[Oakland at Pittsburgh,

1 p.m.]

[Tampa Bay at Washington,

1 p.m.]

31

The average age of quarterbacks projected to start today. Isn't football supposed to be a young man's game? You wouldn't know it from the league's starting quarterbacks, who seem to think it's 1998 all over again.

But like a fine wine or Sophia Loren, some quarterbacks seem to get better with age, at least in the eyes of NFL coaches and executives. "Teams tend to lean toward the old guys, the veteran guys who can manage the game and not make mistakes, especially mental mistakes," Seahawks GM Bob Ferguson told USA Today.

If you think the 12 over-30 quarterbacks starting today is strange, you may want to take a look at the graybeards sitting on the bench. Some, such as Jon Kitna, Kerry Collins, Jeff Blake and Ty Detmer could still probably start. Others, such as Todd Collins, Todd Bouman and the eternal Chris Chandler, probably just can't think of anything better to do. There are plenty more, but really, what's the point of picking on Shane Matthews and Danny Kannell?

The league may be high on over-30 quarterbacks, but history hasn't been kind to quarterbacks older than 40 (we're looking in your direction, Vinny). The last 40-plus quarterback to lead his team to a winning record was our own Sonny Jurgensen, who as a 40-year-old helped the Redskins to a 10-5 record in 1974 and led the league in passing efficiency. But he was splitting time with Billy Kilmer, and started only four games.