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What do Marino, Elway, Montana, and Young all have in common?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by borg, Jul 8, 2012.

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  1. borg

    borg Rookie

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    They all retired at age 38. As did Fran Tarkenton. Dan Fouts retired at 36. Staubach at 37. Unitas made it to 40.
    In the modern era, the only great to go the distance was Favre...41.
    Brady will be 37 when his current contract ends. How will Belichick ,the practical economist and NFL historian, move forward in 2014?
    My memory is a little foggy when it comes to remembering why these legends left the league. Marino lost any remaining mobility. How about the others?
  2. thechris

    thechris Rookie

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    Young & Montana were battling injuries. Elway left after he won the Super Bowl.
  3. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great question! I've tracked the stats for a while. Each QB HOFer has his own story, but the bottom line is that none have chosen to play beyond 38 (except for Favre and Moon) since the 1970's.

    My takeaway is that it's a very rough game on QB's and that especially those with a lot to live for outside of football decide to pursue it while they still have their mental and physical health.

    The average retirement age for an SB-era (i.e., played in the league at least one season after 1966) QB is 37.5. Here's the list, with no judgment as to who was or wasn't "great" and leaving Favre off only because he has to wait four more years:

    Aikman, Troy 34
    Bradshaw, Terry 35
    Dawson, Len 40
    Elway, John 38
    Fouts, Dan 36
    Griese, Bob 35
    Jurgensen, Sonny 40
    Kelly, Jim 36
    Marino, Dan 38
    Montana, Joe 38
    Moon, Warren 44
    Namath, Joe 34
    Starr, Bart 37
    Staubach, Roger 37
    Tarkenton, Fran 38
    Unitas, Johnny 40
    Young, Steve 38

    Average: 37.5
    Median 38

    Aikman retired early because of frequent head injuries, a very wise decision given what we now know. He had a great career ahead of him.

    Bradshaw today suffers from short term memory loss but nominally retired early because of his arm problems. Another guy with a great career ahead of him.

    Elway famously "quit at the top" after winning two straight rings and obviously had some long-term plans.

    Fouts never had the tools around him that matched his skills and went on to a broadcast career.

    Griese was plagued by injury late in his career and went on to broadcasting as well.

    Kelly also quit near the top of his powers, but his decision was influenced heavily by the illness of his beloved son, RIP.

    Marino. You covered him.

    Montana's elbow injury is well-documented. He played well in Kansas City, but his skills were in decline.

    Namath's knee gave out and he was having too much fun anyway to keep playing.

    Staubach retired with the highest pass rating in the league in his final season and pursued a wide range of outside interests. It took the Cowboys 15 years to win their next SB.

    Tarkenton's retirement was probably due as much to disappointment and fan animosity as anything else. He was never forgiven for not winning an SB.

    Unitas was plagued by injury and ended his storied career in San Diego. I still consider him the best Colts QB ever. :singing:

    Young was plagued by injuries towards the end of his career.

    Dawson, Jurgensen and Starr were war horses from another era.

    Warren Moon marched to the beat of a different drummer.

    The rest mostly just quit at the top or near the top of their game, except for Moon.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  4. PatsWSB47

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    They all retired with less rings than Brady will have by the time here retires:rocker:
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  5. peterforpats

    peterforpats Rookie

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    :D
    from your mouth...............
  6. everlong

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    They all played in eras where you really had to rough the quarterback to get a flag. Today's rules are on Brady's side.

    Second today's passing game is out getting the ball out quickly not about the down the field passing game of eras of the past.

    All that can change with one blindside hit but I like Brady and other QB's of today's chances of playing later into their careers.
  7. lurker1965

    lurker1965 Rookie

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    Rule changes. Look up pictures of Y.A. Tittle bleeding from the head.
    QBs in this era will be as long lived as kickers. (OK, that may be overstating it a little.)

    QB longevity to 45 will not be unusual. Bye bye, Mallet fans.:)
  8. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :confused2:

    They all mock Brady for his goat picture and his hairstyle selections?
  9. Frezo

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    Healthcare has improved. ACL/MCL injuries that may have ended a career 20 yrs ago are now very fixable.

    Strength, conditioning and rehab is much improved.

    Protective equipment is better.
  10. BlueThunder

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    As long as the OL can protect TB....he will play another 4 years...maybe more.

    The only thing that will stop him from playing will be an injury,



    or Giselle :D
  11. borg

    borg Rookie

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    Yet how many current QBs are on the back half of 30 and still making an impact? Of the top 32 QBs in passing yards last year, only one, Hasselback, is 35+. Toss in Peyton Manning....and the odds still are against late 30's success. Expecting Tom Brady to defy odds because he is Tom Brady....???....I know God is a Pats fan, but I do believe the other 31 teams utilize modern medicine and new training methods as well. Yet father time hits their guys without mercy.
  12. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Collins is a recent retiree, but he went to the Pro Bowl at 36 and had his 3rd best QB rating at 38.
  13. Frezo

    Frezo Rookie

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    A lot of the QBs you're referring to are simply not elite. They're run of the mill guys whose careers are extended with back up roles. Why would a team extend an average QB as a starter into his mid thirties even if his health is good? I can easily see elite QBs that still posses skills and talent having their careers extended by a year or two because of the reasons mentioned.
  14. borg

    borg Rookie

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    Guys like Montana, Young, Elway were are better physical specimens than Brady...better athletes....yet they didn't last. I'll brag about Brady's athleticism over Marino though. But when you compare guys like Testeverde and Collins....just big strong sturdy dudes.
    Of course this topic must include a conversation about preserving star status verses maintaining a paycheck.
    For Brady....I see a two year extension being the answer
  15. Armchair Quarterback

    Armchair Quarterback Rookie

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    Yes.........exactly
  16. billdog3484

    billdog3484 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    we are also in a different age of the NFL. Qbs are protected to the max, so they dont get beat up as bad. i think we will start seeing guys playing till they are older because of the rule changes in favor of qBs.
  17. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Concussions were often part of it.

