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7 Non-Starting QBs Who Won a Super Bowl

The Vikings were gaining steam as a contender to make a deep postseason run as the regular season approached.  The season-ending **knee injury** suffered by Teddy Bridgewater during Tuesday's practice, however, cast some doubts in some minds.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer vowed that the Vikings would work hard to find a way around the setback.

Through the first 49 Super Bowls, there have been seven quarterbacks that opened a season as backups who have helped lead teams to winning the big game.

Here's what we found on seven quarterbacks who went from the bench to a Super Bowl ring:


Roger Staubach – won Super Bowl VI with Cowboys

After being drafted in 1964, Roger Staubach didn't play until 1969, when he was a backup quarterback behind Craig Morton for the Cowboys for two seasons. Following Week 5 of the 1971 season, Morton was benched, and Staubach was called up. In Week 7, Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry alternated Morton and Staubach all game before naming Staubach the full-time starter the following week. From that point on, the Cowboys didn't lose another game in the regular or postseason.

1971 Regular-Season Stats

  • 13 games played; 10 games started
  • Completions: 126 of 211 (59.7 percent)
  • Passing yards: 1,882
  • Touchdowns: 15
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Passer rating: 104.8

1971 Postseason Stats

  • 3 games played; 3 games started
  • Completions: 31 of 51 (60.8 percent)
  • Passing yards: 321
  • Touchdowns: 3
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Passer rating: 98.6

Jim Plunkett – won Super Bowl XV with Raiders

Jim Plunkett was the No. 1 overall pick by the Patriots in 1971 and began as a starter. He struggled after his rookie season, however, and was traded to the 49ers in 1976. There, Plunkett started for two seasons before he was released. He signed with the Raiders in 1978, where he was a reserve behind Ken Stabler (1978-79) and Dan Pastorini (1980). After Pastorini fractured his leg, Plunkett came off the bench and threw five interceptions in a Raiders loss to Kansas City. Plunkett started the next 11 games, however, winning nine of them. He led the Raiders through the postseason, where they became the first Wild Card team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.

1980 Regular-Season Stats

  • 13 games played; 11 games started
  • Completions: 165 of 320 (51.6 percent)
  • Passing yards: 2,299
  • Touchdowns: 18
  • Interceptions: 16
  • Passer rating: 72.9

1980 Postseason Stats

  • 4 games played; 4 games started
  • Completions: 49 of 92 (53.3 percent)
  • Passing yards: 839
  • Touchdowns: 7
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Passer rating: 96.2

Doug Williamswon Super Bowl XXII with Redskins

Tampa Bay drafted Doug Williams 17th overall in 1978, and he started 67 regular-season games for the Buccaneers and led the team to three postseason trips. After leaving Tampa Bay for the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL, Williams signed with the Redskins as a backup for Jay Schroeder in 1986. The following season, Williams subbed for Schroeder in portions of three games and started two games in place of him, finishing the regular season with a passer rating of 94. Williams started all three games of the postseason, becoming the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

1987 Regular-Season Stats

  • 5 games played; 2 games started
  • Completions: 81 of 143 (56.6 percent)
  • Passing yards: 1,156
  • Touchdowns: 11
  • Interceptions: 5
  • Passer rating: 94.0

1987 Postseason Stats

  • 3 games played; 3 games started
  • Completions: 41 of 84 (48.8 percent)
  • Passing yards: 666
  • Touchdowns: 7
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Passer rating: 93.7

Jeff Hostetler – won Super Bowl XXV with Giants

Hostetler was drafted 59th overall by the Giants in 1984 and served as a backup for his first five seasons in New York. In Week 15 of the 1990 season, quarterback Phil Simms suffered a foot injury, and Hostetler's number was called. Although the Giants lost that game to Buffalo, Hostetler led the team to wins in their final two regular-season games and won every game in the postseason, including Super Bowl XXV.

