Super Bowl QBs – Draft Or Not?

When the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 45 back in February, Aaron Rodgers became the 29th quarterback to lead his team to the championship.

Do those championship quarterbacks come through the NFL Draft? If they do, when in the draft have they been picked? Is it worth using one of the earliest choices in the draft on a quarterback? Can you find a championship QB through trade and free agency just as often as you draft?

Here’s what history shows us:

  • Of the 29 quarterbacks that led their team to titles, 28 were selected in the AFL or NFL Drafts. Only Kurt Warner (’99 with Rams) took his team to a title without entering the league through the draft. Conclusion – best to take chances with a QB that was drafted.
  • With 28 drafted, when do Super Bowl QBs get selected? The average spot they were selected was No. 48, in the middle of the second round. But that number is skewed quite a bit by three QBs who were taken from 199 to 227. A better gauge is the median number of those 28 and that would be the seventh player selected. Of the 45 Super Bowls, 22 were won by quarterbacks taken in the first round, from No. 1 through 7. But, the lower half of those drafted quarterbacks also won 22 Super Bowls, including three by Tom Brady (199), two by Bart Starr (200) and Brad Johnson (227). Conclusion – It helps to have an early choice, but it guarantees nothing.
  • How many first round QBs get taken each year, and how often do they win Super Bowls? Let’s start with 1967 and run through the 2010 NFL Drafts – there were 70 quarterbacks taken with first round choices and 14 won at least one Super Bowl title. That’s 20 percent. Conclusion – One out of every five QBs taken in the first round ends up winning a Super Bowl. Not very good odds at all.
  • Should a team use the draft or another avenue to find its championship quarterback? Of the 29 Super Bowl winning QBs, 17 won the title with the team that drafted him, or 31 of the 45 Super Bowls played to date. That’s 59 percent of the QBs and 69 percent of the championships going to teams that drafted their winning QB. Conclusion – If you guess right, the chances are about two in three that you can win a title with “your” QB.

Here are the 29 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. They are listed by the spot they were taken in the NFL Draft, the round, the year, what team drafted them and who they won the Super Bowl with and what year, or how many titles they won.

#

Round

Quarterback Year By Won with …
1

1

Joe Namath 1965 NYJ Jets 1968
1

1

Terry Bradshaw 1970 PIT Steelers 4x
1

1

Jim Plunkett 1971 NE Raiders 2x
1

1

John Elway 1983 BAL Broncos 2x
1

1

Steve Young 1984 TB 49ers 1994
1

1

Troy Aikman 1989 DAL Cowboys 3x
1

1

Peyton Manning 1998 IND Colts 2006
1

1

Eli Manning 2004 SD Giants 2007
2

1

Earl Morrall 1956 SF Colts 1970
4

1

Bob Griese 1967 MIA Dolphins 2x
5

1

Len Dawson 1957 PIT Chiefs 1969
5

1

Jim McMahon 1982 CHI Bears 1985
6

1

Trent Dilfer 1994 TB Ravens 2000
7

1

Phil Simms 1979 NYG Giants 1987
11

1

Ben Roethlisberger 2004 PIT Steelers 2x
17

1

Doug Williams 1978 TB Redskins 1988
24

1

Aaron Rodgers 2005 GB Packers 2010
32

2

Drew Brees 2001 SD Saints 2009
33

2

Brett Favre 1991 ATL Packers 1996
52

2

Ken Stabler 1968 OAK Raiders 1976
59

3

Jeff Hostetler 1984 NYG Giants 1990
82

3

Joe Montana 1979 SF 49ers 4x
99

4

Joe Theismann 1971 WAS Redskins 1983
129

10

Roger Staubach 1964 DAL Cowboys 2x
146

6

Mark Rypien 1986 WAS Redskins 1991
199

6

Tom Brady 2000 NE Patriots 3x
200

17

Bart Starr 1956 GB Packers 2x
227

9

Brad Johnson 1992 MIN Bucs 2002
Not

Drafted

Kurt Warner   GB Rams 1999

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