From Prescott to Purdy: The Kids are Alright?

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Divisional - We have covered this before this season, but my favorite genre of stat is the one that makes you go "wow!" and then "Wait, what?" These stats look impressive and interesting on first glance, and then you stop and think and realize you have no context for them—is it something actually cool, or just noise? And we have a great example for the divisional round, a stat that falls into an ever-increasing category of "is this a thing, or is Tom Brady just old?"

Here we go: This is the first divisional round since 2004 where every starting quarterback remaining is under the age of 30.

Considering how worried we were earlier in the year about scoring being down in part because of a quarterback shortage, that's great news, right? Dak Prescott, at 29 years and 177 days old on Sunday, is the dean of the group. Stetson Bennett, who just won the college championship with Georgia, is older than three quarterbacks who will be starting this weekend: Brock Purdy (23 years, 26 days), Trevor Lawrence (23 years, 108 days), and Jalen Hurts (24 years, 168 days). This is the next generation of quarterbacks getting their chance to shine, helping step up to fill the void left by the retirements or aging out of the last generation of passers. It's an opportunity for quarterbacks we could be seeing for the next decade, replacing thirtysomethings we dealt with last year such as Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and … Tom Brady.

OK, so, "every quarterback under the age of 30" obviously hasn't happened for a long time, because Tom Brady is old. Like, very old. The man's career predates the Houston Texans … and Football Outsiders, for that matter. And since he always makes the divisional round, of course it has been ages and ages since we last had a group entirely under 30. Is this stat just another roundabout way of pointing out that Brady lost? Brady has, after all, been the oldest quarterback standing in the divisional round six times, yet another one of the many, many, many records the man holds.

Multiple Seasons as the Oldest Divisional Round QB
Player Teams Years Count
Tom Brady NE/TB 2011, 2016-2018, 2020-2021 6
Peyton Manning IND/DEN 2004, 2012-2015 5
Billy Kilmer WAS 1973-1974, 1976 3
Jim Plunkett LARD 1980, 1982-193 3
Dan Marino MIA 1992, 1994, 1999 3
John Elway DEN 1996-1998 3
Rich Gannon OAK 2000-2002 3
Brett Favre GB/MIN 2003, 2007, 2009 3
Johnny Unitas BALC 1970-1971 2
Fran Tarkenton MIN 1975, 1978 2
Roger Staubach DAL 1977, 1979 2
Joe Montana SF 1988, 1990 2
Phil Simms NYG 1989, 1993 2

Right. So. We have three related questions to answer:

  1. Is it rare for the divisional round to have no one over 30, or is just in the modern era of extended careers that it has become a novelty?
  2. Is this year's class anything special, or is it only notable because they squeeze in under a nice, round number?
  3. Does having a particularly young final eight mean anything going forward, or is it just a neat thing that happens sometimes?

To the database!

No Adults Allowed

Most playoff teams are led by good quarterbacks (citation needed). Most good quarterbacks play for a long time (citation needed). Players who play for a long time age (citation needed). So it may not surprise you that, yes, most divisional-round starting quarterbacks are older than the average NFL player.

Including this year, there have been 424 starting quarterbacks since the NFL introduced the divisional round in 1970. The average age of those starting quarterbacks? 29 years and 354 days old, which is about as bang-on close to 30 as you could possibly hope to get. For the oldest quarterback in this year's group, Prescott, to be younger than the average is unusual, to say the least!

The only other time that has ever happened was the aforementioned 2004 divisional round, where old man Peyton Manning was limping around at the ripe old age of 28 years and 298 days. It's amazing he could move his creaking old-man bones; probably explains why he lost 20-3 to the Patriots and young, baby-faced, 27-year-old Tom Brady that year.

2004 and 2022 are the only seasons with all eight quarterbacks under the age of 30, so no, this isn't just "Tom Brady is old." In fact, there haven't even been that many close calls. There have only been two other seasons where we have seen only one thirtysomething in the divisional round: 1984 (Joe Theismann) and 2000 (Rich Gannon). We have never gone eight-for-eight, but it's more common to see six thirtysomethings than it is to see none at all—as recently in 2015, we had matchups between Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, Brady and Alex Smith, and Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers, thirtysomethings all.

