JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is no arguing that Tom Brady is the face of the NFL. The New England quarterback once shared that role with Peyton Manning, but since Manning's retirement and Brady's continued success, he has become the most identifiable star in the league.
At the age of 40, though, Brady is much nearer the end of his career than the beginning. When Brady finally calls it quits, who will become the face on the NFL? Rolling Stone magaizne offered a list of 10 candidates to fill the role and two of their choices were Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette.
Brady said he would like to play five more years, so the magazine used the date of 2022 as the benchmark for the next face to take over. Here's what Rolling Stone wrote of Fournette:
To include any running back requires the acknowledgment that players at the position rarely last longer than a few years. Leonard Fournette has the best shot among running backs to still be relevant in 2022 and beyond...Fournette is the most likely running back to be the face of football from now until the mid-2020s. And while Ezekiel Elliott serves a six-game suspension, Fournette is making the rounds on social media as a "Florida man" with a good cause.
It can be argued that the last running backs to be considered in the conversation for "face of the league" were Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders, but perhaps Fournette has the special skills to elevate him to that level. However the game has changed so dramatically, that it would be hard to imagine the face of the league being a position other than quarterback.
That being said, the other Jaguars candidate, Ramsey, talks the talk and walks the walk in a way that might earn him the kind of attention that Richard Sherman and Deion Sanders basked in.
Of Ramsey, Rolling Stone wrote:
He might already be the best cornerback in the NFL and he's not afraid to let that show through his words and actions on the field....Sounds like a perfect combination then for Ramsey to take the torch from Richard Sherman as the league's top trash talker. And another reason to believe that Ramsey will be one of the most talked-about, written-about, and interviewed NFL players from now until his retirement many years from now.
NFL fans will be able to see a third player on the list Sunday when the Jaguars host the Seahawks. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who, at 39-years-old, is the oldest candidate on the list, but is also the only player on the list with a Super Bowl ring.
The full list:
- Leonard Fournette, 22, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Khalil Mack, 26, defensive end, Oakland Raiders
- Dak Prescott, 24, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
- Carson Wentz, 24, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
- Myles Garrett, 21, defensive end, Cleveland Browns
- Aaron Donald, 26, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams
- Jalen Ramsey, 23, cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Joey Bosa, 22, defensive end, Los Angeles Chargers
- Odell Beckham Jr., 25, wide receiver, New York Giants
- Russell Wilson, 29, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks