Changed my mind.
We have witnessed LIV Super Bowl quarterback matchups where one of them was the best in the league.
But never has the best in the league faced a GOAT, much less a 43-year-old GOAT, with six rings, still playing at an elite level.
After first giving the nod to the Joe Montana-John Elway battle, now Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes ranks No. 1 on Serby’s Super Bowl quarterback matchup rankings.
The list of 1-55 is based more on what the quarterbacks had accomplished at the time they met:
- Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl LV: Getcha popcorn ready.
- Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach II, Super Bowl XIII: Bradshaw (4 TDs) captured his third Lombardi Trophy with a 35-31 win that kept Captain America (3 TDs) from winning his third.
- Joe Montana vs. John Elway, Super Bowl XXIV: Joe Cool (5 TDs) tied Bradshaw with his fourth Super Bowl crown while Elway (18 TDs, 18 INTs in regular season) fell to 0-3 with two interceptions and a fumble. No one expected 55-10.
- Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning II, Super Bowl XLVI: Another clutch last-minute drive and another Super Bowl MVP for Lil’ Brother to deny Brady his fourth championship.
- Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach I, Super Bowl X: Bradshaw (2 TDs) had won Super Bowl IX and Captain America (3 INTs) was left stuck on his Super Bowl VI triumph.
- Joe Montana vs. Dan Marino: Super Bowl XIX: Marino was the first QB to throw for over 5,000 yards in only his second season, but Montana (3 TDs) out-dueled him for his second Super Bowl crown.
- John Elway vs. Brett Favre, Super Bowl XXXII: Elway was the sentimental favorite after three previous Super Bowl defeats and denied Favre a repeat.
- Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees, Super Bowl XLIV: Brees (122 TDs against 55 INTs in four years with Sean Payton) denied Manning his second championship and wins his one and only crown.
- Bart Starr vs. Len Dawson, Super Bowl I: Vince Lombardi’s Ice Bowl survivor upheld the honor of the NFL against Dawson (26 TDs, 10 INTs) and the AFL upstarts.
- Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson, Super Bowl XLIX: Malcolm Butler’s end-zone INT cost Wilson a repeat as four-time champ Brady won for the first time in a decade.
- Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning I, Super Bowl XLII: Brady (50 TDs, 8 INTs) was a 14-point favorite to win his fourth Super Bowl crown and complete a perfect season, but Super Bowl MVP Manning had other ideas.
- Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan, Super Bowl LI: Matty Ice was league MVP and QB of the highest-scoring offense, but he lost a 28-3 third-quarter lead as Brady won his fourth Super Bowl in overtime.
- Troy Aikman vs. Jim Kelly II, Super Bowl XXVIII: Emmitt Smith carried Aikman to his back-to-back wins over poor Kelly (0-4 on Super Sunday).
- Peyton Manning vs. Cam Newton, Super Bowl 50: Manning won his second Super Bowl largely because Von Miller and Demarcus Ware hounded the NFL MVP (6 sacks) in his first and only Super Bowl.
- Joe Montana vs. Boomer Esiason, Super Bowl XXIII: Esiason won league MVP honors, but Montana (3 TDs) won his third championship in the last minute.
- Ben Roethlisberger vs. Kurt Warner, Super Bowl XLIII: A clash of one-time Super Bowl champs won by Big Ben’s last-minute TD pass to a toe-tapping Santonio Holmes.
- Tom Brady vs. Donovan McNabb, Super Bowl XXXIX: McNabb (31 TDs, 8 INTs) was a regular-season sensation, but three picks gave Brady his third championship.
- Peyton Manning vs. Russell Wilson, Super Bowl XLVIII: Wilson in his second season (26 TDs, 9 INTs) as starter out-dueled a jittery Manning (2 INTs, 1 fumble), who fell to 1-2 on Super Sunday.
- Aaron Rodgers vs. Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl XLV: Super Bowl MVP A-Rod, in his second season as starter (30 TDs, 7 INTs), denied Big Ben his third crown.
- Bart Starr vs. Daryle Lamonica, Super Bowl II: Lombardi’s defense defused The Mad Bomber (13-1 with 30 TDs), and Starr won back-to-back championships.
- Bob Griese vs. Fran Tarkenton, Super Bowl VIII: Don Shula’s poised game manager (seven completions) defended the perfect 17-0 championship season and spoiled Scramblin’ Fran’s return to the Vikings.
- Troy Aikman vs. Jim Kelly I, Super Bowl XXVII: Super Bowl MVP Aikman’s first of three championships and Kelly’s third of four championship losses in four tries.
- Tom Brady vs. Jared Goff, Super Bowl LIII: Goff (32 TDs, 12 INTs) saw more ghosts against Bill Belichick than Sam Darnold did. The Joy of Six for Brady.
- Terry Bradshaw vs. Fran Tarkenton, Super Bowl IX: The first of Bradshaw’s four championships, and the second of Tarkenton’s three losses in four years.
- Roger Staubach vs. Bob Griese, Super Bowl VI: They adorned the cover of Time Magazine in the lead-up. Super Bowl MVP Captain Comeback won his first title.
- Tom Brady vs. Kurt Warner, Super Bowl XXXVI: The Dynasty began when the 24-year-old Brady coolly led a last-minute FG drive to shock The Greatest Show on Turf.
- Joe Montana vs. Ken Anderson, Super Bowl XVI: Anderson, 1981 NFL MVP (29 TDs, 10 INTs), threw for 300 yards but a pair of INTs as Super Bowl MVP Montana won his first crown at age 25.
- Ken Stabler vs. Fran Tarkenton, Super Bowl XI: The Snake, 41-9-1 as Raiders starter, rode a 266-yard ground assault to leave Tarkenton with an 0-3 record.
