Brady, Peyton, Ben absent from AFC Championship for first time in 17 years

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Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be welcomed into an exclusive club on Sunday, a club that Patrick Mahomes became a member of last year, and a club that has had surprisingly few members in recent years.

That club is quarterbacks who have started the AFC Championship Game. When Tannehill’s Titans take on Mahomes’ Chiefs on Sunday, it will be the first AFC Championship Game in 17 years that hasn’t featured at least one, sometimes two, of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger as a starting quarterback.

Brady’s Patriots have made the AFC Championship Game a preposterous 13 times. Manning made the AFC Championship Game twice with the Broncos and three times with the Colts. Roethlisberger has played in five AFC Championship Games with the Steelers.

Since Brady first started in the AFC Championship Game with the Patriots 18 years ago, it’s been much of the same quarterbacks over and over again. In addition to Brady, Manning and Roethlisberger, the starters have been Joe Flacco three times, Mark Sanchez twice, and Blake Bortles, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon, Steve McNair and Tommy Maddox once each. The full list of starting quarterbacks is below.

AFC Championship Game Starting Quarterbacks:
2020: Patrick Mahomes/Ryan Tannehill
2019: Tom Brady/Mahomes
2018: Brady/Blake Bortles
2017: Brady/Ben Roethlisberger
2016: Peyton Manning/Brady
2015: Brady/Andrew Luck
2014: Brady/Manning
2013: Joe Flacco/Brady
2012: Brady/Flacco
2011: Roethlisberger/Mark Sanchez
2010: Manning/Sanchez
2009: Roethlisberger/Flacco
2008: Brady/Philip Rivers
2007: Manning/Brady
2006: Roethlisberger/Jake Plummer
2005: Brady/Roethlisberger
2004: Brady/Manning
2003: Rich Gannon/Steve McNair
2002: Brady/Tommy Maddox

34 responses to “Brady, Peyton, Ben absent from AFC Championship for first time in 17 years

  1. The 2001 season (AFC Champ game played in calendar year 2002) Steelers QB was Kordell Stewart – not Tommy Maddox

  2. The times they are a changing……I myself enjoy the new blood just wish the refs could be better. Any year without the Cheats and Brady is a good year….and lots more people feel the same. The Pats are like left over meatloaf ……one day is fine after that ….meh.

  3. This list of 19 AFC Championship Games where Brady has appeared 13 Times is enough to settle any debate on Brady vs Montana and/or GOAT status.

  4. Isn’t it great!
    been a long time since the AFC was interesting..
    new decade starts out with both the NFC and AFC both worth looking forward to..

  5. Total Conference championship game appearances:

    Tom Brady: 13

    Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers combined: 13

  6. Yet the NFC saw all but 4 teams (vikings, cowboys, Redskins and lions) make it to a superbowl in this time period. Yes maybe brady is that good, or the nfc is just that much better

  7. A generational shift is definitely happening. So good to see young QB’s with talent like Mahommes getting a chance to shine while the oldsters are fading away. And once again the run happy fake QB’s don’t make it to the Snoopy Bowl.

  8. I look forward to seeing these young QBs rise to the top.

    Also looking forward to seeing the Bills’ and Dolphin’s improvement. It’s all good for the league.

    Now, if they could just get refs to get it together.

  9. Well the goat is getting close to retirement and the last few years the heir apparent Patrick mahomes is moving to the front. This is the way!!!

  10. Pretty sure Brady will be retired soon. Investigators have just slammed the Astros and are moving on to the Red Sox. NFL is going to fall in line with Spygate 2. Not going to be pretty for NE fans.

  11. Don’t mind this, as a Pats fan even I have Patriots fatigue at this point. Hope they’re back in the AFCC next year though, one more time for Brady would be great. But it is good to see other teams / fan bases get their chance.

  12. “…Brady’s Patriots have made the AFC Championship Game a preposterous 13 times.”

    Preposterous may be your word – Pats fans say glorious.

  13. I think this also shows how poorly many of the organizations in the AFC are ran if 4 guys are constantly making it. I mean, we are talking about the likes of the Dolphins, Browns, Jets, Bills, Titans, Raiders, Bengals, Jaguars, hell I would throw in the Texans, Chargers and some years the Chiefs.

