Who Is Every Starting QB's Arch-Nemesis?
No position in the NFL is as important as the quarterback, which is why having an archnemesis is so common for starting signal-callers.
For every Batman, there needs to be a Mr. Freeze (the Arnold Schwarzenegger kind).
Sometimes that archnemesis can be an opposing defensive player who always seems to have the quarterback's number. Sometimes it can be an opposing coach or team. Heck, sometimes an archnemesis resides on the same team.
Today we'll take a look at who the archnemesis is for every starting quarterback in the NFL.
Arizona Cardinals: Kevin Kolb vs. John Skelton
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After spending a fortune to get Kevin Kolb, the Arizona Cardinals have to feel pretty ridiculous. He's been a major flop and needs to play exceptional football throughout the preseason just to hold onto his starting job.
This is why his archnemesis is John Skelton, his own teammate and backup quarterback. He'll never say it, but I'm sure that Kolb is hoping Skelton has the worst preseason in the history of the NFL.
If that isn't the definition of an archnemesis, I don't know what is.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan vs. The Playoffs
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Throughout the regular season, Matt Ryan absolutely deserves his nickname of "Matty Ice." However, once the playoffs hit, Ryan turns into the Atlanta version of Rex Grossman.
In his last two playoff appearances, Ryan has had a 70 quarterback rating with 385 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. In those two games, Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have been outscored 72-23.
Yeah, I think it is safe to say that Ryan hates the playoffs.
Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco vs. Billy Cundiff
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Throughout the entire 2011 season, everyone was constantly talking about how Joe Flacco was just an average NFL quarterback.
However, Flacco responded by leading his team to the AFC Championship Game, where he put the Baltimore Ravens in a position to tie the game. If that happened, Flacco would have had a chance to win the game, head to the Super Bowl and finally silence his critics.
Unfortunately, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal to tie the game and sent the Ravens home. That missed field goal means Flacco will have to go through another season with people doubting how good of a quarterback he is.
If I was Flacco, I'd be constantly throwing darts at a picture of Cundiff for putting me through that. However, I'm not confident Flacco could hit the picture.
Buffalo Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. The New England Patriots
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Over his three years as a starter for the Buffalo Bills, Ryan Fitzpatrick has a career record of 1-4 against the New England Patriots.
He'll either get absolutely blown out or he'll lose a close battle against his archnemesis. There is no in-between for Fitzpatrick and the Bills.
After recording his first win in Week 3 of the 2011 season, the Bills looked like a legitimate team in the AFC East. However, things went downhill, and the Patriots ended Buffalo's season by thrashing them with a score of 49-21.
Having to face New England twice a year hasn't been a good thing for Fitzpatrick.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton vs. Drew Brees
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Since Cam Newton has only spent one season in the NFL, he hasn't really had enough time to get an archnemesis.
The closest thing is Drew Brees, who absolutely torched Newton and the Carolina Panthers in two games last year. He threw for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in those two wins, showing Newton what a real quarterback looks like.
While this archnemesis could certainly change in the near future for Newton, it is never enjoyable to get shown how to play your position by an opponent.
Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler vs. The Green Bay Packers
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The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have such a rich history of hating each other. Since Jay Cutler became a member of the Bears, he's been a major part of this rivalry.
The point that the Packers became Cutler's archnemesis was during the 2010 NFC Championship Game. The Packers beat the Bears and famously knocked Cutler out of the game with a sprained MCL.
The crap that Cutler got because of that game has yet to cease, and that is the main reason why he must hate the Packers more than anyone else.
Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton vs. AFC North Teams Not Named the Browns
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Andy Dalton's record against the Cleveland Browns during his rookie season was 2-0. His record against the rest of the AFC North was 0-4.
Yeah, I'd say he doesn't enjoy playing the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens.
It wasn't that he just lost every game against those two teams as a rookie, it was the fact that both defenses completely shut Dalton down. They pressured him, forced him to throw five interceptions and won each game rather handily.
Dalton is going to need to come out and play his best football against the Ravens and Steelers if he wants to get the Bengals back to the playoffs this year.
Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden vs. His Age
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Brandon Weeden will be 28 years old when he starts his first game for the Cleveland Browns as a rookie this season.
That puts Weeden six to seven years older than the majority of other rookie quarterbacks heading into the league. In fact, his age nearly kept him out of the first round of the draft and has been the major factor in any criticism about him.
Weeden's age is guaranteed to follow him throughout his career and will likely be his archnemesis until he retires from the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo vs. Clutch Situations
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Few quarterbacks are less clutch than Tony Romo when the situation gets tough.
As much as he'd love to go up by 40 points in every playoff game so he could cruise to an easy Super Bowl win, that has yet to happen for Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, whenever the heat gets put on Romo, he crumbles like a clump of dirt under a shoe.
Until Romo can win a big game for the Cowboys, clutch situations will continue to be his archnemesis.
Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning vs. The San Diego Chargers
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There aren't many teams that Peyton Manning isn't extremely successful against. However, one of those teams has been the San Diego Chargers.
