I released the original post of QB Reality – Why Most Teams Stand No Chance before Super Bowl 48 and updated it after the Seahawks beat the Broncos. I wrote a follow-up post before Super Bowl 54.
Here we are, ready to go into Super Bowl Sunday again and the more things change, the more they stay the same. No matter which team wins, the results are the same. After Super Bowl 55, the number of quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl remains at 33. (NOTE: I go into greater detail about this on The Game Before the Money Podcast. You can listen at this link or play it on the player below.)
Only 33 starting quarterbacks have won pro football’s championship since 1966. That includes Patrick Mahomes, the winning quarterback of Super Bowl 54. As I pointed out in previous articles, the low number of quarterbacks winning championships dates back to the 1940s. The vast majority of Super Bowls and other pro football championships have been won by only a handful of starting quarterbacks.
In the Super Bowl era, if you combine the Super Bowl wins of just four quarterbacks – Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Tom Brady – those wins equal 30 percent of the championships in the past 54 years.
The trend also proved positive in the American Football League. How many quarterbacks won the AFL championship? Well, Len Dawson won three of those championships, George Blanda and Jack Kemp each won two of those championships. That’s 70 percent of AFL championships right there, won by three quarterbacks. The 1963 AFL championship was won by the Chargers with Tobin Rote as their starting quarterback, the same Tobin Rote who quarterbacked the Detroit Lions to an NFL championship in 1957. So that means that 80 percent of AFL championships were won by a team that had a starting quarterback who won multiple championships.
Simply getting to the championship game is also an opportunity hogged by a small number of starting quarterbacks. Staying with the American Football League, Len Dawson defeated George Blanda in the 1962 AFL Championship, prevented Blanda from earning his third title. Dawson defeated Kemp in the 1966 AFL Championship and prevented Kemp from winning his third. Kemp also started for the Chargers in the first two AFL Championship Games. Tobin Rote also started two AFL Championship games for the Chargers. Daryle Lamonica started three AFL Championship Games for the Oakland Raiders.
The pattern continues today. Every single AFC Championship Game has featured at least one of only six starting quarterbacks since 1999. That includes the 2020 AFC Championship between the Bills and Chiefs. All but four NFC Championship Games has featured at least one of only seven starting quarterbacks played since 2000. Hear the full details of who those quarterbacks are on The Game Before the Money Podcast, available at this link or you can listen on the player below.
Looking for a great NFL history book? Check out The Game Before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL available at — Amazon.com – Barnes and Noble – University of Nebraska Press