If You Must Win One Game to Save Your Life…

What’s this? A post that is not just a bunch of picks? I am slowly getting back into this writing thing yet again.  Today’s topic relates to Matty and I’s ongoing argument about Sam Bradford.  Matt thinks he is actually worth mentioning in a sentence.  I think otherwise.

This argument led me to this question: If I was told that my life depended on the outcome of a football game and I had the choice of a quarterback, who would I pick?  A bit dramatic, yes.  With the way football has evolved over the last 10-15 years, it is pretty much a quarterback league.  If your team doesn’t have a good quarterback, you have no shot of winning anything.  Without further adieu here are my rankings 32-1.

32) Blaine Gabbert

Gabbert has shown me absolutely nothing that would give me confidence in him considering the circumstances.  He is just 22 years old and has 18 NFL games under his belt.  He has a career quarterback rating of 68.7 .  18 games is enough of a sample size for me to see that Gabbert doesn’t have the ability to win a big game.  He couldn’t do it in college.  He won’t do it in the NFL. And he certainly won’t do it with my life on the line.

31) Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden at least made Justin Blackmon look good in college.  Blaine Gabbert hasn’t been able to do the same in the NFL. Weeden is 28 years old, so that has to mean something in the way of life experience, no?  This is all about winning one game and Weeden is yet to do that in the NFL.

30) Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill is ranked higher than Weeden only because he has something Weeden doesn’t.  That is a win in the NFL. Tannehill beat the Raiders in Week 2, 35-13.  Outside of that win, there is no reason for me to think highly of Tannehill (other than his wife).  I don’t remember him winning in college and I don’t think he will remind Dolphins fans of Dan Marino any time soon

29) Russell Wilson

Wilson will always be remembered as the quarterback that threw the Fail Mary that brought the real officials back to the NFL.  There is no doubt that Wilson has the potential to be an exciting quarterback. I just have reservations about his height and how that will affect his ability to get throws over the defense line to his receivers.

28) Jake Locker

Last week, Jake Locker threw up serious numbers against the Detroit Lions.  He threw for 373 yards.  Locker hasn’t shown me anything other than that.  I remember him being a product of the combine in 2010.  He might be a great athlete but that doesn’t necessarily translate to winning.

27) Kevin Kolb

I don’t understand the fascination with Kevin Kolb.  The Eagles didn’t want to let him go.  The Cardinals are currently overpaying him.  What do these franchises see that I don’t?  Remember the Cardinals opening week starter was John Skelton this year.  Yes, the Cardinals are 3-0.  Don’t think for one second that is through anything Kevin Kolb has done.

26) Matt Cassell

Cassell did win 11 games once in his career.  However, that was with the Patriots. Since joining the Chiefs, he hasn’t done much of anything. He didn’t even start a single game since high school before Bernard Pollard took out Brady.

25) Andrew Luck

I haven’t seen much of Andrew Luck in the NFL this season.  What I do know is that Luck would have been the #1 pick in 2011 and was the #1 pick in 2012.  When there is a large campaign to “Suck for Luck” and when a franchise trades away the most popular athlete in its home state, Andrew Luck must be at the very least, pretty good.

24) Christian Ponder

Ponder has the physical tools to be a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.  As a matter of fact, through the first 3 weeks of the season, he has been statistically a top 5 quarterback. Last week, he beat the best defense in the NFL, throwing for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Stats aren’t sexy but a win is a win.

23) Sam Bradford

Matty and I will argue about Sam Bradford until we are the blue in the face.  What bothers me most about Bradford is his inconsistency.  One week he looks like he is ready to turn the corner and become an upper echelon quarterback.  The next week he goes missing.  Also, no self-respecting Texas Longhorns fan will dare speak highly of Bradford.

22) Josh Freeman

Freeman might be the most aggravating quarterbacks in the NFL.  It is clear he has the tools to be successful.  He has a big arm and makes some great throws.  But he also makes foolish decisions.  His inconsistency is what troubles me most.

21) Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer has never lived up to being the first pick from the 2003 draft.  He has a career passer rating of  86.4.  He has never won a playoff game.  I don’t really have anything bad to say about Palmer but I don’t have anything good to say about him either.

