In the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a golden opportunity to join the ultra-elite quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl rings club. Then he threw that slant pass to Ricardo Lockette that got picked off by psychic Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, and everything changed. Instead of inducting a new member into the club today, we’re moving Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to the top of the list.
Of course, given that Wilson has taken the Seahawks to the Super Bowl in two of his first three seasons in the NFL, there’s still a good chance that he may one day join the club. But for now it’s all about Brady.
So click the arrows to see the company Tommy Touchdown keeps. It’s pretty elite.
[Note: asterisks next to Super Bowl Roman numerals indicates MVP win.]
Super Bowls Won: XLII*, XLVI*
If the universe were a fair and just place, Eli would not have twice as many Super Bowl rings and twice as many Super Bowl MVP awards as his brother. But the universe is not fair and just. It's cold and ruthless. (Sorry, kids.) So Peyton is 1-3 in the big game with blowout losses to the Saints and Seahawks, and Eli is 2-0 with two improbable victories over vastly superior opponents.
11. Eli Manning
Super Bowls Won: XL, XLIII
In his first year in the NFL, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to 14 straight regular season wins and a 15-1 overall record. Then he got bested by Tommy Touchdown and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
The following year, Big Ben went all the way. His Steelers beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, 21-10.
Three years later he did it again. The Steelers beat the Chargers and Ravens en route to Super Bowl XLIII, where they beat the Cardinals 27-23.
10. Ben Roethlisberger
Super Bowls Won: XXXII, XXXIII*
If at first you don't succeed, try again. If at secondyou don't succeed, try, try again. If at third you don't succeed, try, try, try again.
That's the lesson we learned from Broncos great John Elway. He led his team to Super Bowl XXI after beating the Cleveland Browns with The Drive in 1987. Then he led them to Super Bowl XXII and Super Bowl XXIV, losing every time and becoming a punchline on the greatest Simpsons episode of all time.
However, Elway kept chugging along, and eventually the Broncos figured out how to evade the salary cap and surround him with loads of talent. So he avoided pulling a Marino by winning back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.
9. John Elway
Super Bowls Win: XV*, XVIII
Jim Plunkett won the Heisman at Stanford and was the #1 overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft. However, his career NFL numbers are not impressive. His passer rating is just 67.5, while he never finished a full season with anything better than 82.7. And his touchdown-to-interception ratio was poor, too: 164 career touchdowns versus 198 career interceptions. Ouch.
Despite all this, Jim Plunkett was the quarterback on two of the Raiders' three Super Bowl wins over an eight-year stretch from 1976 to 1983. He even won an MVP in the first one, Super Bowl XV.
8. Jim Plunkett
Super Bowls Won: VI*, XII
Cowboys great Roger Staubach was clutch in the Super Bowl...so long as he wasn't playing against Terry Bradshaw. The Cowboys beat the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI 24-3, lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl X, beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XII, and then lost to Steelers again in Super Bowl XIII.
Making the Big Game four times in eight years and winning twice is still amazing. Just not amazing as if they had gone 4-0.
7. Roger Staubach
Super Bowls Won: VII, VIII
Hall of Famer Bob Griese led the mighty Miami Dolphins to three straight Super Bowls in 1971-72, 1972-3, and 1973-4. The first he lost to the last guy on the list, Roger Staubach. But the next two he won against Washington and Minnesota.
Of course, his first win in Super Bowl VII is particularly notable. As you probably know, it capped off the only perfect season in NFL history.
6. Bob Griese
Super Bowls Won: I*, II*
Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr became the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 1967, when he beat the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. Then he became the first quarterback to win two Super Bowls and the first to win Super Bowls back-to-back in 1968, when he beat the AFL's Oakland Raiders 33-14.
Fortunately for Starr, he was spared the humiliation of losing to Joe Namath and the Jets in Super Bowl III. Some guy named Johnny Unitas was the QB on the NFL's representative that year.
5. Bart Starr
Super Bowls Won: XXVII*, XXVIII, XXX
Troy Aikman was pretty good at winning Super Bowls. In his first two appearances, he led his Cowboys to two straight wins, outscoring poor Buffalo by a combined 82-30. Then, after taking a year off from winning Super Bowls so 49ers could get in there, Aikman was back at it in Super Bowl XXX, getting sweet revenge against the Cowboys' old Super Bowl foes, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
4. Troy Aikman
Super Bowls Won: IX, X, XIII*, XIV*
Speaking of the Steelers, Terry Bradshaw led them to four Super Bowls in six years, winning all four of them. He beat the Vikings 16-6 in 1975, the Cowboys 21-17 in 1976, the Cowboys 35-31 in 1979, and the Rams 31-19 in 1980.
I think that's probably why Terry Bradshaw is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
3. Terry Bradshaw
Super Bowls Won: XVI*, XIX*, XXIII, XXIV*
The only other quarterback to go 4-0 in the Super Bowl is Joe Montana. His first win came against the Bengals in 1982, after he and Dwight Clark teamed up to beat the Cowboys with The Catchin the NFC Championship Game. Then he beat the Dolphins in 1985, the Bengals again in 1989, and the Broncos (poor John Elway) in 1990.
Joe Montana's combined Super Bowl Stats: 11 touchdowns, zero interceptions, 127.8 passer rating, and three MVPs.
2. Joe Montana
Taking his new place at the top of the list is Thomas Edward Patrick Brady. He may have thrown two costly picks against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, but Brady earned his fourth Super Bowl ring by shredding one of the best secondaries in NFL history in the fourth quarter. For that, he earned his third Super Bowl MVP award.
Of course, some will say that Brady still isn't as good as Montana because Montana was undefeated in the Super Bowl and never threw an interception. However, others will say Montana didn't get the chance to go 4-2 in the Super Bowl because he "only" made four appearances.
For now, we'll forego the G.O.A.T. debate. Instead, we'll just say that, after winning ring number four at the age of 37, it's pretty clear that Tom Brady is really, really good.
1. Tom Brady
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