In eight career games, Manning has a 4-4 record with a 75.8 quarterback rating and 18 interceptions to only 15 touchdowns. That 75.8 rating is his second-worst rating against a team, with the first being the Miami Dolphins.
However, what makes the Chargers more of an archnemesis is the importance of the games that Manning lost to them. His first loss in 2005 snapped a 13-game winning streak, while two more losses came in 2007, with one being in the playoffs.
Manning's historical struggles against San Diego are like Superman's struggles against Kryptonite.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford vs. His Health
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Through his first two NFL seasons, Matthew Stafford missed 19 of a possible 32 games due to injuries. However, he did play all 16 games last year, and he proved to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league when healthy.
There are still major concerns about Stafford's ability to continuously stay healthy, though. If he misses a chunk of time in his fourth season, it could have a hard time shedding the "injury prone" label.
Should that happen, his health will have won the battle of major enemies.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers vs. Jared Allen
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Whenever the Green Bay Packers play the Minnesota Vikings, you can almost guarantee that Jared Allen is going to have a dominant game.
This is why he is Aaron Rodgers' archnemesis. He constantly makes life difficult for Rodgers, and despite the fact that the Packers generally beat the Vikings, there are always concerns about the health of Rodgers coming out of those games.
Rodgers is the type of competitor that would never back down from a challenge, but I can guarantee that he is sick of being hit by Allen so often.
Houston Texans: Matt Schaub vs. Injuries
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Since becoming the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans back in 2007, Matt Schaub has missed a combined 16 games in just five seasons.
Last year, he missed six games due to a broken foot. That injury cost Schaub the chance to participate in the first playoff game in the history of the franchise.
An archnemesis usually ruins the best moments, and that is what injuries have done to Schaub.
Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning
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This is a hard one because I'm sure that Andrew Luck has no desire to dislike Peyton Manning.
Unfortunately, Luck is going to be compared to Manning with every snap he takes, and that will get old quickly.
This will likely be a short-lived archnemesis for Luck, because once he starts playing actual football games, he'll have plenty of other teams and players to deal with.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert vs. Any Type of Pressure
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Blaine Gabbert has the ability to deal with pressure as much as a two-year-old kid has the ability to deal with physics.
Gabbert absolutely despises any type of pressure and has written a letter asking teams to no longer bring the blitz against him.
I'm kidding, of course, but you get the point.
Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Cassel vs. Randy Moss
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If Moss had not been a member of the 2007 New England Patriots when Cassel had to fill in for Tom Brady, it is extremely likely that Cassel wouldn't have been successful. However, Cassel had a huge season, and after that, every team that needed a quarterback made a move to trade for him.
The problem is, Moss made Cassel look like a legitimate, high-powered franchise quarterback, which he clearly isn't. Now Cassel has to live up to expectations that he never can meet, and it is all because of Moss.
Miami Dolphins: David Garrard vs. The Jacksonville Jaguars
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Despite the fact that David Garrard was a solid starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team went out and traded up for quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL draft.
They then told Garrard that he'd remain the starter—up until they released him a week before the start of the regular season. It was so late in the offseason that no team picked him up, and he was forced to miss the entire 2011 season.
If that doesn't force a player to have hard feelings feelings towards a team, I'd sure like to know what would.
Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder vs. The Green Bay Packers
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During Christian Ponder's rookie season, there were plenty of up-and-down moments. However, the majority of the down moments happened to take place against the Green Bay Packers.
In two games against Green Bay, Ponder had 59.2 and 52.3 quarterback ratings. He also threw three interceptions, was sacked five times and lost by a combined score of 78-34.
While Ponder has plenty of time to reverse his fortune against the Packers, as it sits right now, he simply doesn't have a bigger archnemesis than the green and gold.
New England Patriots: Tom Brady vs. the New York Giants
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The past two Super Bowls that Tom Brady has been to have been against the New York Giants. Brady has lost both of those games by seven combined points.
Do I really need to say more?
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees vs. Roger Goodell
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Time is quickly running out for Drew Brees to get his second Super Bowl ring, and Roger Goodell isn't helping much.
He suspended his head coach and best defensive player for the entire 2012 season, stacking all the odds against Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Brees hasn't been shy about speaking out against his archnemesis, either. In a recent interview, Brees told the world exactly how he felt about Goodell, and it wasn't exactly the kindest assessment.
New York Giants: Eli Manning vs. Consistency
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There is little point in arguing that Eli Manning isn't a great quarterback. His two Super Bowl rings speak much louder than any point you could bring up against him.
However, Manning's one archnemesis will always be consistency. He'll go from playing at a Pro Bowl level one year to throwing 25 interceptions the next year and missing the playoffs.
Until Manning can get better control of his archnemesis, he'll have difficulty being considered a truly elite NFL quarterback.
New York Jets: Mark Sanchez vs. Tim Tebow
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I'm sorry, but when a team trades a high draft pick for another quarterback, there is going to be bad blood.
