Since 2015, there has been at least one quarterback making his first start in the Super Bowl. Here are five signal-callers who could be that guy in 2020.
It happens more often than you think, but there is a pretty good chance some face of the franchise will quarterback his team to the Super Bowl for the first time under his watch this winter. Since the Carolina Panthers faced the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, there has been at least one of the two starting quarterbacks making his first career start in the biggest game of his life.
2015 saw Cam Newton accomplish for Carolina. Matt Ryan did the same thing with the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. Nick Foles won Super Bowl MVP filling in for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. 2018 gave us Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. And last season yielded us two new starters: Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers.
Mixed in there, we’ve had a lot of Tom Brady, who quarterbacked the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl in four of the last six years out of the AFC. In fact, the last time we had two starting quarterbacks with Super Bowl experience came back in 2014 when Brady’s Patriots took on Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
While we could get repeat conference championship quarterbacks this winter, the formula has completely shifted in the AFC with Brady going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wilson’s Seahawks were the last team to win the NFC in back-to-back years and that was in 2013 and 2014. So if any quarterback makes his first career start in the big game, it’ll likely be one of these five men.
QB Dallas Cowboys
It’s been 25 years since the Dallas Cowboys last played in a Super Bowl. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin captured Lombardi Trophy No. 3 in Jerry Jones‘ ownership. In the years since, all four men have bronze busts in Canton, but the Cowboys have yet to win the George Halas Trophy as the winners of the NFC. Can Dak Prescott be the one to change all that?
2020 is a critical year for Prescott and the Cowboys. Unless his camp and Jones are able to work out a long-term deal, Prescott will play his fifth year out of Mississippi State on the franchise tag. If both parties aren’t able to put pen to paper on an extension, maybe Prescott goes on a Joe Flacco bet-on-yourself run as he did back in 2012. Flacco hoisted a Lombardi and then got paid.
From a roster standpoint, the Cowboys look to be middle of the pack in the NFC. They are projected to finish in second place again in the NFC East behind the archival Eagles. Should Dallas be able to get a game or two above .500, “America’s Team” will be good enough to make the NFC playoffs in the expanded field, likely as a Wild Card team or possibly as a division winner.
But do the Cowboys have what it takes to win three playoff games in a row to reach Super Bowl 55 with Prescott as quarterback? It’s not likely, but the NFC has been completely unpredictable for the better part of a decade. Having a rival who is clearly better than you in the division limits the Cowboys’ ceiling, but they might have what it takes to get to Tampa if it all goes right for them.