"He's got so much talent around him". "He hasn't won a championship." "He's the Iron Man". "He's just got so much potential".
All of these statements have been used to evaluate the position of quarterback, a position that is ranked and debated more than any other position in sports. The problem is that sports analysts commonly either look at one aspect of a player, such as their number of championship wins, or their look at ambiguous qualities that can be difficult to define, such as their potential, or their toughness.
This article will look at 7 common statements people use to rate quarterbacks, and why they are not valid arguments to solely analyze a quarterback on.
Sometimes the fact that a quarterback can regularly throw for 70-80 yards is a little overvalued in the NFL. Former NFL quarterback Jeff George is probably the best example of a quarterback with a great arm but no accuracy. The same can be said for current quarterback Jay Cutler, who has a strong arm but his accuracy and decision-making can be quite flawed.
"Upside" is such an arbitrary term that I'm not sure what it means or how to measure it. Take a look at this video when Brian Brohm was drafted in 2008 by the Green Bay Packers.
Brohm was hailed by ESPN analysts Merrill Hoge and Todd McShay, saying that Brohm had a bigger 'upside' than Aaron Rodgers, even going so far as to predict that Brian Brohm would be starting over Aaron Rodgers in the next few years.
Right now, Brohm is hanging on to a third-string position for the Buffalo Bills, while Aaron is entrenched in the starting position in Green Bay, just coming off a Super Bowl. Brohm couldn't even hang on to a second-string job in Green Bay, he was cut over a 7th-round pick, Matt Flynn.
"Upside" is a term that cannot be measured and obviously, cannot be accurately predicted.
When JaMarcus Russell was drafted in 2008, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper praised Russell for his potential, saying that he had "Elway-like talent". While Russell may have all the talent in the world, he has absolutely no motivation to do anything about it.
People like JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf prove that it is not about potential, but it's about what you do with it.
All too often I hear someone justify a quarterback's season by claiming "They made the Pro Bowl!" Although the Pro Bowl is a high honor, it isn't necessarily the best way to judge whether or not someone had a good season.
In 2008, Brett Favre made the Pro Bowl after a strong start but a very rough finish in his year with the New York Jets. Players like Peyton Manning perenially make the Pro Bowl even if they don't have that great of a season.
On the other side, players like Aaron Rodgers missed out on the Pro Bowl in 2010, despite a strong season with close to 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns.Another example would be Packers cornerback Tramon Williams, who had a breakout season but was only selected as an alternate.
The Pro Bowl can often become a popularity contest, where up and coming players may struggle to make the Pro Bowl, and seasoned veterans are usually a shoe-in.
While championships are certainly a large indicator of a quarterback's success, it shouldn't be seen as the sole indicator.
Dan Marino is probably the best quarterback to never win a Super Bowl. Does his lack of a championship mean that Mark Rypien, Doug Williams, and Eli Manning are better quarterbacks than he is?
Another common argument is that the number of championships indicate the best quarterbacks. Current quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers have one championship, while Ben Roethlisberger has two. Does that mean that unless Manning wins another championship, Roethlisberger will go down in history as the better quarterback?
While I would agree that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the two best quarterbacks in the league, one of the arguments that I commonly hear in support of this is that the supporting cast around them is weak, and they make that team championship contenders.
For one thing, it is impossible to know whether or not the Colts or Patriots would be successful without Manning or Brady. Just because Peyton Manning's offensive targets aren't big names like Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, doesn't mean that their bad players.
And in addition, football is a team sport. One player may make their team better, but one player isn't the only reason that team is winning titles.
The opposite of the previous argument is when quarterbacks are downplayed for the good team that surrounds them. Aaron Rodgers is the best example of this that I've seen so far, as some analysts commonly credit the team that surrounded him, particularly the defense and receiving corps, that was more responsible for the team's success.
But if anyone were to have watched Rodgers play in either the playoffs or the regular season, they would have seen that he was one of the biggest parts of their championship run. Just look at the Super Bowl: Rodgers would have completed nearly all of his passes had the receivers not dropped several easy ones.
Football is a team sport. It should not be held against a quarterback when he plays for a good team. Judging an individual player based on the perception of the other players around him has its obvious flaws.