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Quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl Losses

Updated on January 3, 2015

Jim Kelly-The Buffalo Bills Jim got his team to the Super Bowl 4 times. He and his team made it to Super Bowls XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII. How impressive is that? He is the greatest quarterback the Buffalo Bills had. When asked about the losses he said:

"People always ask, would you rather win one time or go four times and lose. It's a hard question. But to be honest with you, I would rather go four times and lose."

“…. to quarterback a team four times and be the leader of that team just goes to show what we have inside our hearts. It shows a toughness, the resiliency, and how we never, ever gave up."

Jim Kelly got recognition and respect in Buffalo for getting his team to the Super Bowl 4 years in a row. That is an achievement that may be impossible for anyone to repeat. Buffalo retired his number 12 when Jim Kelly retired, a great tribute to a talented man and team.

Fran Tarkendon The Minnesota Vikings Fran got the Vikings to the Super Bowl in series VIII, IX, and XI. Fran was one of the first of the mobile quarterbacks which didn’t get him much love from his coach Norm Van Brocklin. They called him Frantic Fran, The Mad Scrambler and Scramblin Fran. According to NBC Sports Tarkendon blames his Super Bowl losses on not having enough time. I think the other quarterbacks in this article would think the same thing.

John Elway The Denver Broncos John also made it to the Super Bowl 3 times, and he too, lost each time. He got to Super Bowl XXI, XXII, and XXIV. John in his quotes is philosophical about his losses he is quoted as saying

“I believe there’s a reason why you go through everything”. He also said: “I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I think to really appreciate anything you have to be at both ends of the spectrum.”

John did finally win a Super Bowl in 1998 Super Bowl XXXII against the Green Bay Packers. John got motivated by the Falcons who said they wanted to stop the running game. The 37 year old finally tasted Super Bowl victory and it was sweet.

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Craig Morton-he played for two different teams getting to the Super Bowl as a Dallas Cowboy and a Denver Bronco. He played in Super Bowls V, and XII. Craig was in disbelief when he played in his first Super Bowl as a Cowboy against Johnny Unitas who quarterbacked for the Baltimore Colts. They were close to success, but Baltimore won with a last second field goal. In a quote from an ESPN article about Morton he states playing in Super Bowl XII as a Denver Bronco that: “Denver became a big-league city during that run up to the Super Bowl," he said. "The emotion leading up to that game was amazing. It's something that I'll never forget. Being part of that was truly special."

The final quarterback with the most Super Bowl losses belongs to football legend Roger Staubach. He played for the Dallas Cowboys and made it to two Super Bowls X, and XIII. He lost both of those Super Bowls, but Roger has also won two Super Bowls. He won Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII playing also for the Dallas Cowboys. The sting of defeat is probably lessened knowing he had 2 Super Bowl wins.

Roger also had some colorful nicknames that were inspired by his skills. He was known as Roger the Dodger, Captain America, and Captain Comeback for his 4th quarter antics.

What is it about seeing the losers in such a great game as the Super Bowl that makes us curious? It is seeing that talent, great talent sometimes isn’t enough. They show us that life sometimes isn’t fair; they can make us feel better by showing us that you must never give up and that maybe the next time around things will go better.

These men never were defeated, they were proud of their achievements, as they should be, and the games they played will live on in history and in the minds of the viewers. They gave it all they had and live on as inspirations on how to play the game and how to live your life.


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    • cfjots profile image

      cfjots 4 years ago from Conway, SC

      Hi Earl Noah Bernsby ,you are right Dan Marino can't catch a break no matter what. He was such a talented quarterback I am surprised he didn't make the list.

    • cfjots profile image

      cfjots 4 years ago from Conway, SC

      Hi Paul Edmondson I too remember Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills of his day. The coach and the team were amazing. I think you are right it would probably be better to go 4 Super Bowls and never win than to just win one. He accomplished something great in his own right with that record. Thank you for commenting.

    • Earl Noah Bernsby profile image

      Earl Noah Bernsby 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Another accolade that Dan Marino doesn't qualify for ... Guy can't catch a break! ;)

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I remember Jim Kelly's well. He's at the top of these lists, but really had a great career. The other day we we debating would you rather go to four Superbowls and lose or go to one and win, but never make the playoffs again. I think I'd take Jim's four trips over a one and done.