So this is no novelty. When it hasn't been Brady blocking someone younger from competing, it has been somebody. Dak may not be able to take the title of youngest dean ever, but everyone getting here before their 30th birthday is still worthy of note!

Youngest Class Ever

2022 may not be able to boast the youngest oldest quarterback in divisional round history. But thanks to Purdy, Lawrence, and Hurts, it can take another title: the youngest octet we have ever seen in a divisional round. And not just by a little, either.

Average Age of Divisional Round Quarterbacks
Year Avg Oldest Age Youngest Age
2022 25.8 Dak Prescott 29.5 Brock Purdy 23.1
2004 27.0 Peyton Manning 28.8 Ben Roethlisberger 22.9
1986 27.5 Pat Ryan 31.3 Bernie Kosar 23.1
1984 27.6 Joe Theismann 35.3 Dan Marino 23.3
2000 27.7 Rich Gannon 35.0 Daunte Culpepper 23.9
1981 28.1 Ken Anderson 32.9 David Woodley 23.2
1985 28.4 Dieter Brock 34.9 Bernie Kosar 22.1
2010 28.5 Matt Hasselbeck 35.3 Mark Sanchez 24.2
1987 28.7 Doug Williams 32.4 Bernie Kosar 24.1
2019 28.7 Aaron Rodgers 36.1 Lamar Jackson 23.0
2011 28.8 Tom Brady 34.4 Tim Tebow 24.4
1999 29.1 Dan Marino 38.3 Shaun King 22.6
1988 29.2 Joe Montana 32.6 Randall Cunningham 25.8
1992 29.3 Dan Marino 31.3 Troy Aikman 26.1
1975 29.3 Fran Tarkenton 35.9 Bert Jones 24.3
1970 29.4 Johnny Unitas 37.6 Greg Landry 24.0
2005 29.4 Mark Brunell 35.3 Ben Roethlisberger 23.9
2003 29.5 Brett Favre 34.3 Tom Brady 26.4
1983 29.5 Jim Plunkett 36.1 Dan Marino 22.3
1979 29.6 Roger Staubach 37.9 Doug Williams 24.4
1980 29.7 Jim Plunkett 33.1 Tommy Kramer 25.8
1994 29.7 Dan Marino 33.3 Brett Favre 25.2
2012 29.7 Peyton Manning 36.8 Russell Wilson 24.1
1974 29.8 Billy Kilmer 35.3 Joe Ferguson 24.7
1996 29.8 John Elway 36.5 Kerry Collins 24.0
1989 29.8 Phil Simms 34.2 Bernie Kosar 26.1
1977 29.9 Roger Staubach 35.9 Bob Avellini 24.3
2001 30.0 Rich Gannon 36.1 Tom Brady 24.5
1990 30.0 Joe Montana 34.6 Mike Tomczak 28.2
2002 30.1 Rich Gannon 37.1 Michael Vick 22.5
1976 30.1 Billy Kilmer 37.3 Steve Grogan 23.4
1973 30.1 Billy Kilmer 34.3 Ken Anderson 24.9
1997 30.1 John Elway 37.5 Kordell Stewart 25.2
2013 30.2 Peyton Manning 37.8 Andrew Luck 24.3
2006 30.2 Jeff Garcia 36.9 Philip Rivers 25.1
2007 30.4 Brett Favre 38.3 Philip Rivers 26.1
1972 30.6 Earl Morrall 38.6 Terry Bradshaw 24.3
1982 30.7 Jim Plunkett 35.1 David Woodley 24.2
2008 30.7 Kurt Warner 37.6 Joe Flacco 24.0
1991 30.8 Steve DeBerg 38.0 Chris Miller 26.4
2020 31.1 Tom Brady 43.5 Lamar Jackson 24.0
1978 31.1 Fran Tarkenton 38.9 Steve Grogan 25.4
2014 31.1 Peyton Manning 38.8 Andrew Luck 25.3
2016 31.2 Tom Brady 39.4 Dak Prescott 23.5
2009 31.2 Brett Favre 40.3 Mark Sanchez 23.2
1995 31.3 Jim Kelly 35.9 Brett Favre 26.2
2018 31.4 Tom Brady 41.4 Patrick Mahomes 23.3
2017 32.1 Tom Brady 40.4 Marcus Mariota 24.2
1971 32.1 Johnny Unitas 38.6 Bob Lee 25.4
2021 32.2 Tom Brady 44.5 Joe Burrow 25.1
1993 32.9 Phil Simms 38.2 Brett Favre 24.3
2015 33.2 Peyton Manning 39.8 Cam Newton 26.7
1998 33.7 John Elway 38.5 Jake Plummer 24.1

