Every NFL QB Compared to a US President
It could be argued that the two most prestigious professions in America today are as follows: President of the United States and starting quarterback in the NFL. And not necessarily in that order.
So, why not compare the two? Who is the George Washington of the NFL? Who is the Tom Brady of U.S. Presidents? Click along and find out.
Presidential Comparison: John Adams
Aaron Rodgers had to bide his time before replacing the most popular player in Green Bay Packers' history, Brett Favre. Likewise, John Adams waited eight years as George Washington's Vice President before taking the big job himself.
Favre is in the conversation as one of the great quarterbacks of all time, and George Washington was one of the most influential men in American History. Both had pressure to preform and live up to the reputation of their predecessor.
Adams and Rodgers carved out their own niche in American/NFL history, and paved the way for a successful protege themselves.
Presidential Comparison: Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson is frequently left out of the conversation of great American Presidents, just as Jay Cutler is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the NFL.
Johnson was a leader in the Civil Rights movement and paved the way for de-segregation in 1964. The 36th President also signed the Elementary and Secondary Education act, which was the first aid to eduction law and aimed to help children in rural areas receive a better educational experience.
Johnson's Presidency was marred by controversy surrounding the Vietnam War, which was years in the making before he took over as President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Tired of the controversy and dissent from within his own party, LBJ decided he would not run for a second full term as President.
Likewise, Jay Cutler is surrounded by controversy and a lack of respect for his play at quarterback. Tom Brady or Peyton Manning would struggle with an offensive line and receiving corps as bad as the Chicago Bears has been since Cutler was traded to the team.
Some day, maybe football fans would appreciate how good of a quarterback Cutler truly is.
Presidential Comparison: Ronald Reagan
A slew of injuries to Matt Stafford terrified the Detroit Lions' fans and brass. Would Stafford be the latest travesty in a difficult Lions' history? It looked like Stafford's career could be over before it really started.
Ronald Reagn nearly had his Presidential career, as well as his life, cut short before it started. Shortly after being elected in 1981, one of six bullets fired at the President hit Reagan in the chest. Reagan had a relatively quick recovery (though not as quick as the impression given by the staged speeches afterward) and became the most popular Republican President in American History.
Stafford's injuries cut short his first two seasons, but he broke out in a big way in 2011. Stafford had the best best season in Lions' history, throwing for 41 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards. If Stafford can stay healthy, he could easily become the most popular player in Lions' history.
Presidential Comparison: John F. Kennedy
Christian Ponder is a young and popular player, but had mixed results as a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings. JFK remains one of the most popular Presidents in American History, but his good looks and likability probably masked what was actually a very questionable Presidency.
The Cuban Missile Crisis remains one of the biggest embarrassments in the history of our nation. Kennedy also has to receive a big share of the blame for the Vietnam War. Obviously, the tragic assassination of Kennedy stopped him from finishing out his legacy.
Like Kennedy had a Presidential look about him, Ponder has the look of a great quarterback, but has yet to prove it. Ponder's team went 2-9 with him while he completed just over 54% of his passes and had as many interceptions as touchdowns.
Presidential Comparison: James Monroe
In 2010, Josh Freeman had one of the best seasons from a young quarterback you will ever see. Pushing the young Tampa Bay Buccaneers to within a game of the playoffs, Freeman threw 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
His production slipped precipitously in 2011, as his QB rating and the Bucs' win totals dropped dramatically. Regardless, Freeman is the quarterback for now and the future. I still believe he will be a great quarterback in this league, and believe this will be chalked up to Peyton Manning's version of his 2001 season.
James Monroe, too, enjoyed a successful run as President. Like Freeman's popularity did not drop in spite of a trying season, Monroe remained a likable figure in spite of difficult domestic troubles. He won his re-election bid and it is safe to say Freeman too will remain the Alpha Dog in Tampa for at least eight years.
Presidential Comparison: Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford's tenure as President was surrounded by controversy. How much did he know about Watergate? Should he had received more of the blame for Watergate? Did he help Richard Nixon receive a pardon?
Likewise, Brees is currently in the midst of the biggest black eye the NFL has received in some time. How much did he know about Bountygate? As the leader of the team, should he receive more blame?
Also, Brees has his personal issues with the team, as he received the franchise tag and is still looking for a long-term deal. During the offseason New Orleans Saints' GM Mickey Loomis described Brees as merely a "very good" quarterback.
Maybe it's just me, but a Super Bowl MVP and the single-season record for most passing yards in a season seem like the marks of a great quarterback.
Presidential Comparison: Dwight Eisenhower
Matt Ryan is a very good and highly-respected quarterback, but he is left off the list of best quarterbacks. The Atlanta Falcons' quarterback is solid, but Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady he is not. Not yet, anyway.
