When Peyton Manning takes the field to play in Super Bowl 50, he’ll become the oldest quarterback in Super Bowl history. His appearance two years ago with the Denver Broncos (one they’d like to forget about) already puts him among the 10 oldest quarterback appearances in the history of the game, along with Tom Brady, John Elway, Roger Staubach, Kurt Warner, Rich Gannon, Jim Plunkett, Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton.
Jim Plunkett, Super Bowl XVIII – 36 years, one month
Plunkett made two Super Bowl appearances with the Raiders, victorious both times. On January 22, 1984, the Raiders crushed the Washington Redskins 38-9 with Plunkett having a good game, throwing one touchdown pass while throwing for 172 yards. He had a Super MVP award from three years earlier.
Roger Staubach, Super Bowl XIII – 36 years, 11 months
In a game that later became known as Black Sunday (gambling stuff), Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys lost 35-31 to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second time in four years. Staubach had three touchdown passes and one interception, but the game got away from Dallas in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns in the finish to make it seem a bit more competitive than it actually was.
Fran Tarkenton, Super Bowl XI – 36 years, 11 months
Tarkenton lost three Super Bowls with the Vikings in the 1970’s, the last of them in 1977 at the Rose Bowl, beaten 32-14 by the Oakland Raiders. He did throw one touchdown pass but was intercepted twice and completed less than 49% of his passing attempts that day.
Tom Brady, Super Bowl XLIX – 37 years, 6 months
In his sixth Super Bowl appearance and after two losses for the New England Patriots against the New York Giants (2007, 2011), Brady won his fourth Super Bowl ring, matching him with Joe Montana, with a 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Brady won his third Super Bowl MVP, throwing four touchdown passes and two interceptions. It’s mostly known for the goal line interception by Malcolm Butler.
Rich Gannon, Super Bowl XXXVII – 37 years, one month
Gannon, who played in the NFL from 1987 to 2004, made the Super Bowl once. The 2002 Oakland Raiders faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the end of that season in San Diego and got crushed, losing 48-21. Gannon threw five interceptions, three of them returned for touchdowns. He was also sacked five times, in what is still the last postseason appearance for the Raiders.
John Elway, Super Bowl XXXII – 37 years, 7 months
Elway and the Broncos lost three Super Bowls in the second half of the 1980s, beaten quite badly in all of them. Seven years after the 55-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, he took the Broncos to San Diego to face defending champions, the Green Bay Packers. He didn’t have a very good game (Terrell Davis did most of the work with three touchdown runs) but Elway was finally on the winning side, winning the championship after a 31-24 victory, with him running for one touchdown.
Kurt Warner, Super Bowl XLIII – 37 years, 7 months
Warner made his third and final Super Bowl appearance in 2009, taking the Arizona Cardinals almost all the way, losing 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Warner was fantastic in that postseason and pretty good in the big game itself, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. The Steelers won on a Santonio Holmes – Ben Roethlisberger connection with 35 seconds left.
Johnny Unitas, Super Bowl V – 37 years, 8 months
Unitas got to win a Super Bowl two years after the New York Jets stunned him and the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III. The Colts got to be on the winning side in 1971, beating the Dallas Cowboys 16-13, with Unitas attempting just nine passes, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions. The MVP of the game was actually from the Cowboys (Chuck Howley), the only time the MVP was given to a member of the losing team.
Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLVIII – 37 years, 10 months
In his third Super Bowl appearance and first with the Broncos, making him the third starting quarterback to take two different teams to the Super Bowl, Manning had a nightmare of a game, as the Broncos got crushed by the Seattle Seahawks 43-8. He and the Broncos got to put their first points on the board at the end of the first quarter with a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. The rest is something he and the team prefer to forget.
John Elway, Super Bowl XXXIII – 38 years, 7 months
Few get to finish their career in such a triumphant way, winning back-to-back Super Bowls after so many years of disappointments. Elway won the MVP of Super Bowl 33, held in Miami, as the Broncos beat up the Atlanta Falcons 34-19. He threw one touchdown pass and rushed for another, retiring four months later.