This season's group breaks the record by over a year—a year and 94 days, to be precise. If the same eight quarterbacks start again next season, they would still be younger than the 2004 set. This year's class is over six years younger than 2021's group, which again is over a year bigger than any other drop-off in NFL history. That one is an artifact of Brady Methuselahing his way through his 40s; cut him and 2021's average age drops from 32.2 to 30.4. Even without him, though, replacing four 30-year-olds with rookies and sophomores makes for a dramatically different feel than we had at this point last year. We were talking about potential Brady retirements and Rodgers' last rides; we were expecting Garoppolo to be replaced by a rookie and Tannehill to have someone drafted to groom behind him. This year? The only one of the eight starters whose future is at all in question is Purdy, and honestly? You could probably get even odds about whether or not he'll start for the 2023 49ers. This set is set up for long-term future success.

But has that historically been the case?

Fates of the Young

Let's look at the previous super-young playoff fields, and see if they were harbingers for future success or just a blip caused by injuries and other chaos.

1. 2022: 25.8 years old
Dak Prescott (29.5), Patrick Mahomes (27.3), Josh Allen (26.7), Joe Burrow (26.1), Daniel Jones (25.7), Jalen Hurts (24.5), Trevor Lawrence (23.3), Brock Purdy (23.1)

Now one of the older quality quarterbacks in the NFL, is Patrick Mahomes beginning to look towards retirement? In this column…

2. 2004: 27.0 years old
Peyton Manning (28.8), Chad Pennington (28.6), Donovan McNabb (28.1), Daunte Culpepper (28.0), Marc Bulger (27.8), Tom Brady (27.5), Michael Vick (24.6), Ben Roethlisberger (22.9)

This was the year after Brett Favre's first career renaissance ended, but before his second career renaissance, giving a nice gap for some younger players in the NFC to step up. Steve McNair was knocked out for half the year with a knee injury, and the Chiefs' horrendous defense kept Trent Green from making a repeat appearance. And so there was room for Big Ben to make his postseason debut as a rookie, after starting the season 13-0—the only rookie quarterback with a longer winning streak to start his career than Purdy.

It's a pretty fantastic list of quarterbacks, too. One Hall of Famer and another who will join him immediately when eligible in Manning and Brady. Roethlisberger, with a very good shot of his own. Vick, who was one of the most dynamic players in the history of the game. And then, y'know—Pennington had a couple of Comeback Player of the Year awards, and even Bulger made his way back to the playoffs eventually. But this was it for Culpepper—after one of the best seasons in DVOA history in 2004, injuries soon knocked him out and he was never able to recover.

3. 1986: 27.5 years old
Pat Ryan (31.3), Phil Simms (31.2), Joe Montana (30.6), Tony Eason (27.2), John Elway (26.5), Jay Schroeder (25.5), Doug Flutie (24.2), Bernie Kosar (23.1)

The collapse of the Cowboys dynasty (so long, Danny White) and an injury to 34-year-old rookie Dieter Brock opened up the door for a couple of first-time playoff starters in the NFC. Flutie, after hanging out in the USFL for a few years, happened to top the 1986 Bears game of quarterback musical chairs just in time to lose to Washington and Schroeder, who had gotten his starting job when Joe Theismann shattered his leg the year before. Each player had a couple more playoff appearances in them, though neither would come to exactly dominate the quarterback leaderboards in years to come.

This was also the last playoff appearance for Tony Eason at the ripe old age of 27, following up his terrible performance in Super Bowl XX with a loss to Elway and the Broncos in the divisional round, and then a short career of not being a starting quarterback anymore. Multiple playoff appearances do not a long starting career guarantee; we call that the Sanchez Clause.

4. 1984: 27.6 years old
Joe Thiesmann (35.3), Phil Simms (29.2), Joe Montana (28.6), Steve Fuller (28.0), Dave Krieg (26.2), Mark Malone (26.1), John Elway (24.5), Dan Marino (23.3)

Hey, wait a minute, this is just 1986 with extra steps! Simms, Montana, Elway? Check, check, check. Quarterbacks du jour for Washington and Chicago? Check and check. Amazing; the league didn't dramatically change in just two years.

