Ranking Quarterbacks With Multiple Super Bowl Starts

*Though this article was written before 2009’s Super Bowl XLIII featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Arizona Cardinals, it has been edited to reflect the results of that game.

There are few higher points a professional quarterback can reach than starting in a Super Bowl. Many feel that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make their mark on a game that they love, but there are a number of players who have multiple starts in the Super Bowl. How have they fared? Here we’ll rank them by how successful they were in winning the big game.

The Undefeated
Six players have started multiple Super Bowls and never lost a game. They are Terry Bradshaw (4-0), Joe Montana (4-0), Troy Aikman (3-0), Bart Starr (2-0), Jim Plunkett (2-0), and Ben Roethlisberger (2-0). Of that group, other than Roethlisberger who is still active in the league, only Jim Plunkett is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plunkett and Roethlisberger also the only ones in that group to not have won back-to-back Super Bowls. Want to win a bet with a friend? Ask them who is the one quarterback to win Super Bowls representing two different cities. The answer is Jim Plunkett who won Super Bowl XV with the Oakland Raiders and then won Super Bowl XVIII as the quarterback of the Los Angeles Raiders.

Above .500
Only two players have started multiple Super Bowls, lost at least one and still have an above .500 record in the big game. Tom Brady (3-1) and Bob Griese (2-1) are the only members of this club.

Even Steven
Four quarterbacks have a .500 record in their multiple starts in Super Bowl games, they include Roger Staubach (2-2), Len Dawson (1-1), Joe Theismann (1-1), and Brett Favre (1-1).

Below .500
There are only two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks with a below .500 record in the big game. John Elway (2-3) who lost the first three Super Bowls he appeared in (XXI, XXII, and XXIV), before winning two to end his career (XXXII and XXXIII). Kurt Warner recently joined this group as he went 1-1 in Super Bowls while starting at quarterback with the St. Louis Rams, but then lost in Super Bowl XLIII as the starting quarterback with the Arizona Cardinals.

The 0-fers
Three quarterbacks have started multiple Super Bowls and ended up with goose eggs in their win columns. The king of this group is Jim Kelly (0-4) who in four consecutive appearances in the Super Bowl, left empty handed each time. Next is Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (0-3) who led the Vikings to three Super Bowl appearances in four years, but each one ended in a loss. And last but not least is Craig Morton (0-2) who was the only quarterback ever to start Super Bowl games with two different teams, the Cowboys (Super Bowl V) and the Broncos (Super Bowl XII), before Kurt Warner joined him after bringing both the Rams and the Cardinals to the big game.

Seventeen different players have started at quarterback in multiple Super Bowl games, of those there are ten that ended up in the Hall of Fame (Elway, Bradshaw, Montana, Staubach, Kelly, Aikman, Griese, Tarkenton, Starr, and Dawson). Of the remaining seven non-Hall of Famers who have started multiple Super Bowls, four are still active players (Favre, Warner, Brady, and Roethlisberger). That would make Theismann, Morton, and Plunkett the only multiple Super Bowl starters at quarterback who are eligible for but have not made it into the Hall of Fame.

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