While the Stanley Cup may be the coolest looking championship trophy in professional sports, it's hard to argue there's any more prestigious than the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which is given annually to the winner of the National Football League's (NFL) Super Bowl. It's also undeniable that there's no bigger North American sporting event than the Super Bowl, where companies pay millions of dollars for advertisements and the biggest music stars in the world line up to sing the anthem and perform at half time. College football, in many markets, is just as big, if not bigger, than the NFL, but it's not the dream of young football players to win the BCS National Championship; rather, those kids dream of winning the Super Bowl.
The first ever Super Bowl was contested on January 15, 1967 and featured the Green Bay Packers of the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League (AFL). The year-end game featured the winners of both leagues up until their merger in 1970, when it became the championship game of the NFL. To date, there has been 51 Super Bowl games and only 31 starting quarterbacks have led their team to championship glory as several have won multiple championships. Including starters and backups, can you identify which of these 35 quarterbacks won the Super Bowl during their career?
A native of Washington, D.C., Andrew Luck played college football for Stanford and was selected first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft. Since debuting the following season, he has started 70 games for the team and posted a career regular season record of 43-27, including three consecutive 11-5 seasons to begin his career. The three-time Pro Bowler led the NFL in touchdowns with 40 during the 2014 season and, to date, has 132 touchdowns compared to 68 interceptions.
Nobody is less interesting off the field than Joe Flacco. But that's irrelevant, because on the field the former first-round pick is one of the league's premier quarterbacks not named Tom Brady. He has led the Baltimore Ravens to playoff appearances in six of his nine seasons with the team and has a career regular season record of 83-55 to go along with 182 touchdowns and 117 interceptions. The Ravens finished below .500 in only one season with Flacco under center, and that was in 2015 when he was limited to just 10 games.
A third round pick in the 1979 NFL Draft, Joe "Cool" Montana wasted little time in becoming one of the league's best quarterbacks. The Notre Dame alumnus and Pennsylvania native started just eight games for the San Francisco 49ers over the course of his first two seasons in the league, but, in his third season, led the upstart team to a 13-3 record and finished first in the league in completion percentage with a mark of 63.7. He led the league in that statistic in four more seasons and went on to play 15 years in the league, compiling a record of 117-47.
Dan Marino wasn't just an extra in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In fact, the Pittsburgh native is widely considered as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Drafted 27th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1983, Marino was a high-volume passer who led the league in completions in six seasons and passing yards in five seasons. He ranks fifth all-time in passing yardage with only Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in range of catching him before they retire. The nine-time Pro Bowler retired in 1999 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Jim Kelly ranks 25th all-time in passing yardage among NFL quarterbacks with 35,467 yards, despite only playing 11 seasons, all of which with the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo selected Kelly out of the University of Miami with the 14th overall selection in the 1983 NFL Draft and he started all 16 games for the team in his rookie season, posting a 4-12 record. It wasn't long until he turned the Bills into contenders, however. Kelly retired in 1996 after posting a career record of 101-59 with the franchise. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
If you're a new fan to football, chances are you haven't heard of Fran Tarkenton, but he's a major part of the game's history, having played 18 seasons in the league between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. In fact, despite playing primarily on losing teams during the first half of his career - he had just two winning seasons in his first 12 seasons - he currently sits ninth all-time in passing yards. He enjoyed a pair of 12-win seasons later in his career which vaulted his career record to 124-109-6. Tarkenton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Tom Brady was a scrawny, little-known quarterback out of Michigan when the New England Patriots selected him with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Sixth round picks can be hit or miss, especially when they're quarterbacks, but Brady has been able to rise being a footnote in the NFL Draft to becoming arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the league. The 12-time Pro Bowler has overcome injuries and suspensions en route to winning two league MVP trophies. He currently sits fourth all-time in passing yards behind Drew Brees.
