Note: When I started this post, I used this article from NFL.com to find the names of the rookies QBs that I didn’t already know. However, in researching Shaun King’s rookie season (see here, under 1999), I discovered that Pat Haden also started in the playoffs as a rookie QB in 1976. But, after a little more research, I discovered that Haden had played in 1975 in an earlier league called the USFL (not the USFL of Herschel Walker). I know, it’s a bulletin board post, but it does explain why an article on NFL.com would leave him out. So, I will leave him out.
Last weekend, I was watching the NFL Replay of the Falcons-Cardinals playoff game from this past year, and I saw a statistic flash on the screen that there have been 8 rookie quarterbacks to start a playoff game since 1970. So, I decided to find out who they were and compare their rookie seasons and playoff performances. We all know about Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco from this past year, as well as Big Ben’s 2004 rookie campaign. And, most of us could probably guess on Dan Marino as one of the other rookie QBs to start a playoff game. After that, the other names may surprise you. The other four rookie quarterbacks to start a playoff game since 1970 were Bernie Kosar, Jim Everett, Todd Marinovich???, and Shaun King.
Before we get too into the statistics, I wanted to review each of these players rookie seasons and highlight one or two accomplishments of note for each one. These are in chronological order.