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Overrated/underrated positions: Quarterbacks

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It’s the most important position in football, but is a great QB really the answer to “How to win a Super Bowl?”

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

I think a lot about how teams win Super Bowls. It has probably fueled most of what I write. Because of that I also spend a lot of time thinking about positions and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was true of a lot of us. After all, positions are what determine how much a player is paid and where he is drafted.

Needs are almost always tied to positions, not players. People don’t usually say, “What this team needs is Tua Tagovailoa.” They say, “What this team needs is a quarterback” and Tua was one of those in the draft this year. The Los Angeles Rams didn’t need “Trent Williams” to fix their problems this year (though I’m sure they wouldn’t have turned down Trent Williams), they needed offensive linemen.

They didn’t really get any new ones, but of course needs are different to everyone including Les Snead and Sean McVay.

We think a ton about positions and we have set in stone beliefs about those positions. It takes decades sometimes to unravel our feelings about a position.

It took a long time for the tight end position to go from one player to the next until you finally got to George Kittle and his value. It took a long time for the running back position to go from one player to the next until you got to Derrick Henry making less from the Tennessee Titans than what Chris Johnson got nine years earlier.

Positions mean so much to the game of football and narratives drive so much of how we view them. I am attempting to challenge every narrative and to come away with an answer of how true that narrative really is or at least, add empirical evidence to it so that the next time you have a conversation about team needs and keys to winning a Super Bowl, you have a little more substance in your arguments.

With that I’m beginning a look at each position and asking if they are overrated, underrated, or adequately rated. I decided to start with the big one: quarterback. My thoughts are recorded in the podcast below, but I’ve posted my personal belief in a one-sentence summary and a table for reference during the show.

If you disagree with me, that’s fine, though particular points you have may be addressed in the podcast.

Quarterbacks: Overrated

Why: They’re not as responsible for wins and losses as narratives would lead you to believe, only one quarterback can win the Super Bowl every year and it’s almost never the best one that season or even top five

Super Bowl QBs Rate+

Year Super Bowl W NY/A+ AY/A+ RATE+ RATE+ Rank Super Bowl L NY/A+ AY/A+ RATE+ RATE+ Rank
Year Super Bowl W NY/A+ AY/A+ RATE+ RATE+ Rank Super Bowl L NY/A+ AY/A+ RATE+ RATE+ Rank
2019 Mahomes 127 124 119 5 Garoppolo 118 115 114 6
2018 Brady 116 110 110 11 Goff 123 120 115 8
2017 Foles 68 79 86 n/a Brady 115 118 117 3
2016 Brady 131 133 133 2 Ryan 142 145 140 1
2015 Manning 96 70 68 28 Newton 108 119 115 7
2014 Brady 106 108 112 5 Wilson 105 113 109 8
2013 Wilson 112 124 119 5 Manning 135 134 137 2
2012 Flacco 102 105 103 13 Kaepernick 119 124 116 8
2011 Eli 128 119 111 6 Brady 132 130 127 3
2010 Rodgers 119 120 119 3 Roethlisberger 114 122 115 5
2009 Brees 132 129 132 1 Manning 126 116 120 6
2008 Roethlisberger 95 99 97 20 Warner 116 115 117 2
2007 Eli 92 88 89 20 Brady 132 142 148 1
2006 Manning 127 127 126 1 Grossman 94 97 90 21
2005 Roethlisberger 128 128 122 4 Hasselbeck 116 119 122 3
2004 Brady 118 117 115 9 McNabb 123 132 119 3
2003 Brady 102 107 107 10 Delhomme 103 104 100 13
2002 Johnson 107 117 121 3 Gannon 121 126 128 2
2001 Brady 99 105 111 6 Warner 137 132 132 1
2000 Dilfer 93 93 98 21 Collins 104 104 107 11