This was actually the postseason debut for Simms. That's pretty rare; he's one of the 50 oldest first-time playoff quarterbacks since the merger, and one of the very, very few who was a first-time starter while also being older than both of his playoff opponents, Montana and Jeff Kemp. It was also the debut for Fuller, as "the "Bears," "success," and "quarterback health" so rarely have gone together over the years; he replaced an injured Jim McMahon here. And it was the final appearance for Mark Malone, as a combination of injuries and the Steelers being bad for once kept him at home.

While not as good as the 2004 edition (you think?), I'd take this lot over the 1986 crew. Adding young Dan Marino certainly helps make that decision easier.

5. 2000: 27.7 years old
Rich Gannon (35.0), Jay Fielder (29.0), Trent Dilfer (28.8), Kerry Collins (28.0), Steve McNair (27.9), Aaron Brooks (24.8), Donovan McNabb (24.1), Daunte Culpepper (23.9)

Like 1984, we have one greybeard pumping up the average here, though Gannon had more successful years left in him than Theismann did. But the end of the era of the 1990s quarterbacks is really evident here—no Dan Marino, who retired the year before; no John Elway or Steve Young or even a Randall Cunningham in sight. We have talked in the past about this historic quarterback lull; we're in a bit of a similar one at the moment thanks to the paucity of the 2010-to-2015 grouping.

And just like this year, where the old aging out and the middle class not existing opened up room for the Purdys and Hurtses of the world to immediately make an impact, 2000 saw room for the postseason debuts of Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb, not to mention the one and only playoff run from Aaron Brooks. While Brooks was far from terrible, at least in 2000, a playoff field open enough for Brooks to make it to the final eight does reflect a lack of quality starters available to fill those shoes.

To get a class this young, you typically need misfortune to fall on a string of veterans. It's not usually a set of young stars forcing their way onto the stage, but rather injuries, retirements, and maybe a year or two of bad drafting mixed in that creates the scenario for a bunch of young passers to bubble up to the top. Sure, there's no surprise that someone with the pedigree of Trevor Lawrence got here just two years after being the first overall pick, and guys such as Mahomes, Allen, and Burrow dominating their conferences in their 20s has plenty of historic precedent. But when you start squeezing through guys such as Daniel Jones or Brock Purdy, it's usually because someone broke their foot and someone else got old real fast.

That's not to say this group of eight won't follow in 2004's footsteps. It doesn't seem like much off a stretch at all to pluck a trio of Hall of Famers from this year's group, with a couple of franchise heroes and another fun memory or two. But sometimes, your young, ascending player ends up a Mark Malone.

Staff Fantasy Playoff Update

2022 Staff Playoff Fantasy Challenge
  Tom Rivers Jackson Vince Cale Aaron Bryan
QB Josh Allen 25.6 Patrick Mahomes 0 Dak Prescott 39.65 Trevor Lawrence 25.2 Joe Burrow 23.35 Jalen Hurts 0 Brock Purdy 38.2
RB Jerrick McKinnon 0 Joe Mixon 8.6 Christian McCaffrey 21.6 Miles Sanders 0 Ezekiel Elliott 4.6 Devin Singletary 4.8 Saquon Barkley 27.9
RB Tony Pollard 11.9 Dalvin Cook 12.1 Austin Ekeler 18.3 Isiah Pacheco 0 James Cook 9.9 Travis Etienne 13.1 Elijah Mitchell 10.7
WR CeeDee Lamb 16.8 Justin Jefferson 11.6 Ja'Marr Chase 23.4 A.J. Brown 0 Deebo Samuel 28.5 DeVonta Smith 0 Stephon Diggs 18.4
WR Chris Godwin 18.5 Gabe Davis 23.3 Tee Higgins 9.7 Christian Kirk 21.8 Keenan Allen 12.1 JuJu Smith-Schuster 0 Brandon Aiyuk 10.3
WR Michael Gallup 15.6 Marquez Valdes-Scantling 0 Mike Williams 0 Zay Jones 21.4 Mike Evans 13.4 Adam Thielen 8 Mecole Hardman 0
TE Dalton Schultz 28.5 T.J. Hockenson 22.9 Dawson Knox 11 Dallas Geodert 0 Travis Kelce 0 Evan Engram 22.3 George Kittle 7.7
K Brett Maher 1 Greg Joseph 6 Evan McPherson 4 Harrison Butker 0 Tyler Bass 10 Jake Elliott 0 Robbie Gould 16
DEF Bengals 10 Buccaneers -3 Cowboys 2 Eagles 0 Bills 5 Chiefs 0 49ers 4
TOT 127.9 81.5 129.65 68.4 106.85 48.2 133.2

