Mahomes the old man among 4 QBs for NFL conference titles

Patrick Mahomes will be the old man among the starting quarterbacks in the conference title games.

The 27-year-old All-Pro for Kansas City is the oldest member of one of the youngest groups of starting quarterbacks to make it this far.

The other three projected starters Sunday are 26-year-old Joe Burrow for Cincinnati, 24-year-old Jalen Hurts for Philadelphia and 23-year-old rookie Brock Purdy for San Francisco.

The only other time all four starting QBs in the conference title game were under 28 was in 1996 when Brett Favre (27), Mark Brunell (26), Drew Bledsoe (24) and Kerry Collins ( 24) got there.

Reaching this milestone is nothing new for Mahomes and Burrow. Mahomes reached the AFC title game in all five seasons as a starter and could join Tom Brady as the only starters to reach the Super Bowl three times in their first six seasons with a win Sunday.

Burrow won his fifth playoff start last week against Buffalo, joining Russell Wilson (six) and Ben Roethlisberger (five) as the only QBs to win at least five starts in their first three NFL seasons.

While Burrow was the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft and Mahomes went 10th in 2017, Hurts and Purdy had more incredible journeys to that point.

Hurts was a second-round pick in 2020, and Purdy went with the last pick in the 2022 draft. Sunday’s winner will join Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles and Jimmy Garoppolo as the only 192 QBs taken after the first round in the draft since 2002 to reach the Super Bowl.

Purdy already has a remarkable performance, joining Joe Flacco (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009) as the only rookies to earn two playoff starts. The only other rookies to reach the conference title game were Sean King (1999) and Roethlisberger (2004), who did so with one win after a bye.

Purdy is looking to become the first rookie to reach the Super Bowl with the other four losing. They had a combined 51.8 passer rating in the title games with nine interceptions, four TD passes and just 196.8 yards passing per game.

REVENGE

The Bengals and Chiefs will meet in the AFC title game for the second straight season, joining rare title rematch company.

Since the 1970 merger, the only other teams to meet in the conference title game in consecutive seasons are the Cowboys and 49ers (1970-71, 1992-94), Steelers and Raiders (1974-76), Oilers and Steelers ( 1978-79), Browns and Broncos (1986-87) and Ravens and Patriots (2011-12).

In five of those six previous rematches, the team won the first meeting and won the second, with only Baltimore and New England splitting. The 1976 Raiders and 1994 49ers did win the trilogy after losing the first two.

IVICTIONS

The 49ers and Bengals head into championship weekend with impressive streaks.

San Francisco has won 12 straight games and Cincinnati has won 10 straight games, joining 10 other teams that have reached this round on at least 10 game winning streaks.

The last team to do it was the 2007 Patriots, who won 17 straight before beating San Diego to reach the Super Bowl. Their quest for perfection ended with a loss to the Giants.

Of the 10 previous teams with at least 10 game winning streaks going into the championship game, only two failed to reach the Super Bowl: the 1976 and 2004 Steelers.

Five of the 10 have won it all, with the 2003 Patriots, 1986 Giants, 1984 49ers, 1976 Raiders and 1972 Dolphins all chasing championships.

Washington in 1983 and Atlanta in 1998 joined the Patriots in 2007 as Super Bowl losers.

BIG RED

Kansas City coach Andy Reid hit a few more milestones with his latest playoff win, making it 10 with the Chiefs and 10 with Philadelphia.

Reid’s 20 postseason victory totals are tied with Hall of Famer Tom Landry for the second-most in NFL history, trailing only Bill Belichick’s 31.

Reid has coached a team to the conference title game 10 times in the last 22 seasons, starting from 2001-04 and in 2008 with Philadelphia and the last five seasons with Kansas City.

The only coaches with more conference appearances in the Super Bowl era are Belichick (13) and Landry (12).

Reid and the Chiefs also joined Belichick’s Patriots (2011-18) and John Madden’s Raiders (1973-77) as the only teams to make it that far five straight seasons.

JUST FOR A KICK

San Francisco pitcher Robbie Gould extended his perfect postseason streak.

Gould made all four field goal attempts against Dallas on Sunday, as well as one extra point attempt. That made Gould perfect for all 67 kicks he attempted in 15 postseason games for the 49ers, Giants and Chicago. He has made all 29 field goals and all 38 extra points.

The only other kicker in NFL history to be perfect in the postseason with at least 10 field goals is Brandon McManus, who is 10 for 10 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points.

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