Peytons 39, Brady 38, Drew Brees is 36 were in the late stages of a golden age, and the future of the NFLs most important stance is seeming decidedly sub-par
The Panthers-Colts matchup on Monday night was billed as a clash between two of the top young quarterbacks in football: Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. What we got was sloppy, disappointing and ultimately won by Newton. It was the NFLs entire younger generation of NFL quarterbacks captured in one dreary game.
Countless articles have been written this season about how we as football fans must make sure to appreciate Peyton Manning while he is still playing, even in his diminished 2015 kind. The elder Manning has regressed so far that his 0 TD, 1 INT performance in Sundays win over the Packers was supposedly a statement game. Simply 12 months ago, any game in which Manning didnt throw at least three touchdowns was an aberration, and now his Sunday game is being called a return to kind? Peyton Manning of old shows up, and the Broncos stay undefeated read the headline in the New York Times. Ugh. Depressing.
But while were all trying to appreciate Manning( while wincing and peering through our thumbs ), we might wishes to also carve out time to enjoy the other quarterbacks of his generation who are still playing at a high level. Because the future of the NFLs most important position is seeming worse than a Manning Face after a postseason interception.
Manning is 39. His younger brother, Eli, isnt all that young any more at 34. Tom Brady is 38, Drew Brees 36, Ben Roethlisberger 33. Even Aaron Rodgers turns 32 next month.
Only one living favorite starting quarterback possesses a Super Bowl ring and is under the age of 30, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. We can and likely will, regrettably continue to argue about whether Joe Flacco( 31 in January) is upper-class, but we can probably all agree that the generation that will replace the older QBs most definitely is not.
While its easy to criticize Manning for his postseason failures as I did just three paragraph ago! if you look at his entire career as a performance under pressure, hes as clutch as it comes. When Manning was drafted No1 overall in 1998 by the Colts out of Tennessee, Archies prize son was dubbed the future of the quarterback stance in the NFL. And he delivered. Yes, theres only the one Super Bowl title over a Rex Grossman-quarterbacked team, but theres also pretty much every occur record.
The NFL desperately needed Manning to deliver, too. John Elway was about to play his last season and Dan Marino, Troy Aikman and Steve Young were all on the way out. The future of the NFL quarterback position in 1998 was a 29 year-old Brett Favre and I dont know Drew Bledsoe? Yikes.
Manning fought in his rookie season, but in 1999 had a passer rating of 90.7, good for fourth in the NFL, three places behind Kurt Warner in his out-of-nowhere breakout season. Here was the entire top 10 that season 😛 TAGEND
2. Steve Beuerlein
3. Jeff George
5. Brad Johnson
6. Rich Gannon
7. Ray Lucas
8. Charlie Batch
9. Gus Frerrote
10. Chris Chandler
Sweet merciful divinity. That listing isnt much better than the Browns QB jersey. No wonder Vince McMahon supposed then that the time might be approaching to launch a competitor league to the NFL.
Manning bridged the gap between two epoches and let fans know there was at least someone alive outside of Favre who could hurl a football. Then Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger and Rodgers came along and all was right with the football world.
The league is in a similar place now as it was in the late 90 s. The older generation of QBs is nearing the end of its operate and the NFL would like to identify its future icons. The notion was that Andrew Luck would be one of them. Drafted No1 overall by the Colts and supposedly cerebral like his predecessor, it was hoped that Luck would be a more athletic Manning. Instead, hes playing more like a less hygienic Jay Cutler. After throwing four interceptions in the playoffs last year, dedicating him 12 interceptions in six career playoff games, Luck is on pace this season to go 6-10 with 26 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and a 71.6 quarterback rating and a large chunk of those touchdown passes have come in garbage time.
Luck isnt the next Peyton Manning. Thats OK. There will probably never be another Peyton Manning. But Luck might not even be, you know, to use a fancy scouting word: good.
So which young quarterbacks are?
Cam Newton, age 26, is undefeated and might be having his best season. Five years into his career, he looks to be a quarterback who can win games but isnt inevitably going to drop any jaws. Perhaps, with some more talent around him, his career will take the path or Roethlisberger, with the eye-popping stats coming subsequently in his career. But as of now, Newtons career-high for touchdown pass in a season is 24. Manning beat that in his first seven games two years ago.
Russell Wilson, also age 26, has that ring. But even with his new, huge contract and the addition of Jimmy Graham, hes appearing more like a skilled director both at game managing and brand managing than a generational talent. Wilson still hasnt won a game in his career when the Seattle defense dedicates up more than 24 points.
Andy Dalton is having a career year at age 28. But he remains Andy Dalton until he stops being Andy Dalton. The NFL isnt focusing marketing efforts around the guy anytime soon. He needs to win a playoff game, and probably more, before hes no longer Andy Dalton.
Matt Stafford and Ryan Tannehill arent next-level talents. RG3 and Colin Kaepernick ran bust. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are still too green for anyone to know what they can do. That leaves Blake Bortles? Derek Carr? Huh, perhaps its Derek Carr? Hes explosion in his second NFL season at age 24. But is it bad if the future of the NFL quarterback position could be a Raiders quarterback? I feel like thats bad.
What constructs the struggles of the younger generation even more concerning is that, thanks to Manning and Brady, utterly every rule in the NFL is written to help offenses and quarterbacks specifically . And still were not watching much. Imagine Andrew Luck playing under the rules that existed even 10 years ago. No turnover record would be safe. Theres not much help on the way either. I entail, teams are seriously considering drafting Penn Nation Christian Hackenberg in the first round. It might be time to re-launch the XFL, Vince.
This all isnt simply to lament the younger generation of quarterbacks or “says hes” suck. Newton is good, a team can plainly win with Wilson, and Luck still has plenty of time to turn it all around. Its to make the suit that, with most of the 30 -something QBs still creating, that were in the later days of a golden age of NFL quarterbacks. Six future Hall of Famers are in action every Sunday. Enjoy it while we have it. It might not be long before talents akin to Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer are winning Super Bowls again.
Of course, maybe Tom Brady genuinely will play 10 more years as he lately said he hopes to. If that happens, everything will be just fine. Just please dont suspend him, Mr Goodell.