There will be a battle of the Champion QB’s in Super Bowl LV. That is because Patrick Mahomes (last year), and Tom Brady (the year before) are the most recent quarterbacks to lead their teams to the NFL title.
Amazingly, this is only the scond time in NFL history that the past two champion QB’s will face off in an NFL title match. It was a very different game the last time this happened. That was in 1943 when Washington’s Sammy Baugh faced Chicago’s Sid Luckman.
Baugh had won the title with Washington in 1942 (defeating the Bears 14-6). And Luckman had won it with Chicago in 1941 (defeating the Giants 37-9).
The Super Bowl Era
There has been no match up in Super Bowl games of the past two champion QB’s facing off for the NFL title.
But this will be the sixth Super Bowl matchup between former AP NFL MVP’s, the second between former Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks, and the first between players who have previously won both awards.
The first matchup in a Super Bowl between former NFL MVP’s came in Super Bowl XI as Ken Stabler (1974 MVP Oakland) and Fran Tarkenton (1975 MVP Minnesota) faced off.
Tom Brady was actually involved in the only other matchup between prior Super Bowl MVP’s in Super Bowl XLVI when he squared off with Eli Manning for a second time on the big stage.
The Pre Super Bowl Era
On Sunday, December 26th, 1943, the Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins 41-21 in the 1943 NFL Championship Game to win the 24th championship in NFL history.
It was the sixth championship for the Bears franchise. Meaning Chicago had won a quarter of all NFL titles up to this point.
But this was a very different time. And very different circumstances for the League. There were just 8 teams in the league at this time as the war effort was taking its’ toll.
The Cleveland Rams suspended operations for a year and the Steelers and Eagles merged into the ‘Steagles’ for a season.
Chicago outright won the West Division with an 8-1-1 record. But the Redskins had tied with the New York Giants in the East going 6-3-1 on the season. Washington defeated the Giants 28-0 in a one off Divisional decider playoff. And that set the stage for Champion QB’s of the previous two seasons to lead their teams into a contest for the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy and NFL title.
The Battle of the Champion QB’s never happened!
The NFL will be hoping we get to see a full contest between Mahomes and Brady leading their teams.
What they won’t want is a repeat of the hyped contest between Baugh and Luckman, which never really came to pass.
Both were in the game. But only briefly. In the early going with Washington getting nowhere, Baugh lined up to punt. Luckman returned it. (Yes, it was a very different era when your superstar QB’s were also on special teams and playing on the D).
In fact this play was the entirety of the contest between the Champion QB’s. And it probably settled the game in the long run. Luckman ran the punt towards the Washington Endzone with only Baugh in his way. He dove forwrd and caught Baugh in the head with his knee. He was badly concussed and out of the contest near the start of the game.
If Brady and Mahomes are on the field at the same time like this something very odd will have happened. More importantly though the NFL will not want either marquee player to disappear this early in the title match.
Luckman and the Bears took advantage of the absence to run up a 41-21 win with the Chicago QB throwing 5 TD’s to pace them. You can read a great write up on it all here.
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