NFLDownload App

NFL Quarterbacks and Their '80s Rock Star Counterparts

Bernie OllilaContributor IIIJanuary 8, 2017

NFL Quarterbacks and Their '80s Rock Star Counterparts

1 of 33

    In the NFL, the quarterback is the most important and recognizable guy on the field. His success is directly correlated to the success of his team.

    During the 1980s, the frontmen and lead singers were the most important, recognizable guys (or girls) in music. Most often, the better they were, the better their bands were.

    This list's purpose is to draw some humorous parallels between the 1980s' most iconic musicians and the NFL's quarterbacks.


Michael Vick: Michael Jackson

2 of 33

    In the '80s, Michael Jackson was it.

    During the first decade of the century, the same can be said about Michael Vick.

    In the '90s, Michael Jackson came back with a brand new look, and despite the controversy surrounding him, he had a huge following.

    When Michael Vick was released from prison and signed with the Eagles, he had a huge following despite the controversy surrounding him.

    And, just like Jackson turned out the hits, Vick turned out some incredible plays.

Tony Romo: Bono

3 of 33

    Isn’t there something about both of these guys that makes you feel like they don’t deserve all of the praise they receive?

    Tony Romo is a choke artist, yet he is ranked among the NFL’s best quarterbacks year after year. Moreover, his team is also consistently overrated.

    Bono and U2 have 22 Grammys—that’s more than any other band—and I would hardly consider their body of work as one deserving of those kinds of accolades.

    Ultimately, Romo is an alright quarterback on a decent team, and Bono is an alright singer in a decent band. 

Robert Griffin III: Lionel Richie

4 of 33

    I did this because I think “Hello” should have been played when the Redskins drafted RG3.

    It’s fun comparing the Redskins to the blind girl in the music video, too.

    Is it RG3 the Redskins have been looking for?

Eli Manning: Freddie Mercury

5 of 33

    On the surface, this doesn’t make sense, but think about it: both of these guys are so weird that it hurts.

    Freddie Mercury was so flamboyant about his sexuality that he wore the most outrageous outfits while performing. This flamboyance also manifested itself in his feminine gestures and mannerisms.

    Eli Manning doesn’t go out of his way to try to look normal. He breathes through his mouth, and gestures like a total moron. But, how great was he on SNL?

    You can also draw this parallel between them: Queen is an awesome band, and the Giants are an awesome team. 

Matthew Stafford: Billy Idol

6 of 33

    Like Billy Idol, Matt Stafford seems to have an arrogance about him that you can’t help being drawn to.

    Both of these guys seem like total jerks on the surface, but Idol helped catapult the punk rock look, attitude, and sound (kind of) to the forefront of rock 'n’ roll after it appeared to be on its deathbed.

    Matthew Stafford made the Lions relevant with his stellar quarterbacking after the Lions appeared to be on their deathbed. 

Christian Ponder: Robert Smith

7 of 33

    Just like you may find it hard to admit you like The Cure, you may find it hard to admit that you want Christian Ponder to succeed.

    After all, Ponder followed Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb, and he’s got Adrian Peterson on his team.

    Plus, Ponder doesn’t seem like a bad guy, and at times he looks like he knows what he’s doing.

    Some of Robert Smith’s work also shows flashes of brilliance, but it just wasn’t enough. And, in the end, Ponder also probably won’t be enough.

Jay Cutler: Axl Rose

8 of 33

    The first thing that pops into your mind when you think about these guys is probably, “Man, what an a-hole."

    I think about Cutler on the sidelines in the playoffs, and Axl Rose walking off stage at a show.

    Come on, man. You can’t do that kind of stuff.

    What’s more: Brandon Marshall is to Jay Cutler what Slash is to Axl Rose. They don’t work without their counterparts.

Aaron Rodgers: Sting

9 of 33

    Talk about a great musician and a great quarterback!

    In the ‘80s, Sting was sharp, innovative, and a naturally gifted musician.

    The same can be said for Aaron Rodgers’ quarterbacking.

    It’s like a Police song: slow but perfectly orchestrated and executed through the verses. And then, BOOM, you hear the buildup to the chorus, and then it hits you, and it’s magical.

Josh Freeman: Chuck D.

10 of 33

    In 2010 Josh Freeman, like Chuck D in the ‘80s, broke out with a huge year. What happened?

    In 2011, where was that brilliance? I know it’s there, but it’s just not transitioning well into your material.

    Also, Public Enemy had Flava Flav, and the Bucs have LeGarrette Blount. 

Cam Newton: The Fresh Prince

11 of 33

    Cam Newton’s rookie year was nothing short of spectacular. He was absolutely incredible. You can see that he’ll be among the NFL’s elite in no time.

    Like Newton, the music world got itself a huge star when DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince put out “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

    Cam Newton will be to football what Will Smith has been to the world of entertainment. 

Drew Brees: Prince

12 of 33

    Prince was the man in the ‘80s, there’s no denying that. Drew Brees is the man in the NFL.

    Plus, they’re both short and weird-looking. But, there’s no denying their talent.

    That Super Bowl for the Saints was probably Brees’ “Purple Rain.”

Matt Ryan: Brett Michaels

13 of 33

    I can think of one great year from Matty Ice, and one great song from Poison.

    And, to be perfectly honest, calling each of these “great” is probably an insult to great things.

    Moreover, they’re both handsome, aren’t they?

Alex Smith: Ozzy Osbourne

14 of 33

    Both of these names make you go “ugh” for different reasons, but because of the same idea.

    Ozzy’s not the best singer, but his songs are great, and his bands—especially his guitarists (Rhoads, Wylde)—are terrific.

    Smith isn’t great, but his team—especially his running back is.