Long before he was the comedic relief who offered minimal analysis as part of the NFL on FOX broadcasts, Terry Bradshaw was one of the league's best quarterbacks in the first decade following the NFL-AFL merger. An alumnus of Louisiana Tech, Bradshaw was drafted first overall in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and, after a tough first two seasons in the league, led the team back to prominence throughout the 1970s. He retired in 1983 after posting a career record of 107-51 and earning one MVP.
Oregon alumnus Dan Fouts was a third-round selection of the San Diego Chargers in the 1973 NFL Draft who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He's a shining example of why you stick with a young quarterback despite obvious growing pains as, throughout his first five seasons in the league, he had 34 touchdowns compared to a miserable 57 interceptions. In today's age, a player with that stat line likely wouldn't last past two seasons, but Fouts rewarded the Chargers for their patience and eventually ended his career in 1987 with 254 touchdowns and 242 interceptions.
The son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, Peyton was drafted first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft and, like many other first overall picks, had his early-career struggles. As a rookie, Manning scored an impressive 26 touchdowns, but led the league in interceptions with 28. Fortunately, he developed better instincts as he progressed in the league and eventually went on to lead the league in touchdowns in four seasons. He's the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and a sure-fire first-ball Hall of Famer.
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, Troy Aikman played his entire 12-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. The quarterback was drafted by "America's Team" with the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft and went on to play in six Pro Bowls as a member of the team. Like Manning above, he struggled immensely as a rookie, posting nine touchdowns and 18 interceptions, but he improved significantly throughout his career and retired with 165 touchdowns compared to 141 interceptions.
A Grey Cup champion in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Warren Moon is perhaps the most notable CFL alumnus to have success in the NFL. After graduating from Washington University in 1977, he played a number of years in the CFL before being given an opportunity with the Houston Oilers at 28 years old. He managed to make up for lost time in the NFL, playing until he was 44 years old and recording 291 touchdowns compared to 233 interceptions. Moon was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ranked 35th all-time in passing yards with 32,942, Ken Anderson played 16 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, during which time he won one MVP and played in four Pro Bowls. Selected 67th overall in the 1971 NFL Draft, Anderson lost all four games he started as a rookie, but helped improve the team's fate in the following seasons. The Illinois native led the league in passing yards in 1974 and 1975 and retired in 1986 with 197 touchdowns and 160 interceptions.
A first overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1987 NFL Draft, Vinny Testaverde played 21 seasons between the Bucs, Jets, Browns, Ravens, Panthers, Cowboys, and Patriots. A native of New York, he struggled with the Buccaneers to start his career and twice led the league in interceptions, including a career-high 35 during the 1988 season, but he later found success with the Jets, where, in 1998, he posted a 12-1 record as the team's starting quarterback and had 29 touchdowns compared to only seven interceptions. The two-time Pro Bowler is currently 11th in all-time passing yardage.
Before Tom Brady arrived on the scene in New England and led the team to five Super Bowl victories, Drew Bledsoe was the man in Boston. The Washington native was also quite different than Brady as he was a first overall pick of the team in the 1993 NFL Draft, whereas Brady was an obscure sixth-round selection. A four-time Pro Bowler, Bledsoe also had a decent run with the Buffalo Bills and played a season-and-a-half with the Dallas Cowboys before giving way to Tony Romo in 2006. He retired with a regular season record of 98-95 and 251 touchdowns compared to 2016 interceptions.
Recently laid off ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was the sixth overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft. Selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was poised to become the franchise's quarterback of the future, but that didn't quite pan out as he posted just two winning campaigns in six seasons with the team, despite it having one of the league's best defenses. For instance, he had a 7-3 record with the team in 1999, but only had 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He went on to play seven more seasons in the league with four different teams and retired in 2007 with a career record of 58-55.
