Throughout the years, there have been numerous times where one soon to be star Quarterback has replaced a Star Quarterback that has dominated the NFL for a few seasons. In some cases, the new Quarterback has faced tremendous odds following up after a Quarterback that has won multiple Super Bowls. Also, the new Quarterback may have come into the league to follow the leader that is the statistical leader in all areas in team history. There are some huge known stories as well as some lesser known ones when it comes to a new Quarterback following a star. In this article I will attempt to provide the best scenarios of Quarterbacks following Quarterbacks of all-time. Remember, the new Quarterback may not have achieved more than the former, but the point is that the Quarterback has rose to the occasion and conquered the pressure of the media as well as the fans and the entire league composition. Part of the criteria may include the number of championships that the new quarterback has won.
1) Tom Brady/Drew Bledsoe
Tom Brady was a little unknown project that was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 Draft by the New England Patriots with pick 199. Little did anyone know that Brady would rise up and rival some of the Greatest NFL Quarterbacks of all-time. Talk about pressure...you inherit a team that has a Franchise Quarterback that has a record contract in the NFL. How would you perform??? During the Patriot's second game of the season in 2001, Brady replaced an injured Bledsoe and the Pats lost that game. At this point, Brady was named the Patriots Starting Quarterback. The Patriots went on to win an unprecedented 11 games behind Brady. In fact, they won six straight games to finish 11-5, with Brady being named to the Pro Bowl. Brady lead that Patriots team to a Super Bowl win over the highly favored Saint Louis Rams and the high powered offense.
Tom Brady is now a 3x Super Bowl winner, 2x Super Bowl MVP, 2x NFL MVP, 10x Pro-Bowl Player, 5x AFC Champ, and the NFL's 2000s Decade Team. Brady has been nothing but unbelievable and there are always arguments against Brady. However; He has completed 4,551 passes in 7,168 attempts for a 63.5%. Brady has 392 TDS/143INT for 53,258 Yards and a 95.9 QB RATING. Brady followed Joe Montana as the only NFL Quarterback to win multiple Super Bowls and League MVP's. So let's take a look at what he has accomplished versus who he followed at the QB Position. So, Tom Brady has 3 Super Bowl wins, 2 NFL MVP's and he has thrown for close to a record 53,258 Yards in less games than his predecessor Drew Bledsoe. Not to mention, Tom Brady is on the cusp of yet another Super Bowl victory, which would put him at 4 in case any one is counting.
2) Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers
Favre threw for 508 TD's/336INT's, 86 Completion Percentage, and holds all of the the all-time Packers Quarterback Records. Favre is the only Quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 70,000 Yards, 6,000 Completions, and 10,000 Pass Attempts. Brett can be considered the iron man...the "Cal Ripkin" of the NFL as he started an NFL record 297 Consecutive Games. He also won 3 Consecutive MVP Awards, the only NFL player to ever accomplish this feat. He led his teams to eight division championships, 5 NFC Championships, and 2 Super Bowls...winning Super Bowl 31. Brett Favre was the staple for the Green Bay Packers as mentioned, from 1992-2007. On March 4th, 2008, Brett announced his retirement. At this point, the Packers turned the team over to the heir apparent, Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers was the Packers 1st Round Pick of the 2005 NFL Draft at pick #24. So if you were looking at this situation from the outside, it would have been easy for Rodgers to fail miserably. I mean, c'mon, he was taking over for arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history as well as taking the reigns for the Packers, one of the most influential teams of NFL history. Well, Rodgers did not crack under pressure. In fact, Rodgers has been one of the Top Quarterbacks in the NFL since he took over. As of the end of 2014, Rodgers has thrown for 226 TDS/57 INT/29,578 Yards/and an unheard of 106.0 QB Rating.
