Battle of young gunslingers: Every AFC quarterback left in playoffs is 25 or younger

Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The remaining four quarterbacks in the AFC are 25 years old or younger.

It’s a stark contrast to the NFC, which will see the Buccaneers’ Tom Brady (43), Saints’ Drew Brees (41, turns 42 on Jan. 15) and Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (37) take the field this weekend.

If Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff gets the start, the 26-year-old will be older than all AFC quarterbacks, but the youngest in the NFC playoff bracket.

Baker Mayfield (25), Cleveland Browns, is the oldest quarterback in the AFC, leading Patrick Mahomes by 156 days. Bills quarterback Josh Allen (24) is 231 days older than his divisional opponent Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, who just turned 24 on Jan. 7. In the 2019 season, Jackson was the youngest MVP in NFL history.

With Goff starting, the average age of NFC quarterbacks is 37 years, 77 days compared to 24 years, 344 days for the AFC group. The difference is 12 years, 98 days, which the NFL says is the biggest since 1970.

“I think it’s great for the game, this influx of new guys at the position,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “It’s great for viewers, fans, cities. It gives these different cities an opportunity to compete.”

Between the four, they have 11 postseason starts and 7 postseason wins. Mahomes accounts for four of those wins in five playoff starts.

Mayfield played his first playoff game last week in a 48-37 victory over division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. After a first round exit last year, Allen got his first win in his second playoff start against the Indianapolis Colts on Wild Card weekend.

Jackson lost in his two previous playoff games, vs. Los Angeles Chargers in 2019 and vs. Tennessee Titans in 2020, but finally earned his first postseason win last week in a rematch with Tennessee.

“My mother-in-law sent me something the other day saying I was the old guy,” Mayfield said. “Somebody sent me just how close everybody is in age. It’s pretty crazy to see between Josh and Lamar and obviously Pat. Pat’s got the most experience out of all of us.”

Mahomes is coming a Super Bowl victory and Super Bowl MVP postseason last year, hoping to repeat that success in 2021.

In 2019, Mahomes led the Chiefs to host the AFC Championship game and ended a six-game home playoff loss streak. In the 2020 postseason, Mahomes threw for 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in three games and came back from double-digit deficits in all three.

The Super Bowl victory was the first in 50 years for Kansas City, an added pressure for the then-24-year-old. For Allen and Mayfield, their respective teams have never won a Super Bowl championship.

Mayfield visits Kansas City to take on Mahomes and the Chiefs in the divisional round. The winner of that game would remain the oldest AFC quarterback remaining and would take on the winner of the battle of 24-year-olds, Allen and Jackson.

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