Lucky fourth? A list of QBs to win the Super Bowl in their fourth season

The 2012 NFL Draft class saw three quarterbacks get selected in the first round with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck being the most notable. In three years, Luck has taken the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs three times, reaching the AFC Championship last year. Many feel Luck and the Colts have as good a chance as any team in the AFC to win the Super Bowl.

Luck however, isn’t the only fourth-year quarterback hoping to do big things this year. Former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is hoping to bounce back from a pair of disappointing seasons after leading the Washington Redskins to a division title as a rookie in 2012. He’ll be battling fellow fourth-year quarterback Kirk Cousins for the starting job in the nation’s capital.

Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins are expected to be much-improved in 2015. Miami has finished 8-8 in each of the last two seasons and fluttered late to miss the playoffs. Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson already has two Super Bowl appearances and one victory to his name as he looks to become the first quarterback since Jim Kelly to lead his team to three straight Super Bowls. Nick Foles is looking to turn things around for the St. Louis Rams as well.

Whether Luck, Wilson or any of the other mentioned quarterbacks are able to lead their team to a championship remains to be seen, but the list of quarterbacks to win a title in year No. 4 has only five names. Here are the ones to do it previously:

Joe Namath, New York Jets (Super Bowl III)

“Broadway Joe” as he would come to be known is most famous for his guarantee of a New York Jets’ victory in Super Bowl III. Before the showdown in Miami, Namath made the declaration despite the Jets being an 18-point underdog to the Baltimore Colts. Namath made good on that guarantee as he passed for 206 yards and was named the game’s MVP in a stunning 16-7 upset. The contest will forever be seen as a turning point in merging the AFL and NFL.

Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears (Super Bowl XX)

The 1985 Chicago Bears will forever be known for their tenacious defense and 15-1 finish, but it was the best year of quarterback Jim McMahon’s NFL career. McMahon passed for career-highs of 2,392 yards and 15 touchdowns that year. McMahon finished with 256 yards passing and a pair of rushing touchdowns on Super Sunday as the Bears downed the New England Patriots, 46-10.

Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins (Super Bowl XXVI)

Throughout his 11-year NFL career, Mark Rypien passed for over 3,500 yards twice and made a pair of Pro Bowls, but his 1991 season may have been his best. Rypien passed for nearly 3,600 yards and a career-high 28 touchdowns while leading the Washington Redskins to a 14-2 record. In Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills, Rypien was named the game’s MVP by throwing for 292 yards a pair of touchdowns in a 37-24 victory.

Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys (Super Bowl XXVII)

The first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, Troy Aikman took the Dallas Cowboys from a 1-15 year as a rookie to world champions in his fourth year in the league. Aikman’s 3,445 yards passing and 23 touchdown tosses in 1992 were the best of his 12-year Hall of Fame career. Aikman was named the MVP of Dallas’ 52-17 Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills. He finished the day with 273 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (Super Bowl XLII)

To say Eli Manning’s NFL career has had its highs and lows would be an understatement, but he’s the only quarterback who has been able to beat the New England Patriots’ dynasty in the Super Bowl. A former first overall pick out of Ole Miss, Manning led one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history as the Giants beat the previously undefeated Patriots in February, 2008. Manning threw a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes in a come-from-behind 17-14 victory. Manning’s 13-yard toss to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining turned out to be the game-winner. Manning finished the game with 255 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns to earn MVP honors.

About Mike Ferguson

Mike Ferguson is a Bloguin contributor, the editor of Noled Out and a lifetime Florida State sports enthusiast. Mike vividly remembers watching Warrick Dunn run down the sideline in Gainesville in 1993, the "Choke at Doak" in 1994 and Monte Cummings' driving layup to beat #1 Duke in 2002. Mike has worked as a sports reporter in both print and online. For isportsweb in 2013, Mike gave press coverage of Florida State football's run to the 2013 national championship. Mike has been featured on, and Yahoo Sports while interviewing major sports stars such as 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a major in Religion and a minor in Communications. Mike currently resides in Haines City, Florida with his wife Jennifer and daughters Trinity and Greenly. Mike is a full-time reporter at Polk County's newspaper, The Ledger, in Lakeland, Florida. Mike can be followed on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.