- Patrick Mahomes vs. Jimmy Garoppolo, Super Bowl LIV: Mahomes met the moment in the fourth quarter for his crown. Jimmy GQ (27 TDs, 13 INTs) did not.
- Troy Aikman vs. Neil O’Donnell, Super Bowl XXX: O’Donnell (17 TDs, 7 INT) was intercepted twice by MVP Larry Brown and Aikman had his third Super Bowl ring.
- Brett Favre vs. Drew Bledsoe, Super Bowl XXXI: Favre’s 39 TDs marked his third 30-plus TD season and Bill Parcells couldn’t deny him his first championship with his QB (27 TDs, 15 INTs) throwing four picks.
- John Elway vs. Phil Simms, Super Bowl XXI: The Other Quarterback had the game of his life in Pasadena for his first and only crown and Elway’s first loss.
- Joe Flacco vs. Colin Kaepernick, Super Bowl XLVII: Flacco (102:56 TD:INT ratio over his first five seasons) weathered Kaepernick’s arm and legs with three TDs.
- Kurt Warner vs. Steve McNair, Super Bowl XXXIV: SB MVP Warner won NFL MVP for his one and only title as a young Air McNair (12 TDs, 8 INTs) came up 1 yard short of overtime.
- Jim Plunkett vs. Joe Theismann, Super Bowl XVIII: Marcus Allen’s 191-yard, two-TD explosion and Theismann’s pair of INTs helped Plunkett to his second championship.
- Ben Roethlisberger vs. Matt Hasselbeck, Super Bowl XL: Young Big Ben was brutal (9-21, 123 yards, 1 rushing TD, 2 INTs), but a 181-yard Steelers rushing attack wasted a career year from Hasselbeck (24 TDs, 9 INTs).
- Jim Plunkett vs. Ron Jaworski, Super Bowl XV: Al Davis rode his journeyman’s MVP performance (3 TDs) over The Polish Rifle, the UPI NFL Player of Year.
- John Elway vs. Doug Williams, Super Bowl XXII: Historic because Super Bowl MVP Williams started (and lost) two games in the regular season before he became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl (4 TDs) as Elway threw three INTs and dropped to 0-2 on Super Sunday.
- Joe Namath vs. Earl Morrall, Super Bowl III: Although he is arguably the best backup QB in NFL history, nobody ever called him Broadway Earl. Guarantee it.
- Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles, Super Bowl LII: Brady eyed his sixth championship, but never counted on Philly Special (5 TDs, 2 INTs after replacing Carson Wentz).
- Jim Kelly vs. Jeff Hostetler, Super Bowl XXV: The K-Gunslinger couldn’t overcome Phil Simms’ backup (3 TDs, 1 INT in two regular-season starts) because he had the ball for only 19:27 in his first and Wide Right SB.
- Len Dawson vs. Joe Kapp, Super Bowl IV: Kapp (19 TDs, 13 INTs) was a tough-guy former CFL quarterback who threw wobbly passes and was kayoed (shoulder) as an efficient Dawson led an upset win for the AFL and his first Lombardi.
- Tom Brady vs. Jake Delhomme, Super Bowl XXXVIII: The scrappy undrafted Panthers QB (19 TDs, 16 INTs) and former NFL Europe afterthought never backed down with three TD passes before Brady’s last-minute FG drive earned him his second championship.
- John Elway vs. Chris Chandler, Super Bowl XXXIII: Elway rides off into the sunset with a back-to-back against a journeyman who enjoyed a career year (25 TDs, 12 INTs).
- Johnny Unitas vs. Craig Morton, Super Bowl V: The Great Johnny U was 12 years removed from The Greatest Game Ever Played and was knocked out of the game in favor of Morrall, who won thanks to Morton’s three INTs.
- Jim Kelly vs. Mark Rypien, Super Bowl XXVI: Kelly’s second of four Super Bowl losses to a QB who enjoyed a career year (28 TDs, 11 INT) for Joe Gibbs.
- Roger Staubach vs. Craig Morton, Super Bowl XII: Rodger The Dodger coasted to his second championship past his faded former teammate (4-15, 4 INTs).
- Kerry Collins vs. Trent Dilfer, Super Bowl XXXV: Dilfer started only eight games, but his ravenous Ravens defense intercepted Collins, in his second season as starter, four times.
- Jim McMahon vs. Tony Eason, Super Bowl XX: The free spirit could Super Bowl Shuffle — he didn’t have to play against the ’85 Bears defense. Young Eason (11 TDs, 17 INTs) did.
- Joe Theismann vs. David Woodley, Super Bowl XVII: NFL MVP used John Riggins’ 166 rushing yards to beat youngest (24) QB (5 TDs against 8 INTs during strike-shortened season) to start the game.
- Brad Johnson vs. Rich Gannon, Super Bowl XXXVII: Johnson wins The Battle of Journeymen for the Jon Gruden Bucs as Gannon tosses five INTs.
- Terry Bradshaw vs. Vince Ferragamo, Super Bowl XIV: A mismatch with Bradshaw capturing his fourth championship against a quarterback with seven career starts.
- Bob Griese vs. Billy Kilmer, Super Bowl VII: Griese needs only eight completions for Perfect Dolphins as journeyman Kilmer throws three INTs.
- Steve Young vs. Stan Humphries, Super Bowl XXIX: Young rid his back of the Montana monkey with six TD passes against a QB with an 89:84 career TD:INT ratio.
- Peyton Manning vs. Rex Grossman, Super Bowl XLI: Think Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks (20 INTs for Wrecks). Peyton’s first championship.