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Best Rookie Quarterback Performances During First Regular Season Game

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Peter King is one of a couple -- by couple we actually mean 99.9% of the NFL community of experts, fans and media -- that say it's time to prepare for the Andy Dalton era. There's always the obvious possibility that the Bengals may sign a veteran quarterback in the hopes to either give Dalton a veteran backup, or allow Dalton a little growing room to develop behind an established passer. Obviously, if one believes the whispers inside the dungeons of Paul Brown Stadium, that totally means Vince Young.

Even though he does start the first game of the regular season, historically speaking, rookie quarterbacks do not have the greatest debuts.

According to, rookies starting a team's first regular season game are 11-17 with "nearly half of those wins (five)" having come in the past 10 seasons. Here's the consistent part. If a rookie quarterback plays out of his mind (relative to his experience), those teams typically win. I'm thinking, Dalton, Browns, September 11. A win?

Best performances by a rookie during the regular season opening game.

  Season Team Opp. Result Rating
Matt Ryan 2008 Falcons Lions Win 137.0
Chris Weinke 2001 Panthers Vikings Win 89.8
Jeff George 1990 Colts Bills Loss 88.9
Mark Sanchez 2009 Jets Texans Win 84.3
Jim Plunkett 1971 Patriots Raiders Win 82.5
David Carr 2002 Texans Cowboys Win 78.8
Archie Manning 1971 Saints Rams Win 76.5