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The Dallas Cowboys are trying to do something this January that hasn"t yet been achieved in NFL history. Nobody has actually made it to the Super bowl -- allow alone winner the large game -- with a rookie quarterback under center. After ~ 50 supervisor Bowls, us obviously have seen 100 starting quarterbacks, and also while there have been players who were almost rookies (like Tom Brady in 2001), no passer has finished his debut season in the NFL taking snaps on the game"s biggest stage.

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If i were a Cowboys fan, I"d more than likely hear that and be both worried and hopeful. Hey, 50 years of history is a long time and a pretty great sample size, and there have been a lot of wonderful quarterbacks come come up brief without one future room of Famer even eking his means through. I"d additionally probably be arguing Dak Prescott isn"t your common rookie quarterback, with the phenom"s superior performance make him much more like a third- or fourth-year star than a mere pro freshman.

Dak Prescott is one of the greatest rookie QBs we"ve ever seen, and also he"s about to attempt the unprecedented.Tim Heitman/USA now SportsBoth those sentiments are fair. To figure out why Prescott"s power would it is in unprecedented, we"ve acquired to take a look in ~ what has actually happened throughout the Super key era to check out why rookie quarterbacks are 0-for-50. Let"s ask and answer a couple of questions and also get earlier to Prescott afterward.

Is it weird or surprising that we haven"t watched a rookie quarterback in the Super key by now?

Actually, yeah. That is.

I went with every season because the AFL-NFL closing of 1970, which pipeline out the first four supervisor Bowls, return they also don"t have any rookie quarterbacks. I picked out all the quarterbacks who began at least seven gamings (so a minimum of half the season going earlier to the 14-game slate) and also threw at the very least 105 overcome (for an typical of 15 passes per game) and split them every up by the year of expert experience they had actually under their belt in ~ the start of the campaign. For this reason Prescott is a rookie, while Marcus Mariota has one experienced season under his belt.

For each year of players through a offered level the experience, I established how countless quarterback periods it took to generally get a passer to the super Bowl. There have been 152 qualifying second-year seasons because 1970 -- that would be someone choose Mariota this season -- and six the those guys have actually made it come the at sight Bowl, many recently Russell Wilson in 2013. That"s a price of simply under 4 percent, or one Super key appearance because that every 25.3 seasons.

Most every other experience level is between 10 and 20, v a pair of odd exceptions pertained to the relatively small samples. The numbers gain smaller together players acquire into the teens of their careers, owing to selection bias: The quarterbacks who room playing in their mid-to-late 30s are generally extremely good and more likely to do a supervisor Bowl 보다 a typical rookie.

Russell Wilson had the Seahawks in place for a super Bowl operation as a rookie, yet Atlanta acquired in the way.Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSetting the cutoff because that inclusion to 7 starts eliminates a the majority of hopeless rookies who are only in the lineup because the starter is injured (even if that"s additionally how Prescott got here). But that still pipeline us through 98 qualifying seasons that have turned right into zero Super key appearances. That"s remarkable, and even if us assume rookies are all over the map in regards to performance, the difference in between rookies and also second-year football player isn"t the dramatic.

A very conservative calculation would imply that one rookie season in 30 should turn into a Super key appearance, i m sorry "should" have yielded three Super bowl starts by now. Yet, if Prescott come up short, we"ll be looking in ~ our 99th consecutive rookie project without a Super key berth. Kinda crazy, right?

Split an additional way, 22 rookies have actually thrown 15 or much more passes in a playoff game, many recently Connor Cook, who was overmatched during an ugly loss to the Texans in the wild-card round. Those starters, likewise, space 0-for-22 in Super key trips. At other experience levels, usually between five and also 10 players make the playoffs because that every Super bowl trip; second-year starters, for example, have made six Super key runs in 48 tries, an mean of eight per expedition to the large dance.

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We"re no "due" for a rookie supervisor Bowl run -- that"s the gambler"s fallacy -- but it"s a surprise we haven"t had at least a couple by now.

Is it since rookies play worse in the postseason? do they choke? They should choke, right?

Well, type of.

Everybody is worse in the postseason 보다 they were throughout the constant season, thanks to the cold weather and also the likelihood of encountering superior defenses. There room two sub-questions to save in mind. One is even if it is rookie quarterbacks are worse than common passers in the regular season, and also the various other is whether they autumn off further in the playoffs than their much more experienced brethren.

The answer to both is yes. To obtain a basic gauge that quality, I offered the pro-football-reference.com stat known as readjusted yards per attempt (AY/A), i m sorry is yards every attempt yet with two various other numbers included: happen touchdowns, which counting for 20 yards, and also interceptions, which counting for minus-45 yards. This season"s beginning quarterbacks ranged native 10.1 AY/A (Matt Ryan) to 4.3 AY/A (Jared Goff).