20) Andy Dalton

Dalton led the Bengals to the playoffs in his rookie season.  He has quietly become one of the more serviceable quarterbacks in the league.  Dalton was named a Pro Bowl alternate in his rookie season as well. The Bengals decided to keep Dalton over Carson Palmer and I will too.

19) Jay Cutler

I can’t say that I have much faith in Cutler.  He doesn’t have the mental makeup to win a big game.  The second something goes wrong he starts whining like a little punk.  Until he shows some signs of maturity and learns how to deal with adversity, Cutler will be in the bottom half of this list.

18) Robert Griffin III

Griffin appears to be one of the more exciting players in the game.  I like having a quarterback that can put the ball down and run with it.  Based on what I saw him do in college, he can win games on his own.  I am interested to see if that theory proves true in the NFL.

17) Ryan Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick is a Harvard grad.  That warrants consideration and is a big plus in his favor with my life on the line.  The troubling thing about Fitzpatrick is defenses can still goad him into committing a stupid turnover.  Fitzpatrick is at his best when he plays within himself and doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to be a hero.

16) Mark Sanchez

I know everyone must think I am crazy for ranking Sanchez this high.  The truth is, his playoff record speaks for itself.  He has outplayed both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the playoffs in his 4 year career.  Sanchez is in the spotlight because he is a quarterback in New York.  His stats aren’t the most attractive in the League, but when the stakes are at their highest, Sanchez has shown he can win a ball game against the best the League has to offer.

15) Cam Newton

Newton reminds me a lot of LeBron James and Mike Tyson.  They all have an undeniable skill set in their respective sports but they are all front-runners.  If their opponent is able to connect with the proverbial first punch, the chances of beating them grow exponentially.  Newton reminds me of Jay Cutler but with a better skill set.

14) Tony Romo

I will always remember Tony Romo as the guy that couldn’t dropped a field goal try.  When it comes to big games with Romo, Murphy’s Law applies.  Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.  For a long period of time it seemed that Romo just could not win a game in December.  I am actually surprised I have him ranked this high.

13) Alex Smith

I love Alex Smith.  I think he is a solid game manager. He doesn’t do anything to your team that will lose a game.  Last season he threw just five interceptions. Smith won’t load up a stat sheet but he has one of the more underrated arms in the game.  He certainly can thread the needle when he needs to.  Some people may say I have him a little high, but I am very comfortable with having Alex Smith as my quarterback.

12) Michael Vick

Vick is equal parts exciting and terrifying.  He can tuck the ball and run for a big play at any given moment.  Then he can turn the ball over in a blink of the eye.  He has the ability to make a big throw.  But the next time Michael Vick reads a defense and makes an adjustment, it will be the first time.  I love his big play ability but hate his penchant for giving the ball away.

11) Matthew Stafford

I really believe Matthew Stafford’s success is predicated upon having Calvin Johnson on his team.  Without Johnson, Stafford is just another big armed quarterback.  But he is only one of four quarterbacks to ever throw for over 5,000 yards in a season, the others being Brady, Brees, and Marino.  I guess I have to give the kid his due.

10) Phillip Rivers

Rivers always has the Chargers in the playoff hunt regardless of the talent or lack thereof around him.  He has a career total of 13 4th quarter comebacks and been to the Pro Bowl 4 times.  I think Rivers has a ton of talent but has never benefitted from having talent around him.  And no I don’t consider Vincent Jackson and elite talent.

9) Matt Schaub

Like Stafford, I tend to think that Schaub’s success is related to having Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.  I have seen Schaub engineer some pretty sweet 4th quarter game winning drives.  He had 4 in 2009 alone.  I can’t think of a reason why I would have Schaub outside of the top 10.

8) Joe Flacco

Flacco is another quarterback on the rise.  He has been the best quarterback in the NFL so far this season.  The Ravens are learning that good ole smash mouth football doesn’t win in the NFL anymore.  They have allowed Flacco to air it out and he has responded.  He has also shown throughout his young career that he can win.  If Billy Cundiff hits his chip shot field goal last year, we may view Flacco in a whole different light.

