Patience with quarterbacks
We live in a fast paced society. Instant gratification is the norm. We want news now, sports now, food now, and don't you dare make me wait. Microwaves are too slow, speed limits are too low, and a dial-up connection is too slow for anyone who is not a Grandma.
This is one of the earmarks of the information age. It is an effective mindset for spurring forth technological advances. However, this mindset has spilled over into areas which in which it has no business. Namely, sports. Sure it is nice to have instant fantasy updates, but what I'm referring to is on the field.
Sports fans have no patience. None. Anything less than instant miracle turnarounds for their favorite teams result in coaches heads rolling, front offices fired, and quarterbacks being run out of town. With sports news broadcast nationwide in seconds, the fan has a new sense of power and entitlement over the franchise of their liking. If a team makes moves deemed poor by the fan base, the repercussions are instant. Draft picks are "Boo"ed the, merchandise doesn't sell, and season tickets are put up for sale. All such whimsical reactions are tremors felt by a franchise that exists purely at the pleasure of the fanbase.
This power mixed with impatience is lethal in many ways. How quickly was Charley Casserly chased out of Texas when he pushed for Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young? Every Texans fan called for his head, and he was gone. Turns out his mistake was defying the fanbase, not the actual pick.
This brings us to quarterback play in the NFL. There has never been a shorter leash for a starting quarterbacks than right now. Never. Not even close. It was earlier this year that Vikings fans wanted Tavaris Jackson gone because he would "Never be a good NFL quarterback." This after 8 games as a starter. It's preposterous. No quarterbacks progress that quickly. There is no way to know what will become of Jackson. I don't care how much you think you know about football, this is unknown.
Let's do a little test shall we. Let's look at the first 48 games of several quarterbacks. I wiped out games that were partially played (12 or less attempts) and compiled some stats from qb's of today and of the past.
The game is: you tell me which QB's you think have a future as a good starter in the NFL based on their performance after 3 full seasons of play. I have grouped them together in Tiers. You pick out the best Qb's. Who these players are is revealed at the end.
Tier 1 - Cream of the crop
Which QB would you rather have?
A) 981/1611, 61% comp, 12,891 yards, 110 TD, 54 Int, 34 wins
B) 980/1579, 62% comp, 10,562 yards, 72 TD, 39 Int, 35 wins
Tier 2 - Very good QB's
Rank these qb's from 1-3. Which you would most like to have on your team going forward?
A) 749/1198, 63% comp, 9,822 yards, 65 TD, 48 Int, 34 wins
B) 1018/1596, 64% comp, 10,940 yards, 73 TD, 43 Int, 28 wins
C) 1014/1679, 60% comp, 12,287 yards, 85 TD, 58 Int, 26 wins
Tier 3 - Solid future, right?
Rank these qb's 1-4. Which you would most like to have on your team going forward?
A) 922/1612, 57% comp, 9,706 yards, 68 TD, 37 Int, 29 wins
B) 851/1490, 57% comp, 11,991 yards, 79 TD, 52 Int, 25 wins
C) 900/1381, 65% comp, 10,088 yards, 63 TD, 38 Int, 25 wins
D) 1012/1626, 62% comp, 10,711 yards, 72 TD, 54 Int, 27 wins
Tier 4 - Still pretty good
Same drill, rank 'em. Bonus: can you pick out the 2 Hall of Famers?
A) 884/1481, 60% comp, 9,975 yards, 66 TD, 49 Int, 25 wins
B) 988/1595, 62% comp, 11,136 yards, 69 TD, 48 Int, 26 wins
C) 893/1448, 62% comp, 9,814 yards, 63 TD, 42 Int, 23 wins
D) 725/1220, 59% comp, 9,672 yards, 59 TD, 36 Int, 24 wins
Tier 5 - Well, it could be worse
Which of these 2 qb would you rather have going forward?
A) 827/1503, 55% comp, 9,574 yards, 67 TD, 53 Int, 25 wins
B) 763/1421, 54% comp, 9,360 yards, 58 TD, 54 Int, 34 wins
Tier 6 - Ummm, do I have to pick one?
Which of these 2 qb would you rather have going forward?
A) 825/1388, 59% comp, 9,591 yards, 44 TD, 58 Int, 23 wins
B) 633/1153, 55% comp, 8,116 yards, 45 TD, 33 Int, 29 wins
Tier 7 - Are we sure these are "NFL QB" material?
Rank these from 1-5, which has the most promising future in the NFL based on their first 48 games. Bonus: can you spot the Hall of Famer?
A) 766/1338, 57% comp, 8,868 yards, 39 TD, 45 Int, 13 wins
B) 892/1636, 55% comp, 9,213 yards, 53 TD, 59 Int, 16 wins
C) 780/1445, 54% comp, 10,408 yards, 49 TD, 65 Int, 15 wins
D) 489/1008, 49% comp, 6,370 yards, 36 TD, 66 Int, 27 wins
E) 629/1162, 54% comp, 8,228 yards, 38 TD, 60 Int, 13 wins
One last question, Is there any player you would move up or down a Tier?
Now for the answers.
A) Dan Marino
B) Tom Brady
Not too bad. You can live with that, right?
A) Ben Roethlisberger
B) Joe Montana
C) Peyton Manning
Well Ben is a bit of a surprise. Didn't think he would be comparable to those other two, did you? But still, no BIG surprises.
A) Donovan McNabb
B) Boomer Esiason
C) Chad Pennington
D) Brett Favre
Well that hurts a bit. Will anyone admit to taking McNabb or Pennington over Bommer or Favre? They all started out their careers pretty darn similar.
A) Jim Kelly - HOF
B) Brian Griese
C) Drew Brees
D) Steve Young - HOF
Yes, that Brian Griese. Probably didn't see that coming...It gets worse.
Anyone pick A over B? If so, you chose Eli Manning over John Elway. Ouch.
A) Eli Manning
B) John Elway
This one is brutal. Admit it. you weren't sure who to pick. If so, you were just waffling over who was a better passer between Troy Aikman and Mike Vick.
A) Troy Aikman
B) Mike Vick
A) David Carr
B) Joey Harrington
C) Warren Moon - HOF
D) Terry Bradshaw - HOF
E) Dan Fouts - HOF
There are actually 3 Hall of Famers in this group. And you probably ranked Carr and Harrington ahead of them. The only major difference is that Bradshaw, Moon and Fouts weren't run out of town after royally suck.ing.
Moral of the story: Even after 48 games, you may not know who will will rise to the top. To think you know after 16, is just plain dumb. Everyone needs to quit pretending they are an expert and let the professionals do their job. When you call for Tavaris Jackson, Donovan McNabb or Brian Griese to be run out of town, realize you also would have called for the heads of half a dozen Hall of Famers. Probably more.