|The poster boy of this subject.|
Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts-1971-1972. Some might think this choice is blasphemous considering the decorated career Unitas had. In two AFC championship games in 1971-1972, Johnny U. was hardly at his best, even though the Colts came out with a split. Unitas was a combined 31-66, 469 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Granted, one of the games came against the undefeated Miami Dolphins team. Still, he's Johnny Unitas.
Richard Todd, New York Jets- 1983 AFC title game. This was the year of the New York Sack Exchange. The Jets had a good playoff run torpedoed by Richard Todd. Todd picked the wrong day to have his worse game as a pro. The Jets defense kept them in this game and Todd simply blew it. I know there was a diving rainstorm that day and Freeman McNeil also didn't have a stellar day, but there was no reason to get picked by A.J. Duhe three times, once for a touchdown. Todd was 15-37 for 103 yards and three big interceptions.
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers- 1976 AFC title game. Bradshaw owns four Super Bowl rings. I don't own that many on Madden. The Steelers came into this game shorthanded and it showed in Bradshaw's stat line. 14-35, 176 yards and one interception. There were rumors that the Raiders played with vaseline on their jerseys.
Dan Pastorini, Houston Oilers- 1978 AFC title game. For some reason Pastorini was spooked at the sight of the Steelers defense. This game proved it. I hate to put any blame on Earl Campbell because Bum Phillips ran the gas out of him, but he was stuffed in the run game. Pastorini was 12-26 for 96 yards and five interceptions. No one would've won with Pastorini on that day.
Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers-1979 AFC title game. Campbell ran often and ran hard. But he couldn't run past the Steelers defense. A game in which Dan Pastorini actually showed up. If you remember this was the game that eventually led to instant replay on the Mike Renfro non-catch. Back to Campbell, I will pin this loss on him as he ran 17 times for 15 yards. Hardly the performance of a legend. The Oilers kept knocking on the door.
San Diego Chargers defense- 1980 AFC title game. The Chargers had home field and the stars aligned for them to make it to the Super Bowl. One problem, the defense couldn't stop anyone. Therefore they couldn't get over the dreaded Raider hex. They were the reason Dan Fouts remains one of the top three quarterbacks never to win a Super Bowl.
Jay Schroeder, Los Angeles Raiders- 1991 AFC title game- Schroeder was a Redskins castoff whose big arm and untapped potential kept him in the league. What I'm saying is that he shouldnt've been in the league. Going against the Buffalo Bills juggernaut, losing Bo Jackson the week before didn't help. Schroeder went 13-31, 150 yards, and five interceptions. What's with the five pick games at this time of year.
Miami Dolphins as a collective. 1993 AFC championship. Like the Chargers above, this was a year where everything aligned right. All of a sudden they decided they didn't want to show up for the biggest game of the year. This was Dan Marino's best shot at a Super Bowl in 8 years and they pulled a collective choke job.
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers- 2008 AFC championship. I know Tomlinson pulled up a little lame against New England. He hurt his knee early in the game, but to stand there in a parka with your helmet on, complete with visor and not support your teammates gets you on this list.