NFL Power Rankings: With Tom Brady gone, Aaron Rodgers is last of greatest QB generation

For a few years, the NFL had a perfect mix of old and new at quarterback.

A group of Hall of Famers who came into the NFL 20-25 years ago were still playing well in their 30s. A new wave, led by Patrick Mahomes, was making its mark at the same time.

In terms of the number of big stars at quarterback, the NFL was arguably never better.

This season marks the end of that era, for the most part. The older stars started to retire. Peyton Manning was gone after the 2015 season. 

Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan followed. Andrew Luck did too, but long before his expiration date.

Then Tom Brady retired for good (?) after last season. For the first time since 1997, when Warren Moon, John Elway,

Dan Marino and Steve Young were among the NFL's top passers, we'll have an NFL season start without Brady or a Manning. It's a transition period.

The era isn't completely over though. Aaron Rodgers still remains.

Rodgers will turn 40 this season, and he's one of the biggest stories this NFL season after he was traded to the New York Jets.

No other regular starting quarterback for Week 1 is older than 35 (Colt McCoy will be 37, but he'll head back to the Arizona Cardinals' bench whenever Kyler Murray is ready).

And Rodgers says he's preparing to play for the Jets for a few years. There's pressure on Rodgers, going from the Green Bay Packers to the crucible of playing with the Jets. 

There might be more pressure on the younger generation of quarterbacks to carry the league into the next era.

The good news is that there are plenty of emerging stars. Mahomes is already a Hall of Fame lock at age 27.

Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa and Murray have played at a star level or at least showed star potential,

and none of them has reached 30 years old yet. Deshaun Watson has played at an elite level too, though his off-field headlines overshadow that.

Rookies Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson are exciting. Next year's draft prospects like Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are already being hyped.


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