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Barnwell previews divisional weekend (3:34)Bill Barnwell joins SVP to look ahead to the vital storylines the the divisional ring of the NFL playoffs. (3:34)


The Dallas Cowboys room trying to do something this January the hasn"t yet been accomplished in NFL history. Nobody has actually made it come the Super bowl -- let alone winner the large game -- v a rookie quarterback under center. After ~ 50 supervisor Bowls, we obviously have actually seen 100 starting quarterbacks, and also while there have actually been players that were practically rookies (like Tom Brady in 2001), no passer has actually finished his debut season in the NFL taking breaks on the game"s best stage.

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If ns were a Cowboys fan, I"d more than likely hear that and also be both worried and hopeful. Hey, 50 year of background is a long time and a pretty an excellent sample size, and also there have actually been a lot of of fantastic quarterbacks come come up brief without one future hall of Famer also eking his way through. I"d additionally probably be arguing Dak Prescott isn"t your common rookie quarterback, with the phenom"s premium performance making him an ext like a third- or fourth-year star than a mere pro freshman.

Dak Prescott is just one of the biggest rookie QBs we"ve ever seen, and also he"s around to effort the unprecedented.Tim Heitman/USA now SportsBoth those sentiments are fair. To figure out why Prescott"s reign would it is in unprecedented, we"ve obtained to take it a look in ~ what has happened during the Super bowl era to view why rookie quarterbacks room 0-for-50. Let"s ask and also answer a couple of questions and get ago to Prescott afterward.

Is it monster or surprising that us haven"t seen a rookie quarterback in the Super key by now?

Actually, yeah. The is.

I went through every season since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970, which leaves out the very first four at sight Bowls, return they also don"t have any kind of rookie quarterbacks. Ns picked the end all the quarterbacks who started at the very least seven gamings (so a minimum of fifty percent the season going ago to the 14-game slate) and threw at least 105 overcome (for an typical of 15 passes per game) and also split them all up through the year of expert experience they had actually under their belt in ~ the beginning of the campaign. For this reason Prescott is a rookie, while Marcus Mariota has one experienced season under his belt.

For every year of players with a provided level the experience, I determined how plenty of quarterback seasons it took to commonly get a passer come the super Bowl. There have been 152 qualifying second-year seasons because 1970 -- that would be someone prefer Mariota this season -- and also six of those guys have made it come the supervisor Bowl, most recently Russell Wilson in 2013. That"s a price of simply under 4 percent, or one Super key appearance for every 25.3 seasons.

Most every other experience level is between 10 and 20, through a pair of weird exceptions regarded the relatively small samples. The numbers acquire smaller together players obtain into the teens of their careers, owing to choice bias: The quarterbacks who space playing in your mid-to-late 30s are normally extremely great and an ext likely to do a supervisor Bowl than a usual rookie.

Russell Wilson had actually the Seahawks in place for a super Bowl operation as a rookie, yet Atlanta gained in the way.Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSetting the cutoff because that inclusion to 7 starts eliminates a the majority of hopeless rookies who are just in the lineup since the starter is injured (even if that"s also how Prescott gained here). But that still pipeline us through 98 qualifying periods that have turned right into zero Super key appearances. That"s remarkable, and also even if us assume rookies are anywhere the map in regards to performance, the difference between rookies and second-year players isn"t that dramatic.

A really conservative estimate would suggest that one rookie season in 30 should turn right into a Super key appearance, i m sorry "should" have yielded three Super key starts by now. Yet, if Prescott comes up short, we"ll be looking at our 99th continually rookie project without a Super key berth. Kinda crazy, right?

Split an additional way, 22 rookies have actually thrown 15 or more passes in a playoff game, most recently Connor Cook, that was overmatched during an ugly loss come the Texans in the wild-card round. Those starters, likewise, are 0-for-22 in Super bowl trips. At various other experience levels, usually between five and also 10 players make the playoffs for every Super bowl trip; second-year starters, because that example, have made 6 Super key runs in 48 tries, an mean of eight per expedition to the large dance.

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We"re no "due" because that a rookie at sight Bowl operation -- that"s the gambler"s fallacy -- however it"s a surprise we haven"t had at the very least a pair by now.

Is it because rookies beat worse in the postseason? do they choke? They need to choke, right?

Well, type of.

Everybody is worse in the postseason than they were during the continual season, many thanks to the cold weather and the likelihood of dealing with superior defenses. There space two sub-questions to save in mind. One is even if it is rookie quarterbacks space worse than common passers in the regular season, and also the other is even if it is they drop off more in the playoffs 보다 their more experienced brethren.

The answer to both is yes. To gain a basic gauge that quality, I offered the pro-football-reference.com stat well-known as changed yards per attempt (AY/A), which is yards per attempt however with two other numbers included: happen touchdowns, which counting for 20 yards, and also interceptions, which counting for minus-45 yards. This season"s starting quarterbacks ranged from 10.1 AY/A (Matt Ryan) to 4.3 AY/A (Jared Goff).

