reply

    I’ll add that I appreciate the transparency of y’all listing how you voted. One of the reforms I’d like to see in the HoF process is to have all the votes ultimately made public so fans can see what happened and maybe have an understanding of why things ended up the way they did.

  3. ruben
    February 12, 2016
    Reply

    And still no mention of Coach Tom Flores the first Latino coach who took the first ever wild card playoff team to win A Superbowl which were underdogs for that game oh and .With a backup QB that was CONSIDERED THE greatest comeback story..

    • February 12, 2016
      Reply

      Didn’t even make it as semifinalist this year. Don’t get it.

  4. ruben
    February 12, 2016
    Reply

    And No Hall Of fame for Coach Flores.. NFL Hall of Shame.

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