Patrick Mahomes will be the old man among the starting quarterbacks in conference title games.
The 27-year-old Kansas City All-Pro is the oldest member of one of the youngest starting quarterback teams to make it to this round.
The three other starting QBs scheduled for Sunday are 26-year-old Joe Burrow for Cincinnati, 24-year-old Jalen Hurts for Philadelphia and 23-year-old rookie Brock Purdy for San Francisco.
The only other time all four starting QBs in the conference title game had not yet turned 28 came in 1996 when Brett Favre (27), Mark Brunell (26), Drew Bledsoe (24), and Kerry Collins ( 24) got there.
Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its international allies, he added.
Getting to this stage is nothing new for Mahomes and Burrow. Mahomes has reached the AFC title in all five seasons as a starter and may join Tom Brady as the only starting QB to reach the Super Bowl three times in his first six seasons with a win on Sunday.
Burrow earned his fifth playoff start last week against Buffalo, joining Russell Wilson (six) and Ben Roethlisberger (five) as the only QBs to win at least five starts in their first three seasons in the NFL.
While Burrow was the No. 1 pick in 2020 and Mahomes finished 10th in 2017, Hurts and Purdy had more improbable trips at this stage.
Hurts was a 2020 second-round pick and Purdy went with the last pick in the 2022 draft. Sunday’s winner will join Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles and Jimmy Garoppolo as the only ones of 192 QBs drafted after the first round in the draft since 2002 to reach the Super Bowl.
Purdy has already had a noteworthy run, joining Joe Flacco (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009) as the only rookies to win two playoff games. The only other rookies to make it to the conference title game were Shaun King (1999) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004), who did it with a win after a bye.
Purdy is looking to become the first rookie to make it to the Super Bowl with the other four all losing. They had a combined passer rating of 51.8 in title games with nine interceptions, four TD passes and just 196.8 passing yards per game.
The Bengals and Chiefs will meet in the AFC title game for the second straight season, joining rare companies for title game rematches.
Since the merger in 1970, the only other teams to meet in the conference title game in consecutive seasons are the Cowboys and the 49ers (1970-71, 1992-94), the Steelers and the Raiders (1974-76), the Oilers and Steelers (1978-79), Browns and Broncos (1986-87) and Ravens and Patriots (2011-12).
In five of those previous six rematches, the team won the first meeting and won the second matchup as well, with only the split between Baltimore and New England. The 1976 Raiders and 1994 49ers won the trilogy game after losing the first two.
The 49ers and Bengals are headed into the championship weekend with impressive streaks.
San Francisco went on a 12-game winning streak and Cincinnati won 10 in a row, joining 10 other teams that reached this round on a streak of at least 10 consecutive games.
The last team to do so was the 2007 Patriots, who went on a 17-game winning streak before beating San Diego for the Super Bowl. Their quest for perfection ended in a loss to the Giants.
Of the previous 10 teams that have won at least 10 consecutive games in the championship game, only two have failed to make the Super Bowl: the 1976 and 2004 Steelers.
Five of the 10 won everything with the 2003 Patriots, 1986 Giants, 1984 49ers, 1976 Raiders and 1972 Dolphins winning championships.
Washington in 1983 and Atlanta in 1998 joined the 2007 Patriots as Super Bowl underdogs.
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid achieved more milestones with his latest playoff win giving him 10 with the Chiefs and 10 with Philadelphia.
Reid’s 20 total postseason wins are tied with Hall of Famer Tom Landry for the second-most in NFL history, behind only Bill Belichick with 31.
Reid has coached a team to the conference title game 10 times in the last 22 seasons, going from 2001-04 and 2008 with Philadelphia and the last five seasons with Kansas City.
The only coaches with multiple conference title appearances in the Super Bowl era are Bill Belichick (13) and Landry (12).
Reid and the Chiefs also joined Belichick’s Patriots (2011-18) and John Madden’s Raiders (1973-77) as the only teams to get their five consecutive seasons.
ONLY FOR KICKS
San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould extended his run to postseason perfection.
Gould made all four field goal tries against Dallas on Sunday, in addition to his attempt for an extra point. That made Gould perfect on all 67 kicks he attempted in 15 postseason games for the 49ers, Giants and Chicago. He had all 29 field goals and all 38 extra points.
The only other kicker in NFL history who is perfect in the postseason with at least 10 field goals is Brandon McManus, who is 10-of-10 on field goals and 3-of-3 on extra points.