NFL: A Quarterback's Impact On A Team Game

Jared Wickerham

So much has been made of Sam Bradford's presence on this team that I finally decided to answer the biggest question about him. Every excuse to speak poorly of the guy, with the exception of maybe one thing, usually leads to wins and losses. All of this chatter, but no one has taken the time out to do any sort of fair comparisons, until now...

Sam Bradford has been ridiculed a lot since his rookie season that saw him break numerous records and the team narrowly miss the playoffs. He received a lot of praise during that off-season and there were some pretty lofty expectations going into year two, and every season since.

The complaints and criticism on Bradford are all the same for the most part. You will hear anything from he can't anticipate his throws, or doesn't read the defense. He can't take over the game, and he doesn't make his teammates better. Then there's: He get's paid too much, etc, etc...

In the end, it all leads to one final argument: Sam Bradford cannot lead the Rams to playoffs. Or, the most common way of putting it - more brief but direct - its all about wins and losses. I personally don't like to judge a single player based off of a teams' result. My preference is to judge a single player, from a single player's performance. But with all of the talk of the only stat that matters for a player is wins, I decided to indulge myself anyway...

PLAYER

COMP %

YPG

TD’s

INT’s

RATING

Sam Bradford

60.7

241.0

14

4

90.1

Matt Ryan

67.4

282.2

26

17

89.6

Ben Rothlisberger

64.2

266.3

28

14

92

Matthew Stafford

58.5

290.6

29

19

84.2

Tony Romo

63.9

255.2

31

10

96.7

Here we have Bradford's 2013 season, compared to the season's of some quarterbacks who had some fairly productive 2013 seasons. There's no denying they all were playing some pretty good football. Aw crap, who am I kidding? No need to be modest here, right? They all had exceptional seasons, and - going by the numbers - all of them made a case to be mentioned as a top 10 quarterback.

  1. Matt Ryan had one of his best season's to date.
  2. Ben Rothlisberger made a helluva case to be nominated comeback player of the year.
  3. Matthew Stafford continues to put up yardage numbers almost comparable to Drew Brees.
  4. Tony Romo not only went toe to toe with Peyton Manning in the best shoot out of the season, but he played most of the year with various injuries some other quarterbacks would have thought twice about attempting to do.
Even if you combine both of the Jay Cutler and Josh McCown's 2013 seasons, you will have over 4500 yards and 32 touchdowns. The best part about these quarterbacks is that all of them have $100 million dollar contracts - including Jay Cutler, not McCown - which puts them in the class of the highest paid athletes. No, not just the highest paid quarterbacks or football players, but ATHLETES.

Oh, it gets better:

What do all of these guys have in common with Bradford? None of their teams had a winning record. They are getting paid more, had better/experienced players around them, and yet none of their teams won more than 8 games. In fact two of the quarterbacks teams had worse records than the Rams. That should be a head scratch-er for everyone who believes quarterbacks are judged by wins and losses, and would prefer one of those players listed over Bradford.

Let's continue...

PLAYER

GAMES

Sam Bradford

49

Mark Sanchez

62

Joe Flacco

64

Tom Brady

63

Eli Manning

55

PLAYER

COMP %

YPG

TD’s

INT’s

RATING

Sam Bradford

58.4

227

59

38

79.3

Mark Sanchez

54.9

194.4

68

69

70.8

Joe Flacco

60.8

215.8

80

46

85.9

Tom Brady

61.7

220.4

97

52

87.6

Eli Manning

53.7

190.5

77

64

70.5

We have here four quarterbacks - compared to Sam Bradford - who's team have had great to moderate success with during their first four years as starting quarterbacks. The craziest part about these players compared to Sam is that his receivers - over his first four seasons - have 32 more drops than the next guys: Eli Manning. The big difference between these quarterbacks, and the ones listed above is quite simple: their numbers are either very mediocre, or just simply bad. Here is the knee slapper though - between these four quarterbacks, during their first four seasons, their teams accumulated these stats:

  1. 4 Super Bowl Championships
  2. 7 trips to a conference championship
  3. 161 total wins, that's a 62% win percentage
  4. NOT ONE 4000 yard season or 30 TD's; not even one. Albeit in the same season or not, there was not one season that had either.

And here's a bonus stat for you: we have all heard about Colin Kaepernick's mega deal he just inked. But what was not mentioned is no 16 game starting quarterback had more games with less than 200 passing yards (10 games with less than 200 yds) than Kaep. Congrats San Francisco, you locked up one helluva "QUARTERBACK".

I don't see how it can be more clear than this. Football is the ultimate team game. Can one player have such an impact on a team that it pushes the rest of the guys over the hump? Absolutely. But those are the most rare of rare players. Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Deion Sanders, are the type of players I'm referring to when looking for that trait. Notice I did not mention Peyton Manning? Not even he has this trait. He has actually played poorly in high pressure situations throughout his career. This is the rarest of rare traits in sports. To expect that from any player is insane. It's not something that you expect to get. It's something that just happens, and you are lucky and fortunate enough to experience when that time comes.

As the old saying goes, quarterbacks take too much credit and receive even more blame. I would say the only real legitimate argument about Bradford is his ability to stay on the field for 16 games. Outside of that, there's really not much of a debate, he's a pretty good quarterback.

At the end of the day the quarterback is still only one player out of 53. If you want to make a judgement, make it based on what that one player has done. Judge Sam Bradford off of the fact that his current receiving core is the best he has had in the NFL and yet he still smashed a lot of the rookie passing records. Judge him off of the fact that he has had a better first four seasons than a lot of quarterbacks have had, and done it with little to no help. But most of all, judge him off of the fact that he has remained loyal and dedicated to this team, even through all of its adversity. I can honestly say, I don't know of too many people who would do that.

Just a little food for thought.....

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