7) Peyton Manning

A healthy Peyton Manning is much higher on this list.  But he has had several neck surgeries in the past year.  Peyton knows how to play and knows how to win.  I fully expect him to lead the Broncos to the playoffs this season despite their slow start.  I have no reason to drop Peyton Manning any lower than I already have.

6) Matt Ryan

Ryan is the next big thing as far as quarterbacks go in the NFL.  I have long been a Matty Ice fan and have predicted major things for him since his rookie year.  So far this season, it looks like he has put it all together. He has led the Falcons to a winning season every year since he has been in the League and to the playoffs 3 out of the 4 seasons.

5) Drew Brees

I am buying into Matty’s argument Brees’ success results from the spread system he plays in.  There is no doubt Brees has had his success in the NFL and that helps his ranking.  He has the Super Bowl ring and he owns the single season record for most yards thrown in a season. He is His 3 losses to start the 2012 campaign are alarming though.

4) Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers may be the most talented quarterback in the NFL.  But he is notoriously known as having a bad record in close games. I thought Cam Newton was a front-runner but Rodgers is the biggest front-runner in the NFL.  Rodgers has just 5 4th quarter wins opposed to more than 15 17+ point wins.  These stats were obtained going into the 2011 season.  We remember the egg he laid in the playoffs last year.  Even with that being said, Rodgers is the highest rating quarterback in the NFL.  Not to mention everyone takes him as their first quarterback in fantasy football.

3) Ben Roethlisberger

Love him or hate him, Big Ben is the toughest quarterback in the League.  He has been to 3 Super Bowls and won 2 of them.  Since Ben has come into the League, the Steelers have been regarded as perennial Super Bowl contenders.  Aaron Rodgers may have more talent but Ben is tougher, has more hardware, and wins at a higher percentage.

2) Eli Manning

Yes, I am surprised too.  I just can’t get over that Eli makes the big play when he needs to.  When the pressure is at its highest, Eli delivers.  Maybe I am a little hung up on the pass he made to Mario Manningham in last year’s Super Bowl.  But what a throw that was! And while David Tyree’s catch was nothing more than luck, don’t discount the fact that Eli was able to avoid a sure sack.  Fast forward to this season, and Eli throws for 510 yards in a come from behind win against Tampa Bay. Remember, I need to win this game. And Eli has proved to me that he wins big games.

1) Tom Brady

With my life on the line, I’ prefer to have a quarterback that knows how to win, has won, and wins at a high rate.  Tom Brady meets all three of that criterion.  I once hated Brady only because of my undying loyalty to Drew Bledsoe.  But the bottom line is this: Tom Brady wins football games.  He seldom turns the ball over.  He is also one of the smartest quarterbacks in the league.  He has the jewelry to show for it. With Tom Brady under center, I have the best chance to win an absolute do or die must win game.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

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One Response

  1. Since Scottie gave me no chance to have any input with this post, I wanted to let the people know how I feel. Scottie, I think you but too much emphasis on current performance and stats this season (i.e. Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub way too high). I took the approach of basing my list solely on performance in pressure situations and composure.

    1. Tom Brady
    2. Ben Roethlisberger
    3. Eli Manning
    4. Drew Brees
    5. Aaron Rodgers
    6. Philip Rivers
    7. Mike Vick
    8. Peyton Manning
    9. Matt Ryan
    10. Cam Newton
    11. Matt Stafford
    12. Alex Smith
    13. Joe Flacco
    14. Matt Schaub
    15. Tony Romo
    16. Josh Freeman
    17. Andy Dalton
    18. Sam Bradford
    19. Ryan Fitzpatrick
    20. RG III
    21. Andrew Luck
    22. Mark Sanchez
    23. Christian Ponder
    24. Matt Cassel
    25. Jake Locker
    26. Russell Wilson
    27. Carson Palmer
    28. Jay Cutler
    29. Kevin Kolb
    30. Ryan Tannehill
    31. Brandon Weeden
    32. Blaine Gabbert

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