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New players and Super Bowl Champions

Posted by Chase Stuart on August 7, 2008

In case you haven't heard, the Jets traded for Brett Favre last night. While New York went just 4-12 last season, the Jets had arguably the most impressive off-season of any team in the NFL... and that was before adding Brett Favre. To recap, the Jets added Kris Jenkins at NT, Calvin Pace at OLB, and Vernon Gholston at OLB. On offense, New York signed G Alan Faneca, T Damien Woody and FB Tony Richardson, and drafted TE Dustin Keller. The Jets threw a ton of money at the big holes on the team -- blocking, run stopping, and attacking the passer. Keller, who is in the mold of Dallas Clark and is more wide receiver than tight end, was supposed to be the big play threat the Jets needed. But after all these moves, the Jets biggest hole was still the one spot you can't hide.

Until now. The addition of Favre instantly makes the Jets a legitimate playoff threat, and who knows what else. There are lots of things to talk about today, but here's the first thing that came to mind: how often are teams led to the Super Bowl by new players? As it turns out, not that frequently. Here's a look at five of the biggest moves:

  • Marshal Faulk and Kurt Warner, 1999. Easily the two biggest acquisitions that any Super Bowl team has made, and it came in the same year. Faulk was picked up for a song in a trade with Indianapolis, and Kurt Warner came in just a few hops away from bagging groceries. We all know what happened here.
  • Tony Dorsett, 1977. The Pitt Panther star became an instant hit in Dallas, ranking second in the league in rushing touchdowns and averaging 4.8 YPC. Dorsett chipped in four TDs in three post-season games, helping the 'Boys get over the hump and win Super Bowl XII.
  • Ronnie Lott, 1981. Like Dorsett four years earlier, Lott was an instant hit in the pros, and that was before he helped redefine the safety position. As a rookie he led the league in return touchdowns, and was named an All Pro at cornerback. In the playoffs, his fourth quarter interception iced the 'Niners first playoff victory.
  • Deion Sanders, 1994. After being named All Pro his last two seasons in Atlanta, Sanders was named to his third straight All Pro (and Pro Bowl) team in San Francisco. His 303 yards on interception returns still ranks as the third most in NFL history. Sanders won the Defensive Player of the Year award, and helped the 49ers end the Cowboys run as champions. The following year, Sanders went to Dallas, and won another Super Bowl.
  • Sam Adams, 2000. Sure, Ray Lewis and Rod Woodson were the big names on that Ravens defense, but Sam Adams was the only other Pro Bowler for Baltimore that year. Adams' huge body in the middle was a big reason why Lewis was able to be so dominant that season, and why the Ravens were able to win the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer at quarterback.

What about QBs? Only three Super Bowl QBs were in their first year with their team -- Trent Dilfer (2000), Kurt Warner (1999) and Earl Morrall (1972). In addition, Jim Plunkett (1980) and Roger Staubach (1971) both played just sparingly with their teams before guiding them to the Super Bowl in those years.

As for Favre's age (he's 38 now, and turns 39 in October), does history say Favre has a chance? The 38 year old Favre was terrific, so that's probably the best sign that the 39 year old Favre will be very good. Warren Moon, John Elway, Phil Simms, Joe Montana, Craig Morton, Doug Flutie and Earl Morrall all had at least one very good year at 38 or older.