Blaine Gabbert and Sam Darnold are the backup quarterbacks for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, respectively, and they are both equipped to play a major role in a Super Bowl LVIII victory for either team in case of emergency.
Backup quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Sam Darnold, for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers respectively, may have a significant role in Super Bowl LVIII. They’ve not seen much action this season but could be crucial if needed.
Tom Brady’s rise to fame is a testament to the importance of backup quarterbacks. He replaced Drew Bledsoe during the season and led the Patriots to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI, leading the New England Patriots to a 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
In 2017, Carson Wentz was on track to win the Most Valuable Player award until an injury sidelined him. Nick Foles, the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup quarterback, stepped up and led the team to a Super Bowl victory against the Patriots. This win placed Foles among only 11 other backup quarterbacks who have won the Super Bowl.
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Gabbert played in just two games in the 2023 season, winning both for the Chiefs when Mahomes was out. The 34 year old backup QB first appeared in a game against the Chicago Bears after Mahomes suffered an ankle injury.
Mahomes ended the first half with 221 yards, two touchdowns, and a passer rating of 122.6. Gabbert managed to complete three out of five passes for 21 yards but threw two interceptions while his team was already leading. The Chiefs won the game 41-10.
Gabbert started his first official game against the Los Angeles Chargers, completing 15 out of 30 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in a tight 13-12 win. He got the chance to start because Andy Reid decided to rest Mahomes and several key players after securing an NFL playoff spot the previous week.
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Darnold has played in 10 games for the 49ers this season – starting just one and making successful passes in five of them. Purdy has been dealing with injuries since the NFC Championship game against the Eagles last season, where he was diagnosed with a torn UCL, causing him to miss practice sessions.
In Week 7, Purdy suffered a concussion during a game against the Minnesota Vikings, and in a Week 16 match against the Baltimore Ravens, he had to leave during the fourth quarter due to a cervical neck stinger.
Darnold completed 28 out of 46 passes during those games for 297 yards, two touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 85.1. The 26-year-old quarterback was rated as one of the top three backups in the league on several lists, behind Andy Dalton and Jacoby Brissett.
Darnold took on a more significant role with the team after he outperformed Trey Lance for the backup quarterback position this summer. This resulted in Lance being traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick, even though the 49ers had previously traded three first-round picks to acquire him.
* An AI tool was used to add an extra layer to the editing process for this story.