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.
Starting QBs for Championship Sunday— CHRIS (@PantherLiferGA) January 23, 2023
Brock Purdy (age 23)
Jalen Hurts (age 24)
Joe Burrow (age 26)
Patrick Mahomes (age 27) pic.twitter.com/nCcB750Awv
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.
Wild Card Weekend starts tonight.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 14, 2023
The Chargers-Jaguars matchup marks the 3rd time since 1950 that under-25 QBs will both make their first career playoff start against each other (2011 Wild Card: Andy Dalton vs T.J Yates; 2012 Wild Card: Robert Griffin III vs Russell Wilson). pic.twitter.com/3GXAvwy4SC
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.
#49ers QB Brock Purdy and #Eagles QB Jalen Hurts will have a combined age of 47 years, 208 days, making it the youngest combined age between starting QBs in a Conference Championship Game and the 4th-youngest in any playoff matchup.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) January 23, 2023
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.
Joe Burrow joins Russell Wilson (6) and Ben Roethlisberger (5) as the only starting QBs to win 5 playoff games within their first 3 seasons.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 22, 2023
He's also the 5th QB in the Super Bowl era to win each of his first 3 playoff road starts. pic.twitter.com/94rUBCEpbC
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.
Some perspective:— Max W. (@MaximusDub) February 14, 2022
-Playoff wins: 8
-AFCCGs: 3 total
-SB appearances: 2 (won 1)
-QB ages: 31, 34, 37, 37, 31
-Playoff wins: 8
-AFCCGs: 4 in a row
-SB appearances: 2 (won 1)
-Patrick age: 26
Let’s enjoy this historic time #ChiefsKingdom
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.
Salary cap numbers for the final four QBs in the NFL playoffs and where they rank at the position:— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) January 23, 2023
Patrick Mahomes -- $35.79M (2nd)
Joe Burrow -- $9.87M (19th)
Jalen Hurts -- $1.64M(53rd)
Brock Purdy -- $724,000 (83rd)
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.
Kyle Shanahan has been 2 3 NFC championships in 4 years with 5 different QBs starting regular season games in that time span and 2 different QBs winning multiple playoff games. He’s a great coach. I’ll repeat what I said last week: best football decision jed york has ever made.— Vish Kumaran (@VishKumaran) January 23, 2023
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.