Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys
Football season may be over, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their second Super Bowl this past season while quarterback and MVP Tom Brady won his seventh. The Kansas City Chiefs became the sixth reigning champion to lose the Super Bowl.
As fans and teams start planning for next season, we wrap up a 2-part series by reflecting. Here’s a look at the starting quarterback the last time each NFC team reached the Super Bowl:
Dallas Cowboys: Troy Aikman (1995)
Troy Aikman led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins in a 4-year span during the 1990’s. Dallas became just the second team to win five Super Bowls. Since a 27-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, Dallas hasn’t advanced past the Divisional round of the playoffs.
New York Giants: Eli Manning (2011)
Despite just a combined 19-13 record over the two seasons, the New York Giants won two Super Bowls over a 5-year stretch. Each time, the Giants beat the New England Patriots on a late touchdown and each time, quarterback Eli Manning was the game’s MVP. In Super Bowl XLII, New England was undefeated when the Giants pulled out a 17-14 win. Four years later, they beat the Patriots, 21-17.
Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Foles (2017)
The Philadelphia Eagles’ lone Super Bowl win came with Nick Foles at the helm. Foles took over for an injured Carson Wentz late in the regular season and went on to lead the Eagles to a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Foles accounted for four total touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.
Washington Football Team: Mark Rypien (1991)
The Washington Football Team has three Super Bowl wins with three different starting quarterbacks. The last victory came during the 1991 season when game MVP Mary Rypien led the then Washington Redskins past the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI. Washington has just three playoff wins since.
Chicago Bears: Rex Grossman (2006)
The Chicago Bears have just two Super Bowl appearances and each time, the Bears were led by their defense. In 2006, Rex Grossman helped Chicago reach Super Bowl XLI where it fell to the Indianapolis Colts, 29-17. Grossman threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions that season.
Detroit Lions: N/A
The Detroit Lions are the lone NFC team never to reach the Super Bowl. Detroit was one game away in 1991, but was blasted by the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship. They haven’t won a playoff game since.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers (2010)
The Green Bay Packers have lost in the NFC Championship in each of the last two seasons, but did win their last Super Bowl appearance. Aaron Rodgers joined Packer greats Bart Starr and Brett Favre as signal callers to lead Green Bay to a Super Bowl victory. Rodgers was the Super Bowl XLV MVP in leading the Packers past the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25.
Minnesota Vikings: Fran Tarkenton (1976)
The Minnesota Vikings made the Super Bowl four times from 1970-76, but lost all four games and never held a lead. Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton was the starting quarterback in the final three of those games. The Vikings have not been back to the Super Bowl since.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan (2016)
The Atlanta Falcons have two Super Bowl appearances and no victories. They do hold a Super Bowl record, however. Unfortunately, that record was letting a 25-point lead slip away against the New England Patriots in a 34-28 overtime loss in Super Bowl LI. Quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, but it was not enough.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton (2015)
During an MVP season in 2015, Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 record and Super Bowl 50 appearance. Unfortunately, Newton was unable to get anything going in the Super Bowl as a superb Denver Broncos’ defense forced four turnovers, including two Newton fumbles in a 24-10 Denver victory.
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees (2009)
The New Orleans Saints are the only NFC team with one Super Bowl appearance and one victory. The legend Drew Brees was the MVP as New Orleans beat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, 31-17. After Brees threw the go-ahead touchdown pass with less than six minutes to go, Tracy Porter sealed the win by returning a Peyton Manning interception for a touchdown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady (2020)
The 5-time Super Bowl MVP turned doubters into believers in his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady led the Buccaneers to their second championship with a 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He became the first player to win Super Bowl MVP honors for two different teams. He was a 4-time MVP with the New England Patriots.
Arizona Cardinals: Kurt Warner (2008)
After two appearances with the St. Louis Rams, Kurt Warner led the Arizona Cardinals to their lone Super Bowl appearance in 2008. Warner passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns in the game as Arizona rallied with 16 straight points to take a 23-20 lead. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers answered with less than a minute remaining to top the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, 27-23.
Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff (2018)
A former No. 1 overall pick, Jared Goff helped the Los Angeles Rams reach Super Bowl LIII, but there, they only managed a field goal in a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots. The three points tied for the fewest by any team in Super Bowl history.
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo (2019)
After winning two Super Bowls as a backup for the New England Patriots, Jimmy Garoppolo became the fourth quarterback to start a Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. The 49ers held a 10-point fourth quarter lead against the Kansas City Chiefs, but Kansas City scored 21 unanswered points to leave with a 31-20 victory.
Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson (2014)
After leading the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory in 2013, Russell Wilson came up just short in a 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. Down four, Wilson marched the Seahawks to the goal line where Seattle unthinkably called a pass play to the crowded part of the field. Wilson was interception by Malcolm Butler in the end zone to seal the New England win.