    Definitely in the case of Aikman. I think in the case of Young as well. It wasn't said in the case of Elway that I can recall, but it wouldn't surprise me for him too; he was pretty physical. Also, he had a teammate with terrible migraines, which we'd now just assume was head trauma related.
  18. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The bolded is sort of the point, though, isn't it? It's mostly the elite QBs who continue as starters at a high level into their later years, after all. Favre has the longest consecutive games played streak in history, so it tells you that he could take the beating. Brady was working on a streak like that of his own (111 games) until his ACL injury, and he's played in 48 straight since his return.
  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would certainly think that there's a better chance that an "elite" QB like Brady stays effective into his late 30's than that a non-elite guy does. Conditioning, physical impairments and the will to compete play a huge role. Right now Brady seems to be in good shape on all 3 fronts, so I wouldn't put it past him. The last factor is huge. Brady has already defied the odds to a huge extent. As long as he stays healthy and maintains his competitive drive, there's not much I wouldn't put past him achieving.
  20. Deus Irae

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    Absolutely, plus the decline begins from a higher point to start with. QBs don't tend to drop off the table at the same rate as some other positions. It's not that it doesn't happen, it just doesn't seem to happen as often. Peyton seems to be a good example of this. He seems to have peaked from 2003-2007, but his decline after that hasn't made him a stiff by any stretch of the imagination, and some of that decline is likely a product of the overall decline of the Colts offensive personnel around him.

    Brady, meanwhile, seems as if he's just hitting his peak since 2007 (and lost 2 years of it because of that knee injury) and is still riding that high crest.
  21. PatsFanSince74

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    Well said. 37--38 seems to be an important time for elite qb's. It just doesn't seem random that the best of the best retire then on average.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  22. PatsFanSince74

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    That's what we will learn, of course, one way or the other over the next ten years.

    I do think, however, that you have to put into that same mix the importance of an increased awareness of the medium and long term consequences of sustained head impact that might or might not rise to the level of "concussion" or even "head injury" as we currently define those terms. Remember, these guys have been taking hits to the head since they were 12 or 13.

    If I'm a smart guy with a fulfilling life ahead of me after football, I think I'm definitely going to weigh those factors as well as the important issues that you point out.
  23. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's very true. I would just add that only Brady and those closest to him can really know how the three factors truly come into play in his case.

    Based on the information we have, it certainly looks like he's a guy who wants to and very well could play into his late 30's or early 40's. That said, I also wouldn't be surprised if he hung it up sooner.
  24. patsfan13

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    The guys you mentionspent a lot more time out of the pocket scrambling. In fact Young was stopped by concussions not a lack of ability to throw. Brady doesn't seem to have suffered many concussions (he says no concussions) Warren Moon was very effective at 40 also.
  25. brdmaverick

    brdmaverick Rookie

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    I know this response was a direct answer to the thread title, but given how the topic has been discussed, this might even be more reason why we should worry sooner than these other QBs? With more accomplished, why wouldn't Brady also consider 'life after football' especially when he is expanding his family that includes a supermodel wife.
  26. PatsWSB47

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    My impression is that he is personally driven and also has the complete support of his wife to carry on for as long as he can. He wants more and will not stop until he gets it or knows he's no longer capable. That's my story and i'm sticking with it;)
  27. Frezo

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    There's plenty of time to Sink The Bismark after 40. ;)
  28. Bravo777

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    I was going to say that they were all Quarterbacks ;)
  29. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think it is a valid point that the way the game was officiated in the past works in favor for more longevity for today's players. They also benefit from better knowledge about nutrition, training, exercise and health.

    On the other hand the players delivering those hits are bigger, stronger and faster. Yesterday's game was more run oriented, which meant pass rushers were hitting the quarterback less often. Perhaps most importantly teams used to play 12-13 games depending on whether or not they were involved in the championship game; today's players go through 16-20 games per season.

    It's as if the tire is now engineered to wear down more slowly and last longer, but the vehicle is being driven for more miles. The question is which is more likely going to cause a flat: the beating as a result of the old rules and old ways of doing things, or the bigger players and longer seasons?
  30. bagwell368

    bagwell368 Rookie

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    Young and Elway both ran a lot more then Tom. Montana somewhat more. Marino had a neck injury.

    Medicine, work outs, rules all work in TB's favor now. But, he's never recovered from his knee injury 100% IMO.

    I expect something like two more elite years, 1 good year, 1-2 injury plagued years, followed by retirement.
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