Matt Flynn: Rockwell

15 of 33

    Did you say, “Who?”

    You know, Rockwell, the guy who needed Michael Jackson on his song “Somebody’s Watching Me” to be good?

    The same thing goes for Matt: he had that great game when Rodgers was hurt, but he needed the Packers to do that.

Kevin Kolb: Sebastian Bach

16 of 33

    Skid Row could’ve been it, man. But, they just weren’t, because they sucked.

    Kevin Kolb also sucks, even though it looked like he was going to be the future of the Eagles.

Sam Bradford: John Mellencamp

17 of 33

    Subtle, reserved, and talented: these are words that can be used to describe both of these guys.

    Furthermore, Mellencamp had the talent to be a big-time musician, but he just couldn’t produce. That’s how things are looking for Sam Bradford, as well.

Tom Brady: Bruce Springsteen

18 of 33

    Talk about bosses! These guys are the best at what they do.

    Bruce Springsteen is, in my humble opinion, the most prolific songwriter ever. His music captures the essence of his subject matter, which is often the plight of the average Joe.

    Likewise, Tom Brady could probably go down as the best quarterback in history. Have you watched this man work? It’s like poetry.

    The only reason Brady is Springsteen and not Manning is because Brady has more Super Bowl rings.

Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow: Hall & Oates

19 of 33

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Hall & Oates. As a matter of fact, I saw them live in 2011, and it was awesome.  

    But, they were incredibly popular despite the fact that neither of them was a tremendous musical talent. They were just catchy and fun.

    Likewise for Mark and Tim, they are also catchy and fun, in a much weirder way, though. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Steve Winwood

20 of 33

    Just like Fitzpatrick has had a few great games, Steve Winwood has had a few great songs.

    But, and forgive me Steve Winwood, when you look at their bodies of work, it’s not that great as a whole.

Miami Dolphins QBs: The Beastie Boys

21 of 33

    Each of the Dolphins’ QBs are likeable for their own reasons: the underdog, the new guy, and the veteran who could’ve been something if he had a good team.

    The Beastie Boys, as a unit, are incredible, and a personal favorite of mine. But, you can’t pick out who’s the best of them.

    You also can’t distinguish who’s the best QB in Miami.

Andy Dalton: Klaus Meine

22 of 33

    When Dalton broke out last year, you were probably thinking, “Who?”

    When you read Klaus Meine, you were probably thinking, “Who?”

    Meine was the singer of the Scorpions, and they turned out one of the best songs of the ‘80s: “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

    They’re both a couple of nobodies who have managed to make themselves known.

    The Scorpions are often overlooked, despite their hard-rocking, wunderbalness (they’re German).

    Dalton is often overlooked, despite the solid season he was able to put together with a decent team last year in Cincinnati. He was even in the playoffs!

Joe Flacco: Dee Snider

23 of 33

    What a couple of weirdos!

    Have you heard these two speak? They’re both insufferable. Flacco because of that atrocious Mid-Atlantic accent, and Snider because he’s a creep.

    Despite this, Snider and Flacco don’t get enough credit for their work, and that, to me, makes them comparable. 

Ben Roethlisberger: Vince Neil

24 of 33

    Gross, dude.

    Here are a couple of pudgy, ugly, freaks who just keep messing things up for themselves.

    That being said, Motley Crue's Vince Neil knows how to rock, and Ben Roethlisberger knows how to win.

    Those are things we can't take from them, and they can't take from themselves, no matter how hard they try. 

Brandon Weeden: David Bowie

25 of 33

    Who’s the new old guy?

Blaine Gabbert: Sammy Hagar

26 of 33

    Come on, fellas. We know who’s really important. It’s MJD and Eddie Van Halen

Matt Schaub: George Michael

27 of 33

    George Michael was one of the bigger pop stars of the ‘80s, but he wasn’t Michael Jackson or Prince.

    Matt Schaub is one of the better QBs in the NFL, but he’s no Tom Brady or Drew Brees. It is for that reason, he is George Michael.

    Also, he looks like a guy who probably likes the song “Careless Whisper."

Andrew Luck: Phil Collins

28 of 33

    After Peter Gabriel, who was remarkable in his own right, left Genesis, Phil Collins took the reins and steered the band back to the top.

    Can Luck bring the Colts back to the top of the NFL in the same way?

    We shall see. And if anyone looks like they can write and perform “In the Air Tonight,” it’s Andrew Luck.

Jake Locker: Jake Locker

29 of 33

    Honestly, I can’t think of anything for this guy. I don’t really like him, to be honest. Maybe that’s why.

Peyton Manning: Mick Jagger

30 of 33

    In the ‘80s, Mick Jagger had already been around for a while, but his music was still good (“Start Me Up,” for example). By then, he was also one of the greatest to ever to do it.

    You can say the same thing about Peyton Manning going into this season.

    Both of these guys are masters at their respective crafts. And, they’re a lot of fun to watch.

Matt Cassel: Rick Springfield

31 of 33

    The 2009 season was Cassel’s “Jesse’s Girl.”

    It happened once, it was pretty good, and it won’t happen again.

    But, each of these guy will be damned if they stop trying.

Phillip Rivers: David Lee Roth

32 of 33

    What a tool!

    Which one?


    Oh man, they’re both awesome, though! And they both know what it’s like to be on the very edge of greatness.

    The only difference is Eddie Van Halen isn’t going to kick Phillip Rivers out of the Chargers for being an a-hole. The front office might, though. 

Carson Palmer: Steven Tyler

33 of 33

    Both of these guys were pretty good for a while. They’ve hung around, shown flashes of greatness, and turned out some memorable stuff.

    But, Palmer’s not Brady, and Tyler’s not Springsteen.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices