A decade between championships

Hall of Fame quarterbacks tend to win titles in bunches. Terry Bradshaw won his four in six seasons. Troy Aikman won his three in four. John Elway and Bob Griese won their two back-to-back. It looked like it might be that way for Tom Brady, too. He won three championships in four years (2001, ’03-04) and then . . .

Until Sunday night, that is. Against the defending champion Seahawks, the Patriots’ living legend finally got his fourth ring — a decade after No. 3.  His 10-year gap between titles is the second-longest in NFL history for a quarterback. Indeed, only half a dozen QBs have had even a 5-year gap. The list looks like this:


Quarterback, Team Won in Next Title Gap
Johnny Unitas, Colts 1959     1970 11 Years
Tom Brady, Patriots 2004     2014 10 Years
Norm Van Brocklin, Rams/Eagles 1951     1960 9 Years
Roger Staubach, Cowboys 1971     1977 6 Years
Tobin Rote, Lions/Chargers 1957     1963 6 Years
Bob Waterfield, Rams 1945     1951 6 Years
Sammy Baugh, Redskins 1937     1942 5 Years

As you may have noticed, I slipped in a seventh quarterback — Rote, who won with the ’57 Lions and ’63 Chargers (when they were still in the AFL). Tobin even spent some time in Canada between those titles. Gotta love that. Also, Waterfield and Van Brocklin shared the quarterbacking for the ’51 Rams. But since they’re both in Canton, I thought they should be included.

Of course, we’re dealing with a pretty small pool here. It’s hard enough, after all, to win one championship, never mind two (or more). Unitas, by the way, lost two title games between 1959 and ’70 (1964 plus the ’68 Super Bowl as a backup), just as Brady did between 2004 and ’14 (2007’11). So they have that in common as well.

Source: pro-football-reference.com

The one and only Johnny U, getting ready to throw a long one.

The one and only Johnny U, getting ready to throw a long one.