Rookie quarterbacks, even the ones who qualify under the seven-start and also 105-attempt rule, are considerably worse during the regular season 보다 passers at any other suffer level. With an ext than 32,000 happen attempts, rookies have actually averaged just under 5.5 AY/A once everybody rather is over 6 adjusted yards per attempt. They"re also the only group that throws much more interceptions 보다 touchdowns, together their cumulative interception price is 3.9 percent.

We"re not adjusting for era, therefore our playoff team of rookies should more than likely be better than we could think, given that many of the playoff appearances have come end the past twenty years as quarterback stats have risen. Given that we"re also eliminating the truly disastrous rookie quarterbacks that weren"t may be to make it come the postseason, there"s additionally reason to think rookies can actually be an exception to the playoff rule.

That"s every wrong.

Rookies have actually been an absolute mess in the playoffs. Their readjusted yards per attempt falls to a borderline-unplayable 4.3, and also they throw interceptions on 5.4 percent that their pass attempts. That"s prefer Goff if the first overall pick threw four much more picks ~ above his 205 happen attempts this season. Once rookie passers are collectively performing prefer Goff in the postseason, they"re not doing very well.

Miami dolphin QB Dan Marino to be a very good rookie, yet it went south in the playoffs.AP Photo/NFL PhotosRelatively, rookies room seeing their postseason AY/A decline by 21 percent and also their interception price skyrocket by 40.2 percent. Ns mentioned just how everybody seems to get worse in the postseason regardless of age, yet those transforms dwarf the competition. I"ve put the comparisons with each other for quarterbacks v their very first 10 seasons in the league, and also nobody drops off as much as rookies, even though rookies are starting from the worst regular-season baseline:

The Rookie QB Playoff Drop-off

Experiencediff AY/adiff INT%
Rookies-21.0%40.2%
Second-Year-1.8%9.3%
Third-Year-4.7%25.7%
Fourth-Year-5.5%10.4%
Fifth-Year-2.4%7.6%
Sixth-Year-5.8%21.6%
Seventh-Year-7.2%18.3%
Eighth-Year-5.1%11.4%
Ninth-Year-8.7%25.1%
Tenth-Year-3.5%13.6%

Rookie quarterbacks also have the worst document in the playoffs, return it"s not by quite as far-reaching of a margin. Rookies throwing 15 passes or much more (as the starter or in reserve) are 11-21 (.344) in the postseason ~ Cook"s loss last week. That"s the lowest rate amongst players of any kind of experience level, but it"s not all that much off native third-year quarterbacks, who are 37-57 (.394), or eighth-year passers, who space 26-42 (.382). If Prescott makes it to the super Bowl, rookies would certainly be in a dead warm with those frauds that waited eight year to expose they couldn"t handle the push of the postseason.

What around the superstar rookies?

Maybe by comparing that to all rookies we"re not creating an ideal context for Prescott. Utilizing pro-football-reference.com"s index statistics to scale and account because that era, Prescott"s AY/A translates to a 123 AY/A+, which is the sixth-best rate because the mergers under the previously mentioned seven-start, 105-pass criteria. Let"s look in ~ the men in his ballpark who made the playoffs and see how they walk after the consistent season to be over.

Pat Haden (1976 Rams, 134 AY/A+) simply qualifies for this list, with exactly seven starts and also 105 passes to his name. He didn"t do much in the playoffs, though. Los Angeles winner its divisional round video game 14-12 end Dallas, yet Haden was 10-of-21 for 152 yards with 3 picks before going 9-of-22 because that 161 yards v two more interceptions in a conference championship loss come the mighty Vikings happen defense.Dan Marino (1983 Dolphins, 123 AY/A+) took over the starting job for great in main 5 and threw 20 touchdowns against six picks during a standout rookie campaign. He was then in line for a rose playoff matchup versus the Seahawks and their lousy happen defense, however he struggled. Marino threw two picks, and the Dolphins blew a 20-17 fourth-quarter bring about lose.The just other qualifying player through an above-average AY/A+ is CFL legend Dieter Brock, who invested his lone season in the NFL posting a 107 AY/A+ as a 33-year-old rookie with the Rams before going 10-of-31 for 66 yards with a pick versus the "85 bears in the conference championship game, after i m sorry Brock retired through a ago injury. Following Brock is Joe Flacco, who posted a 99 AY/A+ (average is 100) in 2008 and then went 2-1 in the playoffs in spite of averaging every one of 140.3 pass yards per game. The Steelers harassed him right into a three-interception work in the AFC Championship Game.

Many of this quarterbacks played choose stars as rookies and turned right into franchise quarterbacks after your rookie campaign. Almost all of them struggled to stop giveaways against the tougher competition of the postseason, and it ultimately sunk many of your teams, with Wilson the lone exception.

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Prescott has avoided giveaways for many of the year. The just quarterback by this criteria v a far better era-adjusted interception price (INT%+) is Marino, which represents really solid company. It appears unlikely that Prescott will have actually a three-giveaway day, something the didn"t happen even once come him as a rookie.