Only elite quarterbacks have won back-to-back Super Bowls


The Seattle Times

You don't necessarily need a Hall of Fame quarterback to win one Super Bowl. Anyone remember Jeff Hostetler with the 1990 New York Giants or Washington State's Mark Rypien with Washington after the 1991 season?

How about Trent Dilfer, who won with the 2000 Ravens and later played for the Seahawks, or Brad Johnson with the 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs?

But you pretty much do need a Hall of Famer to win a second straight Super Bowl, the task in front of the Seahawks this season.

Seattle is attempting to become the ninth team and eighth franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

Every previous team to pull that off had a quarterback who is either already in the Hall of Fame or soon will be (Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, the only active QB to win consecutive Super Bowls).

So would Russell Wilson be considered a Hall of Fame lock if he were to lead Seattle to another Super Bowl title this season?

Some might argue that great teams make great quarterbacks, as well.

Consider that Bob Griese, who led Miami to wins in Super Bowls VII and VIII, ranks 84th on the all-time passer rating list, 51 points behind his son, Brian, and was called on to throw a mere 18 passes combined in victories over Washington and Minnesota (though we'll grant it was a different era in the early '70s, before rules changes opened up the passing game).

A similar debate has raged all offseason about Wilson, many wondering if he is truly "elite" and referring to him as a game manager who largely rode a defense that allowed fewer points than any in the NFL, and an offense that ran the ball more than any in the NFL (in terms of percentage of plays).

One person who doesn't agree with that assessment is former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren.

"It means everything," Holmgren said of the value of a quarterback to repeating as a Super Bowl champion. "If you don't have that guy, I don't think you have much of a shot, really."

Fortunately for the Seahawks, Holmgren thinks Wilson is "that guy."

"Absolutely," Holmgren said, scanning the field at the VMAC with his finger and stopping at Wilson. "Of all the great players they have on this team, he's the spoon that stirs the whole thing, in my opinion. ... The beauty of it with him is that you know how he thinks, you know how he works. He's going to be better this year than he was last year, I know that."

We'll find out soon if that will be good enough for Wilson to join the ranks of the quarterbacks who have won repeat Super Bowl titles.

Here's a look at each of the quarterbacks in that exclusive fraternity:

Bart Starr, Packers

Years played: 1956-71

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: 1977

Super Bowls won: I and II

Stats to note: 9-1 in playoff games, 5-1 in NFL title games and 2-0 in Super Bowls. Hard to beat that.

Comment: Drafted in the 17th round, with the 200th overall pick, in 1956. No other QB in the Hall of Fame was drafted later, though Warren Moon - who played at Washington - was not drafted.

Bob Griese, Dolphins

Years played: 1967-80

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: 1990

Super Bowls won: VII and VIII

Stat to note: The seven passes attempted by Griese and Miami in Super Bowl VIII remain the fewest in the game's history.

Comment: Was 7-20-2 as a starter in his first three seasons before Don Shula took over as coach in 1970. You wonder if he'd have been able to survive that sort of start these days

Terry Bradshaw, Steelers

Years played: 1970-83

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: 1989

Super Bowls won: IX and X, and XIII and XIV

Stat to note: Actually punted eight times in his career, averaging 28.1 yards per kick.

Comment: Tied with Joe Montana for most wins by a quarterback in a Super Bowl, each with four. Average of 11.1 yards per pass in four Super Bowl games highest career mark for any quarterback.

Joe Montana, 49ers

Years played: 1979-1994

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: 2000

Super Bowls won: XVI, XIX and XXIII and XXIV

Stat to note: Three Super Bowl MVPs the most of any player.

Comment: Only player on this list who had a son who later started a game for the Washington Huskies. Also the only player on this list not to finish his career with the same team he led to repeat titles, playing out his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Troy Aikman, Cowboys

Years played: 1956-71

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: 1977

Super Bowls won: XXVII, XXVIII and XXX

Stat to note: Completed 56 of 80 passes in three Super Bowls (70 percent) the best in NFL history.

Comment: One of three players on this list taken first overall in the draft. Terry Bradshaw and John Elway are the others.

John Elway, Broncos

Years played: 1983-98

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: 2004

Super Bowls won: XXXII and XXXIII

Stat to note: Elway and Tom Brady are the only quarterbacks to start five Super Bowls.

Comment: Has the longest gap between Super Bowl starts by a quarterback, with his first coming on Jan. 26, 1986 and his last on Jan. 31, 1999.

Tom Brady, Patriots

Years played: 2000-present

Year inducted into Hall of Fame: Not yet eligible.

Super Bowls won: XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX.

Stat to note: Won first 10 playoff games. Is 8-8 since.

Comment: Turned 37 earlier this month and might have only a year or two left to win that elusive fourth Super Bowl and tie Montana and Bradshaw for the most by a quarterback.

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