Jared Goff, the Quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams, is 23.
When Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl, coincidentally against the then St Louis Rams, Jared Goff was seven years old.
Seven. Years. Old.
Goff, a native Californian played his High School football in Kentfield, CA for Marin Catholic before receiving a football scholarship to play college ball in Berkeley for the University of California.
Goff was the first ever true freshman quarterback in Cal history to start a season opener. So Goff knows something about breaking the mould.
At Cal Goff broke 26 school records, many of which were held by Cal’s prodigal son, Aaron Rodgers, including passing yards (12,220) and touchdown passes (96). He is second only to Aaron Rodgers in Cal’s all time passing efficiency record.
But all that seemed far, far away in Goff’s debut season. Despite Goff setting single season records, Cal ended the season 1-11. Hardly the form that suggests this was a quarterback who would lead his team to the Super Bowl just five years later, attempting to end the Foxboro dynasty.
In Goff’s second full season he continued to break school records, leading the Bears to a 5-7 record. By his Junior year (which turned out to be his final year at College), Goff set a PAC-12 single season passing yardage record (4,714) and a new conference record for touchdown passes (43).
However, criticism of the young QB remained. Principally the inability to beat an instate rival. Never during his time at Berkeley did the Golden Bears beat Stanford, USC or UCLA. This was a negative. Goff’s profile was also at a disadvantage (as many players on the West Coast are) by playing in games shown at much later time slots on the East Coast. West Coast teams can get overlooked by voters and pundits alike due to the antisocial tv viewing hours.
However when both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jnr announced that they ranked Goff as their #1 QB in the draft, Goff arrived as the real deal.
Despite this the media remained unconvinced that the 2016 draft lacked any “true franchise quarterbacks”. The first two QB’s picked that night in Chicago? Jared Goff and Carson Wentz from the North Dakota State University. Go figure.
Not only did Goff and Wentz both get picked in the first round – they were picked # 1 and #2. In fact to get Goff at #1 in the 2016 draft, the Rams entered in to one of the biggest trades ever in NFL history trading six picks in total ( two 1’s, two 2’s and two 4’s) to trade up for the number one spot that the Titans held.
Goff’s first season at the Rams was a shaky one. Starting the year as back up to Case Keenum, Goff made his first start in November against the Miami Dolphins. In that first season Goff made seven starts finishing the year with a 0-7 record. It was beginning to feel a lot like those early years in Berkeley.
However one single thing happened in that off-season that would alter the course of both Goff’s and the Ram’s destiny. Head Coach Sean McVay took over at the Coliseum. While there is much talk of McVay being a Quarterback whisperer the truth is that the McVay offensive system suits Goff and as a result McVay has a Quarterback who plays with confidence and implicitly trusts his Head Coach.
On Sunday, Jared Goff will become the youngest ever quarterback to play in a Super Bowl. If you are interested (and you should be) the current holder of this record is Dan Marino who was 23 years and 127 days old when he played in (and lost) in SB XIX. This was to be Marino’s only Superbowl appearance.
On Sunday Goff will be 23 years and 112 days old.
Dan Marino was considered to be a generational talent. Few if any describe Goff in the same glowing terms. However this Rams side is described as having some of the best talents, offensively and defensively, ever to play the game. They are even being compared with the Greatest Show on Turf team. Praise indeed.
So, can Goff become the youngest ever QB to win a Super Bowl?
The last 23 year old to win a Super Bowl? Little Ben Roethlisberger, when his Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in SBXL.
Off the field, Goff is quiet, humble and unassuming – about as far removed from the archetypal jock quarterback as you will find. He wears the #16 jersey as a tribute to his hero Joe Montana. Some might say he is too young to remember Montana.
Youngest ever Quarterback winner of the SuperBowl?
Now that is a record to hold on to.
photo credit : Cougcenter.com