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:
LONGEST GAP BETWEEN TITLES FOR AN NFL QUARTERBACK
|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.