When you factor in the fact that Tim Tebow is like a flesh-eating disease to every other quarterback ahead of him on the depth chart, it becomes even easier to see why Mark Sanchez would consider him his archnemesis.
Oakland Raiders: Carson Palmer vs. The Cincinnati Bengals
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When you get to the point where you've lost so much hope in your team that you'd rather retire than keep playing for them, you know things have gotten bad.
That is what happened with Carson Palmer last year with the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, it appears his archnemesis has a much brighter future.
Don't worry, it won't be long before the Oakland Raiders become his new archnemesis.
Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick vs. 16 Regular-Season Games
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Throughout his nine-year career, Michael Vick has only played all 16 games of a regular season once.
I rest my case.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger vs. His Offensive Line
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With the recent news of Ben Roethlisberger having a torn rotator cuff, a question came to mind: Has any quarterback ever been as injured throughout a career as Roethlisberger?
While he may not miss many games because of his toughness, he always seems to be nursing a broken bone somewhere on his body. These injuries are likely directly related to the fact that Roethlisberger is usually scrambling for his life because of his offensive line's poor play.
He must have been very thankful that the Pittsburgh Steelers spent two draft picks on new offensive linemen. Maybe now he can make his archnemesis an actual opponent instead of the people in charge of protecting his life.
San Diego Chargers: Philip Rivers vs. Half a Season
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Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers never seem capable of putting together a successful 16-game season. They'll either play poorly to start the season and then go on a hot streak, or they start the season strong before fading down the stretch.
In fact, I'm quite sure that if an NFL season were only eight games long, the Chargers and Rivers would have won every Super Bowl since he became the starting quarterback. I'm sure we're all glad that hasn't happened.
San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith vs. Mike Singletary
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When Mike Singletary became the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers, it almost ended the career of Alex Smith. That isn't something that is generally forgotten by a player.
During the 2009 and 2010 season, Singletary would switch back and forth between Smith and backup quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Troy Smith. This clearly didn't work in the favor of San Francisco or Smith, as Singletary was replaced two years later.
Things have finally turned around for Smith, as his new head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has complete trust in him. Smith rewarded that trust with a fundamentally sound season that brought San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game this past season.
Seattle Seahawks: Matt Flynn vs. Joe Philbin
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When Matt Flynn started in Week 17 last year against the Detroit Lions, no one thought that he'd have a record-setting performance. However, he thrashed the Lions and become a highly sought-after free agent in the offseason.
When the Miami Dolphins hired Flynn's former offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, to be their head coach, everyone expected the Dolphins to pay handsomely for Flynn's services. As the weeks went by, Philbin and the Dolphins still hadn't made an offer.
This put doubt into everyone's mind, because if Flynn's old OC didn't even want to have him on his team, how good could he really be? As a result, Flynn lost out on a major payday and instead agreed to a modest contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
If someone kept me from making millions of dollars, I'd be rather upset.
St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford vs. The Sophomore Slump
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After an extremely impressive rookie season, Sam Bradford looked poised for absolute stardom heading into his sophomore year. Unfortunately, the dreaded "sophomore slump" came and ruined Bradford's plans.
He dealt with injuries and all-around poor play during his second season in the league. There were times when Bradford didn't even look close to the same player he was during his rookie season.
This upcoming year will be a big one for both the St. Louis Rams and Bradford. If Bradford's archnemesis completely defeated him last year, his career as a starting quarterback could be over.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman vs. The Atlanta Falcons
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Josh Freeman's record against the Atlanta Falcons is a miserable 1-5. Even in his lone win against the Falcons, Freeman posted a 56.8 quarterback rating with two interceptions.
Sure, he has also had productive games against the team, like in his rookie-season loss when he posted a 119.5 quarterback rating, but a loss is still a loss.
While Freeman is still young and has a bright future ahead of him, his career struggles against his division rivals have to be worrisome to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselbeck vs. Al Harris
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This rivalry goes back to the 2002 NFL playoffs.
In a game against his former team, the Green Bay Packers, Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle Seahawks were heading into overtime. During the coin flip, Hasselbeck famously said, "We want the ball, and we're gonna score."
While the Seahawks certainly took the ball, they failed to score. In fact, during their second possession of the overtime, Hasselbeck threw an interception to Al Harris, who returned it for a game-winning touchdown.
That play was what ultimately made Harris the archnemesis of Hasselbeck.
Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III vs. Rex Grossman
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Most rookie quarterbacks coming into the NFL love to have a solid veteran on the roster to show them the ropes.
For Robert Griffin III, he has Rex Grossman to show him how to play the quarterback position. Even Andrew Luck got a decent NFL player in Drew Stanton, but Griffin gets one of the worst quarterbacks to ever play the game.
Seriously, what is Grossman going to teach RG3? How to throw interceptions?
I'm sure that every time Rex walks up to Grossman and offers his professional advice, Griffin nods nicely, but instantly erases everything that was said from his memory.