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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Have you noticed - NFL is changing dramatically?

 

Last updated 1/24/2023 at 8:56pm

Last weekend there were eight teams competing for the right to continue toward Super Bowl LVII with only four being successful for this week’s two conference representatives that will play in the February 14 extravaganza.

If you look at the eight quarterbacks involved in last weekend’s game you will notice that they all are fuzzy-faced young men between the age of 21-29.

That’s right. The day of the quarterback who remains in the pocket until he either releases the football toward one of his receiving teammates or gets sacked by the opposition is a thing of the past.

When the Dallas Cowboys rolled over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their fabled quarterback Tom Brady last Monday night and Green Bay and its quirky—but very talented—quarterback Aaron Rodgers may have spelled an end to the drop-back-into-the-pocket quarterback in the NFL.

Today’s young quarterbacks who are being drafted in the first or second rounds aren’t afraid to pull the football down and take off running when he can’t find an open receiver. But the young signal-caller makes darn sure he either runs out of bounds or slides like a baseball player when the opponents start closing in.

This was pointed out in an on-line article in the Wall Street Journal last weekend which stated, “This shift in the balance represents something far bigger than a figurative torch passing. Tom Brady became the game’s greatest ever passer by mastering the textbook mechanics that had been drilled into players for decades. The ones assuming the mantle from him have lit that textbook on fire.”

Tom Brady had the worst record of his career in 2022. Aaron Rodgers missed the playoffs. Both are mulling retirement. All eight quarterbacks left in the postseason last weekend are in their 20’s.

They run. They throw on the run. They routinely make sidearm, off-balance throws that were once coached out of their predecessors.

“The days of the slow-footed pure pocket passer are dying,” commented longtime NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is now an analyst for Amazon.” On the breadth of dazzling young passers, he added, “I don’t recall a time when there’s been this many.”

These young quarterbacks ultimately have defined this NFL season, Channelview native Jalen Hurts has made the Philadelphia Eagles the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Patrick Mahomes, who is my MVP pick for the second time in his career, led the Kansas City Chiefs to the top spot in the AFC and at 27, he’s the oldest quarterback for a playoff team in his conference.

Quarterbacks accounted for 15.5% of the NFL;’s rushing yards this season—the most since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, according to Stats.

The four quarterbacks who still have their eyes set on the Super Bowl include Mahomes (Kansas City), Hurts (Philadelphia), Brock Purdy (San Francisco) and Joe Burrow (Cincinnati).

Those four who must wait at least until next year include Dak Prescott (Dallas), Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville), Josh Allen (Buffalo) and Daniel Jones (NY Giants). Other young quarterbacks whose teams were eliminated earlier in the playoffs and should continue to leave their marks on the league include Tua Tagovailoa (Miami) Justin Herbert (LA Chargers) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore).

KWICKIES…Congrats are in order for former West Orange-Stark head football coach and athletic director Cornel Thompson who will be inducted into the Texas Coaches Hall of Fame at noon Saturday at the MGM Elegante in Beaumont.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 10-1 coming off the Bye Week in the NFL Playoffs. The Chiefs will be playing Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday against the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals. Head Coach Andy Reid will be gunning for his 21st playoff win which will tie him with New England’s Bill Belichick.

The Houston Astros will add infielder Bill Doran and Bill Brown to the team’s Hall of Fame on Aug. 12, prior to the game with the LA Angels. Doran, who played with the Astros from 1982-90, is the 21st player inducted to the team’s Hall of Fame and was the team’s MVP in 1985 and 1987. Brown was the team’s play-by-play broadcaster from 1987-2016.

Dak Prescott’s 17 interceptions are the most by a Dallas quarterback since Tony Romo’s 19 in 2012. His six multi-interception games is tied with Josh Allen for the most in the NFL. And Dak missed a bunch of games.

JUST BETWEEN US…We should know who will be playing in Super Bowl LVII Sunday night after the NFC champion is crowned between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles and the earlier AFC championship between Kansas City and the Cincinnati Bengals. My choices are the Eagles vs. Cincinnati. It’s hard to imagine that three of last year’s four conference finalists are back again this year.

 

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