Growing up in the 2000s, we millennials have had the privilege of watching some of the finest talent the NFL has ever seen at the quarterback position. Prolific players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have championed the elite class of quarterbacks in the NFL for the past 15 years, but Father Time is catching up with these greats, thus beckoning in a new generation of top quarterbacks.
Perhaps there is no better example of this transition than the veritable clash of titans in Super Bowl 50—the cool-handed, wisdomic Manning and the vibrant, edgy Cam Newton.
One need only look at Newton, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, to realize the drastic change in physical size that has occurred at the quarterback position. Newton, 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, looks like the hulk compared to the frail dad bod figure of Manning.
Sure, it made for a heartfelt story for Manning to—hopefully—ride off into the sunset with the high of winning the Super Bowl, albeit a very unglamorous victory, but don’t expect this to be the last time Newton, or the breed of quarterback he represents, is in the big game.
When Colin Kaepernick ran all over the Packers in their 2012 playoff meeting, the league wised up to the fact that the once universally dominant, stand-tall-in-the-pocket-style quarterback, was giving way to something much scarier: the dual-threat quarterback.
While Kaepernick has extraordinarily managed to become worse every year since his emergence, other quarterbacks, like Russell Wilson, Newton, Marcus Mariota and even Andrew Luck have made sure that this revolutionary style has continued to progress.
While the Bradys and the Mannings of the league crumble to the ground when the pocket begins to collapse, the Newtons and Wilsons miraculously evade sacks and extend plays for huge gains.
Even taking a look into the quarterbacks of college football, one can easily see that the future signal callers of the NFL will be marked by athleticism.
Take tantalizing prospects like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or University of Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, for example. These are players that can destroy offense with impressive arm strength or turn to their high-end speed when the passing lanes aren’t open.
Now I am not saying that the NFL will be entirely run by beastly, athletic quarterbacks—you’ll still be able to laugh at some beefy, immobile guys at the helm of teams—but you can expect the game to become a lot quicker, as defenses, and more specifically, pass rushes, try to adjust to more slippery quarterbacks.