Well, the week couldn't have gone much better for me.

An all-49ers strategy makes a lot of sense when San Francisco put up over 500 yards of offense and 41 offensive points, both in the top six in franchise history. Yes, I missed out on the big days from Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey, but I just had so much volume that I was bound to be the beneficiary of something, somewhere. Brock Purdy had the fifth-best fantasy day a 49ers quarterback has ever had in the postseason, surpassed by one game each from Colin Kaepernick (That Packers Game), Steve Young (the Super Bowl over the Chargers), Jeff Garcia (the comeback against the Giants), and Joe Montana (the Super Bowl over the Dolphins). That's a pretty nice thing to have in your pocket. Plus, my entire roster is intact going forwards, meaning I get a second game from Saquon Barkley. That was very much a 50/50 chance going in, so I'll take that. At this point, I'm essentially guaranteed a win if the 49ers make the Super Bowl, so that's a nice spot to be in. I have plenty of equity in Giants and Chiefs Super Bowl trips, too, so I feel I'm sitting fairly pretty.

It's far from a runaway, however. Jackson and Tom both rode Dallas' big Monday night to the 120-point club, putting them less than 10 points behind me as things stand. Tom is lucky that there is no penalty for missed extra points in this format, so Brett Maher gets him 1 point rather than, like, -19 or something. Jackson, meanwhile, rode the second of the three big fantasy days, as Dak Prescott's 39.65 points beat all other scorers in this format. I think both of them need Dallas to beat San Francisco this weekend; otherwise, there's not going to be enough juice left in their rosters to catch me. As for which one would be in better shape if Dallas does pull the upset? Watch the Bengals-Bills game for that; Tom stands to lose Josh Allen if the Bills lose, while Jackson would drop all his remaining receivers if the Bengals bow out. Suffice it to say, I suspect only one of the three of us will remain standing after the divisional round.

Below the three of us, I actually like Vince's position the best. Vince looked doomed at halftime on Saturday night, but his Jaguars roared back, giving him an extra week of Trevor Lawrence, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones to go along with his Eagles stack. That gives him a leg-up over Aaron's Eagles stack, as he banked points this round Aaron simply didn't. Plus, just having a full roster going into the divisional round is a great place to be in, even if more than half his team haven't put up any points yet.

Everyone else is in a bit of trouble. Cale is in fourth place with over 100 points, but it's hard to see a path forward with Joe Burrow and Deebo Samuel as his top performers; he's somewhat stuck behind Jackson and me there. Losing Keenan Allen and Mike Evans knocked some outs free, too; it's hard to figure out exactly what combination of results he needs to actually gain ground. Aaron's situation is simpler; he needs the Eagles to roll to the Super Bowl and the 49ers to drop out before I can extend my lead any further; he's going to have trouble with Vince's Jacksonville start, but I could imagine Jalen Hurts erasing that lead despite Vince having so many of his targets.

And then there's Rivers. Live by the Vikings stack, die by the Vikings stack.

Best of the Rest

Your leader after the wild-card round is Eddo! Eddo nearly had the highest score of anyone, including the staff, putting up 131.9 points despite getting zero from his quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Eddo rode a 30-plus-point day from DK Metcalf (35.6), as well as big days from J.K. Dobbins (20.5), Gerald Everett (22.9), Tyreek Hill (16.4), and Kenneth Walker (13.6). He also had solid-enough performances from Tyler Lockett (9.9), Justin Tucker (5), and the Chargers defense (8)…

… and that's it. That's his entire roster, eliminated after the first round. Well. At least he gets a week in first place, with almost the best possible lineup for specifically the wild-card round. Obviously, you'd rather have a quarterback who played—and specifically, Daniel Jones, who had 30.85 points himself—but aside from that, that's close to an ideal lineup.

