Drew Brees' Ring Intensifies Quarterback Conundrum: Here We Go Again!

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Drew Brees' Ring Intensifies Quarterback Conundrum: Here We Go Again!
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

First of all, congratulations to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

I also want to congratulate all the pre-Katrina Saints fans. The guys that remember the days of Bum Phillips, Jim Mora, the Dome Patrol, the Ditka years, and even those up-and-down Hasslett years.

Unfortunately, because you have been allowed to feel elation, there will now be resulting headaches for football fans for a few years to come now.

No, the aforementioned headaches aren’t directly a result of the fact that you guys are celebrating, but rather the fact that Saints quarterback Drew Brees now has a Super Bowl ring to his name.

You may be wondering why Brees now having a Super Bowl ring is a problem as opposed to a good thing? Well, allow me to explain.

Now that Brees has a ring, his placement in the top five quarterbacks currently playing is going to be ever changing. For proof of this look no further than the critics and pundits who have leapfrogged Brees to “league’s best quarterback” status. Some of those same people hadn’t even let him supplant Brady prior to the Super Bowl despite Brees’ better season.

So what is the magical factor here? The ring!

With every other position in the NFL, the criteria for establishing yourself as one of the best at the position is usually pretty simple.

Halfbacks are judged based on how many yards and touchdowns they run for.

Receivers are judged based on how many receptions, yards, and touchdowns they have.

Linemen are judged on how many sacks they allow and how many lanes they open.

All of these positions are simple enough to judge with few mitigating factors considered. Unfortunately, the biggest position in the league, isn’t so simple to figure out.

When it comes to quarterbacks it seems there are two roads an individual can take towards judging just how good a quarterback is. Is he “a winner that can bring you regular and postseason success” or “a guy who can put up great numbers”?

Sometimes those two roads intertwine. When they do, that is when we get the quarterback conundrum to which this article title refers.

This conundrum is perhaps the most annoying thing in all of sports because of the constant hypocrisy, flip-flopping, and just lack of consistency associated with it.

Brees’ recent accomplishment just adds to the problem that was heightened over the last three years with Ben Roethlisberger winning a second Lombardi and Eli Manning winning one in 2007. Not to mention a similar situation happened in 2006 when Peyton Manning won the Lombardi. Almost as if a higher power wanted us to fight over this concept, Tom Brady then entered the realm of statistics-strong quarterbacks in 2007.

Had Brees played the exact game he did on Super Sunday but had come away a loser, would he somehow have been any less of a quarterback?

Meanwhile, had he had a bad game and come away a winner would he somehow have been any more of a quarterback? Thus the conundrum rears its ugly head once again.

Brees had a terrific season; I don’t even need to look at the numbers or the end result in order to tell you that. Brees’ accuracy this season was only rivaled by Manning’s. Brees could make any throw in any game several times over. While Manning made the more difficult throws with better accuracy, Brees’ overall accuracy on every throw, including incompletions, was ridiculous.

For the reason listed above, I moved Brees up from my No. 3 quarterback to the No. 2 spot long before the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, most critics had not done that.

Now all of a sudden the general consensus is that Brees is in fact the No. 2, if not the No. 1, quarterback in the league. Should the Super Bowl victory determine as much?

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the spectrum we have Eli Manning. Eli Manning had previously won a Super Bowl, but for many fans it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough because Manning had displayed sporadic play throughout his career and hadn’t posted a QB rating above 88 for the first five years of his career.

Manning changed that this year by throwing for 4,000-plus yards with a less than known receiving corps and threw for 25-plus touchdowns as well. These stats led to Manning posting a 93.1 quarterback rating. So now Eli Manning, like Drew Brees, has both ends of the criteria spectrum in that he has a Super Bowl and some good statistics yet most people have not moved him up in their quarterback rankings.

I'm not trying to say Eli Manning compares to Drew Brees, but all the things stated above lead me to an interesting question: How exactly does this work?

I’m not trying to discredit Brees, but what makes his Super Bowl this late in his career more of a launching point to move him up in the ranking than Eli Manning’s statistical breakthrough this year?

Both now have the criteria of being a quarterback with good numbers as well as the accolade of being a quarterback that can win in the postseason. Yet one of these guys’ 2009 additions to their resumes gets more credit. Why exactly is this?

I cannot come up with an answer. Many analysts cannot come up with an answer. You might be able to come up with one, but when you do will it further intensify the quarterback conundrum? Something tells me that it will.

Will there ever be a near fail-proof way of rating and ranking quarterbacks?

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