From subs to stars
Fourteen quarterbacks have started the Super Bowl after not holding that role for the season opener, but only three had three regular-season starts or fewer. All of them not only won the league championship, but they also beat a Hall of Fame quarterback to do it.
Doug Williams (two starts)
1987 Redskins: Williams made his starts early in the year before stepping in for Jay Schroeder in the season finale and sparking a comeback victory over the Vikings, leading to coach Joe Gibbs’ decision to make a change for the playoffs.
Super Bowl: Williams put together a historic performance, leading five TD drives in 18 plays in the second quarter of a 42-10 win over Denver. He threw for 340 yards and four TDs on a gimpy knee to win MVP honors. The opposing QB was John Elway.
Jeff Hostetler (two starts)
1990 Giants: After starting that season with 10 straight wins, the Giants were mostly written off as a contender when Phill Simms injured his foot in Week 14. Hostetler had started just two games in almost seven full seasons for the Giants.
Super Bowl: Hostetler completed 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown in a 20-19 victory over Buffalo. The result was in doubt until Scott Norwood missed a last-second field-goal attempt from 47 yards away. The opposing QB was Jim Kelly.
Nick Foles (three starts)
2017 Eagles: When a torn ACL ended Carson Wentz’s MVP-caliber season on Dec. 10, the Eagles’ fortunes were hoisted onto Foles’ shoulders. Foles returned to Philadelphia as a free agent in March after one season with Kansas City in which he attempted only 55 passes.
Super Bowl: Foles’ 11 yard-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz with 2:21 to go capped a 75-yard drive and put the Eagles ahead for good against the Patriots. He was 28-for-43 for 373 yards and three touchdowns and was named MVP. The opposing QB was Tom Brady.