Could this be the start of a new era

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

This weekend's NFL Conference Championship weekend will feature star-studded quarterbacks such as Case Keenum, Nick Foles, Blake Bortles and of course, Tom Brady. Two of the four quarterbacks were backups entering the season and another was thinking he might be riding the bench if he got off to a slow start.

That, of course, leaves Brady, the 40-year old villain who won't die. Brady has said he will play for two more healthy seasons. If he does that, he will be the first quarterback to ever do it. There is no doubt that Brady is the best of all time, but if one of the other three quarterbacks were to beat Brady, it would be much like when Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001 and defeated Kurt Warner in Super Bowl XXXVI.

It is the Jacksonville defense that has led the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game, but they wouldn't be there without Bortles, who has passed for nearly 4,000 yards and thrown 21 touchdown passes.

Minnesota knew it would be without starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before the season even began, so the Vikings turned to Sam Bradford. After Bradford suffered a knee injury in the second week of the season, Keenum was called upon to take over and all he has done is throw for 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns.

It is Foles from Philadelphia who would be the unlikeliest of heroes this year, though. Foles didn't start a game until Carson Wentz got hurt in Week 14. Since then, Foles has been nothing more than a game manager. In the four games Foles has started, the defense has only given up 55 points, so managing the game is all he needs to unless told otherwise.

Brady was 23 when he won his first Super Bowl. It was just his second year in the league. These three quarterbacks are older than that, but just as inexperienced. For the pundits saying they won't be watching this weekend's games because the star quarterbacks have been eliminated, just remember 2001 when the little-known quarterback from Michigan made himself known.

Ty Loftis is the Sports Editor of the Carroll County News. His email address is CCNSports@cox-internet.com

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