Last year was the year of the Quarterback in the sense that the best teams out there had the best quarterbacks out there (with the exception of the Jets sneaking in there with rookie-ish Sanchez). The Colts, the Saints, the Vikings, the Packers.
But this year is also the year of the quarterback. It’s the year where the quarterbacks have been injured, distracted, pulled out of games, put in unexpectedly, quarreled with head coaches, suspended and more. Let’s start with Big Ben, serving a three game suspension, two backups started in his place, getting injured, but having mild success. Now Big Ben is back, according to Tomlin, a changed man. I guess we’ll wait for the off-season before we start giving Ben any gold stars. Personal issues in general have not been good to QBs this year. Favre is in a hot PR mess with that Jets employee. Vick had to basically be impossibly good and entertaining to finally get the town of brotherly love to stop bothering him about his past dog-fighting scandal. Stay clean in the off-season, boys. Please.
Next let’s move on to Tom Brady. This one belongs to the hair. Ever since the start of the season, this quarterback with his supermodel girlfriend and supermodel looks himself has refused to cut his hair, which is causing him to look like a cross between Fabio and Skeletor. I’m not a fan of the Pats, and am certainly not a fan of the hair. Hair in sports gets too much attention. Polamalu is an exception, that guy has it going on. But Clay Matthews with his crazy backwoods hair, Jared Allen cutting off his infamous mullet, and now Brady. Can we look at the substance on the field instead? Oh wait, the Pats aren’t even that good this year….so maybe we give the hair another few weeks.
Next we can talk about a general category of injuries. Let’s talk about separated shoulders (Stafford twice), Concussions (Rodgers, Cutler, Kolb and more), ankle injuries (McNabb, Favre, Young), other broken bones (Vick, Romo). Injuries have really gotten to the top QBs the way they haven’t in the past. Stafford is a good QB who is never going to get a chance to prove himself. Favre is literally falling apart in his old age (which should we talk about first, getting beat up due to a swiss cheese like O-line, the elbow, the ankle…). Vick, I mean, you knew that was going to happen to him at some point, he runs too much and doesn’t like protecting himself. The Vick Sandwich is now a staple in most DC Area cafes. The cowboys were bad even with Romo, but without him, the talented receiving corps is underused and Dallas has lost all hope for a play-off bid, Wade Phillips getting fired the other day. Jay Cutler, I thought, might die this season due to the Bear’s ineffectiveness at offensive line. Sacked more times than any QB this season, and verging on breaking the kinds of records you don’t want to break for game-high and season-high sack numbers. He’s lucky he just got away with a concussion. No QB is immune from injury this season. It seems like despite the crappiness of the Chargers, Rivers has only thrown temper tantrums and has had no real injury this season, and the brothers Manning have escaped so far (good for my fantasy team), but I’m willing to bet by Week 17, we see another one bite the dust.
Next, QB controversies. Oakland, San Francisco, Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee, Browns, Denver, Philly (probably the most public and worst), and now even the Redksins benching McNabb in the final minutes of a winnable game against the Lions to put in Rex Grossman. You heard me. And I could go on. What’s the deal with these coaches and their indecisiveness at QB. Isn’t your QB supposed to be your leader, the guy who brings the team together, your one constant? Some teams are in turmoil and are just throwing shit up against a wall, hoping something sticks. Others are in a real dilemma due to injuries and having too many GOOD QBs. Others are just in panic mode (um, can we say Vikings…). And others, after a mix of all of the above, have finally gotten into their groove and look like they are settling in on a franchise, albeit rookie QB (Bradford, McCoy). Others have seemingly good receivers (and QBs), but due to injury, tough schedules, or whatnot, are just not winning games (ahem, Chargers). And others are just so atrocious that the fans call for a switch midgame (I witnessed this ugly scene at a recent 49-ers game).
So this year has been full of quarterback headlines. Unfortunately, not full of positive ones that we saw last year. I guess the season isn’t over yet, I hope they give us something (good) to talk about.