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Joe Flacco will start for the Browns in a playoff game against the Texans on Saturday, nine years after he last started a playoff game, on January 10, 2015 for the Ravens. That nine-year gap between playoff starts is the second-longest for any quarterback in NFL history.

Only Doug Flutie, who started a playoff game for the Bears on January 3, 1987, and then started a playoff game for the Bills on January 2, 1999, went longer between starting playoff games.

Flacco was largely given up on as an NFL starter and didn’t even have a job as a backup at the start of this season, but when the Browns needed someone in the middle of the year, Flacco showed up and has actually played better than Deshaun Watson, the starter who was lost for the season to a shoulder injury. It’s been a stunning success story for Flacco, one of the best stories in the NFL this season.

Another one of the best stories in the NFL this season is Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, who has burst onto the scene as one of the league’s brightest young stars. When the 22-year-old Stroud and 38-year-old Flacco face off against each other on Saturday, it will be the fifth-biggest age difference between two starting quarterbacks in NFL postseason history, and the biggest in a game that doesn’t involve Tom Brady.

The biggest age differences ever were Between Brady and Jalen Hurts in 2022, Brady and Patrick Mahomes in 2019 and 2021, and Brady and Jared Goff in 2021.

Stroud looks like he’s going to have plenty of playoff appearances left in him. This might be it for Flacco, but even if it is, his comeback has been an incredible run.


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