The days of the “game managing” quarterback are over.
Trent Dilfer enjoyed it...as did Brad Johnson and many others. Quarterbacks who played on teams with a top tier defense or running game – and were told quite simply: “Don’t screw this up!”
Game managers don’t win Super Bowls in today’s NFL.
Eli Manning needed late game heroics to out-gun Tom Brady at Lucas Oil Stadium last February…passing for 296 yards.
Aaron Rodgers needed 304 passing yards and three touchdowns to top Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV.
Drew Brees threw for 288 yards with a couple of scores against the Colts in February of 2010. Peyton Manning threw for 333 yards that same game but had a crucial interception with less than four minutes remaining to seal the Colts’ fate.
And we saw more late game fireworks from Eli and Ben Roethlisberger in 2008 and 2009: Eli to Plaxico Burress in Super Bowl XLII and Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes, whose tippy-toe T-D secured Super Bowl XLIII.
Game managers aren’t winning those games.
Game managers on quality teams will regular season games…and some playoff games. But quality teams with elite quarterback play win Super Bowls.
That’s a big reason why Patriots, Packers, Saints, Giants, Broncos, and Steelers fans are feeling great…
It’s why Cowboys, Lions, Falcons, Bears, Eagles, Niners, Ravens, and Texans fans are hopeful…
It’s why Colts, Redskins, Bengals, and Panthers fans are optimistic…
Aaaaand it’s why Jets and Cardinals fans are on suicide watch.
Though there are many examples of late bloomers (Alex Smith comes to mind)…you usually have a strong idea as to what you have in a quarterback within a few years. The “business” side of the NFL is so prominent today that you’ll start seeing quarterbacks turned over just as much as head coaches.
There is no stronger selling point to a fan base than a quarterback a team feels they can build around. It’s why we’ve seen record setting television numbers in Indianapolis... meanwhile Jacksonville can’t sell a ticket despite having the league’s top rusher (when he finally shows up) and a top-level defense.
Colt McCoy couldn’t get it done…so let’s start the fresh Brandon Weeden.
Matt Moore wasn’t awful last season…but let’s get the fan base to rally behind Ryan Tannehill (with the accompaniment of numerous jumbotron shots of Mrs. Tannehill).
Matt Hasselbeck played well last season…but now it’s time to get excited about the future with Jake Locker.
Veteran QB’s? Journeymen? Who needs them? In today’s NFL…guys like Vinny Testaverde or Mark Rypien wouldn’t stand a chance.
It’s a new day: Out with the old…in with the new (and promising).
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