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A full one-quarter of all NFL teams have opening day starters who have won a Super Bowl: New England (Tom Brady), Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger), Baltimore (Joe Flacco), Denver (Peyton Manning), New York Giants (Eli Manning), Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers), New Orleans (Drew Brees) and Seattle (Russell Wilson) all sport Super Bowl winning passers.

That’s pretty rare. In 1991, Jeff Hostetler was the only quarterback starting in week 1 who had a Lombardi Trophy on his resume.1 From 1993 to 2012, an average of 4.0 week 1 starters had previously won a title. Having a Super Bowl winning quarterback is nice, but it doesn’t exactly make a team unique. At least not for 2014.

YearWk 1 SB QBsQuarterbacks
20148Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Peyton Manning; Eli Manning; Drew Brees; Aaron Rodgers; Joe Flacco; Russell Wilson
20137Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Peyton Manning; Eli Manning; Drew Brees; Aaron Rodgers; Joe Flacco
20126Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Peyton Manning; Eli Manning; Drew Brees; Aaron Rodgers
20115Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Eli Manning; Drew Brees; Aaron Rodgers
20105Brett Favre; Tom Brady; Peyton Manning; Eli Manning; Drew Brees
20096Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Peyton Manning; Eli Manning
20086Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Peyton Manning; Eli Manning
20074Brett Favre; Tom Brady; Ben Roethlisberger; Peyton Manning
20064Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Tom Brady; Brad Johnson
20054Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Trent Dilfer; Tom Brady
20044Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Tom Brady; Brad Johnson
20034Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Tom Brady; Brad Johnson
20023Brett Favre; Kurt Warner; Tom Brady
20012Brett Favre; Kurt Warner
20003Troy Aikman; Brett Favre; Kurt Warner
19993Troy Aikman; Steve Young; Brett Favre
19984Troy Aikman; Steve Young; Brett Favre; John Elway
19973Troy Aikman; Steve Young; Brett Favre
19962Troy Aikman; Steve Young
19953Jeff Hostetler; Troy Aikman; Steve Young
19943Joe Montana; Jeff Hostetler; Troy Aikman
19936Joe Montana; Jim McMahon; Phil Simms; Jeff Hostetler; Mark Rypien; Troy Aikman
19922Phil Simms; Mark Rypien
19911Jeff Hostetler
19902Joe Montana; Phil Simms
19893Joe Montana; Jim McMahon; Phil Simms
19884Joe Montana; Jim McMahon; Phil Simms; Doug Williams
19872Joe Montana; Phil Simms
19862Joe Montana; Jim McMahon
19853Jim Plunkett; Joe Montana; Joe Theismann
19843Jim Plunkett; Joe Montana; Joe Theismann
19834Ken Stabler; Jim Plunkett; Joe Montana; Joe Theismann
19824Terry Bradshaw; Ken Stabler; Jim Plunkett; Joe Montana
19813Terry Bradshaw; Ken Stabler; Jim Plunkett
19803Bob Griese; Terry Bradshaw; Ken Stabler
19794Roger Staubach; Bob Griese; Terry Bradshaw; Ken Stabler
19783Roger Staubach; Terry Bradshaw; Ken Stabler
19775Joe Namath; Roger Staubach; Bob Griese; Terry Bradshaw; Ken Stabler
19764Joe Namath; Roger Staubach; Bob Griese; Terry Bradshaw
19754Joe Namath; Roger Staubach; Bob Griese; Terry Bradshaw
19744Joe Namath; Len Dawson; Roger Staubach; Bob Griese
19734Joe Namath; Johnny Unitas; Roger Staubach; Bob Griese
19723Joe Namath; Len Dawson; Johnny Unitas
19711Len Dawson
19703Bart Starr; Joe Namath; Len Dawson
19692Bart Starr; Joe Namath
19681Bart Starr
19671Bart Starr
  1. Phil Simms was the team’s backup, Joe Montana missed the entire year with an elbow injury, Doug Williams had retired, Jim McMahon was the backup in Philadelphia, Jim Plunkett and Joe Theismann had long been retired, and that takes us all the way back to 1979. []
  • Willy

    You’re welcome.

    Sincerely,

    Seahawks fans.

  • stony3k

    This propably makes Goodell happy – it’s parity like never before

  • Your opening paragraph and your chart disagree about whether it’s Simms or Hostetler who is the only one in 1991, though that makes perfect sense.

    It’s really strange how it goes from one in 1991 to two in 1992 and then to six in 1993. It’s just a bizarre set of circumstances that leads to that jump: Aikman and Rypien get there the obvious way, by actually winning the Super Bowl in 1991 and 1992. McMahon returns to the list after being gone for three years when he was Randall Cunningham’s oft-required and oft-injured backup, having been handed the reins to the Minnesota Vikings. Montana returns to the list after being gone two years because of injury. After having been trading off their spot on the list as teammates, Simms and Hostetler are for the first time both starting, with Hostetler moving on to the Raiders while Simms was finally healthy for the Giants.

    That’s also just a fascinating group of QBs.

    • Chase Stuart

      Heh, fixed.

      I’m not sure what I would have guessed the average number of former SB winning QBs would be, but I guess 8 sounds high and 4 (as a recent average) sounds low.

      QB longevity does seem to be on the rise, and the general lack of repeats help. And, as noted before, injuries being down helps too.

      • I actually would have guessed something closer to 8, I think, though it makes sense for the number to be lower after more thought.

      • Richie

        I’m not sure what I would have guessed the average number of former SB winning QBs would be,

        Me neither. I’m not sure what number would sound reasonable. But a percentage of 25% sounds crazy high.

  • Nate

    I’m not sure where to draw the line of ‘have won the super bowl’ but Steve Young was on the ’88 and ’89 49ers teams and literally had two rings from his time as a backup when he was the starter in ’91-’94.

    It seems like the NFC dominance in the ’80s is a big factor in that list getting short.

    • Chase Stuart

      I chose a clear line, even if I didn’t make that explicit in the article: having started in the Super Bowl and won it.

      • Richie

        Is Super Bowl V the only example of a winning team that had two QB’s take a significant number of snaps with the game still on the line? For that matter, did a winning team ever have 2 different QB’s attempt more than 2 passes?

      • Richie

        Answered my own question with the nifty play finder:
        http://pfref.com/tiny/S2e5j

        Danny White attempted 2 passes in Super Bowl 12.
        Steve Fuller attempted 4 passes in Super Bowl 20.
        Steve Young attempted 3 passes in Super Bowl 24.

        There were 10 guys who attempted just 1 pass.

        I don’t think Earl Morrall really gets credit for being a Super Bowl winning QB. Super Bowl V was an unusual game, but I think the Colts were losing when Unitas left the game. But their win is mainly due to the defense. They had 2 interceptions in the 4th quarter that led directly to 10 points. Really, pretty wild that while leading, and while tied, Morton threw interceptions from near his own 20-yard line.