Roger Staubach was one of the original great quarterbacks in the NFL during its pre- and post-AFL-merger days. In fact, Staubach was drafted in the 16th round of the 1964 AFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, but was also taken in the 10th round of the NFL Draft that year by the Dallas Cowboys, for which he chose to play. The Ohio native played in six Pro Bowls during his 11-year career with the Cowboys and led the league in quarterback rating in five seasons, including in 1979 as a 37 year old. He threw for 27 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions that year and concluded his career with 153 touchdowns and 109 interceptions.
The third overall pick of the Houston Oilers in the 1995 NFL Draft, Steve McNair was a dual-threat quarterback with a cannon for an arm who could also rush the football, at least early in his career - he recorded 674 rushing yards in 1997 and actually led the league in yards per attempt with 6.7. The three-time Pro Bowler and one-time MVP played 11 seasons with the Houston/Tennessee franchise and retired in 2007 following two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He recorded 174 touchdowns and 119 interceptions throughout his 13-year career.
Aaron Rodgers was drafted 24th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers as the eventual successor to Brett Favre and he has lived up to that expectation, becoming one of the league's best quarterbacks after three years of tutelage under Favre. Since assuming the starting quarterback position for the team, Rodgers has posted a regular season record of 90-45, including eight consecutive winning seasons. He led the league in touchdowns in 2016 for the first time in his career with 40. He has a remarkable 297 career touchdowns and just 72 interceptions.
Brett Favre retired in 2010 as the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards, but was later knocked down to No. 2 on the list by Peyton Manning. Regardless, Favre is easily one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, evidenced by the fact he led the NFL in touchdowns four times throughout his career, won three MVPs, and played in 11 Pro Bowls. He played 16 of his 20 seasons in the league with the Green Bay Packers and retired as a New York Jet, where, as a 41-year-old, he had the worst year of his career with 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Like Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia is another former CFL quarterback to have decent success in the NFL. The alumnus of San Jose State went undrafted after leaving college and played for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL until earning a contract with the San Francisco 49ers at age 29. Garcia went on to play 11 seasons in the league between the 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions. He played in four Pro Bowls and retired with a career record of 58-58.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Donovan McNabb played his college football for Syracuse, where he showcased his impressive arm and foot speed. He was taken second overall in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and went on to play 11 seasons as the team's starting quarterback, compiling a record of 92-49-1 to go along with 216 touchdowns and 100 interceptions. He also had 28 rushing touchdowns for the team and, in 2000, recorded a career-high 629 rushing yards. McNabb played in 16 playoff games throughout his career and retired in 2011 after a brief stint with the Minnesota Vikings.
Los Angeles native Doug Williams attended Grambling State, where his play led to him being selected 17th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1978 NFL Draft. Aside from a 10-6 season as a second-year player, Williams had limited success through five seasons with the Bucs, and ultimately proved himself incapable of holding down a starting job in the NFL. He was, however, an extremely serviceable backup for four seasons with the Washington Redskins. Williams retired following the 1989 season with a career record of 38-42-1 and 100 touchdowns compared to 93 interceptions.
The 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Ben Roethlisberger has become one of the league's best quarterbacks in the 21st century. The 35 year old is currently 10th on the all-time passing yards list and has a chance to move into sixth before the end of his career. He had one of the most impressive rookie quarterback seasons of all time, posting a 13-0 record to go along with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2004. He has never led the league in touchdowns, but has been a consistent force with 301 touchdowns and 160 interceptions through 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A 17th round pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 1956 NFL Draft, Bart Starr played 16 seasons in Wisconsin and won numerous NFL championships with the team prior to the AFL-NFL merger. He was a borderline starter with the team for his first five seasons in the league before assuming the role full-time in 1961. Starr retired in 1971 after compiling a 94-57-6 record to go along with 152 touchdowns and 138 interceptions. The four-time Pro Bowler and one-time MVP was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
California native Randall Cunningham played his college football with UNLV and was drafted 37th overall in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. After a difficult first two seasons in Philadelphia, Cunningham eventually led the Eagles to five playoff appearances and, as a starter with the Minnesota Vikings, led the team to three playoff appearances. Cunningham retired in 2001 after brief stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. His career record is 82-52-1 and he has 207 touchdowns and 134 interceptions in 161 games.
