The Super Bowl's Starting Quarterbacks

Over the decades, these signal callers have loomed large in the title games.

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Quarterbacks have always been key to winning -- or losing -- the Super Bowl. Even when they did not dominate the big game, their stories are often compelling. Here's a year-by-year look at the Super Bowl's starting quarterbacks, including the college they attended and their age when the played the big game. The winning quarterback is listed first; their teams and colleges are omitted if they made repeat performances with the same team.

The 1960s - QBs Take Center Stage

The two quarterbacks whose teams won the first three Super Bowls are legendary: Bart Starr, who helmed the Green Bay Packers -- coached by equally legendary  Vince Lombardi -- to two two title-game victories also was named MVP for Super Bowls I and II. And, few fans will forget the story of Joe Namath -- "Broadway Joe" -- who correctly predicted that his Jets from the upstart American Football League would beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, which they did 16-7.

I - 1/15/67

  • Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers, Alabama, age 33.
  • Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs, Purdue, 31.

II - 1/14/68

  • Bart Starr, 34.
  • Daryle Lamonica, Oakland Raiders, Notre Dame, 26.

III - 1/12/69

  • Joe Namath, New York Jets, Alabama, 25.
  • Earl Morrall, Baltimore Colts, Michigan State, 34.

The 1970s - Bradshaw vs. Staubach

There were, of course, other great Super Bowl quarterbacks during this era -- Johnny Unitas, Bob Griese and Kenny "The Snake" Stabler come to mind -- but the decade will always be remembered by fans for the epic battles between the Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and Pittsburgh Steelers leader Terry Bradshaw.

When those two greats weren't playing against each other in the Super Bowl, they were often playing against -- and beating -- other teams in the big game.

IV - 1/11/70

  • Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs, Purdue, 34.
  • Joe Kapp, Minnesota Vikings, California, 31.

V - 1/17/71

  • Craig Morton, Dallas Cowboys, California, 27.

VI - 1/16/72

  • Roger Staubach,  Dallas Cowboys, Navy, 29.
  • Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins, Purdue, 26.

VII - 1/14/73

  • Bob Griese, 27.
  • Bill Kilmer, Washington Redskins, UCLA, 33.

VIII - 1/13/74

  • Bob Griese, 28.
  • Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings, Georgia, 33.

IX - 1/12/75

  • Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers, Louisiana Tech, 26.
  • Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings - Georgia, 34.

X - 1/18/76

  • Terry Bradshaw, 27.
  • Roger Staubach, 33.

XI - 1/9/77

  • Ken Stabler, Oakland Raiders, Alabama, 31.
  • Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings, Georgia, 36.

XII - 1/15/78

  • Roger Staubach, 35.
  • Craig Morton, Denver Broncos, California, 34.

XIII - 1/21/79

  • Terry Bradshaw, 30.
  • Roger Staubach, 36.

The 1980s - The Joe Montana Era

Other quarterbacks did play in the Super Bowl during the 1980s, but to die-hard football fans, it many not seem like it. Joe Montana guided his San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl wins during the decade and added one more in 1990, the title game for the 1989 season.

XIV - 1/20/80

  • Terry Bradshaw, 31.
  • Vince Ferragamo, Los Angeles Rams, California, Nebraska, 25.

XV - 1/25/81

  • Jim Plunkett, Oakland Raiders, Stanford, 33.
  • Ron Jaworski, Philadelphia Eagles, Youngstown State, 29.

XVI - 1/24/82

  • Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, Notre Dame, 25.
  • Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals, Augustana, 32.

XVII - 1/30/83

  • Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins, Notre Dame, 33.
  • David Woodley, Miami Dolphins, Louisiana State, 24.

XVIII - 1/22/84

  • Jim Plunkett, Los Angeles Raiders, Stanford, 36.
  • Joe Theismann, 34.

XIX - 1/20/85

  • Joe Montana, 28.
  • Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh, 23.

XX - 1/26/86

  • Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears, BYU, 26.
  • Tony Eason, New England Patriots, Illinois, 26.

XXI - 1/25/87

  • Phil Simms, New York Giants, Morehead State, 32.
  • John Elway, Denver Broncos, Stanford, 26.

XXII - 1/31/88

  • Doug Williams, Washington Redskins - Grambling, 32
  • John Elway, 27.

XXIII - 1/22/89

  • Joe Montana, 32.
  • Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals, Maryland, 27.

The 1990s - Dallas Dynasty

Quarterback Troy Aikman led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins in four years during the middle of the decade.

