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Ranking 50 greatest players in Super Bowl history: Nos. 10-1

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From a four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback drafted in the sixth round, to an MVP quarterback of the first two Super Bowls, the greatest players in Super Bowl history delivered when the stakes were the highest.

To rank the 50 greatest players in Super Bowl history, ESPN's Stats & Information group put together a ballot of the 120 greatest players in football's biggest game based on their statistics and overall performance. Then our expert panel of writers, editors, broadcasters and other experts voted on head-to-head matchups with more than 3,000 votes cast. The result is the 50 greatest players in Super Bowl history.

We released Nos. 50-31 on Tuesday and Nos. 30-11 on Wednesday. Check out the top 10 players in Super Bowl history below.

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #SuperBowl50Rank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along here: @ESPNNFL.

Steve Young

QB | San Francisco 49ers | Super Bowls: XXIV, XXIX

Video: Why Young ranks No. 10

Who can forget the scene of Young, on the Niners' sideline late in their 49-26 blowout of the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, asking a teammate to remove the "imaginary" monkey off his back? And why not? Emerging from Joe Montana's shadow, Young's tour de force included a record six TD passes, no interceptions and 325 yards passing while completing 24 of 36 attempts against the Chargers. Yes, he was MVP of the game. -- Paul Gutierrez

Kurt Warner

QB | St. Louis Rams/Arizona Cardinals | Super Bowls: XXXIV, XXXVI, XLIII

Video: Why Warner ranks No. 9

A better bounce or two along the way, and one could make the case that Warner should be in the top three on this list. Alas, the Rams and Cardinals came up just shy of making Warner three-for-three in his Super Bowl appearances. But it speaks to his greatness on the biggest stage that he's in the top 10 here with just one Super Bowl victory on his résumé. In three cracks at the big game, Warner averaged 385.3 passing yards per game and was responsible for the three most prolific passing days in Super Bowl history. He's one of just three quarterbacks to lead multiple teams to the Super Bowl. -- Nick Wagoner

Eli Manning

QB | New York Giants | Super Bowls: XLII, XLVI

Video: Why Manning ranks No. 8

Manning is a combined 49-of-74 (66.2 percent) for 551 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in his two Super Bowls -- both victories over the Patriots. But those victories will be best remembered for two indelible throws: the one David Tyree caught on his helmet to keep a fourth-quarter drive alive against the unbeaten Patriots in XLII, and the brilliant, toe-tapping, sideline catch by Mario Manningham in the fourth quarter of XLVI. Manning's game-winning drive in XLII started with 2:39 left and the Giants down 14-10. His game-winning drive in XLVI began with 3:46 left and the Giants down 17-15. Even if he never plays in another Super Bowl, Eli Manning goes down as one of the most clutch quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. -- Dan Graziano

Terry Bradshaw

QB | Pittsburgh Steelers | Super Bowls: IX, X, XIII, XIV

Video: Why Bradshaw ranks No. 7

Bradshaw is easily one of the greatest big-game quarterbacks in the game's history. He was the first quarterback to win more than two Super Bowls. He was a two-time Super Bowl MVP. His 112.8 passer rating in four Super Bowl appearances is the third highest. He averaged 11 yards per completion on his way to 932 yards and nine touchdowns combined, including four on Dallas' vaunted defense in Super Bowl XIII. In his first two Super Bowl wins, Bradshaw set a turnover-free tone with zero interceptions. -- Jeremy Fowler

John Elway

QB | Denver Broncos | Super Bowls: XXI, XXII, XXIV, XXXII, XXXIII

Video: Why Elway ranks No. 6

When it comes to Super Bowls, few players live with more disappointment from the title game than Elway. Yet, he kept committing himself to get back, always joking that it got to a point when his mom wasn't sure he should want to make it back to a Super Bowl. There were the 39-20, 42-10 and 55-10 losses in the title game with Elway before the Broncos were finally able to break through. Elway won back-to-back championships in his final two seasons -- 1997 and 1998 -- with his helicopter play against the Packers in XXXII being the signature effort for a Hall of Fame player who never quit trying to get over the last hurdle. -- Jeff Legwold

Emmitt Smith

RB | Dallas Cowboys | Super Bowls: XXVII, XXVIII, XXX

Video: Why Smith ranks No. 5

Perhaps it's fitting the NFL's all-time leading rusher is the top back in Super Bowl history. Smith's five rushing touchdowns are a Super Bowl record, and he is second to Franco Harris in carries (70) and third in yards behind Harris and Larry Csonka (289). He was named MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII with 30 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills. He also had two touchdowns in Super Bowl XXX against the Steelers. -- Todd Archer

Jerry Rice

WR | San Francisco 49ers/Oakland Raiders | Super Bowls: XXIII, XXIV, XXIX, XXXVII

Video: Why Rice ranks No. 4

So, if conventional wisdom has it that Jerry Rice is the GOAT regardless of position or era, how in the world are three players ranked ahead of him? Montana fans wonder, as well, especially with their symbiotic relationship early on, along with Rice's combined 589 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 33 catches in four Super Bowls (three rings and MVP of Super Bowl XXIII). Twice he scored three TDs, and he scored in all four games. -- Paul Gutierrez

Joe Montana

QB | San Francisco 49ers | Super Bowls: XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV

Video: Why Montana ranks No. 3

Fans of Joe Cool demand a recount. Not a single one of his four rings is tarnished or accompanied by a scandal affixed with a "-gate." Montana was at his best on the biggest of stages, winning three Super Bowl MVPs. He threw for 11 touchdowns, 1,142 yards and completed 68 percent of his passes without getting picked off. He also rushed for a pair of touchdowns and, oh yeah, never lost a Super Bowl game, unlike the guy ranked at the top, who already has dropped two. Recount? Yes, please. -- Paul Gutierrez

Troy Aikman

QB | Dallas Cowboys | Super Bowls: XXVII, XXVIII, XXX

Video: Why Aikman ranks No. 2

Aikman finds himself in the Hall of Fame because of winning and accuracy. He won all three of his Super Bowl appearances and completed a Super Bowl-record 70 percent of his passes in those games. His best performance was his first, completing 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions, in Super Bowl XXVII to beat the Bills. Only two quarterbacks had more touchdown passes in a Super Bowl than Aikman. -- Todd Archer

Tom Brady

QB | New England Patriots | Super Bowls: XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII, XLVI, XLIX

Video: Why Brady ranks No. 1

When asked which Super Bowl ring is his favorite, Tom Brady's response is always the same: "The next one." Brady's relentless pursuit of the "next one," which is a yearlong endeavor in which he shapes his eating habits and sleep patterns around being at his best on the football field, is as strong as ever at the age of 38. Brady is only the third quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to four Super Bowl wins, joining his boyhood idol Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, and he's a three-time Super Bowl MVP, which matches Montana for the most ever. Brady is also the all-time leader in Super Bowl passing yards (1,605), touchdown passes (13) and starts (six). What makes Brady rise up on the biggest stage of professional football? "I think his consistency," said Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who has worked directly with Brady for nine seasons. "Even though these games have a finality to them that some games in the regular season or preseason don't have, he approaches it the same way." And there is no end in sight. Brady hopes to play well into his 40s and at this point hasn't shown much, if any, signs of decline. -- Mike Reiss

#SuperBowl50Rank: 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1