Quarterbacks Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Eli Manning of the New York Giants were the starters four years ago in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., and will meet again Sunday in Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLVI.
That will mark just the third time that Super Bowl quarterbacks have met more than once and the history of these matchups would favor the New York Giants as the team that won the first meeting also took the rematch.
The first time Super Bowl starting quarterbacks met for a second time was in January 1979, when the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers played each other at the Orange Bowl in Miami for Super Bowl XIII. Roger Staubach and the Cowboys had lost three years earlier to Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers in Super Bowl X, also at the Orange Bowl. Pittsburgh won the first meeting 21-17 and the second by the same margin, 35-31.
For the Steelers, the rematch with the Cowboys was the third of their four titles in six seasons in the 1970s. The loss in Super Bowl XIII marked Tom Landry’s fifth and final Super Bowl as coach of the Cowboys; New England’s Bill Belichick will join Landry and Don Shula as the only coaches to reach the Super Bowl five times.
It was 15 years until the second Super rematch of quarterbacks happened and the Cowboys were also in the middle of this one. Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys went to Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta as the defending champions, having beaten Jim Kelly’s Buffalo Bills 52-17 at Pasadena, Calif., the year before. Dallas also took the rematch, coming back from a halftime deficit to beat the Bills 30-13.
The loss in Atlanta marked the end of Buffalo’s unprecedented run of four straight Super Bowl appearances and was the second in Dallas’ run of three Super Bowl titles in four years.
Brady is one of the 10 quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowl starts and Manning would become the 11th with a Giants win on Sunday. Super Bowl XLVI will mark just the fifth time in Super Bowl history that former champion quarterbacks will face off.
Super Bowl X was the first such meeting when Bradshaw and Staubach met the first time. The Bradshaw-Staubach rematch in Super Bowl XIII was the second.