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November 22, 2006

I Hope I'm Wrong, But Green May Be Over the Hill « Kansas City Chiefs »

Herman Edwards says, "You play to win the game." If he really believes that, I'm not sure why he's putting Trent Green back in to start. Trent Green is 36 years old and has missed the last 8.5 games to a severe concussion. He received the concussion, in part, because he wasn't playing as well as he had in the past. I took a look at several Hall of Fame and Pro-Bowl QBs, most of whom were known for their longevity (I included Kenney and Krieg because they played for the Chiefs). I tried to look at QBs who played into the 80s, at least, in reflection that more is known now about the importance of conditioning. What is striking is that even among top-flight QBs, most of whom have won a Super Bowl and been to multiple pro-bowls, very few have good seasons after the age of 35. Based on this subjective list, Green has less than a 50/50 chance of playing good anymore. And that's only if you consider Green to be in the same class as Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, and John Elway. I think it more likely Green doesn't reach that level of talent. His general abilities seem equivalent to Aikman, Everett, Kelly...none of whom played well past age 35.

I picked the "last good year" based on a 60%+ completion rate and a positive TD:INT rate, or the last year the QB went to the Pro-Bowl. When the skills go, the drop-off was always dramatic. I hope Trent Green beats the odds, but it isn't very likely.

All stats from Pro Football Reference Dot Com

Player	        Age	Comp%	TD:INT	Age at last Pro-Bowl
Troy Aikman 	33	59.5	17-12	30
	        34	59.5	7-14	
Ken Anderson	33	70.6	12-9	33
	        34	66.7	12-13	
Terry Bradshaw	34	52.9	17-11	31
	        35			played 1 game, retired
R. Cunningham	35	60.9	34-10	35
	        36	62	8-9	played only 7 games
Len Dawson 	37	57.4	13-12	37
	        38	65.3	2-5	
John Elway 	38	59	22-10	38
	        39			retired
Jim Everett 	32	60.8	26-14	27
	        33	57.5	12-16	
Brett Favre 	35	64.1	30-17	34
	        36	61.3	20-29	
Rich Gannon 	37	67.6	26-10	37
	        38	55.6	6-4	played only 7 games
Jim Harbaugh 	34	61.2	10-4	32
	        35	56	12-11	
Jim Kelly 	                35	55.7	22-13	32
	        36	58.6	14-19	
Bill Kenney 	32	56.4	15-9	28
	        33	50.9	0-5	
Dave Krieg 	36	61.8	14-3	31
	        37	58.3	16-21	
Dan Marino 	37	57.7	23-15	34
	        38	55.3	12-17	
Joe Montana 	38	60.6	16-9	37
	        39			retired
Warren Moon 	41	59.3	25-16	41
	        42	56.2	11-8	
	        43	33.3	0	backup
Fran Tarkenton	36	61.9	17-8	36
	        37	60.1	9-14	
Kurt Warner 	30	68.7	36-22	30
	        31	65.5	3-11	played only 7 games
	        34	54.5	11-9	
	        35	62.6	5-5	benched for rookie
Steve Young 	37	62.3	36-12	37
	        38	53.6	3-4	played 3 games, retired

These are, for the most part, the best of the best. Bledsoe, Brady, Manning, Rivers, Brees, et al, aren't old enough to be included. I could have included Rypien, Eason, Kenny O'Brian, Doug Williams, Vinny Testaverde, Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Tommy Maddox, Neil O'Donnell, Bernie Kosar and the like but had I done so, Green's chances would look even worse. Still, even among these pro-bowl QBs, many first ballot sure-thing Hall of Fame QBs, very few play at a pro-bowl level past age 35. Most don't even make it to 35, much less play at the same level.

Even multiple NFL MVP winner Brett Favre showed a significant drop last year, and this year he's hurting his team's chances to win in order to try and break Marino's records. He's improved again somewhat this year, but completion percentage is way down, and he does his best as a game manager, trying to make the safe throw and avoid mistakes. Is there any hope Trent Green can do any better this year?

I'm hoping I'm wrong. I hope he comes out and throws accurately and smartly against Denver on Thanksgiving. I hope he doesn't come out flat and throw in the dirt like he did Sunday against the Raiders. I wouldn't want to bet significant money that he'll return to pro-bowl form this week, or even this season. I think his career as an elite starter is probably pretty much over.

Posted by Nathan at 12:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

I wish I had seen your KC posts earlier. Great analysis on QB's. Perusing the list it is evident that Moon, Elway and Montana were exceptional athletes, defying Father Time in a way few others have done. Perhaps Trent should have bowed out, his playoff performance this year says retirement all over it.

Posted by: Richard at January 19, 2007 11:51 AM