During some conversations I have had with friends, as we are waiting for football season to start, the topic came up of who gets the credit for a winning NFL team. Is it the quarterback the talented wide receivers? Let’s look at some examples and then you can make the call.
Who Gets the Credit on a Winning NFL Team
Ok. I will admit that this is the quarterback that was getting a lot of flack in the conversation that got my dander up. There are those who think that Ben Roethlisberger is past his prime. Or that he is carried by having such talent around him like the number one receiver in the league Antonio Brown. Now absolutely, having a man like Brown can help anyone since he is so good and can outrun most coverages and the pass doesn’t have to be perfect for him to catch it. He has made several highlight reels with plays like the helmet catch.
But when you are that good of a receiver, the defense will put double or triple coverage on you. So, in that case, you need a strong quarterback who not only can stand in the pocket long enough but also someone who can thread the needle between coverage to get the ball to your receiver. Roethlisberger also has JuJu Smith Schuster to throw to and routinely leads the pass to him so coverage misses the ball and he has running room.
Now on the flip side, yes Roethlisberger has at times high numbers of interceptions. But one thing that is really needed in the NFL is a stat for the quarterbacks, the ‘should have caught’ and ‘deflected intercepts’. There are times when balls get thrown perfectly but things go awry and the stat ends up on the quarterback. Sometimes fitting, sometimes not. However, if you think it is only having these great receivers that are helping the team be on the winning side. Take into account if Roethlisberger is not there and say, Landry Jones, is in for a quarter or two; all of a sudden, with the best hands in the league, Brown is not making the same catches anymore. There is a chemistry between team members that go hand in hand with winning.
Let’s look at another veteran quarterback with much experience and even super bowl wins under his belt. Yet with all of that behind him, also coming from a very talented football family, last year was a horrible year for him and the New York Giants as a whole. A lot of the blame for not winning is on Eli Manning’s shoulders as it normally does in football; the quarterback being the leader of the team, and responsible for them winning or not. However, have you watched the games? How many times on second and long has Manning hit one of his receivers right in the numbers and had it bounce off and fall to the ground?
Now sure, once in a while a quarterback can put a bad spin on a ball to make it hard to catch. But, this is not what is happening in this case. Something is going wrong with the timing on the receiver’s side and they are causing the plays to end. This ultimately is placed in Manning stats and not the receivers. A stat that says ‘should have been caught’ on the receiver would be better than a missed pass on the quarterback. Maybe that will be added another year.
Yes. I am putting this quarterback in the mix. Not all have to have the same opinion on him. And for the sake of this article, I am gonna throw this out there. Many people think that Tom Brady is one of the best if not the best quarterback of all time. However, how good would his records be if he didn’t have the likes of receivers like Julian Edelman or Randy Moss, or even Deion Branch? Would other mediocre draft picks have given the same result and pushed his stats so high?
Watching Brady’s gameplay, his style is different than many other elite quarterbacks. If you measure passing yards by the arc of the throw and not the run after the catch, Brady’s stats look less than impressive, or at least not as overwhelming as people think. Yes, he is talented, but more often than not he throws a short pass. Then his receivers pick up a lot of yardage that pad his stats. In the long run, he will go down with some of the biggest stats, but some don’t buy the hype.
As long as there are fans of football, there will be debates about who is better or who is worse. Who is past their prime and who should play forever? But the bigger picture is that football is a team sport. If you have the best arm in the league and with no talent to catch it, it is a waste. You can have the best catching hands, and if the ball doesn’t get to you, you can’t do anything about it. If you are going to debate a player, keep in mind who is around them and how well they support each other. Because in the end, a well-rounded team that backs each other up will beat out an unbalanced, undisciplined team. Preseason has just started and soon the regular season will be here. Get that popcorn ready and enjoy.
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