The NFL is getting better at protecting their most important assets: quarterbacks

Despite a couple of high-profile injuries to Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it appears that the NFL’s emphasis in recent years on protecting quarterbacks is working.

With just three weeks to go in the season, the 32 NFL teams have used 50 different quarterbacks to start a game, or 1.56 per team. While that may seem like a lot, consider that over the last four seasons teams have averaged 1.59 starting quarterbacks per season. In the 24 seasons before that, teams averaged 1.85 starting quarterbacks per season, with several years where teams averaged over two starting quarterbacks.

While the NFL has seen occasional healthy quarterback seasons in the past, this recent prolonged stretch of good fortune appears to be linked to new rules, such as The Brady Rule in 2009 that outlawed hits to the lower legs of quarterbacks, and newfound emphasis on roughing-the-passer rules.

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