The NFL's "J Effect"

Boris GodzinevskiCorrespondent IIMarch 19, 2009

A little odd "coincidence" I noticed some years back in the NFL.

As we all know, some names just roll off the tongue. It seems all the greatest players had great names, but what's even more striking is what I would like to call the "J Effect."

Simply put, the first name starting with the letter "J," behold:

Joe Montana

Johnny Unitas

John Elway

Jim Brown

Jerry Rice

Jim Marshall

Joe Namath

Jan Stenerud

Joe Greene

Isn't it just a BIT odd that the generally-regarded greatest quarterback of the Super Bowl era, the greatest quarterback pre-Super Bowl era, and the quarterback who is believed to have single-handedly brought the AFL to prominence and helped shape the NFL as it is today because of his famous "guarantee," all had a name starting with the letter "J?"

What about the only quarterback to make five Super Bowls and still hold the record for most fourth-quarter comebacks?

How 'bout the hands-down greatest wide receiver of the modern era?

How 'bout the guy whose highly regarded as the greatest NFL player ever?

How 'bout the ONLY pure kicker in the Hall of Fame?

The former record-holder for most consecutive games started and still the record-holder for most consecutive starts by a non-QB?

What about the face of perhaps the greatest 10-year defense?

Not weirded out yet? Think it's just a coincidence?

Well, let's look at other great players:

Dan Marino

Peyton Manning

Tom Brady

Otto Graham

Sammy Baugh

Fran Tarkenton

Brett Favre

Randall Cunningham

Kurt Warner

Dan Fouts

Sonny Jurgensen

Hmm, nope, no consistency, only two "S" and two "D" quarterbacks, nothing really special.

What about running backs?

O.J. Simpson

Barry Sanders

Walter Payton

Marshall Faulk

Marcus Allen

LaDainian Tomlinson

Earl Campbell

Nope, just two "M's."

Greatest defensive backs would be Deion Sanders, Richard Lane, Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, and Rod Woodson...hmm...

Reggie White and Bruce Smith are the two sack leaders.

No real standout letters, you see.

On top of the great, great players with a name starting with J, there are also some others I've failed to mention.

Hall of Famers John Riggins and Jim Taylor.

Joe Theismann, probably the greatest quarterback who will never make the Hall of Fame.

Jamal Lewis, second-most rushing yards in a season.

James Lofton, another Hall of Fame wide receiver.

Jim Kelly, Hall of Fame QB who led a team to four straight Super Bowl appearances.

John Hadl, to add another name.

Jim Plunkett and Jeff Hostetler, both playoff standouts.

All coincidence?

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

Word of advice for all NFL fans dreaming of having a kid grow up to be an NFL star: Give him a name starting with "J." Seriously.

And beware of the "D Effect." Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Dave Krieg, and Drew Bledsoe were all playoff failures.


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