Here They Come to Save the Season! Backup QB’s that Rose to the Occasion in Super Bowl Seasons
The war is apparently lost for the Dallas Cowboys. With star quarterback Tony Romo sidelined for the next 8 weeks (at least), the Cowboys, one of the favorites in the National Football Conference, would be better off just waiting for the 2016 season.
Not so fast, my friends.
Like many Dallas teams before them, this year's edition of the Cowboys have been pegged as Super Bowl contenders. Teams have gotten by without their star QB in the past, as evidenced by these three previous Super Bowl champs and contenders, who will give the Cowboys, and their new armada of backups, with trade acquisition Matt Cassel and practice squad call-up Kellen Moore joining projected starter Brandon Weeden, inspiration as their playing time extends into an unusually long period. It'a reminder of the unpredictability that is NFL football...
Morrall was a backup saw action several times when two Hall of Fame quarterbacks went down ahead of him. A signal-caller that enjoyed a 21 year playing career than included stops with the Baltimore Colts and the Miami Dolphins in the early days of the Super Bowl. Freshly acquired weeks before the start of the 1968 season from the New York Giants, Morrall took over starting duties for the Colts when the legendary Johnny Unitas went down with an injury. He threw 26 touchdown passes, a career high, and led Baltimore to a 13-1 record and an NFL title and an MVP award to boot, though the Colts fell to the New York Jets in Joe Namath's famous "Guarantee" game. Morrall would again relieve Unitas during a Colts championship season two years later, though this one would on a happier note, as the Colts defeated the Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V.
Morrall played a huge role with arguably the greatest team in NFL history, the 1972 Dolphins. When the famous undefeated campaign was nearly derailed by a Bob Griese injury in the fifth game of the season, Morrall kept things on track, starting nine games, all wins of course, in Griese's absence, capturing his second Super Bowl ring weeks later. Don Shula, Miami's respected head coach, personally brought Morrall with him when he made the move from Baltimore to Miami, calling him "an intelligent quarterback who has won a lot of games for me".
A 3rd round pick in 1984, Hostetler was extremely frustrated about his role with the New York Giants. In his first four years, he had thrown just 68 passes, and his name graced the starting lineup just twice. Such was the consequence of backing up the dependable Phil Simms, who had led the Giants to their first Super Bowl title in 1986. En route to the second, Hostetler was prepared to actually earn it rather than simply back up Simms, volunteering to partake in special teams' units, but Simms's injury in a Week 15 matchup with the Buffalo Bills finally called up the West Virginia grad's services. The West Virginia grad struggled against the Bills, but he won his next two starts to cap off the Giants' 13-3 campaign. In postseason play, Hostetler did not turn the ball over in three games, which included a 222 yard performance in Super Bowl XXV, won by the Giants 20-19 over the Bills. The next season, Hostetler would end up taking the starting quarterback job from the aging Simms.
If you ever hate your nickname, just remember that the historical 1998 Denver Broncos season was saved by a guy named "Bubby." Brister started 16 full games in a season only one time, but his efforts in '98 saved Denver's season. After earning a ring in 1997 as John Elway's backup, Brister was called into action when Elway went down the next season. He was called upon to start four games for the Broncs, and went 4-0 in those starts. Brister ended the years with 10 touchdown throws, four coming in a matchup with Philadelphia that saw Denver leading 28-0 after the 1st quarter. Denver won the second of back-to-back titles to earn Brister his second ring. Brister lasted two more years in the NFL after the '98 season before retiring in 2000.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter. Follow @GeoffMags5490
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