Legendary broadcaster ‘Mad Dog’ Russo rails against Georgia’s Stetson Bennett: ‘He’s not a kid’
Stetson Bennett joined elite company on Monday night when the Georgia Bulldogs won the national championship for the second straight season.
Bennett became only the sixth starting quarterback in college football history to accomplish the back-to-back national titles feat.
But, longtime radio broadcaster Chris “Mad Dog” Russo does not like the idea of Bennett winning championships because he believes the quarterback is too old to be playing at the college level.
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Bennett turned 25 in October. He Is older than Brock Purdy, Trevor Lawrence, Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert, all of whom are starting in the NFL playoffs this weekend.
Russo mentioned that he believed last season's national championship game should have been Bennett's final game at Georgia.
“I have a, not a little problem. I have a major problem with Stetson Bennett, 25 years of age, playing college football,” Russo said on SiriusXM Radio show. “I can see it for one year. Last year he won. Burrow was 23 going on 24 when he won. But 25 years of age, playing quarterback for Georgia, he should’ve left after last year.”
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Russo also hinted that Bennett's age put the TCU Horned Frogs and the other teams Georgia faced throughout this season at a disadvantage.
“I didn’t know that he was that old,” Russo continued. “I understand we have punters who are 50 from Australia punting. But I have a problem with a 25-year-old playing against 19-year-old kids. I had a problem with [Chris] Weinke doing it for Florida State when he won the Heisman [when he was 28]. I didn’t vote for him for that reason.”
Russo did take a moment to acknowledge that the long road Bennett took to become the starting quarterback at Georgia was a great story.
“And I understand that Bennett story is a hell of a story,” the “Mad Dog” continued. “We all know about the walk-on, and [being] told to leave. I understand that. But he’s older than 10 NFL quarterbacks! He’s older than Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts. He’s the same age as Lamar Jackson. And it’s not like he didn’t win last year. He won last year.”
But Russo wondered at what age should college players no longer be eligible to play.
“If you’re 40 you can play?” Russo asked. “What is the cut-off date? When do we sit there and watch a college athlete and say ‘you know what? this is ridiculous! He’s this old playing against a bunch of 19, 20-year-old kids? This is absurd.’ When does that get to be a joke? What is the age? Thirty? There’s gotta be an age where this is enough already. Thirty-one? When do we begin to think that a guy with an 11-year age experience has a physical and mental advantage over his competitors?”
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He also characterized Bennett as a man playing among kids.
“I have a problem with a kid. He’s not a kid. With a MAN at 25 years of age playing college football at quarterback,” Russo said.
Aside from his age, Bennett largely does not have a physical advantage on the football field. The 25-year-old is 5 feet and 11 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds.
Many of his physical attributes may not transfer to the NFL, but Bennett's head coach, Kirby Smart, said the quarterback should be given an opportunity to play at the next level.
“People have slept on Stetson Bennett for too long. He deserves an opportunity to play at the next level,” Smart told reporters after the national championship game.
Smart also told reporters that he walked in on his son crying as he realized that Bennett would no longer be quarterback of the Bulldogs.
“I said, ‘He’s 25 years old. He’s gotta go!’” Smart told his son.
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Bennett may be leaving Athens, Georgia, but the Bulldogs are already the favorites to win the championship again next season.