There’s no doubt that if Steve Young’s career started two decades later, his statistics would be even more dominant than they already are.
During an interview Thursday night on NFL Network, former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci asked the Hall of Fame quarterback about being able to run the option like Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“Last year was fun, in fact, I’ve been jealous of what’s happened in the NFL,” Young told Mariucci and Rich Eisen. “For my abilities, what the position is like today, I am really — I’m not bitter, but I’m jealous. I mean it’s amazing what they can do.”
#49ers Steve Young on modern QB play, with a little “what if” thrown in for good measure.— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) May 8, 2020
“I’ve been jealous of what’s happened in the NFL, for my abilities, what the position is like today, I am really...I’m not bitter, but I’m jealous. I mean it’s amazing what they can do.”
Young retired after 15 seasons in the league, 13 of them with the 49ers. He completed 2,667 passes for 33,124 yards, 232 touchdowns, and threw 107 interceptions. With current NFL rules, geared towards protecting quarterbacks, Young’s career could have lasted several seasons longer.
The group also discussed the parallels between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Young, who were both 36 years old when their team drafted another quarterback with the No. 26 overall pick of the NFL draft.
The Packers drafted former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love last month, and in 1997, the 49ers drafted former Virginia Tech quarterback Jim Druckenmiller. While Young believes that Love will bring out a healthy competition between the Packers quarterbacks, that was not the case for Young.
“I went out there the first practice and watched Jim throw and I’m like, ‘I’m fine. We’re good,' " Young joked. “I don’t know where you got that pick from, Mooch. I’m sure you did a lot of deep research on that one.”
Young, however, made a relevant comparison. The Packers likely will see the best out of Rodgers like the 49ers saw the best from Hall of Fame 49ers quarterback Joe Montana when Young was the new kid on the block.
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“We never argued, we never crossed words,” Young said. “The fact is that the 49ers got the best of us. It was a circus, but in the end, if you look back, you say, you know what? ‘Joe never played better.’ They got the best of us. That way, I would say it’s creative tension.”
It remains to be seen how Rodgers will respond, but if he follows in the path of Montana, the Packers made the right move.