Bad Questions Lead to Bad Answers

Is trying to start something?  Who is the best QB in the NFC?


What’s wrong with this picture?  If the choices between best QB in the NFC are between Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Matt Hasselbeck, we know, automatically, that winning has been REMOVED from the criteria for determining excellence at this position in this conference.  For all of Brees’ success, the Saints defense has been driving in low gear for years.  He has been better than advertised or anticipated, but he hasn’t been enough to change the fortunes of that franchise.

Since Romo is on the list, we know that work ethic and leadership have been removed from the list as well.  His confession may have been good for the soul, but it has not been good for a team that has been predicted to great things for years.  The Cowboys continue to underachieve — and now their fans can watch this continue on the largest television on the planet.

Ryan is talented, but he’s not in this conversation.  He knows it.  Tony Gonzalez knows it.  Mike Mularkey knows it.  He may be the only QB in the history of the NFL fortunate enough to have an offensive coordinator will to use the terminology of his old college system at the professional level.   Ryan isn’t likely to “come back to earth” with the addition of Tony Gonzalez, but he’s not the best QB in the conference or his division.

Matt Hasselbeck missed much of last year and has only this year’s effort against the lowly Rams to contribute to this conversation.  That’s not much.  Next.

The most obvious omission from this list of QB’s is clearly no worse than 2nd on this list.  Donovan McNabb didn’t make the cut.  Given that for most of his career, McNabb has never played with receivers who could crack the Saints lineup, he probably deserves more consideration than Brees.  Aaron Rodgers didn’t make the cut. Kurt Warner didn’t make the cut.

In all honesty, even Michael Vick deserves consideration ahead of players like Hasselbeck, Ryan, Romo and Brees who have yet to demonstrate the mettle to win in tough environments on the road in the post-season.  Eli Manning (remember him?) has done that and he has a relatively shiny, relatively new Super Bowl ring, as well.  Statistically he doesn’t measure up, but he’s in the conversation, albeit at the end.

Frankly, the short list is too damn short.


  1. I’m always hesitant to attribute too much of a team’s success to its QB, although I do understand QB is the most important position in football. And I normally don’t do polls or lists, because there’s sure to be someone left off or underrated whom merits consideration. Plus, there’s nothing scientific about them. What are the proper criteria by which these players are to be measured? How are the metrics to be weighted? Drew Brees accomplished something last season only 1 other QB had ever done. I don’t know how or why anyone would penalize a 3-time Pro Bowler and last year’s Offensive Player of the Year just because he plays for the Saints.

    But… leaving McNabb, Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner off a poll of who’s the best QB in favor of Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck, and Tony Romo is a ridiculous ploy for the league’s authorized media outlet. I suspect whomever selected the players included in the poll used fantasy football as the context, and intended it for NFL roto-geek readers.

  2. Even from a fantasy perspective, you’ve gotta look at Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. I don’t know what they were thinking, but it was a bit crazy.

    I absolutely agree with you about assessing QB’s. It’s a team game, but its rare for a team to get the brass ring without a fairly dominant QB. Even if the guy doesn’t throw a ton of td’s, he’s usually able to convert 3rd down and minimize turnovers. With a solid running game and a stellar defense, you can win with that guy.

  3. There have been plenty of Super Bowls won by teams quarterbacked by rather ubiquitous “game managers” who weren’t capable of outrageous athletic feats, a la Mike Vick, or put up those glossy numbers preferred by the roto geeks. There have been others, e.g.; Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, whose teams actually carried them before their individual skills matured.

    Having said that, I don’t know if I can get with you on considering Aaron Rodgers among the NFL’s elite QBs, but you’re on point to impugn the reliability of these polls.

  4. Plenty is an overstatement. There have been a few — and each played with a dominant defense that was capable of SCORING significant points. Johnson with the Bucs, Dilfer with the Ravens and McMahon with the Bears.

    My book on Eli is still open. If this thing with Manningham and Smith works out, he won’t be considered a “game manager” when its all said and done. The other QBs with rings are Roethlisberger, Peyton, Brady, Warner, Elway, Favre, Aikman, Young, Montana, Simms, Hostetler, etc. The only other exceptions to this quasi-rule are the Redskin QB’s — Theismann and Rypien. Doug was no “game manager.”

    For my money, unless your defense features dudes who can take it to the house, you BETTER have a serious QB if you want to win it all.

  5. As for Rodgers, he’s in the conversation because Romo is in it and Ryan is in it. What’s Romo’s claim to fame? Is it dating Jessica Simpson, fumbling in Seattle, being the object of T.O.’s affection or failing to win a playoff game? I’m not sure, but it is one of those things. He’s thrown for 4,000 once and has yet to have a 2:1 td-int ratio for a season. Rodgers is at least as good as Romo — and if he had Michael Turner instead of Ryan Grant — he’d probably have made the playoffs as well.

    Mine is not an argument FOR Rodgers as much as it is an argument in search of criteria. Simply, “If this guy, then why not that guy?”

  6. I would definitely argue for Aaron Rodgers. I think he’s better than Romo and Ryan. One thing that I like about him is that he doesn’t force a lot of his throws. That’s probably why his TD-INT ratio is so low.

  7. I found it interesting that a few minutes ago on NFL Network, they posed the question “Is Matt Ryan the new Tom Brady?”.

    Yeah, T3….they’re definitely trying to start something. But i’m not buying it until Matt Ryan wins a playoff game and 3 Super Bowls.

  8. I think that’s the nature of the marketing beast. Of course, Brady didn’t benefit from that until he already deserved it. I’m sure Drew Bledsoe wakes up every now and then saying, “WTF!!!!”

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