Likewise, Dwight Eisenhower is a solid and respected President. He was a war hero and served the maximum two terms. Still, he is not on the short list when people discuss the best Presidents of all time.
Presidential Comparison: Barack Obama
Cam Newton and Barack Obama are two wildly successful and popular men.
The Carolina Panthers' QB was arguably the most successful young quarterback ever last season, as he broke Peyton Manning's rookie records and set the overall record for rushing touchdowns by a QB. Still, his rookie campaign cannot be considered a complete success as his team won just six games.
Barack Obama is one of the youngest American Presidents ever elected. Before becoming President, he was a rising star in the political landscape, and rode that momentum all the way to the big job. In spite of everything he has done in under four years as President (tracking down Osama Bin Laden, Obamacare) his first term cannot be deemed a complete success either. The economy is still in the dumps and he has had little time to address the Border War and immigration issues.
So what does Obama have in store for his re-election campaign, and his (presumed) second term? What will Cam Newton do for an encore in his second season? We will have to wait and find out just how far these men's stars will rise.
Presidential Comparison: Richard Nixon
Like Richard Nixon's Presidency, Michael Vick's career has been shrouded in controversy.
Nixon had Watergate and the Vietnam War. Michael Vick had the dog-fighting scandal and the reputation as a supremely talented player that did not have the work ethic to maximize his ability. Like "Tricky Dick's" reputation for avoiding the tough questions from the press (not to mention jail time) "Tricky Vick" is the best in the business at avoiding the pass rush and making something out of nothing.
Of course, these men cannot avoid all comers. David Frost finally caught up to Nixon, and Vick's reckless style is taking a toll on his body.
Presidential Comparison: Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover was made the scapegoat for the Great Depression. For every Dallas Cowboys' loss, Tony Romo is placed with the blame, no matter how he performs.
True, Herbert Hoover was the President during the worst depression in American history, but the wheels were set in motion years before his Presidency. Like Barack Obama today, there was little he could have done about the economy by the time his term began.
Likewise, Tony Romo can throw for four touchdowns, but if he throws one interception in a loss, that's what the pundits and fans will point to as the reason Dallas took the L. If Dallas misses out on the playoffs again, look out for "Romovilles" to be set up outside Cowboys' Stadium.
Robert Griffin III
Presidential Comparison: George H. W. Bush
Robert Griffin III is one of the most exciting and popular college players in recent memory. He is a guarantee to be drafted by the Washington Redskins and it is only a matter of when, not if, he is named the starting quarterback.
George H. W. Bush was the heir to one of the most popular Presidents of all time and had his legacy cut out for him. It was all-but a guarantee he would defeat Michael Dukakis in the general election, which he did in a landslide.
In spite of Bush's successful start, his Presidency had mixed results. By the time the general election rolled around, his approval ratings were plummeting. Bush eventually lost the election in an upset to Bill Clinton.
Likewise, in spite of the hype and excitement, RG3 is far from a sure thing to be a franchise-saving quarterback. Big 12 quarterbacks pump out jaw-dropping stats due to the spread offense, but have had little success at the next level. It looked like Sam Bradford would buck the trend, but he suffered a terrible Sophomore Slump with the St. Louis Rams.
Redskins fans will hope RG3's stay in Washington is longer than the Elder Bush's.
Presidential Comparison: Harry Truman
Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner who had to follow in the footsteps of one of the most popular and successful quarterbacks of all time, his big brother Peyton.
Harry Truman won the Presidential election two times while following the path of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, arguably the most popular and successful President U.S. History.
While both men may never get the recognition of their more esteemed predecessors, they blazed their own legacies that will not be forgotten.
Presidential Comparison: Woodrow Wilson
Alex Smith is a solid quarterback, but will not be on anyone's "greatest of" lists. Woodrow Wilson's eight-year run as President began and ended with little fanfare.
Of course, Alex Smith just had his best season and took the San Francisco 49ers to within a couple of muffed punts from the Super Bowl. If he takes the next step in his progression, he could snag a comparison with a more prestigious President.
Presidential Comparison: William McKinley
Sam Bradford looked like a rising star in the NFL after his rookie year. After leading the St. Louis Rams, previously the league's worst team, to within a game of a division title it seemed Bradford would some day join the league's upper echelon of quarterbacks. His second season gave us all pause.
William McKinley was a young rising star and reached the Presidency at the tender age of 49. McKinley was a Civil War hero, and carried that reputation to the top job. Still, he is a relatively forgettable President and is on no one's list as one of the greats.
Will Bradford bounce back, or will he be the one to be bounced?
Presidential Comparison: Thomas Jefferson
Matt Flynn is set to begin his own legacy with the Seattle Seahawks. Of course, he was the understudy to Aaron Rodgers, who was the understudy to Brett Favre.
