Old Men in the High Country: Which One Would You Least Like to See in the Super Bowl?
I’ve done my best to avoid thinking about it, but the truth is, either the Patriots, a team no true Steelers fan wants to see in the big game, or the Broncos, the team who just eliminated our beloved Black and Gold, is going to the Super Bowl.
Both teams are quarterbacked by men who are historically old.
Tom Brady is 38, and will turn 39 on August 3rd. Peyton Manning is 39, and will turn 40 on March 24th. Which should make Tom Brady feel positively sprightly in comparison.
The oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl was John Elway, who was 38 when he won the Super Bowl in what was the last game in his career. He was a few months older than Tom Brady, as he turned 39 in June of that year. He was also the only 38-year old to even be the starting quarterback in the game.
I am, of course, assuming Manning and Brady make it all the way through today’s game. This may in fact not end up being the case. Brady has 253 career starts as of today. Peyton Manning has 290. That’s a lot of wear on those tires. (Super Bowl XXXIII was the 252nd start of Elway’s storied career.)
Tom Brady sustained a high ankle sprain in the final game of the season, although it didn’t seem to impact his play last week. However, sprains are always susceptible to re-injury, and I don’t suspect the Bronco’s ferocious pass rushers are going to be too worried about hurting the QB.
Manning has also dealt with at least the foot problem this season, although he had the luxury of sitting out for a good long while. But as someone who just had an acute attack of plantar fasciitis this year, I can tell you it doesn’t go away. You can manage it, but once you’ve got it you’re stuck with it. Or so everything I’ve found on the subject seems to indicate.
So who starts if Manning or Brady can’t play in the Super Bowl? The likelihood of either not managing to at least start the game, whatever the injury, seems small, but this is football, after all. We all know the quarterback behind Peyton Manning, and Brock Osweiler is listed as probable for today’s game.
The depth is a bit less experienced behind Brady. Jimmy Garoppolo, a second-round pick by the Patriots in 2014, is the quarterback the Steelers were hoping to see in Week 1. This season he has all of four attempts, which resulted in one completion for six yards. The 2014 season, his first, featured 19 completions in 27 attempts for 182 yards. A game in which he was pitted against Cam Newton or Carson Palmer would be interesting. It’s more difficult to decide if it would be good.
But to return to the original question—assuming both QBs are available and as mobile as either of them gets at this point (although I have to say Manning leapt up off the turf in the “giving himself up” that wasn’t last week) which one would you rather see in the Super Bowl? Are you the sort of person who roots for the AFC no matter what, or would one or both of those quarterbacks send you screaming to the NFC? Or would it matter which NFC team it was?
I ask because I’m really curious. To tell the truth, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I always liked Bruce Arians, insofar as one can like someone I don’t know at all. But how ironic would it be if Arians got his next Super Bowl ring not with his buddy Ben Roethlisberger but with Carson Palmer? I don’t have many feelings one way or the other about the Panthers, other than they got Luke Kuechly, who was my BLA (Best Looking Player Available) first round pick in 2012. So I’m a little jealous, I suppose.
Well, that’s all for this essentially fact-free article. Please add your thoughts in the comment section, because I’m truly curious. In the coming weeks I’m sure I’ll begin the task of figuring out just what we’re going talk about over the off-season, but I’m not quite ready to let go of this season yet.