    Some have finally are coming up from the depths, some have made an appearance only to disappoint later, but these franchises have been terrible over the course of the last 17 years or so. Yet we want to praise the likes of Brady for making it there. The road to the playoffs was made so much easier for AFC teams. You didn’t have to ever play anyone because most of the teams making the AFC playoff didn’t deserve to be there in the first place (Like the Eagles this year) but someone had to be there… someone had to be played.

    I don’t think this narrative gets enough legs honestly. Not when comparing it to the NFC.

  14. “I don’t think this narrative gets enough legs honestly. Not when comparing it to the NFC.”

    If that narrative were true and AFC teams were truly that much weaker, the Pats would not have 6 Super Bowl wins and possibly not more than 1 or 2. There are tons of poorly run NFC franchises as well. That’s the real problem with the league, the 12-16 owners who make no real effort to put a winning product on the field because they know either way the get their huge cut of the TV money.

  15. Ben’s “accomplishments”, 3 SB appearances in 16 seasons isn’t terribly impressive, especially when you take into consideration that 2 of them came after beating teams led by Jake Plummer and Mark Sanchez. Further evidence of his Super Bowl “prowess” is that in the Seahawks and Packers games, he had a COMBINED quarterback rating of 100! I guess that’s why Big Ben has never been referred to as Big Game Ben.

  16. TimTebowGodOfFootballKarma says:
    January 14, 2020 at 12:43 pm
    Pretty sure Brady will be retired soon. Investigators have just slammed the Astros and are moving on to the Red Sox. NFL is going to fall in line with Spygate 2. Not going to be pretty for NE fans.

    ——
    Your R*vens are done and I’m glad. They are nothing without Bluetooth Guy and they proved it on Sunday. I don’t want to watch cheaters in the AFC Championship game.

  17. Some knowledgable comments here regarding the generational weaknesses from most AFC teams as to why the Pats, Steelers, and Manning’s teams have been so dominant, and why and how that is changing. Mostly though it will affect mostly the AFC East, which is finally–FINALLY!–beginning to equalize itself. I expect the Bills to be the next non-Pats division winner even though they’ll lose one or two good players (and have lost Alexander). IF the Fins can finally get their QB (or if Rosen finally wakes up one day) AND FINALLY put together good OLs and DLs (which is the reason Tannehill never showed what he has shown with the Titans),then Flores and Co. will succeed. the Jets MUST get rid of Gase, who has done nothing for Darnold as he did nothing for Tannehill. (Maybe Gregg Williams should be their HC). And I wonder, what with San Fran doing so well…maybe the Pats shoulda kept Jimmy G!

    AFC North–Bengals get Burrow, who may be better than even Mahomes. Steelers goto rebuild mode, and Ravens just need to do better in playoffs. Browns? Bwahahahah!
    AFC South–Tannehill’s and Henry’s Titans may become a powerhouse. Who knows? Texans may need a new HC. Jags will likely do okay with Minshew. Now Colts have to replace Luck. Tank for Trevor?
    AFC West–Are Chiefs the new Pats and Mahomes the new Brady and Reid the new BB? The rest of this division might become the new “also-ran AFC East.”

  18. Your R*vens are done and I’m glad. They are nothing without Bluetooth Guy and they proved it on Sunday. I don’t want to watch cheaters in the AFC Championship game.

    —————-
    You won’t have to. Patriots were eliminated a week ago after spycam sideline guy got caught and offered to delete the footage to save his skin.

  19. TimTebowGodOfFootballKarma says:
    January 14, 2020 at 2:37 pm
    Your R*vens are done and I’m glad. They are nothing without Bluetooth Guy and they proved it on Sunday. I don’t want to watch cheaters in the AFC Championship game.

    —————-
    You won’t have to. Patriots were eliminated a week ago after spycam sideline guy got caught and offered to delete the footage to save his skin.
    —-
    Nope Im afraid the R*vens were the only cheaters in the AFC playoff field. Why else would the league sweep under the rug the fact that a guy with an illegal Bluetooth receiver was standing right by the ear of the head coach… something I have never seen before from any other team. Without a legit explanation it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what he was doing there.

    They will forever be the R*vens to me until we get an investigation and explanation from the league. I wouldn’t hold my breath for one and we all know why, 🤔

  20. Mostly though it will affect mostly the AFC East, which is finally–FINALLY!–beginning to equalize itself.
    —-
    The same thing was said a decade ago. Let’s see what happens in the next year or two.

  21. Peyton Manning and Ben Rothlisberger – elite talents, terrific football players – always must watch!!

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