After years of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees leading their teams deep into the NFL playoffs, we have a legitimate youth movement in the postseason.
All eight of the remaining quarterbacks set to start in the Divisional Round are under the age of 30. Dallas Cowboys passer Dak Prescott, who sent Brady packing on Monday, is the oldest quarterback at the ripe age of 29.
The average age of the eight starting quarterbacks on game day will be 25 years and 278 days, the youngest group since the league implemented the Divisional Playoffs in 1970. The only other time that every QB starting this weekend was under 30 was in 2004.
The AFC is leading the way with all four starting quarterbacks younger than 28 years old. Second-year man Trevor Lawrence is 23 years old, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow are both 26, and Patrick Mahomes is the greybeard of the quartet at 27.
Mahomes and Allen were part of an even younger foursome in 2020 when Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield joined them, basically a boy band, as all four were 25 or younger. The 26-year-old Jackson and Justin Herbert (24) could easily be suiting up this weekend in the AFC.
Throw in 24-year-old Tua Tagovailoa, and all seven playoff teams in the conference were led by quarterbacks 27 or younger. All were drafted in the first round. All but Jackson were top-10 picks.
Herbert, Lawrence, and Tagovailoa have more to prove on the field. While Tua has injury concerns, and Lamar could be wearing a different uniform next season, they all could lead their current teams to multiple postseason appearances for years to come.
There’s, at the very least, hope from their fan bases that they will do so if not the expectation for more, as is the case in Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cincinnati.
What’s even better is the rivalry potential. Allen-Tagovailoa, Burrow-Jackson (for now), and Mahomes-Herbert are division rivals. We’ve seen Mahomes-Allen twice in the postseason. Herbert-Lawrence Part 1 was absolutely epic. Burrow gets his first crack at Allen this Sunday in Buffalo, a year after eliminating Mahomes and the Chiefs in the 2022 AFC Championship Game.
I don’t know about you, but I’m here for it.