Is is Safe to Call the SEC the Quarterback Conference?

T.L. PellmanSenior Analyst IApril 25, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 24: Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford (L), Georgia, and Josh Freeman (R), Kansas State, pose as fellow NFL draft prospects look on atop the Radio City Music Hall marquee April 24, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images)

By Terry Pellman

I've said, readily, that I'm not a fan of the NFL.

It's never been about the product they offer as it is with the NBA.  It's always been about the by-product, for lack of a better term.

I was a huge fan of Roger Staubach as a child which translated to being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

When Jerry Jones made his entrance on the stage and immediately "released" Tom Landry, the fascination with football on Sundays was diminished.

"Hollywood" Henderson, and the by-products that came from his athletic achievements also played a large part in the beginnings of disinterest in the professional football game itself.

Of course, when you add the publicity surround Michael Irvin (to name only one) I was pretty much done.

They haven't done much, as a league, to entice me back into the fold of a Sunday afternoon football fan.  In fact, more often than not, news surrounding the league has pushed me further away.

Today, hours before the NFL draft, I'll have to admit I'm curious about what happens with a few players.  And, it has nothing to do with the longing to see them play on Sunday but remembering what it was like to watch them on Saturdays.

These players we've all watched on a Saturday afternoon in the fall, seeing them have success on the first day of the draft isn't uncommon. Frankly, it's expected.

LSU having had a first round draft pick five years in a row.

Auburn, having success a few years ago when their entire starting backfield was drafted on the first day: Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown and Jason Campbell.

Jason Campbell...a Quarterback.

His name was bantered about yesterday in trade talks, making an impact on draft day.

A quarterback, from the SEC, making an impact on draft day.

Then, just after hearing that, reports have the Detroit Lions coming to an agreement with Matthew Stafford and selecting him as their first pick, which just happens to be the No. 1 pick overall in today's first round.

The SEC has long been known for fielding solid defenses and strong running attacks.  But, over the last of the 20th century and the beginning of this one is it a safe statement to say, "The SEC is a quarterback's league?"

Is it safe to say that despite all the attention on Saturday's that has been paid to other conferences, their quarterbacks and the statistics their corresponding offenses put up?

I'd say, yes.  It is a safe statement.

Considering the following under the assumption that Detroit does take Stafford as the first pick of the 2009 draft.

  • 2009 - SEC QB from Georgia taken as the first pick.
  • 2007- SEC QB from LSU (JaMarcus Russell) taken as the first pick.
  • 2004- SEC QB from Ole Miss (Eli Manning)...
  • 1999- SEC QB from Kentucky (Tim Couch)...
  • 1998- SEC QB from Tennessee (Peyton Manning)...

In the interest of perspective, there have been 12 QB's selected as the first pick in the last 20 years.  Just to compare the SEC's success to other conferences:

  • 2005- Alex Smith - Utah (Mountain West)
  • 2003- Carson Palmer - USC (Pac 10)
  • 2002- David Carr - Fresno State (WAC)
  • 2001- Michael Vick - Virginia Tech (ACC)
  • 1993- Drew Bledsoe - Washington State (Pac 10)
  • 1990 -Jeff George - Illinois (Big 10)
  • 1989- Troy Aikman - UCLA (Pac 10)

Let's suppose, for only a moment, Tim Tebow has the kind of year that convinces NFL scouts he can be a very good NFL quarterback this fall.

Do the cheers of J-E-T-S, Jets - Jets - Jets get replaced?

Are we soon destined to hear, SEC, SEC, SEC?


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