NFL: Why Do NFL GMs Keep Falling for the Dual-Threat Quarterback?

Alex Musso@amusso18Featured ColumnistNovember 24, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 04:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins talk following the Panthers 21-13 win at FedExField on November 4, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

So, here we are, two-thirds of the way through the NFL season.  And, as usual, the media love affair with the latest dual-threat quarterback has reached a fever pitch. 

We see it every year: an exciting, young, dual-threat quarterback gets drafted and runs roughshod over confused defenses.  Analysts annually proclaim that this player will revolutionize the NFL forever.  

But it never happens.  

These dual-threat quarterbacks, like Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Tim Tebow, rarely have long-term success.  So why do fans, the media, and, most of all, NFL general managers keep falling for the same fool's gold?

I don't mean to pick on any one player in this article.  I do wish these players the best of luck in their careers.  But I have been around long enough to see dual-threat quarterback after dual-threat quarterback get drafted, touted and paid a huge salary only to lose all effectiveness after a few seasons. 

First, I want to address Steve Young.  Whenever someone like me mentions dual-threat quarterbacks, Steve Young gets brought up as an example of a dual-threat quarterback who had long-term success in the NFL.  

Here are some facts about Steve Young: He had an average of 4.3 rushes per game, he ran for over 4,000 yards in his career, he won a record six passing titles, and his career ended due to numerous concussions.  

Steve Young was the exception to the rule.  He was one of the best passers who also happened to be able to run well.  

But Young was a passer first, a passer second and a passer third.  

All of today's dual-threat quarterbacks made a name for themselves due to their ability to run, not throw.  Cam Newton, Michael Vick, Tim Tebow and Vince Young all look to run the ball far too soon.  

We are told RG3 is a passer first, but passers don't intentionally run an average of nine times per game. 

Enough about specific players.  This movement to bring the read option and other gimmick offenses to the NFL is a farce.  

Let me put it this way: Of all the hundreds of millions of dollars spent drafting dual-threat quarterbacks in the last 20 years, not one has yielded a championship.  

Not Kordell Stewart, not Michael Vick, not Donovan McNabb, none of them.  Some have come close, others not.  But the results are the same.  


Each dual-threat quarterback seems to have the same story.  A fantastic beginning, followed by disappointment, ending in a quiet exit from relevance as injuries and lack of results cause teams to move on.  

Meanwhile, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Brad Johnson have won Super Bowls in the last decade.  Can you guess what they all have in common?  

They are pocket passers first.  Of those quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger is the best "runner," running a whopping 2.5 times per game. 

One quarterback (Steve Young) winning a Super Bowl decades ago isn't a precedent.

It's an anomaly.

With so much success by the drop-back passer, why do teams keep drafting what is mostly proven to fail?  These quarterbacks don't work in the NFL.  Defenses make runners pay, which is why running backs have short careers.  

Defenses figured Vick out, and he got so frustrated he gave the fans the bird.  Then, when he got a second chance with the Eagles, he got figured out again, and look at him now.  

Cam Newton has been figured out.  He's exhibiting signs of a bad attitude and ineffectiveness, and will only become less effective.  Vince Young's career has been up and down at best, and appears to be over.  

The list goes on.

Why do GMs keep drafting quarterbacks whom they have to develop into pocket passers?  Why not just draft a pocket passer to begin with?  

What's worse is that three desperate GMs will draft Geno Smith, Denard Robinson and Braxton Miller, pinning the hopes of their franchises on quarterbacks whose style of play will never succeed in the NFL.  Defenses adapt too quickly and hit too hard for this type of quarterback to succeed.  

Enough is enough.  It's time for GMs to stop drafting college quarterbacks who light up a bunch of creampuffs en route to a meaningless bowl game.  

And don't get me started about the GM who actually hires Chip Kelly.  As an example of how effective Kelly will be, just look at how well Steve Spurrier's "Fun 'n Gun" offense worked in Washington...