When is the last time a team had three QB on the same roster like Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett in 2016 (and won the Super Bowl) that all went on to become NFL starters for different teams at the same time?
To find the answer, I did a lot of research and asked people that are smarter than me.
Like Mark Schlereth, 3x Super Bowl champ and Fox NFL analyst.
My friend Dave Clements who worked for the National Science Foundation and spent two years essentially alone, stuck in a bunker, doing research in Antarctica. All he could do in that two years (pre-Internet) was review historical NFL data by candlelight.
The answer I discovered after a month of legit research is, it has only ever happened three times in NFL history.
Initially, The closest thing I could think of to compare Brissett/Tom Brady/Jimmy Gesus to is the 2009 Eagles.
Post-suspension, about-to-explode Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb who they traded to the Redskins, and Kevin Kolb who was a highly sought after free agent that went to Phoenix/the Cardinals and basically died.
In 2011, Vick was the starter for the Eagles.
McNabb started six games for the Vikings before getting hurt and retiring.
Kolb went to the Cardinals and flamed out/died after starting nine games.
ACCEPTED – by the slimmest of margins.
The only other instance I could think of anything similar is the 1988 Cleveland Browns team spearheaded by Marty Schottenheimer, with Don Strock, Mike Pagel, Bernie Kosar, and Gary Danielson that somehow made the playoffs.
Kosar started 16 games for the 1989 Browns.
Pagel started three games for the Browns in 1990 when Kosar was hurt.
38-year-old Don Strock (who the Browns literally called on the golf course to help in the team during the ’88 playoff run) never played in the NFL again.
Danielson also retired.
Then my bearded buddy Matt Stewart (I literally annoyed everyone in my life and asked them this question) reminded me of the 1989 San Francisco 49ers team that had Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Steve Bono.
In 1995, Bono started 16 games for the Chiefs and made the Pro Bowl.
Young started 11 of 11 games for the 49ers before he got hurt and made the Pro Bowl. Montana retired after the 1994 season.
In 1996 Favre started for Green Bay.
Detmer started 11 games for the Eagles.
Brunell started 16 games for the Jaguars.
Warner wouldn’t start his first game for the Rams until 1999.
I spoke to Mark “Stink” Schlereth and asked him the same question. He was stumped at first.
He thought about it and offered up the 2000 Patriots roster with Tom Brady after Drew Bledsoe got hurt. I looked and saw free agents John Friesz and Michael Bishop (K State great who was about 20 years too early for NFL) alongside Brady and Bledsoe.
In 2001, Bledsoe became Brady’s back up.
Friesz retired after the ’00 season.
Bishop never played in the NFL again.
But, what if we crank up the weirdness “to 11?”
What if we ask the same question, but alter it by adding the caveat that they were all drafted by the same team?
This as far as I can tell in all of my research has NEVER happened in NFL history. And it is happening NOW.
Look at the team records and stats eight games into 2019 season:
Tom Brady – 8-0 | 2,251 yards 13 TD 4 INT
Jimmy G – 8-0 | 1,803 yards 13 TD 7 INT
Jacoby Brissett – 5-2 | 1,590 yards 14 TD 3 INT
Tom Brady, Jimmy Garopollo, and Jacoby Brissett are 21-2 as starters in 2019.
Nothing like this has ever happened in NFL history. Another feat the Patriots will get zero credit for. Another notch in a long list of player development and reclamation projects.
Leave a comment below for any teams/QBs I have omitted or forgotten about.