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By now, you've surely heard the inescapable narrative from Sunday's NFC Championship between the Packers (-3.5, 51) and Buccaneers. When Tom Brady (43) and Aaron Rodgers (37) step onto Lambeau Field, they'll comprise the oldest quarterback matchup in a conference championship in NFL history.
Brady will also be the oldest quarterback to start in a conference title game, a distinction he already earned two seasons ago. For years, that was a blessing in the AFC, a conference ruled by dynasties and seasoned quarterbacks. That hasn't been the case in the NFC, where older statesmen have long been bested by their younger counterparts.
Since 2005, the team with the younger quarterback is 13-2 straight up with an 11-4 record against the spread in the NFC Championship. The younger QB has won eight straight with a 7-1 ATS record - including three times at Rodgers' expense. Can he avenge those losses against the oldest quarterback in conference title history?
As we broke down Wednesday, the AFC has been ruled by veteran signal-callers since the NFL expanded its playoff format in 2002. It's been exactly the opposite story in the NFC, where only one quarterback older than 31 has won in this spot in the last 15 years.
Here's a list of every NFC title matchup since 2005 and how the younger quarterback fared:
|SEASON||QB MATCHUP (AGE)||MATCHUP||RESULT||SU/ATS|
|2019||Jimmy Garoppolo (28) vs. Aaron Rodgers (36)||49ers (-8.5) vs. Packers||37-20||W/W|
|2018||Jared Goff (24) vs. Drew Brees (40)||Rams (+3) at Saints||26-23||W/W|
|2017||Nick Foles (29) vs. Case Keenum (29)||Eagles (+3) vs. Vikings||38-7||W/W|
|2016||Matt Ryan (31) vs. Aaron Rodgers (33)||Falcons (-6) vs. Packers||44-21||W/W|
|2015||Cam Newton (26) vs. Carson Palmer (36)||Panthers (-3) vs. Cardinals||49-15||W/W|
|2014||Russell Wilson (26) vs. Aaron Rodgers (31)||Seahawks (-8) vs. Packers||28-22||W/L|
|2013||Russell Wilson (25) vs. Colin Kaepernick (26)||Seahawks (-4) vs. 49ers||23-17||W/W|
|2012||Colin Kaepernick (25) vs. Matt Ryan (27)||49ers (-3.5) at Falcons||28-24||W/W|
|2011||Alex Smith (27) vs. Eli Manning (31)||49ers (-2) vs. Giants||17-20||L/L|
|2010||Aaron Rodgers (27) vs. Jay Cutler (27)||Packers (-3.5) at Bears||21-14||W/W|
|2009||Drew Brees (31) vs. Brett Favre (40)||Saints (-3.5) vs. Vikings||31-28||W/L|
|2008||Donovan McNabb (32) vs. Kurt Warner (37)||Eagles (-3.5) at Cardinals||25-32||L/L|
|2007||Eli Manning (27) vs. Brett Favre (38)||Giants (+7) at Packers||23-20||W/W|
|2006||Rex Grossman (26) vs. Drew Brees (28)||Bears (-3) vs. Saints||39-14||W/W|
|2005||Matt Hasselbeck (30) vs. Jake Delhomme (31)||Seahawks (-4) vs. Panthers||34-14||W/W|
Just two of those 15 games were won outright by the older quarterback and only four beat the number, defying what you'd expect when glancing at the names on that list. Those 13 victories by younger signal-callers have come by an average of 14 points, while the last five winners have outscored their opponents by more than 21 points per game.
As the age gap increases, so does the struggles of older passers. Five quarterbacks have entered this game with at least six years on their counterpart. Those five went 0-5 SU / 1-4 ATS with a combined eight touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and an average passer rating of 73.9.
Of course, both quarterbacks are long in the tooth ahead of this matchup, which adds an extra layer of intrigue for both sides. At 37, Rodgers would be the second-oldest quarterback to win an NFC Championship. If Brady wins, he'd be the oldest. Both are also playing arguably as well as they have at any point in their illustrious careers.
Ironically, Rodgers will be the younger signal-caller for the second time in his five trips to the conference title game - winning once as a young gun with three subsequent losses as the respective veteran. If history is any indication, his relative youth will be on his side Sunday.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.