Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow has the opportunity to join a select list of quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl in just their second year in the NFL. Prior to Burrow, only six QBs have managed to start for a team in the Super Bowl in their second year in the league.
Which second-year quarterbacks have started in a Super Bowl?
The list of QBs to have started a Super Bowl in their second year contains two Hall of Famers and at least two likely future Hall of Famers. Those six names are Dan Marino (1984), Kurt Warner (1999), Tom Brady (2001), Ben Roethlisberger (2005), Colin Kaepernick (2012), and Russell Wilson (2013).
The one name that really stands out is Warner. While the other six all achieved the feat within two years of being drafted, Warner had to wait a little longer. After going undrafted in 1994, Warner signed with the Green Bay Packers. Yet, he never played a snap after getting cut in training camp. After stints in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe, Warner was signed by the Rams. He subsequently led them to a Super Bowl in his second official season in the NFL.
Which second-year QBs fell short of winning a conference title?
Interestingly, the 2021-22 AFC Championship Game features another QB who came close to being another quarterback to take his team to a Super Bowl in his second year. Patrick Mahomes took the Chiefs to the title game in his second season. However, it was his first season starting more than one game. Mahomes then took the Chiefs to the Super Bowl in his third season, where they defeated the San Francisco 49ers.
Other QBs on the list of those to play in a conference championship in their second year include Bernie Kosar (1986), Kerry Collins (1996), and Daunte Culpepper (2000). A QB whose team went to the Super Bowl in his second campaign was Carson Wentz. The second-year QB had started 13 games before his season ended through injury. Nick Foles then guided the team to a Super Bowl victory.
Has a second-year quarterback ever won the Super Bowl?
Four of the six second-year quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl in their second season have actually managed to win it. Those four are Warner, Brady, Roethlisberger, and Wilson.
Warner’s Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in the game that ended with “The Tackle“. Brady led the Patriots to a 20-17 victory over Warner and the Rams two years later, having replaced Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 of the 2001 season. Roethlisberger and the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL. The only QB in NFL history to start all 32 games in his first two seasons and win a Super Bowl is Wilson. The Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 in an extremely one-sided game.