Rodgers was able to win a Super Bowl in his first try in 2011, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. Aaron won the Super Bowl MVP Award. He is a 1x MVP, 4x Pro Bowler, and an all-pro 4x. Aaron Rodgers has a lot of football left so the sky is the limit for this superstar. At age 31, he is still in his prime and could go along way in the ranks of the NFL's greatest Quarterbacks. In fact, 2014 marks another opportunity to win his second Super Bowl.
3) Joe Montana/Steve Young
Montana has an impressive resume. He was an 8x Pro Bowler, 4x Super Bowl Champion, 3x Super Bowl MVP, 2x NFL MVP, 4x All-Pro, NFL 1980's All Decade, and a Hall of Fame induction. During his career, Montana lead his teams to 31 4th Quarter Comebacks. During the 81 Playoffs, Montana threw Game Winning TD's in both the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl. He has been rated by Sports Illustrated as the Number 1 Clutch Quarterback of all-time. Joe "Cool" left it all on the field and is definitely one of the Greatest. In 1993, Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs after a QB controversy developed.
At this point, the team became Steve Young's. Steve Young was virtually an unknown commodity, having come over from the USFL. He was drafted in the first round of the supplemental draft. Young sat on the bench behind Joe Montana from 1987-1993. At this point, the team decided to go a different direction and go with Young. Talk about big shoes to fill. Imagine being told you are now the Starting Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Well, Steve Young did not just do a good job following Montana, he did a phenomenal job!! He finished his career with 232 TDS/107INT after being forced to retire early due to concussions. He was also the first prototypical pocket/rushing QB and he had 43 Rushing TDS as well as 4,239 Rushing Yards to go along with 33,124 Yards Passing.
Steve Young finished his career with a 96.8 QB Rating. So here is Steve Young's resume. He was a 7x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 3x Super Bowl Champion, 3x NFC Champion, 2x NFL MVP, and a Hall of Fame inductee. Steve Young also holds the NFL record with 6 Passing TD's in a Super Bowl. So Young had huge shoes to fill and came through big time. Here is a comparison...Montana (4 SB)/Young (3SB), Montana (8 Pro Bowls)/Young (7 Pro Bowls), Montana (92.3 Rating)/Young (96.8 Rating). So, this may be the best ever as Young came very close to Montana's Numbers.
4) Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck
Manning lead the Colts to One Super Bowl Win, he was the Super Bowl MVP, a 14x Pro Bowler, 7x All-Pro, 3x AFC Champion, 5x NFL MVP, and he is the NFL's all-time leader in Passing TD's. He was also the Pro Bowl MVP in 2005 and was in the NFL's 2000 All Decade Team. Manning is the player with all of the stats, but yet he was only able too win one Super Bowl with the Colts. However, Manning has a chance to win a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. Of course, it has not worked out for Manning the past two seasons with the Bronco's as his team has bowed out in disappointing fashion.
Andrew Luck was drafted to replace Peyton Manning as the Indianapolis Colts franchise Quarterback. Luck was taken somewhat later in the draft with the 84th pick in the 3rd Round. However, Luck has already out-shined his upper class mates. Since Luck took over for Manning, he has made 3 Straight Pro-Bowls. This season he took the Colts to the AFC Championship Game in only his 3rd Season. In 3 Seasons, Luck has compiled 86TDs/43INT/12,957 Yards Passing (Including a rookie record 4,374 Yards in 2012), as well as chipping in 905 Rushing Yards along with 12 Rushing Touchdowns. Yes, Luck has yet to take his team to the Super Bowl, but it is only his 3rd season. Anyone would have to agree that Luck has overproduced far and above what anyone would have imagined. And to follow Peyton Manning, arguably one of the Greatest NFL Quarterbacks of all-time says even more. Luck still has a legacy to write, but he has pretty much established a tremendous beginning.
