As we get into championship weekend, there are similarities in both matchups. Young upstarts versus established, and likely, first ballot hall of fame quarterbacks.
You could be forgiven for thinking that is will be easy pickings for the franchise quarterbacks with all their years of experience, with Brady winning more playoff games than any other quarterback has taken part in and Brees has 5 of the 11 5,000 yard seasons in history. But let’s see what QBs on rookie deals have accomplished over the last 15 years:
Ben Roethlisberger: Drafted 2004, won Super Bowl XL
Rex Grossman: Drafted 2003, NFC champion 2007
Eli Manning: Drafted 2004, Super Bowl Champion XLII
Joe Flacco: Drafted 2008, Super Bow Champion XLVII
Colin Kaepernick: Drafted 2011, NFC champion 2013
Russell Wilson: Drafted 2012, Super Bow Champion XLVIII, NFC Champion 2015
That’s 6 of the last 15 Super Bowls having a QB on a rookie deal starting. Now it doesn’t look quite so straight forward. This is because with a quarterback on a rookie deal teams can surround their young stats with 5-star talent.
The Rams have signed elite free agent Ndamukong Suh and traded for Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Brandin Cooks as well as signing Cooks, Todd Gurley and DMVP candidate Aaron Donald to long-term deals.
The Bears have traded for and made another DMVP candidate, Khalil Mack, the highest paid defensive player in history.
What do these three teams have in common, that’s right, quarterbacks on rookie deals.
Let’s say youth wins this weekend and we are treated to a repeat of the week 11 classic with the Rams and Chiefs progressing. With either of these teams winning the supporters would hail their quarterback as a saviour for bringing the Lombardi back.
Now the last thing you would imagine a team that’s just won a Super Bowl to do is trade their QB or draft a replacement with a high pick.
But why should it be the last thing they do? Why should preparing for the next 4 or 5 years of a QB on a rookie deal be so absurd? We’ve seen what teams can do with the freedom a budget QB can do, is there a need for a franchise quarterback in the modern NFL?
Since 2000 there have been 40 quarterbacks of note that have made the playoffs, won play off games or as shown above have played in the Super Bowl.
With draft classes like 2001 with Michael Vick and Drew Brees being followed in 2003 with Carson Palmer and Rex Grossman and the by the hallowed 2004 class of Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger; why shouldn’t a team have taken a chance on those rookies to then try again in 2006 with Vince Young or 2008 with Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan or 2009 with Matthew Stafford or Mark Shancez?
That list alone has 2 or 3 hall of famers, 4 Super Bowl winners and 2 MVPs.
If you have the chance to draft a rookie QB that has a strong enough arm to help hide other deficiencies, and a good sense of the game, then why wouldn’t surrounding him with superstar offensive line, skill players and a defence that means they only have to score 20 points a game for a rookie price tag be the way forward?
What I’ve described there is effectively Nick Foles’ scouting report coming out of college and he won a Super Bowl last year. He was picked 88th overall (3rd round 2012), 13 picks after another Super Bowl winner in Russell Wilson.