It’s Never Sunny in Cincinnati: Playoff Edition – The Quarterback Bubble

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Admittedly, this theory is still on the white board.  Also, before further exploration, let’s exclude Tom Brady and Peyton Manning from the conversation.  These two quarterbacks are possibly the greatest of all time to play the position, and their status as a measuring stick continues to serve as an unobtainable standard which contemporary quarterbacks are evaluated against.  However, at 35 and 38 years old respectively, these two legends will be discussed later.

Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) celebrates after he NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The 49ers defeated the Falcons 28-24. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Examining AFC and NFC Championships as well as their subsequent Super Bowls from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the idea of rookie ascension seems to hold true.  Last year Flacco was still playing under a rookie contract as was Matt Ryan and Colin Kirkpatrick; only Brady was not.

The year prior, again saw Brady as well as Flacco, while Alex Smith was not playing under an overly lucrative contract as well.

Only Eli Manning was playing for an exorbitant sum, and the storied run that the New York Giants had through the 2011 post season should be noted as the exception to the rule (as should their ensuing downward spiral).

Indeed, every team that has signed their quarterback to a significant long-term deal has not only failed to reach the playoffs the following year but have also weighted themselves down with a significant financial loadstone.