5) Brian Griese/Dan Marino
During his entire career, Griese threw for over 25,000 yards, while tossing 192 Touchdowns and compiling a 77.1 QB Rating. While Griese was a Franchise Quarterback, he was also afforded tons of talent around him including Hall of Fame Running Backs Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, who both went over the 1,000 yard rushing mark in during the perfect 1972 Season. He was also backed by a dominant Defense that also helped the team win Two Super Bowls. Bob Griese is now in the NFL Hall of Fame as well and established a high standard for the Miami Dolphins at the Quarterback Position.
After Griese's career came to an end, the Dolphins drafted Dan Marino with the 27th Pick in the 1st Round of the 1983 Season. Marino was highly touted out of Pittsburgh. Following up Bob Griese would be a huge challenge. Well, Marino would not disappoint, besides his failure to ever win a Super Bowl. However; Marino cannot be faulted for his lack of Titles as he was never surrounded with star talent on either side of the ball like his predecessor Griese. In fact, Dan Marino made superstars out of otherwise mediocre players. He made wide receivers Mark Duper wand Mark Clayton look like Jerry Rice. Marino set every Dolphin passing record throwing for 61,361 Yards (NFL record until Brett Favre and Peyton Manning passed it), 420 TDS/252 INT's/4,967 Completions and a 59.4 Percentage.
During his career, Dan Marino also was a 9x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, NFL Rookie of the Year (1983), AFC Champion in 1984 (Losing his only Super Bowl to the 49ers and Joe Montana), 12x Dolphins MVP, the first Quarterback to throw for over 5,000 Yards in a season, the first Quarterback to throw for over 40 TD's in a season (including 48 in 1984...a record until Peyton Manning broke it), holds many other numerous Quarterback Records, is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame as well as the College Hall of Fame, and has been ranked the 25th Greatest NFL Player of All-Time. Dan Marino is arguably the Best Quarterback of All-Time. The only thing that eluded him his entire career was a Super Bowl. However; as mentioned, he was never surrounded with talent like many of these other great Quarterbacks were.
6) Ken Obrien/Boomer Esiason
After Obrien left for the Eagles in Free Agency in 1993, the Jets turned to Boomer Esisason. Boomer was a proven winner and did have a Super Bowl Appearance under his belt. He compiled 37,920 Yards/247 TD's/184 INT's/and an 81.1 Passer Rating. He almost led the Jets to the playoffs and did make the Pro Bowl in 1993. His career was cut short by what is thought to be the first Quarterback concussion casualty.
7) Norm Van Brocklin/Sonny Jurgensen
Jurgenson was drafted by the Eagles in 1957 in the 4th Round. He sat on the bench behind Brocklin and watched and studied. After taking over for Brocklin as the starting Quarterback, Sonny was a 5x Pro Bowler, 5x NFL Passing Champion, 2x Touchdown Champion, a 1960's All-Decade Player, and is a member of both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington redskins Hall of Fame. Sonny won a Championship taking over for Brocklin in 1960, the last time the Philadelphia Eagles have ever won a Championship.
***There are many other examples of Quarterbacks that stepped into the spotlight of a predecessor and shined. We saw Randall Cunningham follow the Star Ron Jaworski for the Eagles, Troy Aikman following Roger Staubach and Danny White for the Dallas Cowboys, Steve McNair following Warren Moon and countless others.
The purpose of this article was to show the amazing character that the new Quarterbacks showed in taking over the reigns for proven legends. Tom Brady has a chance this week to win his 4th Super Bowl Title. Many will argue that he was a product of the system, a cheater, a cry baby. However; what Brady can accomplish is absolutely amazing in Football Standards. Many people will forget that Brady would have never got a shot had Drew Bledsoe not been injured that first season. That is ancient history now folks but just remember, what some of these NFL Quarterbacks have achieved after following big time players is absolutely amazing. So as I close, I wish the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks good luck on Sunday and may the best team win. Don't look now, but Russell Wilson is quickly establishing quite a legacy for Seattle himself. Damnit, I wish the Eagles could have drafted him. Anyways, this is Jason Voorhees reporting for Philly Rock Radio. Enjoy the Super Bowl.