Do quarterbacks seem to play better after the age of 34? We’re seeing Tom Brady winning Super Bowls into his 40s and even in Denver, we’ve witnessed Peyton Manning win a Super Bowl at the age of 39. You also can’t forget that John Elway won a world championship at the ages of 37 and 38.
When the Broncos general manager introduced his newly acquired quarterback Joe Flacco, he said, “He’s (Joe Flacco) a winner. He’s played in a lot of big games. He’s just now coming into his prime. We’re confident that he’s the guy to come in and turn things around.”
Here’s the thing: John Elway is wrong!
Flacco is coming off a hip injury that caused the Ravens to roll with their rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson late last season. When Flacco was healthy for Baltimore in 2018, he lead them to a 4-5 losing record. It didn’t seem like Baltimore was going make the playoffs and there were rumblings that their head coach John Harbaugh could be fired at the end of the season if the Ravens did not make the postseason.
The 6-foot-6 quarterback has not thrown more than 20 touchdowns in a season since 2014, when he threw 27 with Gary Kubiak as his play caller. I can’t imagine that first-time play caller Rich Scangarello will turn Flacco into the heroic quarterback that Denver has been looking for since the retirement of Peyton Manning.
Bottom line: Don’t expect Scangarello and Flacco to be on the same level as Adam Gase and Manning were in 2013 when they put together the greatest offense of all time.
History shows that you’re probably not going to win a Super Bowl at the age of 34 or older. Of the 53 Super Bowls that have been played, a quarterback has won 12 of them at the age of 34 or older. Those 12 victories count for only nine total quarterbacks. Bart Starr, Len Dawson, Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett, Elway, Brad Johnson, Manning and Tom Brady are the nine gunslingers. Manning and Brady are the last two quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl after the age of 34 and you have to go all the way back to 2003 to find the next quarterback win one in Johnson.
Some more evidence is that all of those Super Bowl winning teams that were led by a 34-year-old or older quarterback, all but one defense has been ranked in the top 10 in scoring during those Super Bowl runs. (No stats were allowed for Bart Starr and Len Dawson’s defenses between 1966-69) The Broncos must have a top 10-scoring defense to pair with a hopeful legendary season from Flacco if they want to bring a fourth Lombardi Trophy to Denver.
Once again, the odds are against the Broncos. John Elway might have made another mistake in trading for Joe Flacco and not drafting and developing a quarterback something the Broncos have yet to do.