NFL Championship Weekend - 'Niners Sittin' Purdy, Jackson's Play Speaks Louder Than Words

January 26, 2024 by Joseph Santoliquito,

Two’s company and four’s a crowd.

Four teams remain and 28 others, just like the rest of us, are merely spectators in America’s most popular spectator sport.

And as the NFL prepares to determine the two clubs that will compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, the league can point to one fact underlining a brilliantly bright future.

Just like last season, all four starting quarterbacks in the NFL’s Championship Games – Jared Goff, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Brock Purdy – are under 30 years old. Prior to this week, that’s happened in consecutive seasons only once since the 1970 merger, 2003 and 2004.

Over the previous 53 seasons from 1970-2022, all four starting quarterbacks in Championship Games were under the age of 30 on only seven occasions: 1984, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2022.

Plus, Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Kansas CIty Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens features Mahomes (2018) and Jackson (2019) in the first postseason contest in league history involving former MVP quarterbacks under 30 years of age.

So welcome to the NFL’s Championship Sunday, and welcome to the future.

Niners Are Sitting Purdy

The 49ers’ Brock Purdy will join Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez as the only quarterbacks in league annals to start conference Championship Games in each of their first two NFL seasons. That’s especially impressive considering Purdy was the last selection in the 2022 NFL Draft while both Roethlisberger (11th overall) and Sanchez (fifth overall) were first-round choices. Since 1994, when the NFL reduced the draft to seven rounds, Purdy is the only quarterback drafted in the seventh round to start a conference Championship Game.

Over a longer stretch, 16 quarterbacks have started a conference Championship Game who were either undrafted or selected in the seventh round or later. Included in that group are Purdy in 2022 and an undrafted Erik Kramer, the last Lions quarterback to start the NFC Championship Game, in 1991.

The next Lions quarterback to start the NFC Championship Game, Jared Goff, is attempting to become only the fifth starting quarterback in NFL history to lead multiple franchises to Super Bowl appearances. Only Tom Brady (New England and Tampa Bay), Craig Morton (Dallas and Denver) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Peyton Manning (Indianapolis and Denver) and Kurt Warner (St. Louis Rams and Arizona) have done it.

Number Of The Week – 14

The number of postseason wins Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes would own as a starting quarterback with a victory on Sunday. In NFL history, Tom Brady (14-3 from 2001-07) is the only starting quarterback to win 14 of his first 17 postseason starts. Mahomes is 13-3 over his first 16 postseason starts (2018-23) with 4,561 passing yards, 38 touchdown passes and a 106.7 passer rating. What’s more, with a win on Sunday, Mahomes would surpass Ben Roethlisberger (13) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (13) to become one of only six all-time quarterbacks to win 14-or-more postseason starts, joining Brady (35) and Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana (16), Terry Bradshaw (14), John Elway (14) And Peyton Manning (14).

Jackson's Play Speaks Louder Than Words

In last week’s win, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson became the first player in NFL history to rush for two touchdowns, record 100 rushing yards, pass for two touchdowns and compile a passer rating of 100-or-higher in a postseason game. With a minimum of five playoff games, his 93.4 career rushing yards per postseason game ranks fifth in NFL history among all players, trailing Pro Football Hall of Famers Terrell Davis (142.5) and John Riggins (110.7), Derrick Henry (104.6) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (103.4).

Joseph Santoliquito can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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NOTE:'s Dave Congrove is member of the Maxwell Football Club.