Old Warhorse Quarterbacks At The Super Bowl
by Pat Imig
Cold Hard Football Facts Respecter Of Elders (@patrickimig)
Peyton Manning enters Super Bowl XLVIII at the twilight age (in NFL terms) of 37. He is one of eight quarterbacks in NFL history to start at quarterback for his team in the Super Bowl beyond the age of 35.
Interestingly, four of those eight are in the Hall of Fame already, while one (Jim Plunkett) is often debated for Canton consideration, another will be debated (Warner) and the active one will be enshrined when it's all said and done (Manning).
The list of over-35 quarterbacks to start in the Super Bowl and how they fared:
JOHNNY UNITAS, SUPER BOWL V (AGE 37) - W, 16-13
The Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in what has become known as the "Stupor Bowl". The game was marred by 11 turnovers, seven of which were committed by Baltimore, representing the most turnovers ever by a Super Bowl winning team. In addition to committing four turnovers, Dallas produced 10 penalties for 133 yards.
Super Bowl V is the only Super Bowl in history to award the game MVP to a member of the losing team. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley earned the honor after intercepting two passes and sacking Johnny U. Howley refused to accept the award because his team lost.
FRAN TARKENTON, SUPER BOWL XI (AGE 36) - L, 32-14
Tarkenton completed 17/35 passes for 205 yards, one TD and two INT's. His second interception was returned 75 yards by Oakland's Willie Brown for a touchdown.
He was replaced by backup Bob Lee, which is arguably the best backup name in the history of backup quarterbacks. At least when Jim Kelly lost Super Bowls, he had Frank Reich to fall back on.
ROGER STAUBACH, SUPER BOWL XIII (AGE 36) - L, 35-31
Captain America Roger Staubach completed 17/30 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and four carries for 37 yards. His lone interception, however, led to seven points for the Steelers and a 21-14 halftime lead, a lead the team would never relinquish. Pittsburgh won 35-31.
JIM PLUNKETT, SUPER BOWL XVIII (AGE 36) - W, 38-9
The game remembered most for Marcus Allen's dazzling 74-yard touchdown run, immortalized by John Facenda's line, "Here comes Marcus Allen, running with the night," ended with a 38-9 Oakland victory. Jim Plunkett completed an Alex Smith-esque 16/25 passes for 172 yards with one touchdown and zero picks.
JOHN ELWAY, SUPER BOWL XXXII, SUPER BOWL XXXIII (AGE 37, 38) - W, 31-24; W, 34-19
Elway did the helicopter spin on his game-winning touchdown run against the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, but he only completed 12/22 passes for 123 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He produced through the air much better a year later against Atlanta, completing 18/29 for 336 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, both games resulted in victory for Elway and the Broncos. We hear Terrell Davis gets migraines just thinking about these games.
RICH GANNON, SUPER BOWL XXXVII (AGE 37) - L, 48-21
At age 37, Rich Gannon entered Super Bowl 37 with an MVP for the regular season awaiting him. But it didn't save him from a catastrophic performance in the biggest game of the season. Gannon threw five interceptions - three of which were returned for touchdowns. Oakland would lose 48-21 in the Chucky Bowl.
KURT WARNER, SUPER BOWL XLIII (AGE 37) - L, 27-23
One of the most prolific postseason passers in NFL history, Kurt Warner worked another miracle in 2008, leading the Arizona Cardinals to the NFC Championship.
Even with a pick-six thrown to Steelers linebacker James Harrison just before halftime, Warner completed 31/43 passes for 377 yards with three touchdowns and the one interception. Warner also lost a fumble, so he isn't free of criticism beyond the pick-six. Pittsburgh would defeat Arizona 27-23.
PEYTON MANNING, SUPER BOWL XLVIII (AGE 37) - ???
It's up to Peyton Manning to break the 4-4 gridlock for old the warhorse quarterbacks at the Super Bowl.
If he fails, he will fall from No. 5 on the all time QB list to No. 48. That's old warhorse sarcasm.
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