Dallas Cowboys" Dak Prescott and Philadelphia Eagles" Jalen Hurts lug top-notch intangibles come QB duel
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Barnwell previews divisional weekend (3:34)Bill Barnwell joins SVP to look ahead to the vital storylines the the divisional ring of the NFL playoffs. (3:34)


The Dallas Cowboys are trying to perform something this January that hasn"t yet been accomplished in NFL history. Nobody has made it come the Super key -- let alone won the big game -- through a rookie quarterback under center. After ~ 50 at sight Bowls, we obviously have seen 100 beginning quarterbacks, and also while there have been players who were almost rookies (like Tom Brady in 2001), no passer has finished his debut season in the NFL taking snaps on the game"s biggest stage.

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If ns were a Cowboys fan, I"d most likely hear that and also be both worried and also hopeful. Hey, 50 years of background is a lengthy time and also a pretty an excellent sample size, and there have actually been a lot of wonderful quarterbacks come come up brief without one future hall of Famer even eking his way through. I"d also probably be arguing Dak Prescott isn"t your usual rookie quarterback, with the phenom"s remarkable performance do him an ext like a third- or fourth-year star than a mere agree freshman.

Dak Prescott is one of the best rookie QBs we"ve ever before seen, and also he"s around to effort the unprecedented.Tim Heitman/USA today SportsBoth those sentiments room fair. To figure out why Prescott"s regime would it is in unprecedented, we"ve got to take a look in ~ what has happened throughout the Super key era to watch why rookie quarterbacks space 0-for-50. Let"s ask and answer a couple of questions and get earlier to Prescott afterward.

Is it monster or surprising that we haven"t watched a rookie quarterback in the Super bowl by now?

Actually, yeah. It is.

I went through every season because the AFL-NFL merger of 1970, which leaves out the first four at sight Bowls, return they likewise don"t have any rookie quarterbacks. I picked the end all the quarterbacks who started at least seven games (so a minimum of half the season going ago to the 14-game slate) and threw at the very least 105 overcome (for an median of 15 passes per game) and split them all up through the year of experienced experience they had under their belt in ~ the start of the campaign. Therefore Prescott is a rookie, while Marcus Mariota has actually one expert season under his belt.

For yearly of players with a offered level that experience, I established how countless quarterback seasons it take it to commonly get a passer come the at sight Bowl. There have been 152 qualifying second-year seasons due to the fact that 1970 -- that would be someone choose Mariota this season -- and six of those guys have actually made it to the supervisor Bowl, most recently Russell Wilson in 2013. That"s a price of just under 4 percent, or one Super bowl appearance for every 25.3 seasons.

Most every other experience level is in between 10 and 20, v a pair of strange exceptions related to the fairly small samples. The numbers gain smaller as players gain into the teenagers of their careers, owing to an option bias: The quarterbacks who room playing in your mid-to-late 30s are usually extremely great and much more likely to make a supervisor Bowl 보다 a common rookie.

Russell Wilson had the Seahawks in position for a super Bowl run as a rookie, however Atlanta got in the way.Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSetting the cutoff because that inclusion to 7 starts eliminates a most hopeless rookies that are only in the lineup since the starter is injured (even if that"s also how Prescott acquired here). Yet that still leaves us with 98 qualifying seasons that have actually turned into zero Super bowl appearances. That"s remarkable, and even if us assume rookies are all over the map in regards to performance, the difference between rookies and second-year football player isn"t the dramatic.

A really conservative calculation would indicate that one rookie season in 30 must turn into a Super key appearance, i beg your pardon "should" have yielded three Super key starts through now. Yet, if Prescott comes up short, we"ll be looking in ~ our 99th continuous rookie campaign without a Super key berth. Kinda crazy, right?

Split an additional way, 22 rookies have thrown 15 or an ext passes in a playoff game, most recently Connor Cook, that was overmatched during an ugly loss come the Texans in the wild-card round. Those starters, likewise, space 0-for-22 in Super key trips. At other experience levels, usually between five and also 10 players do the playoffs for every Super key trip; second-year starters, for example, have made six Super key runs in 48 tries, an median of eight per pilgrimage to the big dance.

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We"re no "due" for a rookie super Bowl run -- that"s the gambler"s fallacy -- but it"s a surprise we haven"t had actually at least a pair by now.

Is it since rookies pat worse in the postseason? perform they choke? They have to choke, right?

Well, sort of.

Everybody is worse in the postseason 보다 they were throughout the constant season, thanks to the cold weather and also the likelihood of dealing with superior defenses. There space two sub-questions to store in mind. One is whether rookie quarterbacks room worse than usual passers in the continual season, and also the other is whether they fall off more in the playoffs 보다 their more experienced brethren.

The answer come both is yes. To get a basic gauge of quality, I used the pro-football-reference.com stat well-known as changed yards every attempt (AY/A), i m sorry is yards every attempt however with two other numbers included: happen touchdowns, which counting for 20 yards, and also interceptions, which count for minus-45 yards. This season"s beginning quarterbacks ranged native 10.1 AY/A (Matt Ryan) to 4.3 AY/A (Jared Goff).