Thomas Jefferson is respected as one of the great U.S. Presidents. He was also the Vice President to John Adams, who was the Vice President to George Washington. Seahawks' fans will hope Flynn can make his own Louisana Purchase at the Super Bowl next year, held in New Orleans' Super Dome.
Presidential Comparison: Jimmy Carter
Kevin Kolb's legacy will forever be linked two some of the biggest names in the last decade-plus of the NFL; Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Peyton Manning.
If it was not for the impending contract bonus due to Kolb, the Arizona Cardinals could have easily been the final destination for Peyton Manning. Kolb was due eight million dollars on March 17th, putting Manning on a clock he did not wish to be on. With a coaching staff that had been there before, Larry Fitzgerald and an emerging defense, it would have been tough to pick against the Arizona Cardinals with Manning in town.
Jimmy Carter was sandwiched between two of the most famous (or infamous) characters in American history, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Carter's legacy will always be linked to Nixon and Reagan, as Kolb's will be linked to Manning's, McNabb's and Vick's.
Presidential Comparison: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Tom Brady is the most successful quarterback in the NFL today. He has played in Super Bowls a decade apart now, won three of them and appeared in five.
FDR's Presidency lasted 12 years and he won four elections, more than anyone else. Due to their success and longevity, both Brady and Roosevelt are in the discussion as the greatest of all time for their respective professions.
Could Brady match FDR with a fourth big win?
Presidential Comparison: Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson is the only United States President to be impeached. With Tim Tebow in town, it seems like only a matter of time before Sanchez is "impeached" as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets.
In spite of the team's public confidence and contract extension, if Sanchez and/or the Jets struggle at all, it would be Tebow Time in New York.
Presidential Comparison: William Howard Taft
Ryan Fitzpatrick had an incredible start to the season, before succumbing to an awful second half. On the whole, Fitzpatrick's season was indicative of what he is: An average quarterback, at best.
William Howard Taft was a forgettable U.S. President. Taft did not win his re-election bid. Likewise, it is unlikely that Fitzpatrick will get another shot as a starting quarterback after his stint with the Buffalo Bills.
Presidential Comparison: James K. Polk
Matt Moore had an OK end to the 2011 season after coming off the bench for the Miami Dolphins. The team exhausted all options (and still might draft Ryan Tannehill in the first round), but Moore will enter 2012 as the incumbent for the starting job.
James K. Polk was a forgettable U.S. President, and I doubt Matt Moore will be remembered long after his starting gig with the Dolphins. Taylor served just one term. Likewise, I doubt Moore will get a second gig as a starting quarterback after Miami finds a better option.
Presidential Comparison: Bill Clinton
Ben Roethlisberger has done great things as quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, his legacy will always be tarnished by his off-the-field problems with the ladies.
Bill Clinton did some great things during his eight years as President, but he too, had his problems with women that generated a lot of public attention. Both men's performances in their profession are questioned by few. Roethlsberger won two Super Bowls and Bill Clinton upset the favored George Bush and blew out Bob Dole in his re-electionc campaign.
Regardless of their success in the office or on the field, neither man fully live down the off-the-field/out-of-office issues.
Presidential Comparison: Ulysses S. Grant
After a four-year run as quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, no one yet knows what to think of Joe Flacco. He has in turn been a goat, a hero and a goat again. To Flacco's defense, he put a ball on the money that should have put the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
Grant's legacy, too, is hard to determine. He was the winning general of the Civil War and thus receives a lot of credit for keeping America the United States we know today. However, it is believed by some that he spent most of his eight years as President as a drunk figurehead.
Grant had the longevity of eight years as President, if not mixed opinions on his legacy. Flacco is not going anywhere as the Ravens' quarterback, but questions of his ability still remain.
Presidential Comparison: Zachary Taylor
Colt McCoy is too young for us to judge his legacy as the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback.
Likewise, Zachary Taylor's Presidency, which only lasted a year before he succumbed to an unknown illness, was cut short too soon to develop a true legacy.
Both McCoy and Taylor's careers prior to the Presidency/NFL have much more of a body of work to judge. McCoy was arguably the greatest quarterback in the prestigious history of the Texas Longhorns. Taylor built his political career off of an extremely successful run in the Mexican-American War.
Presidential Comparison: James Buchanon
Andy Dalton had a great run as a rookie for the Cincinnati Bengals. He also has a lot of years to develop a true legacy. He could be a one of the great young quarterbacks, or he could be a one-year wonder.
So, by default, he gets the James Buchanon comparison. Buchanon does not jump out in anyone's memory when they first think of U.S. Presidents. Dalton is not on anyone's list of great quarterbacks, at least not yet.
Fortunately, Dalton has a lot of time to build on his reputation.
Presidential Comparison: John Quincy Adams
Andrew Luck is the son of an NFL quarterback and John Quincy Adams was the son of a President, John Adams. Outside of their familial duties, both have/had quite the legacies to live up to.
