The cluster of young star quarterbacks isn’t quite so young anymore.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes turned 27 last September. Today, Bills quarterback Josh Allen joins him in the three-years-short-of-30 club.
Allen has completed five NFL seasons. For each of the last three, he has been among the top handful of quarterbacks in the game.
But there’s reason for concern in Buffalo. The clock is ticking on Allen’s career. He’s already five years in. Before you know it, he’ll have 10 in the can — and he’ll be working on 15.
His emergence in 2020 created a sense of inevitability that the Bills would return to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1993 season, and that perhaps they’d eventually win one.
It hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, Mahomes has gotten there three times. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who turns 27 later this year, has been there once.
Through it all, something has been missing in Buffalo. There’s not enough high-end talent around Allen, or maybe there isn’t enough offensive creativity to supplement the amazing things Allen can do.
There was some regression last year, after former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll got the Giants job. Ken Dorsey was fine, but any team that spends the offseason and much of the regular season as the odds-on favorite to get to the Super Bowl has a high pass-fail bar. A 17-point playoff loss at home goes in the books as an F.
This year, the expectations are lower. But they’re still there. They’ll be there for as long as Allen is on the team. The close-but-no-cigar narrative is starting to take root. Until Allen and the Bills rip the plant out of the ground, those roots will spread.
Through it all, the clock ticks on Allen’s career. Twenty-seven. Twenty-eight. Twenty-nine.
Jim Kelly was 30 when the Bills made it to the Super Bowl for the first time. Still, given his USFL detour, the Bills got there in his fifth season with the team.
Allen didn’t. It’s unclear why it’s not happening. The only thing that is clear is that Josh Allen isn’t the reason for it.