Rookie quarterbacks, also the ones that qualify under the seven-start and also 105-attempt rule, are significantly worse during the continuous season 보다 passers at any other endure level. With much more than 32,000 happen attempts, rookies have averaged simply under 5.5 AY/A as soon as everybody else is above 6 adjusted yards per attempt. They"re likewise the only group that throws an ext interceptions 보다 touchdowns, together their collective interception price is 3.9 percent.

We"re no adjusting because that era, for this reason our playoff group of rookies should most likely be far better than we can think, offered that most of the playoff appearances have actually come end the past two decades as quarterback stats have actually risen. Offered that we"re likewise eliminating the truly tragic rookie quarterbacks who weren"t may be to do it to the postseason, there"s additionally reason come think rookies could actually it is in an exemption to the playoff rule.

That"s every wrong.

Rookies have been an pure mess in the playoffs. Their adjusted yards every attempt falls to a borderline-unplayable 4.3, and they throw interceptions ~ above 5.4 percent the their pass attempts. That"s prefer Goff if the an initial overall pick threw four much more picks ~ above his 205 pass attempts this season. Once rookie passers are collectively performing choose Goff in the postseason, they"re no doing very well.

Miami dolphins QB Dan Marino was a very good rookie, however it went south in the playoffs.AP Photo/NFL PhotosRelatively, rookies space seeing their postseason AY/A decrease by 21 percent and also their interception rate skyrocket by 40.2 percent. I mentioned just how everybody seems to acquire worse in the postseason nevertheless of age, yet those alters dwarf the competition. I"ve put the comparisons with each other for quarterbacks v their an initial 10 periods in the league, and nobody drops off as much as rookies, also though rookies are starting from the worst regular-season baseline:

The Rookie QB Playoff Drop-off

Experiencediff AY/adiff INT%
Rookies-21.0%40.2%
Second-Year-1.8%9.3%
Third-Year-4.7%25.7%
Fourth-Year-5.5%10.4%
Fifth-Year-2.4%7.6%
Sixth-Year-5.8%21.6%
Seventh-Year-7.2%18.3%
Eighth-Year-5.1%11.4%
Ninth-Year-8.7%25.1%
Tenth-Year-3.5%13.6%

Rookie quarterbacks also have the worst document in the playoffs, although it"s not by rather as far-ranging of a margin. Rookies throwing 15 overcome or an ext (as the starter or in reserve) room 11-21 (.344) in the postseason after Cook"s loss last week. That"s the lowest rate among players of any kind of experience level, but it"s no all that much off from third-year quarterbacks, who are 37-57 (.394), or eighth-year passers, who space 26-42 (.382). If Prescott renders it to the at sight Bowl, rookies would certainly be in a dead warm with those frauds who waited eight years to disclose they couldn"t take care of the push of the postseason.

What around the superstar rookies?

Maybe by comparing him to every rookies we"re not creating an ideal context for Prescott. Using pro-football-reference.com"s table of contents statistics to scale and also account for era, Prescott"s AY/A converts to a 123 AY/A+, i m sorry is the sixth-best rate due to the fact that the merger under the previously mentioned seven-start, 105-pass criteria. Let"s look at the guys in his ballpark who made the playoffs and see exactly how they go after the constant season was over.

Pat Haden (1976 Rams, 134 AY/A+) simply qualifies because that this list, with precisely seven starts and 105 passes to his name. The didn"t do lot in the playoffs, though. Los Angeles won its divisional round game 14-12 end Dallas, but Haden was 10-of-21 for 152 yards with three picks prior to going 9-of-22 because that 161 yards with two an ext interceptions in a conference championship loss to the mighty Vikings happen defense.Dan Marino (1983 Dolphins, 123 AY/A+) took end the beginning job for an excellent in mainly 5 and also threw 20 touchdowns against six picks during a standout rookie campaign. He was then in line because that a rose playoff matchup against the Seahawks and their lousy happen defense, but he struggled. Marino threw two picks, and the Dolphins blew a 20-17 fourth-quarter result in lose.The just other qualifying player through an above-average AY/A+ is CFL legend Dieter Brock, who invested his lone season in the NFL posting a 107 AY/A+ as a 33-year-old rookie through the Rams prior to going 10-of-31 because that 66 yards with a pick against the "85 bear in the conference championship game, after which Brock retired through a ago injury. Adhering to Brock is Joe Flacco, who posted a 99 AY/A+ (average is 100) in 2008 and then walk 2-1 in the playoffs regardless of averaging all of 140.3 passing yards per game. The Steelers harassed him into a three-interception job in the AFC Championship Game.

Many of these quarterbacks played choose stars as rookies and turned right into franchise quarterbacks after their rookie campaign. Almost every one of them struggled to protect against giveaways versus the tougher competition of the postseason, and also it ultimately sunk most of your teams, through Wilson the lone exception.

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Prescott has actually avoided giveaways for most of the year. The just quarterback by these criteria v a much better era-adjusted interception price (INT%+) is Marino, i m sorry represents really solid company. It seems unlikely the Prescott will have actually a three-giveaway day, something that didn"t happen even once to him as a rookie.