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NFL’s youth movement proves Rams won Super Bowl at right time

LA’s stars are aging while fellow contenders are getting younger

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams Championship Parade Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Take one look across the current NFL landscape and what do you see? The grizzled veteran quarterbacks are dwindling in number. Gone are the days of having the league being dominated by the old timers.

If there is a higher power, Tom Brady is (hopefully) gone within a season or two, barring an unexpected retirement. Aaron Rodgers is doing psychedelics and being more cryptic than usual. It’s anyone’s guess as to what he’ll be doing besides making the cheeseheads uneasy.

Right now, this league belongs to the next generation which should get every fan excited. Every starting quarterback on championship weekend is under age 30 which is unbelievable, although it only adds to the overall strangeness of this season.

Of the 14 teams that made the postseason, only three of them had quarterbacks over 30. Those signal callers were Geno Smith (32), Kirk Cousins (34) and the biggest geezer of them all, Tom Brady (45). The Wild Card round kicked off with a Jaguars-Chargers game that featured a matchup between young QBs making their playoff debut.

Much of the headlines surrounding the NFC Championship have centered on Brock Purdy who is looking to become the first rookie quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl. He’ll have to get past the “ancient” Jalen Hurts first.

As for the AFC side, the Bengals-Chiefs sequel features two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Much to the league’s dismay, the biggest star under center in that game isn’t Josh Allen but rather Joe Burrow. Remember when the Bengals could never win a playoff game with Marvin Lewis? Guess those Bengals are dead and gone, piled under a spoiled batch of Skyline Chili.

Not to take anything away from his competitor on the opposing sideline, Patrick Mahomes is likely to add another MVP award to his already impressive resume. He has changed the trajectory of his organization forever, transforming Kansas City from a mere playoff team to a Super Bowl contending juggernaut.

Thanks to a Divisional Round win over the Jaguars, Mahomes’ playoff record has jumped to 9-3 while leading the Chiefs to five AFC Championship appearances in his five full seasons as starter. Those bath bombs must be his key to greatness.

The league’s fountain of youth has shown that the Los Angeles Rams won their coveted Super Bowl at the right time. Their “F those picks” mentality might not get the job done the next time around. Aside from Purdy whose status after this season is uncertain despite being rumored to be the Niners’ starter in ‘23, these quarterbacks are here to stay. Burrow and Hurts are in line for monster paydays once the season ends.

Building a contender around a young QB still on their rookie deal is the way of front offices across the league. Several other youngsters will get paydays of their own once they further establish themselves. It’s not to say that LA is going down the wrong path. They’ve taken a different approach to a ring and it’s worked to perfection. The problem is, team building through cheaper methods like the draft will produce younger, more athletic players that the Rams will have a tough time competing with due to their aging stars.

Matthew Stafford will be 35 heading in next season. Aaron Donald will be 32, Cooper Kupp 30 with Jalen Ramsey closing in on 30. All besides Ramsey have missed time because of injuries in 2022. It’s not a matter of questioning whether these guys can still play. Exactly how long can they keep it up?

Luckily, the Rams play in a weak NFC where it should be easier to get back to form compared to the AFC. Quarterback uncertainties plague the Packers, Bucs, Seahawks, Giants and Commanders among others. Their toughest competition will come from within their own division with a surprising Seahawks squad and a 49ers team that has appeared in the last two NFC Championships.

LA is expected to return to relevance in ‘23. Better injury luck, play and coaching will send the Rams back to the playoffs. You can bookmark that a year from now.

This team is fully capable of “running it back”. It’s just a guessing game as to how long they’ll be able to compete with the young guns. Time is ticking that’s for sure.