Russell Wilson Joins Broncos Bizarre List of Super Bowl Quarterback Oddities

Unless maybe you’re from Seattle, or maybe you placed a prop bet on the first score of the game being a safety, Super Bowl 48 is never going to crack anyone’s list of great Super Bowls.

Before Tuesday, that game was simply known for being one of the great shellackings in Super Bowl history, with the Seattle Seahawks running away and hiding from the Denver Broncos for a 43-8 victory at MetLife Stadium.

But now, thanks to a simple transaction at the height of the NFL offseason, Super Bowl 48 has been elevated to a special status, a place in NFL history all to itself. In the annals of the NFL and the Super Bowl, this game in 2014 now shines like a beacon of freedom … or maybe the reflection off that glass bowl of salty peanuts at the local bar on Tuesday Trivia Night.

The Seahawks traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos on Tuesday, and after 56 years of Super Bowl play, we have a first: A quarterback who beat a particular team in the Super Bowl is now playing for that team he beat.

But Wilson is going to have to get in line if we’re talking about quarterback oddities in the Super Bowl involving the Denver Broncos. For all the history and records and moments compiled by teams like the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s the Broncos that lie at the heart of every weird quarterback fact in Super Bowl history.

Orange you curious? Of course you are.

Wilson: If you can beat ‘em, you can also join ‘em

It’s a rare thing in the Super Bowl that the team who wins in a decisive rout manages to do it with very little input from their quarterback. But that was the unusual nature of Super Bowl 48, which was essentially decided on the first play from scrimmage, when the center snap flew past a startled Peyton Manning into the end zone and the Seahawks got a safety and a 2-0 lead.

By the time Wilson threw his first of two touchdown passes, it was already 29-0 and the Seahawks had scored with a pick-six and punt return for touchdown. The Seahawks eventually settled for a 43-8 victory and their franchise’s first and only Super Bowl title.

Flash-forward seven years and now Wilson is the starting quarterback for the Broncos, the first time in the 56-year Super Bowl era that a quarterback joined the team he previously started against and beat in the championship game.

But Manning, the losing quarterback that night, was not to be outdone, and two years later he made some more Super Bowl quarterback history with the Broncos.

Manning becomes first quarterback in Super Bowl history to win with two different teams

When Peyton Manning took the field that night in 2015 at MetLife Stadium, the home field for his younger brother, Eli, he was trying to become the first quarterback in NFL history to win the Super Bowl as the starter for two different teams.

It didn’t happen for Manning against the Seahawks, but he was finally able to etch his name in the record books in 2016. The Broncos returned to Super Bowl 50 and beat the Carolina Panthers, giving Manning his second Super Bowl win to go with the Indianapolis Colts’ win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl 41. Tom Brady would become the second winner with two different teams when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.

Technically, Jim McMahon accomplished the feat first in 1997, when the Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 31. In New England’s previous Super Bowl appearance, McMahon started for the great 1985 Chicago Bears and routed the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl 20. Now, 11 years later, McMahon was Brett Favre’s backup in the victory over the Patriots, but never saw the field.

Sorry, but the funky QB does not qualify for our little trivia game. Maybe if he played for Denver?

Morton: Can’t win with ‘em, can’t win without ‘em

As unique as it is to play for the team you once beat in the Super Bowl, or to win the Super Bowl with two different teams, no Super Bowl quarterback fact is more unusual than the story of Craig Morton.

Once upon a time, Morton was the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys at the beginning of the 1970s, the place-holder for Roger Staubach while on a five-year stint in the Navy, and in the wake of Dandy Don Meredith’s inability to get past the Green Bay Packers in the pre-merger NFL Championship Game and entry into the first two Super Bowls.

Under Morton, the Cowboys finally made it to the promised land and faced the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 5. But in what became known as “The Blunder Bowl,” Morton threw three interceptions, including two in the final eight minutes that allowed the Colts to tie, then win the game on a field goal with five seconds left.

The second pick bounced off the hands of running back Dan Reeves, who would later coach the Denver Broncos to three crushing Super Bowl losses.

Staubach wrested the starting job away from Morton the next season and the Cowboys finally won it all. Six years later, in Super Bowl 12, Staubach and the Cowboys won their second title by beating … the Broncos! And Denver’s starting quarterback? You guessed it: Craig Morton.

Morton, in his first season with the Broncos after a stint with the Giants, became the only quarterback in Super Bowl history to start his team’s first-ever Super Bowl appearance, and start for and against the same team in a Super Bowl.

Sadly for Morton, who was even worse the second time around with four interceptions against his former team before being benched in the second half of a 27-10 loss, he is the only quarterback to start a Super Bowl for two different teams and lose both games.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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