NFL's streak of rookie QBs lives, as Jets name Sam Darnold their Week 1 starter

Yahoo Sports

It’s not exactly Cal Ripken or Brett Favre, but the NFL has a fun streak going on.

Starting in 2008, there has been at least one rookie starting quarterback in Week 1 each season. While it seemed for a while like that streak might end this season, the New York Jets will keep it alive.

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Sam Darnold, the third overall pick of the draft, will start the Jets’ opener next Monday night at the Detroit Lions. The team announced it Monday afternoon.

Sam Darnold had a solid preseason

It’s not a big surprise that Darnold won the job. Teddy Bridgewater might have been a consideration, because he did play better than Darnold in the preseason, but he was traded to the New Orleans Saints. That opened the door for Darnold to start from the first game on.

Darnold had a solid preseason. He ran the offense well, although he didn’t take many chances. Since turnovers were a big problem for him last season at USC, that made sense. He completed 29-of-45 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and one interception this preseason.

While Bridgewater played better in the preseason and Josh McCown is coming off a pretty good season, Darnold is the future. Everyone knew that going in. The Jets wanted him to win the job, and he did enough to justify the decision to start him Week 1.

Darnold will also make some history: He’ll be the youngest starting quarterback to start a team’s season opener, according to ESPN. He turned 21 years old in June.

Only one rookie starting QB on opening day

It’s a little surprising there is only one rookie starting quarterback this season, considering five were drafted in the first round.

Top overall pick Baker Mayfield won’t start for the Cleveland Browns, because they’re stubbornly sticking by Tyrod Taylor. The Buffalo Bills are going with Nathan Peterman over Josh Allen, perhaps to avoid Allen playing with a terrible supporting cast right away. Josh Rosen didn’t do enough to beat out Sam Bradford for the Arizona Cardinals’ job. And Lamar Jackson’s struggles in the preseason have him behind Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III with the Baltimore Ravens to start the regular season.

Darnold had the clearest path to the job, and did enough to win it. And once again, we’ll see a rookie quarterback start in Week 1.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) will be the NFL’s lone rookie starting QB in Week 1. (AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) will be the NFL’s lone rookie starting QB in Week 1. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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