Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is A Quarterback The Most Important Position In All Of Sports?

"You're a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It's the top spot, kid. It's the guy who takes the fall. It's the guy everybody's looking at first - the leader of a team - who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. 'Cause you make them believe. That's a quarterback!"

Tony D'Amato - On Any Given Sunday

No truer words have ever been spoken. The quarterback position in the NFL is by far the most important position in team sports. He's the guy that gets all the credit when things go right and takes all the blame when teams don't win. He is the catalyst, the leader, and the focal point of any successful NFL franchise. He's the guy that answers all the hard questions and carries the burden of expectation on his back. That's not to say you have to have a hall of fame quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer, Jim McMahon, and Jeff Hostettler all have Super Bowl rings, but they also played on teams that had superior defenses. For the most part the signal caller needs to have an impressive pedigree to take a team to the promised land. Lets check out the numbers.

Since 1980 a quarterback has been selected with the first pick in the draft 16 times and a quarterback selected #1 accounts for 14 Super Bowl titles. The quarterback is the face of the franchise and the most important piece in building a strong foundation for an organization. The quarterback is considered the savior in a lot of instances (that's why bad teams consistently draft this position first) and some teams gamble on players they hope can fit the job description. For every Peyton Manning, John Elway, and Troy Aikman there is a Tim Couch, David Carr, and of course Ryan Leaf. Not only is the quarterback position the most important it is also the position with the highest failure rate.

Other sports have positions with a similar responsibility and you know what they refer to those positions as? The quarterback. A point guard in basketball is considered the quarterback because they get everyone involved and run the team. A center in volleyball is considered the quarterback because they make all the formation calls and set up defenses. A catcher in baseball is referred to as the signal caller because they select pitches and instruct infielders on where they need to be.

The quarterback position is the straw that stirs the drink. It demands narcissism, thick skin, respect, and leadership. History has taught us that everything falls into place with a good one and everything falls apart with a bad one. It's not all about the rocket arm, the nimble feet, or the fast legs, it's about the entire package. The physical, the mental, and the spiritual all have to come together. To whom much is given, much is expected. The quarterback position embodies that sentiment. Your thoughts.


  1. great article Cleavie! here's the thing:

    could you make the case for an entire offensive line being one position? or at least one or two solid key offensive lineman that allow quarterbacks to be so great or not?

    could you also argue that a starting pitcher can have more impact on a game than a quarterback? tom seaver or tom brady? roger staubach or roger clemens?

    i may lean towards the pitcher since he doesn't have to rely on an offensive line to do his thing but i suppose a wack defense behind him can have the same impact as a wack o-line....

  2. Good points Wutan!

    The Point Guard is the quarterback of the NBA, so even though there are less players on the field relying on them for the win, in football there is a running game, a passing game, and special teams.

    I say PG is most important position in all sports. Baseball doesn't even enter the picture, Booooooo!!


  3. @Wutan: Thanks for the read. I would agree that the offensive line is very important and an underrated position, but their job is to protect the quarterback so that he can do his thing. The performance of the QB still takes precedence. Starting pitchers are important as well, but typically it's up to the catchers to call a great game and the pitcher to execute the plan. Good insight bro.

  4. @Guv Luv: Thanks for the read. Baseball doesn't really have an equivalent, the catcher is the closest thing and they play behind the plate, not really in front of the action. I think the point guard's importance has been diminished over the years and was much more important back in the day. That being said CP3, Deron, Rajon, and D Rose do represent. I refer to D Rose as a point guard, but he's the new breed. No more Stockton Isaiah types unfortunately. Good insight bro.

  5. Maybe not "important," but I think the kicker position can impact the game more and cause the momentum to shift to a greater extent than a qb. A qb can have a bad game, but be bailed out by a running game or even defense to "win" the game. A kicker needs to have huevos, the abiility to shut out the crowd when he is the center of attention. A miss can spoil a hard fought game or a make can make you the hero. Recent memory- Boise St. kicker- Kyle Brotzman missing his kicks to make their season all for naught. No position will be as highly criticized, loved, and forgotten as a kicker.

  6. @Darthhusky: Thanks for the read. Kickers don't get a lot of respect around these parts. The momentum shift usually occurs when they don't execute and end up losing hard fought games. QB's put them in position for their dramatic meltdowns. I've lost too much money and cried too many tears over the years because some scrub kicker didn't do was supposed to do. Check out my blog from football season last year. Let me know what you think.

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