By Kevin McGuire

Welcome to The 50, where we’re counting down to Super Bowl 50 with the top Super Bowl quarterbacks, players, biggest upsets, most memorable plays, and matchups that never lived up to the hype.

Here we take a look at the quarterbacks who have become legends thanks to their memorable Super Bowl performances in the top 10 Super Bowl QBs of all time.

10. John Elway, Denver Broncos

There is no question Elway ended his career on a high note with back-to-back Super Bowl victories against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII and the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. That helped make up for a dismal 0-3 showing in the big game earlier in his career. His 8-yard helicopter play for a first down against Green Bay, which led to a key touchdown, is among his signature moments.

9. Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers

Bart Starr was the NFL’s first Super Bowl champion quarterback, and also the first two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback. Starr led the Packers to victories in each of the first two Super Bowls, and he was named MVP in each with a combined 452 yards and three touchdowns in Super Bowl I and II.

8. Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys

Roger Staubach became the first Heisman Trophy winner to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory as a quarterback. Staubach also won a pair of Super Bowls with the Cowboys, earning Super Bowl MVP honors in Super Bowl VI in a blowout win over the Miami Dolphins.

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Quarterback Jim Plunkett #16 of the Los Angeles Raiders on September 28, 1986 in Los Angeles, California. The Raiders won 17-13. (credit George Rose/Getty Images)

7. Jim Plunkett, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

No quarterback has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams, but Jim Plunkett owns the unique distinction of having won a Super Bowl while representing two different cities. Plunkett won Super Bowls with the Raiders spanning his time in Oakland and in Los Angeles, by going 2-0 in his two Super Bowl appearances. He earned MVP honors in each, including an upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV.

6. Eli Manning, New York Giants

The younger Manning may not ever have the passing numbers his older brother Peyton has, but he dies have one more Super Bowl ring to brag about. Manning earned MVP honors in both of his Super Bowl appearances with the New York Giants. His Super Bowl appearances have offered a pair of miraculous plays that will live forever with David Tyree’s catch against his helmet and a game-winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress to defeat Tom Brady and the Patriots both times.

5. Phil Simms, New York Giants

Phil Simms appeared in just one Super Bowl in his career, but he put on a performance for the ages in the biggest game of his career. In Super Bowl XXI against the Denver Broncos, Simms was locked in and ended the day by completing 22 of his 25 pass attempts for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

4. Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman was the quarterback of a terrific run in Dallas, with three Super Bowl championships in four years under two different coaches. Aikman won MVP honors in Super Bowl XXVII against the Buffalo Bills when he threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns.

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Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015. (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Tom Brady is the newest member of the four-Super Bowl championship club, joining Montana and Bradshaw following last season’s victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. Brady’s first two Super Bowl titles, against St. Louis and Carolina, saw the QB help drive the Patriots into position for game-winning field goals, and last year saw Brady toss a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to come from behind against the Seahawks. Brady was on the losing end of two Super Bowls, thanks in part to miracle plays by the New York Giants each time.

2. Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers

Like Montana, Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw owns four Super Bowl rings, with a pair of MVP honors. Bradshaw and his Steelers also appeared in two other Super Bowls, although they lost those two appearances. Bradshaw was the first quarterback to win three and four Super Bowls, although he often is slighted for playing on a team made famous by the legendary Iron Curtain defense.

1. Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers

One of the NFL’s all-time best, Joe Montana was a perfect 4-0 in Super Bowl appearances. Montana was named Super Bowl MVP three times with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions thrown and two additional rushing touchdowns in his four Super Bowl performances. It is no wonder Montana has often been regarded as the most clutch quarterback in NFL history. His Super Bowl reputation stands alone.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

With two Super Bowl rings, Big Ben is worthy of consideration, although his clutch plays have overshadowed his otherwise average performances. But you have to make big plays in key moments to win the big one, so he gets credit for that.

Doug Williams, Washington Redskins

Williams earned Super Bowl MVP honors in a blowout Super Bowl XXII win (42-10) against Elway and the Broncos, becoming the first African American quarterback to start and win an NFL championship game. Williams passed for 340 yards and four touchdowns in the win.

Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins

Griese was 2-0 in Super Bowls and quarterback of the last NFL team to play a perfect season, but his Super Bowl numbers were far from superior. Between his two Super Bowl games, Griese passed for 161 yards, with his seven passes in Super Bowl VIII – the fewest ever thrown by a Super Bowl participant.

Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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