Retirement looms for some of the NFL’s finest quarterbacks in league history.
But don’t expect a ceremonious farewell tour anytime soon with the majority still in serious contention to grab Super Bowl LVI.
Nonetheless, the upcoming NFL playoffs should be one of the more memorable ones in recent memory.
With many competing headlines going into the postseason, fans and bettors have storylines aplenty to get caught up in.
We take a look at a few, and below we’ll also fill you in on what’s new with upcoming Canada sports betting expansion.
1. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Bucs look for repeat win
Much like LeBron James in basketball, no football list of the Greatest of All-Time is complete without a Tom Brady mention.
In his 22nd season, Brady continues to defy the odds. This postseason will see the slinger challenge for a record-breaking eighth Super Bowl title. As this postseason nears this weekend, PlayAlberta said Tampa Bay had a +850 chance on Monday at winning it all, third on the board for the government-run sportsbook in the province
Having won a championship without Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in 2021, Brady once again silenced his critics.
Those whispers could be put completely to bed if the 44-year-old were to repeat as Super Bowl champion.
Overall, the Buccaneers are playing solid.
They ran away with the NFC South without a genuine challenge. But the Bucs have gone through some turmoil of late.
Disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown quit mid-game in Week 17. That is sure to throw a wrench in the plans of oddsmakers
But if anyone can navigate that storm, it’s Brady.
2. Aaron Rodgers mulls possibility of retirement (again)
He is universally regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation. And he’s still playing at an all-time level.
But – believe it or not – Green Bay Packers’ legend Aaron Rodgers says he could be calling it a career.
The timing is a bit perplexing, to say the least.
The superstar is in the midst of another sensational season, positioning him as the odds-on favourite to win his second consecutive MVP.
His team is also the toast of the NFC North at 13-4 (win-loss). And they look poised for a deep playoff run and potential championship.
Nonetheless, the 38-year-old Rodgers said the possibility of hanging them up remains.
“I wouldn’t rule that out,” said Rodgers, when asked about retirement recently in a presser.
“I think that playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things, wanting to not be a bum on the way out and still be able to play, I think, is important to me.”
3. Ben Roethlisberger likely plays last game at Heinz Field
Unlike Rodgers, there seems to be a certain level of finality to the career of Ben Roethlisberger.
In other words: this looks like the end for the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.
With his club barely making the playoffs and now 11.5-point underdogs at the Kansas City Chiefs in round one, according to Proline Plus Ontario Sportsbook, this could be the end of Big Ben.
One thing that is relatively certain, though is that the QB has – in all probability – played his last game at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl wins, six Pro Bowl selections and seven NFL records to his name. That – in all likelihood – makes him a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame when his time comes.
With a little luck this postseason, maybe fans will have a few more glimpses of him after all.
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers flounder as season ends
He may not be as accomplished as Brady, Rodgers or Roethlisberger. But Cam Newton’s impact and overall stature remain amongst the great quarterbacks of his generation.
The hybrid QB became the face of an entire pop culture movement in the 2010s.
For years, Newton and his Panthers captivated audiences with their unapologetic approach to the game – and, of course, dabbing celebrations.
Even today – years removed from his best – the charismatic figure remains one of the most famous names in the NFL.
Nowadays, Newton appears more concerned with staying in the league than sitting at the top.
His Panthers sit dead-last in the NFC South, eliminated weeks ago. Worst yet, it appears Newton’s days as a starting quarterback could be coming to an end.
That will likely leave the former Pro Bowler with a choice come next year: become a back-up or retire.
5. Patrick Mahomes looks to rebound from slow start
This year’s playoffs aren’t all about the retirement home, though.
Patrick Mahomes’ storyline remains one of the most compelling narratives heading into the postseason.
Having stumbled out to a mediocre 3-4 record, Mahomes’ Chiefs looked disjointed early on. Since, the franchise has ripped off eight straight victories before its most recent loss on Jan. 2.
Mahomes’ sluggish start will likely cost him in the MVP hunt. However, he could still avenge his Super Bowl loss from last season.
There, Mahomes looked outclassed from start to finish from his elder Brady and the Buccaneers. But, with greats on the way out and Mahomes the unquestioned face of the league, the finish could be epic.
Seeing the past generation clash with the current is what fans and bettors alike clamour for.
The NFL playoffs start on Jan. 15.
Where in Canada can I bet on the NFL playoffs?
Canadian sportsbooks, for now, are limited to government-run entities.
A more robust market is coming soon, but likely after the NFL season is already over. Ontario will be the first province to allow a whole marketplace of operators into the mix.
Check out our PlayCanada Live Launch Updates leading up to the existence of several sports betting operators here in Canada.