Oldest Quarterbacks to Play in the Super Bowl

10 Oldest Quarterbacks to Play in the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events in America each year. While it takes the entire team to make it to this championship game, the MVP tends to be the quarterback. Each of the quarterbacks on this list led their teams to at least one Super Bowl (most of them started in several) near the end of their NFL careers. Some of them even ended their careers by winning their final Super Bowl championships. Many of these quarterbacks set Super Bowl and career records that still stand today.

As of July 2020, the information on this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. Bart Starr (January 9, 1934 – May 26, 2019)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 34 years, 5 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl II – January 14, 1968
Team (at the time): Green Bay Packers

Bart Starrphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Bart Starr is a legendary NFL quarterback who was one of the game’s very first stars. Starr, who spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers (as a player and later a coach), led his team to victories in the first two Super Bowls: I and II. Although Starr originally planned to retire after the second Super Bowl win, he stayed on for another year while the team found a suitable replacement. Starr set many records that still stand today, including being the only quarterback in NFL history to lead a team to three consecutive league championships (1965–1967).

Did You Know?

Bart Starr has the highest postseason passer rating (104.8) of any quarterback in NFL history and a postseason record of 9–1.

9. Jim Plunkett (December 5, 1947 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 36 years, 1 month, 17 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl XVIII – January 22, 1984
Team (at the time): Los Angeles Raiders

Jim Plunkettphoto source: raiders.com

Jim Plunkett played in the NFL for 16 seasons, mostly with the Oakland Raiders. Plunkett also played for the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers. His early career with the Patriots and 49ers was unremarkable, but Plunkett turned things around with the Raiders. Plunkett led the Raiders to the Super Bowl twice and won both of those championships. Since the Raiders briefly moved to Los Angeles, Plunkett is the only NFL quarterback to win two Super Bowls with the same franchise in different cities: Oakland (1981) and Los Angeles (1984).

Did You Know?

Jim Plunkett is the only eligible quarterback with two Super Bowl wins as a starter not to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plunkett’s induction is debated every year, however his inclusion is always shot down because of his poor career statistics.

8. Roger Staubach (February 5, 1942 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 36 years, 11 months, 16 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl XIII – January 21, 1979
Team (at the time): Dallas Cowboys

Roger Staubachphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Roger Staubach spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and earned several nicknames, including “Captain America.” Staubach led the Cowboys to the Super Bowl five times, four as the starting quarterback. The Cowboys and Staubach won Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII. Staubach played in his last Super Bowl (XIII) in 1979 and retired after suffering two concussions. Overall, Staubach finished his 11 NFL seasons with 1,685 completions for 22,700 yards and 153 touchdowns, with 109 interceptions.

Did You Know?

After Roger Staubach was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI, he became the first of four players to win both the Heisman Trophy, and Super Bowl MVP, along with Jim Plunkett, Marcus Allen, and Desmond Howard

7. Fran Tarkenton (February 3, 1940 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 36 years, 11 months, 6 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl XI – January 9, 1977
Team (at the time): Minnesota Vikings

photo source: dailynorseman.com

Fran Tarkenton is another quarterback who spent 18 years in the NFL. Tarkenton spent most of his time with the Minnesota Vikings, spanning 13 non-consecutive seasons. He played with the New York Giants from 1967 – 1971. Although Tarkenton never won a Super Bowl, he did go play in the championship three times with the Vikings. Tarkenton’s last Super Bowl appearance (XI), was also the last time that the Vikings made it to a Super Bowl.

Did You Know?

At the time of his retirement in 1978, Fran Tarkenton held every major quarterback record.

6. Rich Gannon (December 20, 1965 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 37 years, 1 month, 6 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl XXXVII – January 26, 2003
Team (at the time): Oakland Raiders

Rich Gannonphoto source: Pinterest

Rich Gannon had an 18-year long career in the NFL and played for the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders. Despite playing professional football for nearly two decades, Gannon didn’t really have a memorable career, but he did make it to Super Bowl XXXVII with the Oakland Raiders. Gannon and the Raiders lost 48-21 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gannon’s career ended not long after when he suffered a serious neck injury in 2004.