1990 Regular-Season Stats

  • 7 games played with at least one pass attempt; 2 games started
  • Completions: 47 of 87 (54 percent)
  • Passing yards: 614
  • Touchdowns: 3
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Passer rating: 83.2

1990 Postseason Stats

  • 3 games played; 3 games started
  • Completions: 45 of 76 (59.2 percent)
  • Passing yards: 510
  • Touchdowns: 3
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Passer rating: 92.5

Kurt Warner – won Super Box XXXIV with Rams

After going undrafted in 1994, Kurt Warner tried out for the Packers but was cut from the squad. During that time, he stocked shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store while continuing to pursue his dream of being an NFL quarterback. Warner played in the Arena Football League from 1995-97 before signing with the Rams in 1998. Prior to the NFL season, Warner was allocated to the NFL Europe Amsterdam Admirals and led the league in passing yards and touchdowns.

In a 1999 preseason game, quarterback Trent Green tore his ACL, and the Rams called on Warner. In a well-recognized press conference, Rams Head Coach Dick Vermeil said, "We will rally around Kurt Warner, and we'll play good football." Warner led "The Greatest Show of Turf" to a 13-3 regular season and the title.

1999 Regular-Season Stats

  • 16 games started
  • Completions: 325 of 499 (65.1 percent)
  • Passing yards: 4,353
  • Touchdowns: 41
  • Interceptions: 13
  • Passer rating: 109.2

1999 Postseason Stats

  • 3 games played; 3 games started
  • Completions: 77 of 121 (63.6 percent)
  • Passing yards: 1,063
  • Touchdowns: 8
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Passer rating: 100.0* *

Trent Dilfer – won Super Bowl XXXV with Ravens

Trent Dilfer was selected sixth overall by the Buccaneers in the 1994 NFL Draft. He was named the starting quarterback in his second season, but he struggled with turnovers during his time at the helm. In Week 10 of the 1999 season, Dilfer was injured.

Dilfer signed with the Ravens for the 2000 season and started the year as Tony Banks' backup. Dilfer was named Baltimore's starting quarterback in Week 9. He lost his first game as a starter but won every game following it, through the Super Bowl.

2000 Regular-Season Stats

  • 11 games played; 8 games started
  • Completions: 134 of 226 (59.3 percent)
  • Passing yards: 1,502
  • Touchdowns: 12
  • Interceptions: 11
  • Passer rating: 76.6

2000 Postseason Stats

  • 4 games played; 4 games started
  • Completions: 35 of 73 (47.9 percent)
  • Passing yards: 590
  • Touchdowns: 3
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Passer rating: 83.7

Tom Brady – won Super Bowl XXXVI with Patriots

The Patriots used a compensatory pick to select Tom Brady 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Brady started the season as the fourth-string quarterback but moved up to second string by the opening weekend.

In Brady's second season, starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury in the fourth quarter of Week 2. Brady stepped in to finish the game, but the Patriots fell to 0-2 on the season. Over the next 14 games that Brady started, however, New England went 11-3. He then led the Patriots through the postseason to a Super Bowl win. It would be the first of four Super Bowl championships for Brady.

2001 Regular-Season Stats

  • 15 games played, 14 games started
  • Completions: 264 of 413 (63.9 percent)
  • Passing yards: 2,843
  • Touchdowns: 18
  • Interceptions: 12
  • Passer rating: 86.5

2001 Postseason Stats

  • 3 games played, 3 games started
  • Completions: 60 of 97 (61.9 percent)
  • Passing yards: 572
  • Touchdowns: 1
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Passer rating: 77.3

Additional Observations

Five (Staubach, Plunkett, Warner, Dilfer and Brady) of the seven quarterbacks played more than half of the regular season before making the playoffs.

Four (Staubach, Hostetler, Warner and Brady) of the quarterbacks won a Super Bowl in their first season as a starting quarterback.

Four of the quarterbacks were named starters due to an injury to the original starting quarterback, while three were called up due to performance.

Number of seasons on an NFL roster before a Super Bowl win:

  • Staubach: 3
  • Plunkett: 9
  • Hostetler: 6
  • Williams: 9
  • Warner: 1
  • Dilfer: 6
  • Brady: 1

*Note: All stats referenced are from Pro Football Reference. *

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