New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – NFL quarterback Earl Morrall who started for two Super Bowl-winning teams passed away Friday at age 79.
He made his NFL debut in 1956 with the San Francisco 49ers before becoming a starter in 1957 for the Pittsburgh Steelers where earned a Pro Bowl nod.
He was then sent to Detroit in 1958 in exchange for the greatest player in Lions franchise history, Bobby Layne.
He was a backup with the Baltimore Colts when Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas suffered a career-altering elbow injury in the final preseason game of 1968.
Morrall took over to lead the Baltimore Colts to a 13-1 record en route to the Most Valuable Player award and a Super Bowl III appearance in 1969.
Two years later, Morrall replaced an injured Unitas in the Colts’ Super Bowl V triumph over the Dallas Cowboys.
To this day, Morrall remains the only quarterback to come off the bench and lead his team to a come-from-behind Super Bowl victory.
The then 38-year-old Morrall followed coach Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins in 1972 as backup to another Hall of Famer, Bob Griese.
When Griese suffered a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in Week 5, Morrall led the 1972 Dolphins to 11 consecutive wins.
It was the only undefeated season in NFL history where they finished with 17-0 and went on to win Super Bowl VII in 1973.
He was then named American Football Conference Player of the Year, along with the inaugural NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Playing four more seasons under Shula, Griese was also a member of the Dolphins team that captured Superbowl VIII in 1974. and became the oldest quarterback to start and win an NFL game. He announced his retirement in 1977.
“All Earl ever did was win games for me, whether it was as a starter or coming off the bench,” Shula said Friday in a statement released by the Dolphins.