Making it into his second Super Bowl on his third season in the NFL, Russell Wilson has the chance to join a very distinguished club of quarterbacks to win the big game more than once, which includes the likes of Roger Staubach, Tory Aikman, Joe Montana and Tom Brady, his opponent on this occasion, but also guys like Eli Manning and Jim Plunkett.
Eli Manning, New York Giants – 2
Manning has been the quarterback of the New York Giants since 2004. He hasn’t been to the playoffs a whole lot, but when he does get there, it usually ends with smiles. After a solid but mistake filled 2007 season (led the league in interceptions), Manning and the Giants ended the undefeated run by the Patriots with a 17-14 win in Glendale. Four years later the Giants barely made it into the playoffs, but momentum is a fickle b@#$%^ and the Giants had it, along with an incredible defensive line and some clutch play-making from Manning, on their side. Once again the Patriots stood in his way and once again he conquered with a fourth quarter touchdown to win the game 21-17. Manning won the MVP on both occasions.
Jim Plunkett, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders – 2
Plunkett didn’t start out as a Raider (playing for the Patriots and 49ers through most of the 70’s) but made a name for himself while playing for them. He won the MVP award for his performance in Super Bowl XV as the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in New Orleans, throwing three touchdown passes and becoming the second Heisman winner to be named a Super Bowl MVP following Roger Staubach. Plunkett was also the quarterback three years later in Tampa as the Raiders beat the Washington Redskins 38-9. Plunkett is the only multiple Super Bowl winner among quarterbacks to not be inducted into the hall of fame, probably the same thing that will happen to Eli Manning.
Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers – 2
When it comes to Super Bowls, Starr has “just” two wins in Super Bowl I and II, but he has plenty of previous NFL championships. Starr led the Packers to a 35-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the first ever Super Bowl game, winning the MVP. He won it again a year later following a 33-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He is the only quarterback to lead an NFL team to five championships.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – 2
It took Ben Roethlisberger just two seasons to become a Super Bowl champion, just like Russell Wilson. He led the Steelers to their fifth ring after the 2005 season with a 21-10 victory against the Seahawks, marred by official controversy. Three years later in one of the best Super Bowls ever Roethlisberger helped the Steelers become the first team to win the title six times, throwing to the MVP of the game, Santonio Holmes. A year later he reached the Super Bowl again, losing to the Packers.
Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins – 2
Bob Griese never won the Super Bowl MVP in his three visits to the big game, actually losing on his first trip (24-3 to the Dallas Cowboys) in 1972. A year later the Dolphins became the first and only team to win the Super Bowl to cap off a perfect season with a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins. The next year he completed three consecutive seasons in the Super Bowl by throwing only seven passes as the Dolphins beat the Vikings 24-7 and his fullback, Larry Csonka, won the MVP.
Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys – 2
Staubach was part of the reason the Cowboys became America’s Team in the 1970’s, helping them reach four Super Bowl games from 1972 to 1979. He lost on two occasions, both in classic games to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He did lead the Cowboys to a 24-3 victory over the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, winning the MVP. In SB XII he had the defense do most of the work as they beat the Denver Broncos 27-10.
John Elway, Denver Broncos -2
Elway is one of three quarterbacks to lose in three or more Super Bowls. Unlike Jim Kelly and Fran Tarkenton, he at least won on two of his five visits. The Broncos were crushed by the Giants, Redskins and 49ers on his three first visits to the big game, but the Broncos got their mojo back in the late 1990’s with back to back titles, first with a 31-24 win over the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and a year later with a 34-19 win against the Falcons, as Elway won the MVP before retiring for good from the NFL.
Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys – 3
Aikman is one of only three quarterbacks to reach three Super Bowls or more and be on the winning side three times. Aikman led the Cowboys to wins over the Bills (x2) and the Steelers in Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX, winning the MVP for his first trip after a 52-17 beat down of the Bills, in which Aikman threw four touchdown passes and finished with a 140.6 passer rating.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – 4
Brady is the first quarterback in NFL history to make it to a sixth Super Bowl. He was on the winning side of it all on his first three visits, usually as part of a system that made him look good. First it was the field goal win against the Rams (20-17) for which he won the MVP. Two years later came another Super Bowl winning field goal from his kicker, this time against the Panthers, and Brady won the MVP. The Patriots made it back-to-back titles with a win over the Eagles, but on their next two visits to the big game Brady left with a sulk on his face after losing to the New York Giants. But then came Super Bowl XLIX, and a 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter, and Brady’s 4th title and 3rd MVP, just like Montana.
Joe Montana, San Francisco 49rs – 4
The standard for Super Bowl greatness in quarterbacks. Montana made the 49ers (at least he gets most of the credit) into the team of the 1980’s, leading them to four Super Bowl victories and winning the MVP of the game three times. In 1981 it was a 26-21 victory over Cincinnati, three years later it was the demolition of the Dolphins and Dan Marino 38-16, four years later came another close win over the Bengals (20-16) and a year later, getting a back-to-back sequence of titles, Montana led the Niners to a 55-10 win over the Broncos, still the most one sided Super Bowl in history.
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers – 4
Bradshaw is the original four-time Super Bowl champion with 100% success. He is also a two-time SB MVP. Then why isn’t he regarded as much as Montana? Probably because he wasn’t as good. Franco Harris and Lynn Swann were the MVP winners on their first two visits to the big game, with wins over the Minnesota Vikings (16-6) and the Dallas Cowboys (21-17). Bradshaw got more credit and responsibility in the 35-31 victory over the Cowboys and a year later in a 31-19 win against the Rams.