By Will Brinson CBS Sports
Sorting the Sunday Pile breaks down the biggest storylines of each NFL week. Love it, hate it or think I missed something? Let me know on Twitter @WillBrinson.
Just in case you missed the memo, this is a good year for rookie quarterbacks. A great one, even. And people like to talk about the youth movement at quarterback right now. But we're seeing a serious historical trend happening when it comes to how well young signal callers are captaining ships right now.
As things stand after Week 16, there will be three rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs, as Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have their team positioned to make the postseason.
This is heady stuff, folks, regardless of how you view their situation (Wilson has a running game and defense!), schedule (ahem, Luck) or system (allow me to roll my eyes).
Coming into 2012, 10 rookie quarterbacks since 1970 (a.k.a. "post NFL-AFL merger") had taken their teams to the playoffs. 11 if you want to get greedy and count T.J. Yates in 2011 too. Yates, obviously, beat Dalton last year, becoming just the fifth rookie quarterback (along with Mark Sanchez, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Shaun King) to win a playoff game.
The lesson, obviously? It's freaking hard to get to the playoffs as a rookie. It's freaking harder to win as a rookie.
I don't know that these rookies will win. There's a better chance when you have three of them and two of them might end up squaring off; if Seattle and Washington win out they'll play in the 4-5 matchup, provided San Francisco doesn't lose to Arizona next week.
But focusing on the rooks in the playoffs might actually cause us to miss out on the fact that the entire group of quarterbacks in the playoffs is younger. I went back and looked at the ages of quarterbacks on playoffs teams over the past decade (taking into account each team's leading passer that season only) and the results were in line with the general
The median age of playoff quarterbacks, after spiking in 2008, has dropped each year since, with the median age checking in at 26 in 2012, easily the lowest of the last decade.