Did You Know?

During Super Bowl XXXVII, Rich Gannon threw a Super Bowl-record five interceptions – three of which were run back for touchdowns.

5. Kurt Warner (June 22, 1971 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 37 years, 7 months, 10 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl XLIII – February 1, 2009
Team (at the time): Arizona Cardinals

photo source: bleacherreport.com

Kurt Warner began his NFL career in 1994 as an undrafted free agent, and remained so for his entire 12-year career. Despite playing for several different NFL franchises, Warner was a successful quarterback and is considered the best undrafted NFL player of all time. Warner played in three Super Bowls, ending with Super Bowl XLIII with the Arizona Cardinals. When he was with the St. Louis Rams, Warner won Super Bowl XXXIV.

Did You Know?

Kurt Warner owns three of the top five highest single-game passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history and is one of only two quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl in their first season as a starter, the other being Tom Brady.

4. Johnny Unitas (May 7, 1933 – September 11, 2002)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 37 years, 8 months, 10 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl V – January 17, 1971
Team (at the time): Baltimore Colts

photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Joel Kaufman

Johnny Unitas, another legendary quarterback, is widely considered one of the greatest NFL players of all time. Unitas is also credited with serving as the prototype for the modern era star quarterback, with a strong passing game, media fanfare, and widespread popularity. Unitas played in a few of the early Super Bowls and won Super Bowl V, even though his body was starting to wear out. Following the Super Bowl win, Unitas played for one more year and retired in 1973.

Did You Know?

For 52 years, Johnny Unitas held the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (set between 1956 and 1960), until it was broken in 2012 by Drew Brees.

3. John Elway (June 28, 1960 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 38 years, 7 months, 3 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl XXXIII – January 31, 1999
Team (at the time): Denver Broncos

John Elwayphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Pro Football Hall of Famer, John Elway spent his entire 16-year career with the Denver Broncos. Elway ended his time with the NFL on a high note by winning Super Bowl XXXIII when he was 38 years old. Together, the Broncos and Elway made five Super Bowl appearances, winning two. Elway is only one of two players in NFL history to score a rushing touchdown in four different Super Bowls (the other being Thurman Thomas) and the only quarterback to do so.

Did You Know?

John Elway has been a part of the Denver Broncos team for all three of the franchise’s Super Bowl victories, two as a player and the third as an executive – Elway is currently the general manager and president of football operations for the Broncos.

2. Peyton Manning (March 24, 1976 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 39 years, 10 months, 14 days
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl 50 – February 7, 2016
Team (at the time): Denver Broncos

Peyton Manningphoto source: Flickr via Jeffrey Beall

Peyton Manning ended his 18-year long NFL career by winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos at the age of 39. Until Tom Brady beat his record in Super Bowl LIII, Manning was the oldest starting quarterback to both play in and win a Super Bow. Super Bowl 50 was Manning’s second championship win, the first was with the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI. Manning is the first starting quarterback to lead two different franchises to Super Bowl victory.

Did You Know?

Peyton Manning started in a Super Bowl four times (twice with the Indianapolis Colts and twice with the Denver Broncos), each time with a different head coach: Tony Dungy, James Caldwell, John Fox, and Gary Kubiak.

1. Tom Brady (August 3, 1977 – Present)

Age at Time of Super Bowl: 41 years, 6 months
Date of Super Bowl:  Super Bowl LIII – February 3, 2019
Team (at the time): New England Patriots

Tom Bradyphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Tom Brady last appeared at the Super Bowl (and won) in 2019 at the age of 41, making him the oldest quarterback to ever play in the Super Bowl. Not only is Brady one of the oldest quarterbacks to play/win a Super Bowl, he’s one of the oldest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Until early 2020 when he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady had spent his entire professional football career with the New England Patriots and won six Super Bowls with the team – Brady holds the record for most Super Bowl wins.

Did You Know?

Tom Brady made his Super Bowl debut in 2002 when he was just 24 years old. So far Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, another record he holds.



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