Tom Brady left the chilly and familiar confines of the Northeastern area where he had been part of six NFL championship teams. Sunday, he was the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who took Super Bowl 55 with a convincing 31-9 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs.
For Brady, there was another accolade to be had. The win tied him with former Cleveland Browns quarterback Otto Graham and Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers for most championships won by a starting quarterback in professional football. Brady has now won seven championships - all Super Bowls.
For decades, Graham sat alone this pinnacle until Starr came along as both captured seven pro football championships as the starting quarterback.
Brady entered the league as a longshot having been selected in the sixth-round of the 2000 NFL draft at pick #199. Every year when that slot comes up on ESPN, it is announced as the “Brady pick.”
While with the New England Patriots, Brady began as the fourth QB on the depth chart. Later, he won the backup job to Pro Bowler Drew Bledsoe. In his second season, Bledsoe suffered internal bleeding after being smashed in the Patriots’ second game of the year against the New York Jets. Brady took over and even when Bledsoe returned as healthy, Brady had the job intact.
The Patriots and Brady won Super Bowls 36, 38, 39, 49, 51, and 53. Brady was also part of three Super Bowl squads which were defeated while the franchise has lost a total of five.
And with the Bucs’ win, Brady now owns seven championships as the starting quarterback. As does Otto Graham. As does Bart Starr.
Coach Paul Brown was named the head coach at Ohio State in 1941 that finished 6-1-1. Their only loss was to Northwestern whose star tailback was Graham. The key play happened late in the game when Graham took the pitch and ran behind a wall of blockers to his left, only to stop and toss a long touchdown pass down the right sideline.
The next two years he played quarterback before entering the Navy during World War II.
When Coach Brown began putting the roster of the 1946 Cleveland Browns together, he had never forgotten that throw of Graham’s and signed him to be his new team’s quarterback.
The new Cleveland entry was a part of an NFL rival league called the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). It consisted of eight teams with only three clubs located in NFL cities: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The newly-minted Cleveland Browns captured all four years of the AAFC’s existence with Graham as the starting quarterback all four years.
In 1950 three AAFC teams, the Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts, merged into the NFL. The Browns then won the 1950 NFL Championship. Cleveland and the Browns with Graham at the helm lost the next three consecutive NFL Championship Games, but won the 1954 and 1955 titles.
Which made seven pro football championships.
Starr was a 17th round pick of the Packers out of Alabama. He labored as the backup until Vince Lombardi became head coach in 1959 when he pulled starter Lamar McHan and inserted Starr. The Packers won the 1961 and 1962 NFL Championships. Later, they won three straight NFL crowns from 1965-1967 and then won the first two Super Bowls which pitted the NFL league champ against the AFL league champ.
Most pro football championships won by a starting quarterback
Legend: AAFC: All-America Football Conference; AFL: American Football League; CFL: Canadian Football League; NFL: National Football League
Otto Graham – 4: Cleveland Browns AAFC champs 1946-1949; 3: NFL champs Browns 1950, 1954-1955
Bart Starr – 5: NFL champs Green Bay Packers 1961-1962, 1965-1967; 2: Packers Super Bowl champs 1966-1967
Tom Brady – 6: New England Patriots Super Bowl champs 2001, 2003-2004, 2014, 2016 NFL, 2018; 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl champs 2020 NFL
Sid Luckman – 4: NFL champs Chicago Bears 1940-1941, 1943, 1946
Len Dawson – 3: AFL champs Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs 1962, 1966, 1969; 1- Super Bowl 1969
Terry Bradshaw – 4: Super Bowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 1974-1975, 1978-1979
Warren Moon - 4: Grey Cup champs Edmonton Eskimos CFL 1979-1982
Red Dunn – 3: NFL champs Green Bay Packers 1929-1931
Bobby Layne – 3: NFL champs Detroit Lions 1952-1953, 1957
Jackie Parker - 3: CFL champs Edmonton Eskimos 1954-1956
Joe Montana – 3: Super Bowl champs San Francisco 49ers NFL 1983, 1988-1989
Troy Aikman – 3: Super Bowl champs Dallas Cowboys NFL 1992-1993, 1995