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Injuries usher in the NFL's year of the backup quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees
Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

We're just 2 weeks into the NFL season, and quarterback injuries have already put a damper on it.

Driving the news: After suffering injuries on Sunday, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is out for the year (elbow surgery), and Saints QB Drew Brees is expected to miss 6 weeks (thumb surgery).

  • Meanwhile, Jaguars QB Nick Foles broke his collarbone in Week 1, and Jets QB Sam Darnold missed last night's Monday Night Football game with mono (and then, right on cue, his backup got hurt).

The big picture: Looming over this unfortunate start to the season is former Colts QB Andrew Luck, whose shocking retirement in August put a new face on just how debilitating football can be.

Looking ahead: The NFL has gotten off to a great start ratings-wise, but QB injuries could negatively affect a bunch of upcoming primetime games.

  • The Steelers play 3 of their next 5 games in primetime, the Jaguars play the Titans on Thursday, the Saints play the Cowboys on SNF in 2 weeks and the Luck-less Colts are scheduled for 3 primetime slots.

The bottom line: Welcome the the year of the backup QB.

  • Of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last season, the Eagles were the only one that didn't keep their starting QB healthy the whole year. It doesn't look like the league will be so lucky this time around.

Go deeper: The NFL preseason isn't what it used to be