Rookie quarterbacks, also the ones who qualify under the seven-start and also 105-attempt rule, are substantially worse during the continuous season than passers at any type of other endure level. With more than 32,000 happen attempts, rookies have averaged simply under 5.5 AY/A when everybody else is above 6 readjusted yards every attempt. They"re likewise the only team that throws more interceptions 보다 touchdowns, as their collective interception rate is 3.9 percent.

We"re no adjusting for era, for this reason our playoff group of rookies should probably be much better than we can think, offered that most of the playoff appearances have come end the past two decades as quarterback stats have actually risen. Offered that we"re additionally eliminating the truly disastrous rookie quarterbacks who weren"t may be to make it come the postseason, there"s also reason to think rookies can actually it is in an exemption to the playoff rule.

That"s all wrong.

Rookies have actually been an absolute mess in the playoffs. Their changed yards per attempt drops to a borderline-unplayable 4.3, and they litter interceptions ~ above 5.4 percent the their happen attempts. That"s like Goff if the first overall pick threw four much more picks on his 205 pass attempts this season. When rookie passers are collectively performing like Goff in the postseason, they"re no doing very well.

Miami dolphins QB Dan Marino to be a very an excellent rookie, however it went southern in the playoffs.AP Photo/NFL PhotosRelatively, rookies space seeing your postseason AY/A decline by 21 percent and also their interception rate skyrocket through 40.2 percent. Ns mentioned exactly how everybody seems to obtain worse in the postseason nevertheless of age, yet those alters dwarf the competition. I"ve placed the comparisons with each other for quarterbacks with their very first 10 periods in the league, and also nobody drops off as far as rookies, even though rookies are beginning from the worst regular-season baseline:

The Rookie QB Playoff Drop-off

Experiencediff AY/adiff INT%
Rookies-21.0%40.2%
Second-Year-1.8%9.3%
Third-Year-4.7%25.7%
Fourth-Year-5.5%10.4%
Fifth-Year-2.4%7.6%
Sixth-Year-5.8%21.6%
Seventh-Year-7.2%18.3%
Eighth-Year-5.1%11.4%
Ninth-Year-8.7%25.1%
Tenth-Year-3.5%13.6%

Rookie quarterbacks additionally have the worst record in the playoffs, although it"s not by fairly as far-reaching of a margin. Rookies throwing 15 passes or more (as the starter or in reserve) are 11-21 (.344) in the postseason ~ Cook"s loss critical week. That"s the shortest rate amongst players of any experience level, but it"s not all that far off from third-year quarterbacks, who space 37-57 (.394), or eighth-year passers, who room 26-42 (.382). If Prescott makes it to the at sight Bowl, rookies would be in a dead heat with those frauds who waited eight year to reveal they couldn"t manage the pressure of the postseason.

What around the superstar rookies?

Maybe by comparing the to every rookies we"re not developing an appropriate context for Prescott. Using pro-football-reference.com"s index statistics come scale and also account because that era, Prescott"s AY/A equates to a 123 AY/A+, i beg your pardon is the sixth-best rate because the mergers under the previously mentioned seven-start, 105-pass criteria. Let"s look at the men in his ballpark who made the playoffs and also see exactly how they go after the regular season was over.

Pat Haden (1976 Rams, 134 AY/A+) simply qualifies because that this list, with exactly seven starts and 105 passes to his name. The didn"t do lot in the playoffs, though. Los Angeles won its divisional round game 14-12 over Dallas, however Haden was 10-of-21 because that 152 yards with three picks prior to going 9-of-22 for 161 yards v two more interceptions in a conference championship loss to the mighty Vikings happen defense.Dan Marino (1983 Dolphins, 123 AY/A+) took over the starting job for good in mainly 5 and also threw 20 touchdowns versus six picks during a standout rookie campaign. He was then in line because that a rosy playoff matchup against the Seahawks and also their lousy pass defense, but he struggled. Marino threw 2 picks, and the Dolphins go out a 20-17 fourth-quarter lead to lose.The only other qualifying player v an above-average AY/A+ is CFL legend Dieter Brock, who invested his lone season in the NFL posting a 107 AY/A+ together a 33-year-old rookie with the Rams before going 10-of-31 for 66 yards with a pick against the "85 bears in the conference championship game, after i beg your pardon Brock retired v a ago injury. Following Brock is Joe Flacco, that posted a 99 AY/A+ (average is 100) in 2008 and then go 2-1 in the playoffs despite averaging every one of 140.3 passing yards per game. The Steelers harassed him right into a three-interception job in the AFC Championship Game.

Many of this quarterbacks played prefer stars as rookies and turned right into franchise quarterbacks after their rookie campaign. Almost all of them struggled to stop giveaways against the tougher vain of the postseason, and also it eventually sunk most of your teams, through Wilson the lone exception.

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Prescott has avoided giveaways for many of the year. The only quarterback by these criteria v a far better era-adjusted interception rate (INT%+) is Marino, i beg your pardon represents an extremely solid company. It appears unlikely that Prescott will have a three-giveaway day, something the didn"t happen even once come him together a rookie.