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In his rookie season, Sam Bradford needs only a win against Seattle next Sunday to lead the Rams to the postseason, one season after they finished 1-15.It’s an impressive feat, but as the Wall Street Journal notes, not quite an unprecedented one. Especially in recent seasons.
In 2008, first-round picks Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco started all 16 games and quarterbacked their teams to the playoffs one year after sub-.500 seasons.
In 2009, two first-rounders, Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford were their team’s opening day starters. Though no rookie could save the dismal Lions in just one season, Stafford was impressive. Meanwhile, Sanchez started 15 games and led the Jets back to the playoffs.
Those recent cases flew in the face of conventional wisdom which suggested rookie quarterbacks should take a season or two to become comfortable with the NFL on the bench. That technique worked for Pro Bowl quarterbacks Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Phillip Rivers.
But if 2008 was an anomaly, and 2009 was a coincidence, then 2010 is surely a trend. So next September, barring a lockout, expect Andrew Luck to be behind centre on Opening Day. It will benefit Luck, his franchise, and the fans who long for something to have faith in.
Rookie quarterbacks are also among the league’s highest paid players, but may not be for long. A change in the CBA could also change the financial incentive to get top-paid players on the field .
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