A prominent color commentator, Boomer Esiason played his college football at Maryland and was drafted 38th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1984 NFL Draft. After starting four games as a rookie, Esiason started the majority of the team's games in each of the following eight seasons, posting a 62-61 record. He's currently 20th on the all-time passing yards list with Matt Ryan set to pass him next year. The four-time Pro Bowler won an MVP in 1988 after a 28-touchdown, 3,572-passing-yardage season.
Throughout his 11-year career, Mark Rypien started 78 of 104 games between five teams - Washington, St. Louis, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Philadelphia - and recorded a career record of 47-31 to go along with 115 touchdowns and 88 interceptions before officially retiring in 2001. A sixth round pick in the 1986 NFL Draft, he had his best days with the Redskins, where he was named to two Pro Bowl teams and played in eight playoff games. He ended his career with 18,473 passing yards.
Recently ousted by CBS with Tony Romo coming in to take his spot as the network's top color commentator, Phil Simms is a former two-time Pro Bowler who spent his entire 14-year career with the New York Giants. Selected seventh overall in the 1979 NFL Draft, Simms played 10 playoff games for the Giants and, in the regular season, posted a record of 95-64 while adding 199 touchdowns and 157 interceptions. The Kentucky native currently ranks 31st on the all-time passing yardage list.
Another quarterback who won a Grey Cup in the CFL, Doug Flutie was originally an 11th round pick of the Los Angeles Rams who went to Canada after three mediocre seasons in the NFL. He returned to the league as a 36-year-old in 1998 and was named to the Pro Bowl after posting a 7-3 record with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with the Buffalo Bills. Flutie played until he was 43 years old and retired with a career record of 38-28 to go along with 86 touchdowns and 68 interceptions.
Archie Manning isn't only the father of two great quarterbacks in Payton and Eli; he's a former second overall pick himself who played in two Pro Bowls and played 15 seasons in the league between the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, and Minnesota Vikings. The 68 year old didn't have near as an accomplished career as his sons, but he managed to reach 23,911 passing yards and 125 touchdowns during his career. He had a career-best season in 1980 with 23 touchdowns and 3,716 passing yards.
The story of Kurt Warner's career is one that has been told countless times because of the unlikelihood of his star power. An alumnus of Northern Iowa, Warner went undrafted and was working at a grocery store prior to being signed by the St. Louis Rams in 1998. He started all 16 games for the team the following season and posted a 13-3 record and lead the league with 41 touchdowns. Warner played 12 years in the league and finished with a record of 67-49 to go along with 208 touchdowns and 128 interceptions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
The first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, Carson Palmer broke into the league after an impressive career with the University of Southern California and posted a 6-7 record in his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals. He appeared to be on his way to becoming an all-time great quarterback the following year after leading the league with 32 touchdowns, but two seasons later led the league with 20 interceptions. He was a mediocre quarterback for a five-year stretch, but had a renaissance year in 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals, posting a career-high 35 touchdowns. and 4,671 passing yards.
New Jersey native Joe Theismann was drafted in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL Draft and went on to have an impressive 12-year career with the Washington Redskins. A Notre Dame alumnus, he played in two Pro Bowls throughout his career and was named league MVP in 1983 after recording 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and leading Washington to a 14-2 regular season record. Theismann started 10 playoff games for the Redskins before announcing his retirement following the 1985 season.
In between being suspended by the league and serving jail time for his role in a dog-fighting ring, Michael Vick was a dynamic, game-changing quarterback who played 13 seasons in the league between the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, Vick had a great arm, but was best known for his ability to run the football - he recorded a career-high 1,039 rushing yards in 2006 with the Falcons and led the league in yards per attempt in five seasons. He has a career record of 61-51-1.