If you wanted a high score this week, DK Metcalf was pretty much a necessity—but his 35.6 points are done now. If you wanted a high chance to win going forward, you wanted the New York Football Giants. The highest-scoring team in the first round who is in good position going forward is Andrew. He lost Metcalf, Walker, Mike Gesicki, and Ryan Succop, but he still has the Jones-Isaiah Hodges-Darius Slayton-Giants D stack going forwards, plus Samaje Perine for taste. The Giants upsetting the Eagles wouldn't be the craziest thing in the world, and Andrew is well positioned for such an eventually … though he has to watch out for some teams that went even heavier on New York, like Dales' eight-player New York stack. What, was Gary Brightwell a step too far?

Of the 31 valid entries, 23 still have a chance to win, via a combination of points scored in the wild-card round and unique rosters, even if some are hanging on by the thread of "believing in Justin Watson."

Your current top 5:

1. Eddo: 131.9 (no players remaining)
2. Jackson Roberts: 129.25 (Samaje Perine remaining)
3. Andrew: 124.45 (Daniel Jones, Samaje Perine, Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, and Giants DEF remaining)
4. VikeDawg: 123.55 (Tyler Boyd remaining)
5. NYChem: 112.3 (Darious Slayton remaining)


15 comments, Last at 20 Jan 2023, 11:22am

#1 by Pat // Jan 19, 2023 - 3:17pm

Bryan, it might be time to actually come up with a proper name and start tracking the FO Playoff Draft Curse or whatever it ends up being called.

Was kindof a joke when I noticed it last year, since it had only ever happened 4 times before since '14 and I'm not sure any other times before that. But with 2 last year and 3 this year, we're now up to teams going 0-9 if none of their players/etc. get selected in the draft.

I mean, obviously, those 9 teams aren't great, but, uh, upsets do happen, after all.

edit: looking back on it, for instance, I think one of the biggest upsets in the wild-card round in recent history was Browns over Steelers in '20 (Browns were 5-point underdogs due to a COVID outbreak), and someone still picked up Nick Chubb in the draft. 

Points: 2

#14 by Jannifer316 // Jan 20, 2023 - 8:46am

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Points: -2

#2 by andrew // Jan 19, 2023 - 3:33pm

aw, wish we had more BOTR team names used and mentioned...    one of my favorite things from Loser League was the team names.   I wasn't able to use my loser league team name this year, so saved it for this - "Don't Ask Donatell", which echoed my strategy.  I just regret not taking Gano instead of Succup for my kicker.

Points: 0

#3 by rh1no // Jan 19, 2023 - 3:39pm

It's nice to see a changing of the guard at quarterback. As a fan of a team that has never won a Super Bowl, I'd obviously love to see my team lift the trophy, but it would also be a decent consolation prize to see Josh Allen deliver for the Bills after so many decades of futility. Which brings me to an interesting idea ...

Could we see a similar analysis of Divisional round quarterbacks, but by Super Bowl wins instead of age? How often is there only one Super Bowl winning QB left at this stage? Have we ever been guaranteed to get a first-time Super Bowl winner at this point in the playoffs? 

Points: 1

#5 by Travis // Jan 19, 2023 - 4:15pm

2002 (Maddox, McNair, Vick, McNabb, Pennington, Gannon, Garcia, Brad Johnson) was the last Divisional round with no starting quarterbacks who had won Super Bowls. (Other post-merger years included 2000, 1999, 1991, 1985, 1981, 1980, 1972, and 1970.)

The last year with just one previous Super Bowl winner in the Divisional round was 2006 (Brady, of course).  2005 and 2004 were the same way.

Points: 2

#8 by JIPanick // Jan 19, 2023 - 6:15pm

More trivia:

1970 had no Super Bowl winners, but did have a starting QB with multiple world titles.

1972 ended up with a SB winner starting a conference title game after having none start in the divisional round.

1980, 1981, and 1985 featured no QBs who had won a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback, but each featured one who had won a Super Bowl as the first team punter.

Only 2000 and 2002 featured no prior and no future Super Bowl winners - the only champion of the eight won his ring that season.

