California Super Bowl QBs

Well, we won’t get a dream matchup of California QBs Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in this year’s Super Bowl so that got us thinking if there’s ever been a matchup in the Super Bowl between two quarterbacks who’ve both gone to California high schools.

ESPN analyst and former NFL QB Trent Dilfer also works with current high school QBs at the Elite 11 camps.

The answer to that question can be tricky so users should feel free to use it on friends. The short answer is that no, there hasn’t been such a matchup between QBs who’ve graduated from a high school in the state. But yes, there has been one between QBs who have attended a high school in California.

That would be the 1986 Super Bowl between the victorious Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots. Tony Eason from Delta of Clarksburg started for the Pats while Jim McMahon started for the Bears. The trick is that while McMahon graduated from a high school in Utah he went to Andrew Hill of San Jose as a freshman and sophomore. If he hadn’t left, he would have been on the same 1978 Central Coast Section powerhouse team we once saw at Hill that had lineman George Achica (USC, NFL) and receiver Mervyn “Swervin” Fernandez (San Jose State).

Here is a list of California QBs who have started in the Super Bowl (listed by their number of appearances):

7 Tom Brady (Serra, San Mateo) – His first Super Bowl was in 2002 when the Patriots upset the favored St. Louis Rams.
5 John Elway (Granada Hills) – After losing in his first three trips to the big game with the Broncos, he won in his final two seasons in 1998 and 1999.
2 Jim Plunkett (James Lick, San Jose) – Other than Brady and Elway, he’s the only one from the state to have led teams to two Super Bowl wins in his case with the Raiders in 1981 when they were in Oakland and in 1984 when they were in Los Angeles.
1 Trent Dilfer (Aptos) – One of the best analysts in the game earned his ring for the Ravens in 2001 vs. the NY Giants.
1 Tony Eason (Delta, Clarksburg) – When he helped the Patriots to the Super Bowl in 1986, it was their first of what is now a record nine Super Bowl appearances as a team.
1 Vince Ferragamo (Banning, Wilmington) – The brother of legendary Banning coach Chris Ferragamo was the one calling signals in the 1980 Super Bowl for the Rams against the Steelers.
1 Colin Kaepernick (Pitman, Turlock) – Led 49ers in comeback attempt that almost netted a stunning win in 2013 vs. Baltimore.
1 Billy Kilmer (Citrus, Azusa) – Still regarded as one of the best all-around high school athletes in SoCal history, Kilmer started for the Redskins in 1973 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
1 Craig Morton (Campbell) – In addition to starting for Denver in 1978 Super Bowl loss to Dallas, he was the backup to Roger Staubach when the Cowboys were in the 1971 and 1972 Super Bowls.
1 Daryle Lamonica (Clovis) – He’s the first QB from California to start in the Super Bowl when he did it in the second Super Bowl played in 1968 between the Oakland Raiders and victorious Green Bay Packers.
1 Aaron Rodgers (Pleasant Valley, Chico) – He’s still looking for a second Super Bowl title after leading Packers past Steelers in 2011.

Note: A couple of significant California QB backups in the Super Bowl would be Gale Gilbert (Red Bluff) and Tom Flores (Sanger). Gilbert backed up Jim Kelly for the Buffalo Bills in four straight Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994 while Flores went on to win a Super Bowl as a head coach for the Oakland Raiders after backing up Len Dawson of the victorious Kansas City Chiefs in the 1970 Super Bowl.

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  1. CWClassof2007
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    David Carr(Stockdale-Bakersfield) was the backup for the Giants in their 2011 win over the Patriots.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      There were some other backups not listed as well. Can think of Rob Johnson, Steve Beuerlein, Tony Graziani off top of head. Point was to concentrate on the starters. Thanks.

  2. Cesar A Ortega
    Posted November 15, 2022 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Troy Aikman was born in West Covina California although he moved to Oklahoma and attended High School there that still should make him eligible for this list.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted November 16, 2022 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      This list is not for where they were born but where they went to high school. Jim McMahon played at Andrew Hill (San Jose) before moving away for senior season. We didn’t have him on this list, either.

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