And, John Elway, a quarterback who had long been an NFL superstar but whose Broncos had never won the title game, finally led his team to two successive championships at the end of the decade before retiring as a player.

XXIV - 1/28/90

  • Joe Montana, 33.
  • John Elway, Denver Broncos, Stanford, 29.

XXV - 1/27/91

  • Jeff Hostetler, New York Giants, West Virginia, 29.
  • Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills, Miami, 30.

XXVI - 1/26/92

  • Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins, Washington State, 30.
  • Jim Kelly, 31.

XXVII - 1/31/93

  • Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys, Oklahoma, UCLA, 26.
  • Jim Kelly, 32.

XXVIII - 1/30/94

  • Troy Aikman, 27.
  • Jim Kelly, 33.

XXIX - 1/29/95

  • Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers, BYU, 33.
  • Stan Humphries, San Diego Chargers, NE Louisiana, 29.

XXX - 1/28/96

  • Troy Aikman, 29.
  • Neil O'Donnell, Pittsburgh Steelers, Maryland, 29.

XXXI - 1/26/97

  • Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers - Southern Mississippi, 27.
  • Drew Bledsoe, New England Patriots, Washington State, 24.

XXXII - 1/25/98

  • John Elway, 37.
  • Brett Favre, 28.

XXXIII - 1/31/99

  • John Elway, 38.
  • Chris Chandler, Atlanta Falcons, Washington, 33.

The 2000s - Tom Brady Emerges

After helping his New England Patriots upset the hugely favored St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, Tom Brady would continue his domination of the big game. In this decade and the next, Brady took his team to seven Super Bowls -- winning five, a record for a quarterback. Also of note: brothers Peyton and Eli Manning helmed their teams to back-to-back Super Bowl victories, a first in NFL history, and Ben Roethlisberger -- "Big Ben" -- led the Pittsburgh Steelers to two Super Bowl wins in the latter half of the decade.

XXXIV - 1/30/00

  • Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams, Northern Iowa, 28
  • Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans, Alcorn State, 26

XXXV - 1/28/01

  • Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens, Fresno State, 28
  • Kerry Collins, New York Giants, Penn State, 28

XXXVI - 2/3/02

  • Tom Brady, New England Patriots, Michigan, 24
  • Kurt Warner, 30

XXXVII - 1/26/03

  • Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Florida State, 34
  • Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders, Delaware, 37

XXXVIII - 2/1/04

  • Tom Brady, 26
  • Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers, Louisiana-Lafayette, 29

XXXVIX - 2/6/05

  • Tom Brady, 27
  • Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia, Syracuse, 28

XL - 2/5/06

  • Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami (Ohio), 23
  • Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks, Boston College, 30

XLI - 2/4/07

  • Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee, 30.
  • Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears, Florida, 26.

XLII - 2/3/08

  • Eli Manning, New York Giants, Ole Miss, 27
  • Tom Brady, 30

XLIII - 2/1/09

  • Ben Roethlisberger, 26
  • Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals, 37

The 2010s - Brady Still (Mostly) Dominant

Only the Giants' Eli Manning seemed to have Brady's number, besting him in two Super Bowls in 2008 and 2012. Other than those blemishes, Brady went on to win two more championship rings during the decade, engineering the greatest Super Bowl comeback in NFL history in 2017. Peyton Manning became the oldest quarterback to play in the Super Bowl in 2016, retiring not long after the game.

XLIV - 2/7/10

  • Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, 31
  • Peyton Manning, 33

XLV - 2/6/11

  • Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 31
  • Ben Roethlisberger, 25

XLVI - 2/5/2012

  • Eli Manning, 31.
  • Tom Brady, 34.

XLVII - 2/3/2013

  • Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens, Delaware, 28
  • Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, Nevada, 25

XLVIII - 2/2/2014

  • Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, Wisconsin, North Carolina State, 25
  • Peyton Manning, 37

XLIX - 2/1/2015

  • Tom Brady, 37
  • Russell Wilson, 26

50 - 2/7/2016

  • Peyton Manning, 39
  • Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Auburn, 26

LI - 2/5/2017

  • Tom Brady, 39
  • Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, Boston College, 31
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Your Citation
Alder, James. "The Super Bowl's Starting Quarterbacks." ThoughtCo, Sep. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-super-bowls-starting-quarterbacks-1334621. Alder, James. (2017, September 27). The Super Bowl's Starting Quarterbacks. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-super-bowls-starting-quarterbacks-1334621 Alder, James. "The Super Bowl's Starting Quarterbacks." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-super-bowls-starting-quarterbacks-1334621 (accessed November 20, 2017).