Super Bowl: How Many Times Have Quarterbacks Who Had Already Won a Title Squared Off in the Big Game?
When the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers square off in Super Bowl 55, it’s a safe bet that the majority of the focus as far as players concerned will be on Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, which only makes sense given the fact the quarterback position is seen as the most important position in the game. Just ask Bill Belichick how important having a good quarterback is (ooh…sick burn).
Brady and Mahomes, who will already make some NFL history the moment this year’s big game begins due to their battle in the AFC title game two years ago, will make a little more as they become the seventh pair of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks to square off for the title.
Here’s a quick look back at what happened the previous six times this occurred.
Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers beat Roger Staubach in Super Bowl 10
In Super Bowl 10, Terry Bradshaw and the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers matched up with Roger Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys. Bradshaw had won his first title the year before when the Steelers knocked off the Vikings while Staubach’s win had come four years earlier when the Cowboys defeated the Dolphins.
Bradshaw completed just nine passes in Super Bowl 10 but still threw for 209 yards as Pittsburgh scored a four-point win over Dallas, 21-17.
Bradshaw and Staubach squared off again three years later
We obviously don’t need the intro part here as we know how Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach won their first rings (Staubach had won his second the previous year) so we’ll just tell you that Bradshaw and the Steelers once again defeated Staubach and the Cowboys in Super Bowl 13, again winning by four, 35-31.
The original TB12 (yeah, we went there) won MVP honors after throwing for a then-record 318 yards and four touchdowns. Many still believe it’s the greatest title game in NFL history.
Joe Theismann faced Jim Plunkett in Super Bowl 18
Following the 1980 season, Jim Plunkett led the Oakland Raiders to a 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 15. Two years later, Joe Theismann led the team then known as the Washington Redskins to a title by defeating the Miami Dolphins.
A year after that, Plunkett and Theismann squared off in Super Bowl 18 with the Raiders, who’d moved to LA by then, coming away with a 38-9 blowout victory.
Kurt Warner vs. Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl 43
Following the matchup between Jim Plunkett and Joe Theismann, it took 25 years before two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks squared off again in the title game. The two signal-callers in the spotlight this time around were Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner as the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl 43.
Roethlisberger and the Steelers had won a title three years earlier while Warner had led the St. Louis Rams to a championship in one of the most drama-filled title games of all time following the 1999 season. Super Bowl 43 had plenty of drama as well as Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes with a six-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds to give Pittsburgh a 27-23 victory.
Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning: The Rematch
The first time Tom Brady and Eli Manning squared off in the Super Bowl, Brady had already won three titles with the New England Patriots. But Manning and the New York Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets of all time by slaying the undefeated Patriots in dramatic fashion, which obviously made Eli a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
The two matched up again in Super Bowl 46 and Manning and the Giants again came away with a dramatic victory as Eli earned his second Super Bowl MVP trophy, throwing for 296 yards and a touchdown in the 21-17 win.
Tom Brady took on Russell Wilson in Super Bowl 49
Not shockingly, Tom Brady makes another appearance on the list as he and the New England Patriots took on Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49. Brady was still stuck on three rings at this time while Wilson & Co. had won a championship the previous season by defeating Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Well, we all know what happened when the Pats and Seahawks met up to decide a champion. Wilson and Brady both had solid games but this particular championship matchup will always best be remembered for Pete Carroll’s decision not to give the football to Marshawn Lynch on the goal line. Instead, he called for a pass from Wilson, which was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, which sealed the Pats’ 28-24 victory.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference