I still can’t believe it. I woke up this morning thinking, “Did it really happen like that?” Was Super Bowl XLVIII really the smackdown of my foggy morning memory?
And then, I remembered the conversation I had with my dad before I went to bed last night. He said, “Heather…it was a changing of the guard. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the quarterbacks of the past. The NFL belongs to Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck now.”
And you know what? He’s right.
One of the things I loved about the matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks was that storyline. The guy who was the blueprint for the modern day quarterback meets…the modern day quarterback. Only this time, the blueprint is a little different. Today’s modern day quarterback is younger, stronger, shorter (in Wilson’s case), and a little more mobile (ok, a lot more mobile).
The writing was on the wall during the 2012 draft. We saw the new class of NFL quarterbacks emerge. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson didn’t just come out of college ready to play…they came out ready to win. Throw in Colin Kaepernick, who started in his first game for the San Francisco 49ers in November of 2012, and in just two seasons…all of those quarterbacks have taken their teams to the NFL playoffs, won playoff games, two (Kaepernick and Wilson) have appeared in Super Bowls, and now…Russell Wilson has won one.
The NFL has always been a young man’s league. But, at no time has that been truer than now.
So, what does that mean for football fans? Well, for me…it means a couple of things.
I am going to enjoy every last game I get to see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady play in. I will cherish every memory the future hall of famers have given me over the years and hope to add to that collection for seasons to come.
In the meantime, I will appreciate watching the new franchise faces of the league as they emerge from the shadows of the Bradys and Mannings, come into their own, and start writing their Road to Canton stories. Just like Russell Wilson did last night.
The future of the NFL is in good hands.
Welcome to the future.