Today, me and a few buddies were discussing this past week in the National Football League, and we got into talking about quarterbacks. As this conversation progressed, some arguments broke out and we decided to rate all the starting quarterbacks from one to thirty-two, to see just how different our opinions were. What resulted frankly surprised me. Every single one of us had the same quarterbacks in our top 16. There were so pretty different orders, and we still argued it, but we all had the same quarterbacks in our top half. It got me thinking, half of the league is significantly better off at the most important position on the field then the rest, and also led me to a couple interesting points surronding this group of guys I'm going to personally dub the "Sweet Sixteen".
We made our lists, and upon reading over these lists, this is what I found. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were given top 10 votes by every single person. After that, every single person had Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Donovon McNabb, Kurt Warner, Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer from 7-13, and then everyone rounded out their top half with Brett Favre, Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub. The next closest to this group consensus wise, was Matt Hasselbeck, but the consensus on him put him well behind who ended up 16th (Matt Schaub) in the final rankings. This got me thinking about a couple things.
- Most of the NFL's elite receivers play on the same team as these 16 quarterbacks. The only real receivers worth noting who don't have the pleasure of catching passes from one of these guys are Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith and Terrell Owens. If your a nice guy, you might also throw in the likes of Dwayne Bowe or T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Now, take the receivers who are considered to be among the elite in the NFL that have one of those top 16 quarterbacks tossing them the ball. Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston, Hines Ward, Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, Chad Ochocinco. Those are arguably 11 of the top 15 receivers in the NFL today, who all play for teams with that advantage at the quarterback position that was noted earlier.
- I also noticed that only 7 of these quarterbacks have running games that rank inside the top 15 in the NFL. As a matter of fact, the bottom four rushing teams in the NFL have one of the "Sweet Sixteen" taking snaps from under center, to go along with 6 of the bottom 8 teams including one of those aforementioned stars. That tells me just how good these quarterbacks are, and how vital they are to their teams success. It's no secret that Peyton Manning is having one of the best first four weeks that any quarterback has ever had. Add to that that he is doing it with the 29th ranked running game, averaging only 84.0 yards per game, and you've got yourself a quarterback who can led his team and put up big numbers, even when teams knew he was gonna pass.
- Of last years 12 playoff teams, 8 of them sported one of the "sweet sixteen". Every team that made the AFC and NFC Championship sported one of them, and every team except two fielded one in the Divisional round. I also noted that the four quarterbacks of the "sweet sixteen" who failed to make the playoffs managed to finish the season with atleast a .500 record [Matt Schaub: 8-8; Brett Favre: 9-7; Tony Romo: 9-7], with the exception for Tom Brady, who spent the year on the IR. I'm not quite sure the relevance of this, other then it shows how important a quarterback is to team success, but it was a fun fact that I picked up on.
- Nine out of the last fourteen National Football League MVP's come from this list. Albeit, this comes from only four of these quarterbacks (Peyton Manning x3, Brett Favre x3, Kurt Warner x2, Tom Brady), but it's still a fun fact none the less.
- The combined record of teams quarterbacked by the "sweet sixteen" is 43-18, and every division leader except the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers has one of these signal callers taking snaps from under centre. The combined record of the teams led by the other sixteen quarterbacks is a dismal 19-44. Every single divisions last place teams are led by one of these quarterbacks. Again, it shows the importance of having an elite quarterback lead your team, and I'm also not to sure how relevant this point is.
- One last point to keep in mind. You go home, and make a list of all the starting quarterbacks in order from best to worst, basing your decision on your personal opinions. I can almost tell you who your top sixteen are, as what they have accomplished in the National Football League, and the level that they are playing at now is much higher then those who aren't quite up to the same level as these sixteens quarterbacks cleverly dubbed the "Sweet Sixteen".