By: Jeremiah Jackson
Is this the start of a new era for the NFL?
Tom Brady. Eli Manning. Drew Bees. Ben Roethlisberger. Hearing these names strike a chord for many football fans across the nation. A new era for football is on the horizon as the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams move on to Super Bowl LIV (56).
Tom Brady, arguably one of the greatest football players ever, is retiring after 22 NFL seasons. Brady’s career dominated the NFL with bringing the New England Patriots to six Super Bowls, and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a 15-time pro bowler, and a three-time MVP.
“I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore,” he said in an announcement on social media.
John Harris, a freshman Defensive Backer for the University of Findlay Oilers football team, said that Tom Brady’s retirement means an opportunity for upcoming players to take his place.
“It’s really about who wants it more and willing to put in the work. Because we have Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow,” Harris said. “We got a lot of young guys that showed their potential, but they couldn’t take that crown while Tom Brady was still in the game.”
Ben Roethlisberger, Findlay
native, is also retiring from the NFL after 18 seasons with the Pittsburg Steelers. Roethlisberger has been the face of the Pittsburgh Steelers for 18 seasons. He won two Super Bowls with the historic organization and will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Roethlisberger finishes his career as the Steelers’ all time leader in games started, wins, completions, attempts, passing yards, and touchdowns, says “The Sporting News.” Pittsburgh earned 11 playoff appearances under the quarterback after selecting him in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft.
Aaron Rodgers’ future still seems undecided after losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Rodgers has said publicly that all options are on the table moving forward — from retiring to working with the team on a possible trade that suits all parties. He also said he doesn’t want to be in a rebuilding situation. On the “Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers said, “I think some of the factors are the direction of the team and the organization, and how I feel like I fit in the future.”
“Mentally, do I have the passion, the competitiveness, the desire to keep playing? I think it’s a feeling, and you just kind of know when the offseason has started. When you’re a hyper-competitive individual, you also dream or think about what they fairy tale ending is. It doesn’t mean Super Bowl necessarily, but that’s a pretty damn good fairy tale,” Rodgers continued.
Football fans now see young quarterbacks emerge into the spotlight. Quarterbacks like Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs putting up a historical performance for the ages in the divisional round of the playoffs which may set up playoff matches soon for the two budding stars. Second-year quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow, advancing his team to the Super Bowl after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship, in which he is the first quarterback to reach the Super Bowl as a number one overall pick in his first two years.
Even with the potential that young stars show, Harris believes that Brady’s career was once in lifetime for football. The closest the NFL will come to another Brady status is Patrick Mahomes, he guesses.
“I would say they are going to be different. I don’t think things are going to be better or worse, they are all very talented. I just feel like they’re going to put on a different type of show,” he said about the new players. “I don’t think it’s going to be better or worse, it’s going to be a bit different.”