- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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If the Super Bowl was on the line and your team had two minutes to march downfield for a game-winning score, who would you want playing quarterback?
Out of the more than 300 NFL players who were anonymously surveyed by ESPN.com's NFL Nation team reporters, none would have the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback behind center with the biggest game of their careers on the line. Instead, they'd prefer New England's Tom Brady to lead a two-minute drill that would take them to championship glory.
It should be noted that players from all 32 teams who were interviewed for this survey were requested to consider quarterbacks who didn't play for their team. When initially asked this question, a couple of Bengals indicated they would keep their current starting signal-caller in the huddle if they were trying to rally for a late-game Super Bowl win. One, when asked not to include Dalton, said he'd make Bengals backup Josh Johnson his pick. He wouldn't budge, and for that reason, Johnson got one vote.
That anecdote was to show there was some loyalty in Cincinnati's locker room when it came to this particular survey question.
Still, the fact no other players outside the Bengals locker room picked Dalton is rather telling. His struggles in big games probably has something to do with the perception that he may not be a Super Bowl winner. Dalton is 2-4 in his three-year career in Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games. He's also 0-3 in the postseason and is 8-10 in division games. He's only won two games on the road against other AFC North teams.
Dalton's performance in "big games" doesn't mesh well with his overall showing. He has 30 wins in his first three seasons, an average of 10 a year. That's an admirable figure and certainly one worthy of the "Good Andy" designation.
But it's "Bad Andy" who fans and players outside of Cincinnati see most often on the national stage, making it easy to assume he isn't a good quarterback in the clutch.
All of this aside, though, the players certainly didn't go wrong with their pick of Brady. He is, after all, a three-time Super Bowl champion who engineered drives that led to game-winning field goals in two of them. The quarterback players picked behind him, Denver's Peyton Manning, has a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy with a two-minute drill Sunday when the Broncos face the Seahawks.
5hEric D. Williams