Points: 3

#4 by Eddo // Jan 19, 2023 - 4:04pm

I'm famous!  I remembered too late to swap out Lamar, so to speak.  I wonder which QB I'd have gone with...

Points: 2

#6 by BlueStarDude // Jan 19, 2023 - 5:52pm

Pretty sure I nailed last place in BOTR. That said, it worked: I picked "all" Bucs and they got knocked out. Too bad Dallas has absolutely no chance against the 49ers now; they don't realize my BOTR team was the secret weapon for them last week.

Points: 0

#7 by Dales // Jan 19, 2023 - 6:04pm

"What, was Gary Brightwell a step too far?"


No offense meant to Gary Brightwell, but no offense from him either.

Points: 0

#9 by everest // Jan 19, 2023 - 6:49pm

I’m either too old or not old enough , but I have no recollection whatsoever of Pat Ryan.  I have been following since Carter was President.  Who is this? Everyone else on these lists is known to me , but with PR I draw a blank. I know I can google but perhaps someone here can say.  

Points: 0

#12 by Travis // Jan 19, 2023 - 8:44pm

Pat Ryan was the longtime backup QB for the Jets, but he got the start in the Wild Card and Divisional rounds because Ken O'Brien was brutal down the stretch (2 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in the final 5 games; the Jets went 0-5). 

Ryan got hurt in warmups before the Divisionals against the Browns; O'Brien replaced him in the second quarter.

Points: 0

#10 by everest // Jan 19, 2023 - 6:49pm

I’m either too old or not old enough , but I have no recollection whatsoever of Pat Ryan.  I have been following since Carter was President.  Who is this? Everyone else on these lists is known to me , but with PR I draw a blank. I know I can google but perhaps someone here can say.  

Points: 0

#11 by everest // Jan 19, 2023 - 6:50pm

I’m either too old or not old enough , but I have no recollection whatsoever of Pat Ryan.  I have been following since Carter was President.  Who is this? Everyone else on these lists is known to me , but with PR I draw a blank. I know I can google but perhaps someone here can say.  

Points: 0

#13 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 19, 2023 - 10:10pm

So the other side of this, the QB's who were the youngest starter multiple times in the divisional round. It's less interesting as it's mostly just a young QB at the beginning of their career, but there are some neat things.

  1. Bernie Kosar: 4 (1985-87, 1989)
  2. Brett Favre: 3 (1993-95)
  3. Steve Grogan: 2 (1976, 1978)
  4. David Woodley: 2 (1981-82)
  5. Dan Marino: 2 (1983-84)
  6. Tom Brady: 2 (2001, 2003)
  7. Ben Roethlisberger: 2 (2004-05)
  8. Philip Rivers: 2 (2006-07)
  9. Mark Sanchez: 2 (2009-10)
  10. Andrew Luck: 2 (2013-14)
  11. Lamar Jackson: 2 (2019-20)
  • That puts Brady on here 8 times, twice as the youngest and 6 times as the oldest.
  • Favre tries to catch him in appearances, as the original old man being the first 40+ to start a divisional game in 2009. He gets up to 6 appearances with 3 youngest and 3 oldest the most "balanced" of the both sides bunch. He and Brady are the only 40+ oldest. Of course they aren't the only 40+ men to start a divisional game but Brady hides Brees 2020 start when he was 41.something. I might be missing someone else.
  • The other to make multiple appearances on both sides was Marino with 2 as the youngest and 3 as the oldest.
  • Bernie Kosar the king of the young starters not only has the 4 starts as the youngest but has the youngest age at 22.1, then 7th, then 21st, and finally 46th which is also 8th oldest for the youngest starter. That's Tomczak at 28.2 in 1990


Points: 3

#15 by Kaepernicus // Jan 20, 2023 - 11:22am

Too bad Huntley got knocked out in the WC round. If he would have made it we could have potentially ended up with a Purdy, Jones, Huntley, and Burrow/Allen final 4. That would have competed with the amazing Keenum, Bortles, Foles, and Brady final 4 from 2017. It's also wild that even if LAC won the WC this still would have been the youngest divisional QB group. If Huntley knocked off the Bengals this group would be even younger. The youth of the playoff QBs in the AFC is insane. There are going to be some fantastic QBs in AFC that don't sniff the Pro Bowl over the next decade.

Points: 0

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