In these tumultuous times, there is great comfort in the familiar scene, and the most familiar scene of the last four NFL seasons was an AFC championship game played at Arrowhead Stadium, the field. home of the quarterback. Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City Chiefs.
His presence in this round feels inevitable. The absence of some others feels disorienting.
On Sunday, for the first time in 12 seasons, there was no Tom Brady trilogy, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger will play for a conference title, their Super Bowl hopes – and glorious careers, perhaps – will run out sooner than these playoffs. At least one in three midfielders has reached this stage in 18 of the past 20 seasons. And the only appearance, before this game, came in the 2009 season, when, alas, we had to settle for Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning (along with Mark Sanchez).
Older players can still compete today: Rodgers, 38, will most likely win the Player of the Year award for a second straight time – and a fourth overall – while Brady, who at 44 years old threw 5,316 yards high in his career, so he finished right behind him. But each season ushers the NFL beyond a golden age of gems — of Brady and Rodgers, Brees and Manning — and into another.
Not all eras end in a climax, and the league’s current transition in midfield has been going on for several years. The Pocket Prototype has delivered a generation of mobile, precise, and creative stars that are not hindered by convention or perception.
Arizona’s Kyler Murray is 5-foot-10, and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert is 6-foot-6, and there’s room in the NFL for both. Buffalo’s Josh Allen can run between lines and throw clotheslines. Lamar Jackson of Baltimore did the same. Joe Burrow, who took first place overall by the underdog Cincinnati in 2020, has guided the Bengal team to the AFC title match in 2021. Mahomes is a master of improvisation.
With rule changes allowing for goalscoring and explosive statistics, these precious midfield midfielders, capable of reaching the court with proficiency on the ground as well as in the air, are being asked to incur a billion bucks. Disproportionately high rate of offensive production, according to a New York Times analysis of the game and season statistics compiled by Pro Football Reference. It wasn’t until Manning’s fifth season, aged 25, that he occupied 75% of the team’s pitch when he played, and then six more games before he did it again. Joe Montana only breaks 70% once in a full season. At Dan Marino’s peak, he never surpassed 77.2.
Mahomes, meanwhile, has yet to make up less than 78.4 percent of Kansas City’s total when he’s on the field. Last season, Allen, at 25, accounted for 81.3% of Buffalo’s offensive output – down from 2020 – while Jackson, 24, won 84% of Raven’s yards in competition.
Aside from Murray, all of these have played in the AFC, where last season’s average age of the 16 starting players in this position was 25.1. Just three people – including Roethlisberger, 39, who announced his retirement on Thursday – at least 30. In contrast, the median age in NFC – only slightly inflated by Rodgers and Brady – is 29.6.
Another crazy wave of retirements, trades and off-season signings will skew those numbers for next season, and teams lacking a stellar quarterback will again conspire to get one. Just look at the NFC finalists, the San Francisco and Los Angeles Rams, who last year got their successors – the 49th draft Trey Lance and the Rams assigned to Matthew Stafford – to the quarterbacks who have just arrived. starting at the Super Bowl. One of them, Jimmy Garoppolo of San Francisco, might start with another.
But it’s reassuring to know that with so many elite quarterback quartets backed by front offices, committed to roster optimization around them, there won’t be just one dominant opponent over the next decade. but also a lot.
So while this weekend may feel different – not good or bad, just different – get comfortable in what is not a void but another phase of the natural progression of things. . And besides, we’ll probably see Brady take on Mahomes in the Super Bowl next year.
Jenny Vrentas contribution report.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/sports/football/nfl-quarterbacks.html A generational change at the NFL Quarterback