Do these old NFL quarterbacks always fall off a cliff?

Steve Brownlee

For today’s trip down memory lane, you might want to look away if you’re a Green Bay Packers fan — just for the implication I’m making.

I’m wondering if Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, and to a lesser extent, Tom Brady might be going off the cliff quickly as they age as NFL quarterbacks.

It’s been talked about quite a bit in the past, but the one case I remember most vividly is Dan Marino.

If you remember, he had a great career — in fact, he was a trivia answer on ESPN’s Get Up! show the other day as the first QB to reach 50,000 yards passing.

But he had a truly horrifying end to his career that ended up without a Super Bowl victory.

No, it wasn’t Joe Theismann-like with a broken leg where you could “see” the break in the sock he was wearing as what looked like an “extra” knee joint.

This was just a horrifying performance in Marino’s last game, a Miami Dolphins’ road playoff game at Jacksonville in 1999.

First of all, the score ended up being 62-7. While you can never blame a QB completely for a loss, he certainly contributed with two interceptions, two lost fumbles and multiple hard sacks — and 95 yards passing.

The Jaguars had a 38-0 lead before Marino completed his FIRST pass as he finished 11 of 25 in that department, according to an ESPN account.

Coach Jimmy Johnson got some of the blame for his coaching style in Miami as Marino was 38 years old and the coach ran his guys hard.

Could some of these other older QBs be falling off the same cliff? Only time will tell.

Onto Week 10 of the season with four byes this week, all for notable teams — Baltimore, Cincinnati, New England and the New York Jets:


Today, 8:15 p.m.

Atlanta at Carolina — One good thing about being at the bottom — there’s no high cliffs to fall off of. Of course, you might trip and fall through a manhole a long ways down into the sewer. Panthers, 29-20.


Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

Seattle at Tampa Bay — At the beginning of the season, it looked like this game that’s being played in Munich, Germany, would be a real dog. It still is, but for the opposite reason — will Tampa Bay be competitive? Seahawks, 24-16.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Buffalo — Me thinks the Bills will take the long view and sit all-everything QB Josh Allen so he’ll be healthy when Buffalo really needs him at the end of the regular season and the playoffs. Because Allen is so important, I’ll take the Vikings, 23-17.


Detroit at Chicago — Yes, this is just as much an indictment of the Packers and acknowledgement of how much better Chicago has gotten. And it doesn’t hurt that the Lions have to go on the road for this one. Bears, 30-21.


Jacksonville at Kansas City — The Jags should look like a walk in the park after the way KC was treated by Tennessee on Sunday night. Chiefs, 41-29.


Cleveland at Miami — I’d feel more comfortable if Miami didn’t have to pull these wins out in the final minutes, but still, they are winning. Dolphins, 27-22.


Houston at New York Giants — If the Giants are ever going to win one comfortably, this should be it. But maybe they never will. Giants, 21-19.


New Orleans at Pittsburgh — The Saints are showing some life, even if they’re not showing they know how to win. But the Steelers’ defense should be able to show them the way. Saints, 26-20.


Denver at Tennessee — The grind-it-out style Tennessee employs should grind Denver’s offense right into dust. Titans, 16-3.


Sunday, 4 p.m.

Indianapolis at Las Vegas — New Indy head coach Jeff Saturday is going to need at least a week to get his Colts organized as he’s a never-before coach at any level that even comes close to the NFL. Raiders, 24-15.


Dallas at Green Bay — I don’t see Mike McCarthy as the kind of coach who will — as in “is able to” — impose his will on his former team. But he won’t need to, not with the way each of these teams is playing. Cowboys, 37-17.


Arizona at Los Angeles Rams — If the final defensive series against Tampa Bay on Sunday doesn’t wake up the Rams’ coaching staff, then these guys really are a lost cause. Rams, 28-20.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco — The Chargers seem not ready for prime time. I wouldn’t say that about Jimmy Garoppolo, Christian McCaffrey and whoever else is healthy enough to play for San Fran. 49ers, 24-20.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Washington at Philadelphia — OK, the Commanders have been a nice story with Taylor Heinicke & Co. doing some winning and being competitive when they’re not. This will be their wake-up call. Eagles, 38-23.


Last week — 10-3, 77 percent. Season — 78-57-1, 58 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today