Brady starts Pats dynasty, Kaepernick falls short - How the Super Bowl's backups have fared

Injury thrust Nick Foles into the spotlight for the Philadelphia Eagles, and now he will play on the biggest stage of them all when they face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Few envisaged Foles leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl when starting quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury last month.

But he has defied the odds and joins a surprisingly long list of reserves to have taken the helm of the offense in the greatest show on Earth.

Here we look at the fortunes of some of the famous names who ascended from the role of backup to Super Bowl starter.


Jim Plunkett - Super Bowl XV

Jim Plunkett's name will not be a popular one in Philadelphia. The architect of one their two Super Bowl defeats, Plunkett - a first overall pick in 1971 - was deemed a bust after disappointing spells with the Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. However, after Oakland Raiders starter Dan Pastorini went down in Week 5 of the 1980 season, Plunkett put together a 13-2 record and Oakland eased to a 27-10 win over the Eagles as they became the first Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl.

Doug Williams - Super Bowl XXII

The Super Bowl's first black starting quarterback, Williams - despite losing his two starts during the 1987 regular season - was given the reins of the Washington Redskins' offense ahead of Jay Schroeder for the postseason and exploded in the season-ending showpiece. He threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns as Washington crushed John Elway and the Denver Broncos 42-10, earning MVP honours in the process.

Jeff Hostetler - Super Bowl XXV

When Phil Simms was injured in Week 15 of the 1990 season, all seemed lost for the New York Giants. But, aided by a now infamous Roger Craig fumble, Hostetler helped the Giants end the 49ers' hopes of a three-peat in the NFC Championship Game before Scott Norwood's missed field goal saw the Giants edge the Buffalo Bills. The phrase 'wide right' is one that still sends shivers down the spines of Bills fans.

Kurt Warner - Super Bowl XXXIV

Few outside of St. Louis had heard of Kurt Warner when Rams starter Trent Green suffered a knee injury in the 1999 preseason. However, he soon became a household name at the forefront of an offense known as the 'greatest show on turf'. An incredible season culminated in a 23-16 victory for St. Louis over the Tennessee Titans, Warner throwing for 414 yards and two touchdowns as he was named the game's MVP.

Trent Dilfer - Super Bowl XXXV

While Warner was the man who inspired the Rams to triumph, Trent Dilfer was more of a game manager as the Baltimore Ravens produced one of the most dominant defensive seasons in NFL history the following campaign. After taking over in Week 9 and suffering defeat, Dilfer and the Ravens won 11 straight games, the Super Bowl victory over the Giants an encapsulation of their defensive prowess in a 34-7 success.

Colin Kaepernick - Super Bowl XLVII

Nobody could have expected the impact Colin Kaepernick had when Alex Smith was concussed in Week 10 of the 2012 season, but Kaepernick took the 49ers offense to another level with his running ability and San Francisco rode him to a sixth Super Bowl appearance. After a power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans, Kaepernick brought the 49ers back from 28-6 down against the Ravens to within a touchdown of taking the lead. However, the Niners' final drive fell five agonising yards short as they lost 34-31.

Tom Brady - Super Bowl XXXVI

We've saved the best until last. A sixth-round pick in 2000, Brady stunned the NFL universe in his second year by replacing the injured Drew Bledsoe and leading the Patriots to an 11-5 record. Brady got injured in the AFC Championship Game with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bledsoe took over, but Brady returned for the Super Bowl, where he and the Patriots stunned Warner and the Rams 20-17. It was the start of the longest dynasty in NFL history, but Foles and the Eagles will hope Brady is on the wrong end of a similar scenario on Sunday.

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