The Jay Cutler saga recently has got me thinking, "Boy the NFL quarterback situation is in such a sad state, that we have to make a huge deal over Jay Cutler?" And more sadly, teams are actually interested in this guy? Desperation must be at an all time high.
The truth is, it's a sad world in the NFL for teams who don't have a rare quality quarterback.
It seems like, despite the millions of dollars spent in the epic machinations of NFL scouting, researching, film study, coaching, etc., teams still cannot determine how to draft or develop good quarterbacks.
Most of NFL's Quarterbacks are Fossils
When it comes to the quarterback position, there are two categories: Quarterbacks who know how to win and and everybody else. This fact is evident when you consider the 12 quarterback in this past season's playoffs.
You start seeing old familiar names like, Kurt Warner (age 37), Peyton Manning (33), Donovan McNabb (32), Kerry Collins (36), Chad Pennington (32), and Jake Delhomme (34). Half of these guys are winning today with different teams than when they started in the league.
Even harder to believe, is the thriving presence of fossils like Gus Frerotte (age 37), Brett Favre (39), and Jeff Garcia (39). Furthermore, two of last season's playoff "young guns," Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are far from inexperienced youths. They are in fact both champions, and playoff veterans in their own right.
Desperation is an ugly thing
What's up with all the same old quarterbacks all the time? Don't coaches in all their wisdom and resources have any other options? Don't they want new fast athletic young players to usher their team onto greatness?
Why bring in a sack of old arthritic bones like Jeff Garcia, Kerry Collins, or even Brett Favre?
Of course they would, but there isn't anybody out there. There just isn't. It seems crazy to me, but the truth is, you can spend millions of dollars watching tape, drafting, scouting, and yet teams will draft quarterbacks who can't play the game.
Coaches will run teams into the ground, until they are forced to call on the services of guys like Warner or Frerotte who magically get off their couch at home, throw on some cleats, and win NFL games on Sunday.
The truth of the matter is simply, either you have "one of those" quarterbacks who know how to play the position, or you are out of luck.
Good Quarterbacks, Like Diamonds, Are Forever
Good quarterbacks, the ones that have the skills and fortitude to make it to the ultimate stage, the Super Bowl, typically have what it takes to be successful in the long term. This means, season after season, despite changes in coaches, teams, teammates, etc. they find a way to keep coming back.
And good quarterbacks like diamonds are also rare. Because NFL coaches find it so damn hard to identify these gems, they have no choice but to keep going back to the same old war horses.
A look at the list of past Super Bowl quarterbacks is interesting. Going back 10 seasons, you see names like: Favre (1997, 1998), Warner (2000, 2002), Collins (2001), Tom Brady (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008), Delhomme (2004), and McNabb (2005).
Perhaps this past Super Bowl is the most telling of the trend, where previous Super Bowl champion Roethlisberger faced fellow champion Warner.
The fact that both Roethlisberger and Warner made it back to the Super Bowl with different head coaches from their other appearances, and in fact seasons removed from their prior Super Bowl games, demonstrates that it is in fact, the player at the quarterback position that is the common factor.
Everybody knows the quarterback position is important, but despite the parity of the NFL and the constant turnover in coaches and players, we see how amazingly rare it is to find a quarterback who can actually succeed in this league.