The QB youth movement will be on full display this weekend.
In place for the 40-year-olds are young bloods.
The AFC is particularly young, with three star QBs all under the age of 25. Per NFL Research, since 1970, there has never been a season in which three AFC QBs under the age of 25 made a start in a Divisional Round playoff game. Until now.
QBs in Divisional Round
Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, 23 years old
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, 24 years old
Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, 24 years old
Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill, 31 years old
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo, 28 years old
Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson, 31 years old
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins: 31 years old
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers, 36 years old
Rodgers, a 15-year pro, sits as the only quarterback with more than 10 years of experience. The last time there was one or fewer QB with 10-plus seasons of NFL experience in the Divisional Round was in 2006.
The Divisional Round sits in stark contrast to what we witnessed last weekend, when three 40-plus-year-old quarterbacks all played the bulk of the snaps in the Wild Card Round (Brady, Brees, Josh McCown). All three lost.
The average age of the eight QBs who led their teams in passing yards in the Wild Card Round was 33 years, 80 days old. The average age of expected starters in the Divisional Round is 28 years, 271 days old, per NFL Research. The four-year, 174-day difference would be the largest in average age of QBs from the Wild Card to the Divisional Round since 1978, when the Wild Card was created.
Before we get back to the youngins, let's give some love to the 2012 QB class, eh?
Three QBs from that draft class are represented this weekend: Tannehill (first-round pick), Wilson (third-round pick), and Cousins (fourth-round pick). Only Wilson remains with the team that selected him. The trio all played and won in the Wild Card Round. This is the sixth time in NFL history that three QBs from the same draft class each won a game in the same postseason -- first time since 2004 playoffs (NYJ Chad Pennington, STL Marc Bulger and NE Tom Brady were all in 2000 Draft Class).
The AFC boasts the top three candidates to carry the QB position through the next decade. Mahomes already owns an MVP trophy. Jackson should get his Super Bowl week. And Watson's wizardry could land him the top individual award any season.
The trio is uniquely gifted each in their own way. The gunslinger. The dual-threat nightmare-inducer. The magician.
A common denominator running through them all: When they're on the field with a pigskin in their hands, anything can happen, and you can't turn your eyes away.
This weekend, we get the pleasure of watching the young QBs on a national stage all within a two-day stretch.
As we're sure to see, the future of NFL quarterbacking is in great hands as the NFL begins its next 100 years.