Adams followed such legendary Presidents as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Andrew Luck has to follow the best quarterback of the generation, Peyton Manning. John Quincy lived up to his legacy and was re-elected in 1821.
Indianapolis Colts' fans hope Luck can do the same.
Presidential Comparison: James Madison
Matt Schaub is a brilliant young quarterback in the NFL. Schaub has had impressive statistical seasons and the only thing stopping the Houston Texans' quarterback has been injuries. If he can keep his health and bring his regular-season production to the playoffs, Schaub could easily become another Drew Brees.
Recently, the Houston Texans were thought of as potential players in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Instead, the Texans kept their faith in Schaub, much like America kept their faith in Madison when they re-elected him in 1813.
Presidential Comparison: Calvin Coolidge
Matt Hasselbeck is yet another Brett Favre protege that has enjoyed a very successful run as a starting quarterback. Hasselbeck took the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl and helped restore a winning culture to the Tennessee Titans.
Calvin Coolidge is another former Vice President who established his own legacy while holding down the top job. Coolidge took over after the death of Warren G. Harding, then won his own election two years later in 1929.
Presidential Comparison: William Henry Harrison
For those of you rusty on your American History, William Henry Harrison was the man whose Presidency lasted just 32 days, before illness took his life and ended his reign as President before it really began.
Likewise, I believe Blaine Gabbert's career as a starting quarterback will suffer a similar fate. Gabbert was the worst first-round pick I have seen in quite some time. There have been guys with worse stat lines, but I have never seen anyone look so uncomfortable in the pocket, a trait that is nearly impossible to coach.
I expect Gabbert to be benched in favor of Chad Henne before the midway point of the season.
Presidential Comparison: George W. Bush
With the final retirement of Brett Favre, Phillip Rivers is the resident gunslinger of the NFL. He has extraordinary talents as a quarterback, but has had mixed results.
Now 30 years old, the San Diego Chargers' quarterback has thrown for over 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, but has never gone past the AFC Championship game. He is 3-4 in the playoffs and has only reached the AFC Championship game once, which the Chargers lost.
George W. Bush was a gunslinger of a President with mixed results. He brought down Saddam Hussein, but his frivolous spending can be pointed to as a big factor in our current economic recession. Bush definitely had an it factor: Likability. Rivers too, is a popular pick as one of the best quarterbacks in the game today.
Rivers' longevity as the Chagers' quarterback is unquestioned. Bush, too, enjoyed an eight-year reign as President.
Presidential Comparison: Andrew Johnson
Matt Cassel followed Tom Brady, who some would make the argument as the greatest quarterback of all time. Andrew Johnson followed the lead of Abraham Lincoln, a popular pick for greatest U.S. President.
Both Cassel and Johnson got their "breaks" as the result of tragedy. Cassel started his first game since high school after Brady went down with a torn ACL in the opening game of 2008. Infinitely more tragic, Johnson became President after the assassination of Lincoln.
Both had/have had mixed results in their runs as top dog. In four years as starter, Cassel had one good season, one great one and two bad ones. He made the playoffs just once and was blown out in his debut as he threw three interceptions. Senate attempted to impeach Johnson not once, but twice.
Unlike Johnson, who was not re-elected, Cassel still has a chance to improve his legacy.
Presidential Comparison: Grover Cleveland
The starting quarterback rarely gets a second chance in the NFL. Throw injuries aside, and you are pretty much the starter with the first team that gave you the chance until you retire or you play your way out of the position.
When the Oakland Raiders traded for Carson Palmer, they gave him that rare second chance. Likewise, Grover Cleveland is the only President to serve two terms that were not back-to-back. Cleveland won in 1888 and lost his re-election bid four years later to Benjamin Harrison narrowly via the electoral vote, though he won the popular vote.
Not to be deterred, Cleveland ran again in 1892 and vanquished his old foe Harrison in a wide victory. In his fourth election, he was defeated again. Like Grover Cleveland, Palmer will likely not get a third chance if he bombs in Oakland.
Presidential Comparison: George Washington
Peyton Manning is the Godfather of NFL quarterbacks. He is the most famous part of the NFL's First Family, with four NFL MVP Awards, 11 All Pros and one Super Bowl championship.
If Manning pulls a John Elway and snags a couple of late Lombardi trophies, he just might go down as the greatest quarterback of all time. In short, Manning is synonymous with the phrase, "great NFL quarterbacks."
George Washington is one of America's first founding father. As the war hero of the American Revolution and the nation's first President, some would argue he is America's founding father. Some might say he is the Peyton Manning of American Presidents. Others might argue Peyton Manning is the George Washington of NFL Quarterbacks.
Any way you slice it, it is tough to argue the prestige of these two legendary figures.