Blog Entry

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:26 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 2:33 am
Quarterback rematch? That doesn't bode well for Brady. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Fact: only twice before this year has a Super Bowl featured a rematch of quarterbacks. Eli Manning and Tom Brady will be the third such rematch, and it seems relevant to examine what kind of success the other guys had when they squared off the second time, in advance of Sunday's tilt.

Of course, we need to know who went head-to-head first. Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers and Roger Staubach of the Cowboys battled the first time, way back when the Super Bowl only got one Roman numeral (X). They met again in Super Bowl XIII. And Troy Aikman of the Cowboys met Jim Kelly of the Bills twice during the Fire Marshall Bill Halftime Era.

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If you know much about the NFL, you can make an educated guess as to how these sort of rematches play out for the guy who lost the first game. (A: Not well.) Bradshaw's one of only two quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins; Joe Montana is the other. (Although a Brady win on Sunday would net him a fourth.)

And those Jim Kelly squads were great up until the "Big Game" -- four straight AFC Championships netted exactly zero Super Bowl wins. That, by the by, is a reminder of how fleeting these moments are, and why winning them matters more than anyone who doesn't play the game will every know.

Anyway, Super Bowl X took place on January 18, 1976 in Miami. Bradshaw's Steelers toppled the Cowboys 21-17. Bradshaw was nine of 19 (!) for 209 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Staubach was 15 of 24 for 204 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The NFL presents a slightly different game these days, huh?

When they two matched up again three years later, Bradshaw was substantially more effective in his second win, going 17 of 30 for 318 yards, four touchdowns and one pick in a 35-31 win. Staubach was no slouch either, completing 17 of 30 passes too. He only threw for 228 yards but did have three teeters and a pick.

Aikman and Kelly squared off for the first time in Super Bowl XXVII, a 52-17 blowout for the Cowboys. (Michael Jackson performed both "Billie Jean" and "Black and White" at this game, which is equal parts awesome and ... aging.)

Kelly suffered an injury in this game, so Frank Reich led the Bills with 194 passing yards, one touchdown and a pick. Kelly threw two picks despite leaving early; the Bills coughed up an awkward nine turnovers in the loss. As you would imagine, that could have eliminated the need for the Cowboys to produce eye-popping stats, but Aikman threw for four touchdowns anyway.

When the two met a year later at the Georgia Dome, the result was different, but still the same. Aikman threw for 207 yards and no touchdowns, while Kelly produced 260 yards and zero touchdowns as well. A series of field goals and/or rushing touchdowns provided the scoring and neither quarterback was particularly effective, from a statistical sense.

So which direction does 2012 take? Logic (and a 55-point over/under in Vegas) says the former. Brady and Manning should see more success than Kelly and Aikman saw in their rematch.

Even though the Giants pass rush is ferocious, neither defense is absolutely elite, while both offenses are the definition of potent. Regardless, the short history of quarterback rematches in the Super Bowl doesn't exactly favor Brady. Then again, shattering NFL playoff trends isn't exactly something new for the Patriots signal caller.

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Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2012 10:53 am

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

The only place the Giants are the "underdog" is in Vegas, and that's only because they're trying to get money on the Patriots since they stand to lose a lot if the Giants win. Almost every sports website or cable station has the Giants as the favorites, so give the whole "underdog" thing a rest. Nobody really thinks the Giants are the underdogs, they think the Patriots are the underdogs because no one is giving them a chance.

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: February 3, 2012 10:39 am

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Enough already with these hack articles, Play the f'n game.

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:15 am

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

I think this is going to be a great Super Bowl, very intertaining with a lot of scoring. It might go down to who throws the last punch.  I do think it will be tough for the Giants to beat Brady and the Patriots again, even though they are not trying to win twice against them in the same year.  But I would be surprised if Brady and the Patriots have not studied the game tape from the last Supr Bowl for the past two weeks.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2012 3:52 am

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Over from the comparison thread discussing Montana-Brady...  how SB's aren't the definitive measurement.  Here Bradshaw gets props against Staubach twice in two SB wins.  The better QB?  Far and away Staubach who is on most top ten lists (near the top of mine) where Bradshaw isn't.

Again...  team sport...  different eras...  different rules...  different roles...

Super Bowl is a great spectacle...  a group effort where anyone on either team can be the goat or the hero... and the QB gets all the credit apparently.

Hoping we get a great game (for entertainment)...  that the trend in this article continues with an even more depressing, humiliating outing for Brady & Comapany...  and actually hoping NY blows out NE 62-10 and Brady finishes the game in street clothes on the sidelines.

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:30 am

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

The fact of bringing up past trends about QB's going against each other many years apart is the same as saying every year on the stock market should be as good as it was back in 2009 or the 1990's.   Even though they are the same two QB's, it is years apart, the team around them is completely different, the NFL passing/running game has evolved.  There are so many variables, there is not enought time in the 2 week wait for the big game to list them all.  I shut out all this media comparision crap and just wait for the game.  The two sayings that come to mind are "on any given Sunday" and "that's why they play the game".   So all comparisons aside....let's just get to the game and see what falls out.  Best of luck to both teams. 

Just give me a game like the first NE-NY or Pitt-Ari SuperBowls and I will be one happy camper.

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:58 pm

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Super Bowl XXVIII at the Georgia Dome was actually a good game.  He's right about Kelly and Aikman.  Emmit was on fire in the second half; he really hadn't done much prior to that.  And the Bills had the ball, were driving, up 13-6 and a Thurman fumble gets returned for a TD and changed the momentum in the 3rd qtr.  Even at the start of the 4th quarter it was a 20-13 game so it was still competitive.

So different than the year before.  At least Kelly is in the HOF and I think there is a greater respect today for the Super Bowl appearances.

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:23 pm

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

San Fran vs Cicny was the same teams squaring off, but not the same QB's.  Montana and Ken Anderson, then Montana and Boomer Esiason. 

Since: Feb 2, 2012
Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:33 pm

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

whoops.  Different quarterbacks.  My bad

Since: Feb 2, 2012
Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:31 pm

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

You know there's a third:  SF/Cincinnati

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:55 am

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Eli Manning has Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Although I'm sure that no quarterback loves to get pressured and hit, Eli deals with it pretty well. In fact avoiding pressure is the one thing he does much better than Peyton. The Patriots are playing well enough on defense, but in order to actually win this rematch they are going to have to do more. The Giants won't just hand this game to Tom Brady on a platter... the New England defense is going to have to take if from them. Anything is possible, but I have a hard time seeing the Giants screw this up. It feels a little like last year with the Steelers and Packers. The "underdog" feels like the favorite.

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