Super Bowl Handicapping: QBs Been There, Done That
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 01/20/2009
When both guys behind center have done it before, how do you figure who has the edge when you are handicapping your Super Bowl wagers? Ben Roethlisberger did it in Super Bowl XL while Kurt Warner led the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a win in Super Bowl XXIV when quarterbacking the Rams. Lets see if history is any indicator.
Only three previous times in the Super Bowl's 42-year history have Super Bowl winning quarterbacks squared off in the big game. It has been over 24 years since the matchup last occurred.
While "Big" Ben's Super Bowl memories from Ford Field in Detroit are still fresh, Warner's first Super Bowl seems a little more distant. He has taken a much more circuitous route between trips to the big game. The seasons between Super Bowl appearances for Warner include injuries, being benched, being released and competing in a pair of quarterback controversies.
After a breakout 1999 season, Warner and the St. Louis Rams rolled to the Super Bowl and captured the Vince Lombardi Trophy with a 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans. Two years later Warner returned to the Super Bowl where his team was stunned, 20-17, by an upstart New England Patriots team. The Rams were 14-point favorites in that Super Bowl.
Since then Warner lost his starting job in St. Louis to Marc Bulger and then lost his job entirely. He was released by the Rams before signing a contract with the New York Giants for the 2004 season. Warner struggled and was eventually replaced by rookie Eli Manning. The next season he signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. After subpar performances and a groin injury he was replaced by Josh McCown. He eventually won the job back again before being replaced by another rookie, Matt Leinart. Ironically, it was against the Steelers in 2007 that Warner relieved Leinart again. In an underdog role this past offseason, Warner surprised many when he earned the starting nod for Week 1 from Coach Ken Whisenhunt.
When Warner takes the field Feb. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay he will become only the second quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two different teams. The other was Craig Morton who started for the Dallas Cowboys in 1971 and the Denver Broncos in 1978. Morton helped lead the Cowboys to a 16-13 win in Super Bowl V as one-point favorites against the Baltimore Colts. But the second time around he faced his former team in Super Bowl XII as the quarterback of the Broncos and lost 27-10 as five-point underdogs. Warner hopes to have different luck than Morton.
The last time a pair of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks squared off was 1984 in Super Bowl XVIII when Jim Plunkett was under center for the Los Angeles Raiders against the Washington Redskins Joe Theismann. The Raiders blew out the Redskins, 38-9, as three-point underdogs.
Previously, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys faced off not once but twice with a Super Bowl ring already on their hand.
Staubach won his title in Super Bowl VI while Bradshaw picked up his first ring in Super Bowl IX. The quarterbacks faced off twice, once in 1976 at Super Bowl X and again three years later at Super Bowl XIII. Bradshaw got the best of Staubach both times with the Steelers winning both Super Bowls, 21-17 and 35-31 respectively.