What’s in a number?


Warren Moon

(Cam Newton photo courtesy of the Carolina Panthers)
(Warren Moon photo courtesy of the Tennessee Titans)

By Rick Gosselin

Talk of Fame Network

Hall-of-Fame quarterback Warren Moon wore jersey number 1. So did Jeff George during stretches of his career. They combined to throw 10,790 passes for 76,927 yards and 445 touchdowns in their 29 NFL seasons.

But Cam Newton is going to do something next month neither Moon nor George could accomplish in their careers — wear jersey number 1 in a Super Bowl.

There have been 98 starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history, but Newton will be the first to wear number 1. Starting quarterbacks have worn every jersey number, 1 through 19, except for 1, 2 and 6.

With the arrival of Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50, number 1 is now in the books. So good luck, Matt Ryan (2 with Atlanta) and Jay Cutler (6 with the Bears), in the quest to take their teams to a Super Bowl.

The most popular number for Super Bowl-starting quarterbacks has been 12. Twenty-seven quarterbacks have worn 12 in Super Bowls, carving out a 15-12 record. Hall-of-Famers Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese and Terry Bradshaw, plus Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, have won Super Bowls wearing 12.

Bradshaw

(Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers)

The next most popular number has been 7. Fourteen quarterbacks have worn that number in Super Bowls but they haven’t had near the success that the 12s have had with a 5-9 overall record. John Elway and Ben Roethlisberger won two Super Bowls apiece and Joe Theismann one.

A Regular Season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday January 3rd 2016. The Steelers defeated the Browns 28-12.

(Courtesy of Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)

The best bet for Super Bowl success is a starting quarterback wearing number 16. Quarterbacks wearing that number are 7-2, thanks in large part to the 4-0 record of Joe Montana and the 2-0 mark or Jim Plunkett. Len Dawson also delivered the first of the seven victories for that jersey number in Super Bowl IV.

Joe Montana, George Seifert

(Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)

Brett Favre is the only starting quarterback to wear number 4 in a Super Bowl and Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas the only QB to wear 19. Newton’s competition in this Super Bowl, Peyton Manning, is the only starting quarterback ever to wear 18. He’s 1-2 in his three career starts.

favre2

(Courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)
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