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

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

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

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