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Two Bills QBs helped set rookie opening-day mark

By Tim Graham

The NFL is going to obliterate a long-standing record Sunday. Five rookie quarterbacks are scheduled to start, breaking a record that was set and tied with a couple of Buffalo Bills.

The five who have been named starters this year are top Indianapolis Colts draft choice Andrew Luck, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins, Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins, Brandon Weeden of the Cleveland Browns and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

The opening-day record has been only three rookie starters, and it has stood for over 40 years.

"We're in a new era," CBS Sports analyst Phil Simms said on a conference call this week, "and I don't know if we're going to see the 35- to 38-year-old quarterback anymore in a league as time goes on because there's so many coming out of college every year.

"They're more ready to play. They're more talented. They're big, strong, fast. They've got everything going for them. ... I think it's easier to be a quarterback now and have success than I can ever remember because so much of it is planned and given to them."

The first time three rookies started on opening day was in 1968. The Bills went with Dan Darragh, the Detroit Lions started Greg Landry and the Cincinnati Bengals used Dewey Warren.

The Bills and the Bengals helped match the record the next season. The Bills switched to James Harris, and the Bengals tabbed Greg Cook. But the Dallas Cowboys had the best rookie of the group: future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |