All quarterbacks in the National Football League are trying to get to the same destination, the Super Bowl. Here is where each one sits on the flight to New Orleans.
Note: these are quarterbacks that are either listed first on the depth chart for a team, or have been confirmed to be drafted by that team next week. I did not include assumed draft picks for 2012.
Top of the heap, gold status, No. 1, world’s finest. However you describe it, these guys embody it.
Tom Brady—All you have to do is look at his trophy case, and watch the last two minutes of one of his games to know why he is in the seats with extra leg room.
Peyton Manning—Until we see his ability take a drop, there is no reason to revoke his Executive Platinum membership.
Eli Manning—Say what you want about his attitude, or the way he hangs his head after interceptions, but he bought his First Class upgrade with two Super Bowl rings.
Aaron Rodgers—If he was on your fantasy football team (or your opponent’s team) last season, it is obvious why he has those hot towels on his face.
Drew Brees—He throws for more touchdowns and yards than almost anyone. He clearly participates in the flier mileage program (as long as it’s not a bounty program).
Ben Roethlisberger—It may not always be pretty, but he makes impossible throws and wins games. He is the guy glaring at you as you interrupt the peace and quiet on your way to the back of the plane.
Not quite enough status points to qualify for first class, but still in the fancy seats boarding before you.
Tony Romo—He makes bad plays in the clutch, to be sure. But without his talent, Dallas would be sitting between two fat men in the economy seats.
Matthew Stafford—He was finally able to show what he can do when he stays healthy. This may be his only season in business class, but he definitely earned it.
Philip Rivers—Not the flashiest player, but makes more than enough throws to seat him on the right side of the curtain.
Matt Ryan—No one appreciates this status more than Ryan. He started out sipping champagne, but then the Sophomore Slump forced him to exchange it for a Diet Coke. Redemption (and supple leather) never felt so good.
These passers are not quite eligible for Business Class or First Class, but they have more points than your average player. Three need to show that they can stay healthy for a full season, and the other needs to carry success into multiple seasons. Once they do that, they will receive well deserved upgrades.
These players aspire for greatness, but are here because they are either just beginning to accrue their status points, or don’t have enough to sit anywhere nice. Maybe they can elevate their game enough to get a better seat or even change classes, but they are not near that stage yet.
These are the quarterbacks hanging around at the gate, just hoping there will be enough empty seats in Coach to get on board. They are basically just trying to avoid having to take the bus.