If we’re going by the power of high-level draft analysis alone, former first-rounder Blake Bortles is the best bet among the quarterbacks who have reached the NFL’s final four.
Nick Foles was a third-rounder. Tom Brady was a sixth-round afterthought and Case Keenum didn’t get drafted at all.
Or maybe we could measure the players’ values using measurements, like they do at the combine. In that case Foles towers over the rest at 6-feet-6. Bortles is 6-5, Brady is 6-4 and Keenum is 6-2.
Ok, ok, before this gets any weirder, let’s cut to the chase.
Brady has won more playoff games (26) than any quarterback in NFL history.
That’s more than Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman combined.
Or John Elway and Roger Staubach combined.
Or Dan Marino, Steve Young and Jim Kelly combined.
Now you don’t need me telling you that Brady has been around for a while or that he’s won a lot, but the other three quarterbacks in the conference championship round have appeared in a combined total of five playoff games.
That’s not exactly apples and apples when it comes to big-game savvy, or even apples and oranges. It’s apples and rotten rutabagas.
Of course, there has to be a first time for everyone so there’s no choice but to stay tuned.
Check out this string of Super Bowl winners from the 1999 season to 2001 if inspiration is needed.
For openers, Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was the Super Bowl MVP, winning it all in his first season as a starter and repeating for a million questioners the story of his days as an Arena Football League player.
Next came Trent Dilfer, who never got Tampa Bay over the top in five seasons there but won a Super Bowl in his first season at Baltimore, buoyed by a ravenous Ravens defense.
Finally, the topper, a team that won the Super Bowl as a two-touchdown underdog and with a 24-year-old quarterback who had never started a playoff game before that season.
Some kid named Brady, and he did it with just 145 passing yards on Super Sunday.