It’s not Just the Quarterback Y’Know
In America today, the most watched sport is easily football. Millions tune in every week to watch some of the greatest athletes in the world battle it out to win the game and ultimately, the Lombardi trophy. The players that get the most press, attention, and credit is easily the quarterbacks, as most ignore the other ten positions on the offensive side of the ball, and eleven on the defensive side of the ball. For many, the quarterback is a must have to win in the NFL, and if you don’t have a franchise guy elite guy, don’t even think about winning. After all, they control the offense, who the ball goes to, and how a play is made. The position is easily the most debated in talks of football, and will continue to be so. Analysts continue to argue the notion that franchise quarterbacks are the reason teams win football games, since the great ones are the reason their teams win football games.
Even though many say a great quarterback is important for a team’s success, it is most definitely not the end all be all for a football team. So much goes into a football team, that it is foolish to say that the only reason people win is because of the quarterback. Football is regarded as the most team oriented sport, as single players cannot win you football games in contrast to the MLB, NBA, and to some extent the NHL. There have been plenty of teams in the past that have won, or appeared in Super Bowls, and have not had a franchise guy. For example, the 2015 Denver Broncos’ quarterback was a washed up, 39 year old Peyton Manning, who only threw 9 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. To make matters worse for Manning, he was benched midway through the season for his back up, Brock Osweiler, and yet Manning returned for the playoffs and “led” his team to a Super Bowl. Most who watched the game praised Manning as he retired weeks after, but ultimately knew it was the defense that carried the football team. The Denver defense was ranked first that season, and earned a first round bye for the playoffs, cruising their way to a championship. Another great example of a team lacking a quarterback but ultimately winning the Super Bowl would be the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, would also had a liability at quarterback. Trent Dilfer split time with other quarterbacks throughout the reason before starting the playoffs, yet the Ravens still reached the Super Bowl and ended up winning it in 2000.
When it comes to football teams, coaching is just as important as your players. Whether it is the head coach, offensive coordinator, or defensive coordinator coaching can be more important than the players actually playing the game. Even the special teams coach can help win football games. Great coaching can really elevate a quarterback, and over the many seasons played, has proven to be true time and time again. For example, recently drafted quarterback Jared Goff was terrible his rookie season under then head coach, Jeff Fisher. After Fisher was fired, and the Los Angeles Rams then hired Sean McVay, Goff has produced as one of the best quarterbacks in league last season, and this season as well, as the Rams are currently 8 – 0. In this case, surely the coach should recieve more credit, as without him, the Rams most likely wouldn’t be in the position they are in today. Even though McVay’s amazing contributions are on offense, defensive coaches elevate a team just as much. Another example of this would be Vic Fangio, current defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. Before coaching for the Bears, Fangio was on the 49ers, and elevated the team’s defense to a Super Bowl appearence during the 2012 season. Although they lost that Super Bowl, without Fangio the 49ers probably don’t appear in that Super Bowl, considering their quarterback situation was great with then starter Colin Kaepernick. Now with Fangio on the Bears, they are also a top defense in the NFL. The Bears are currently 4 – 3, fighting for a division title versus the Minnesota Vikings, and are once again somewhat weak at the quarterback position. Coaching is extremely important in the NFL, and with offenses producing more than ever, having a great coach is very important.
When it comes to a quarterback’s needs, besides coaching, their most important need is the offensive line, easily the most underrated position in all of football. The quarterback definitely needs good receivers to throw to, and a running back to run the ball for him, but the offensive line can make or break a quarterback. The quarterback needs time to throw the football and a bad offensive line will not provide that. A great example would be the Giants of recent seasons, who have given up the most sacks in the league at times. Their team is undoubtedly great in terms of talent, but their offensive line is terrible, and the whole team has suffered because of it. They are currently 1 – 6, and their season is currently done for.
The NFL is easily the most team oriented major sport in the world. Teams in the NFL require so much from coaching, to defense, to offense, and even managing to be great, while no other sport can say that. Ever player has their job to do, and the teams that do their jobs the best, are the ones that win the most. A great quarterback can make your team better, but if the rest of the team isn’t good then the team will suffer. Whether it’s the MLB, NHL, NBA, or soccer, no other sport requires every aspect of the the team to be great to be successful. The NFL can.
“2000 Baltimore Ravens Statistics & Players.” Pro-Football-Reference.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/rav/2000.htm.
“Jared Goff Stats.” Pro-Football-Reference.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GoffJa00.htm.
“2015 Denver Broncos Statistics & Players.” Pro-Football-Reference.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/den/2015.htm.