It starts with what's become the meat and potatoes of arguably 90 percent of all NFL assessments, the most simplistic atom of NFL analysis: is your franchise quarterback elite? If the answer is no, don't even bother. College basketball coming in hot, check it out. Because everyone knows you cannot win in the NFL without an elite quarterback. And if there's one thing we know about Andy Dalton, it's that he is not an elite quarterback.
At least that's the going line on him, isn't it?
Because when it comes to Dalton, the critic's knee doesn't just jerk, it nearly flies into the wall. It doesn't seem to matter if the Bengals win or lose, which is odd because it definitely matters if the Bengals win or lose. He simply doesn't fit the mold. He's small. He doesn't run that fast. His three-quarter delivery results in balls batted down at the line.
To date, he's 25-15 with two playoff appearances, both of which were less-than-ideal experiences, which have really augmented the negativity surrounding him. Somehow, despite unfamiliar routine success in Cincinnati, Dalton has become one of the more polarizing players in recent memory, mainly because people can't figure out if they like him or not.
Dalton is not only familiar with an abundance of doubt surrounding him, but he's familiar with success in spite of it. Throughout every facet of his career, he's been largely dismissed. And despite the overwhelming negligence afforded to him, he continues to win football games.