For the second time in NFL history, two quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall will face off in the Super Bowl.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, both making their Super Bowl debut, are two of the 26 quarterbacks to have heard their name called first at the NFL draft since the NFL and AFL merger in 1970.
The only other time any of those 26 have met in the Super Bowl -- Peyton Manning and Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
The parallels between these matchups are abundant.
All four quarterbacks came to the NFL through the SEC -- Burrow from LSU, Stafford from Georgia, Manning from Tennessee and Newton from Auburn.
In one corner, you’ve got veteran quarterbacks -- Manning and Stafford -- who spent over a decade of their career in the Midwest before moving out West. Manning went as the top pick to the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft, while Stafford went to the Detroit Lions in the 2009 draft.
In the other corner, you’ve got quarterbacks -- Burrow and Newton -- at the dawn of their career, representing mid-sized cities on the big stage. The Panthers drafted Newton No. 1 overall in 2011, while Burrow was picked in 2020.
The similarities between Burrow and Newton only multiply when you look at their college resumes. Both transferred in college, won a BCS National Championship and share the distinction of having won the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football.
While their similarities between Burrow and Newton are striking, a win in Super Bowl LVI would put Burrow in a league of his own. Burrow could become the first quarterback to complete an elusive triple crown -- winning the Heisman trophy, a collegiate national championship and Super Bowl.
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In Super Bowl 50, Manning got the best of Newton, leading the Broncos to a 24-10 victory. Manning announced his retirement a month and a half later.
Stafford, in his first season in Los Angeles, will look to follow in Manning’s footsteps and earn his first Super Bowl ring. However, he’ll have to go through Burrow, who has consistently proven throughout these playoffs that he’s capable of hanging with the veterans.