nfl playoffs

History Awaits: What’s At Stake For Each Quarterback

AaronRodgers

Aaron Rodgers recently said that the NFL playoffs is about building your legacy as a player. Truer words have never been spoken.

Now that the children have been put to bed (RGIII, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, and Christian Ponder Joe Webb, it’s time for the grown folks.

It’s time for after hours discussion with the remaining eight quarterbacks and you know what that means. Time for a history lesson.

Let’s take a look at what a Super Bowl ring would mean for each quarterback:

AFC:

1. Peyton Manning – At this point, Manning is already considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. However, he has two major historical stains on his record. First, he has only won one Super Bowl. A player of his purported clout needs more than one ring as the Dwight White Theory strongly states. Secondly, his playoff record is 9-10. That doesn’t jive with me. To cleanse his soul, he needs to win another Super Bowl…and beat Tom Brady en route to doing it…and actually play lights out instead of getting the MVP because voters didn’t feel like giving it to the Indianapolis backfield.  Peyton isn’t at my quarterback big boy table yet but another Super Bowl win might grant him the ability to sit at the big boy table when Johnny Unitas decides to get up and dance.

2. Tom Brady – This is a weird one. If the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl it’s likely to be because the defense didn’t deliver and/or Brady was off the mark. Unfortunately, if it happens during the Super Bowl, that would mean Brady would have lost three straight Super Bowls after winning his first three. Odd question. What’s worse for Brady’s legacy at this point? Losing to Manning in the AFC title game in Denver or losing another Super Bowl but this time to Seattle, San Francisco, or Boy Wonder in Green Bay? I’m going with the latter. Anyway, Brady might already be the greatest quarterback ever. He’ll probably need a fourth ring to add more hot sauce on his argument. Of course, if he gets ring #4, it’s a wrap. He’s the GOAT, period. He’ll have six Super Bowl appearances (ties Elway for most Super Bowl games) and four rings (ties Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw).

3. Matt Schaub – GAME MANAGER ALERT! Schaub will enter Trent Dilfer/Brad Johnson territory with a ring. You don’t buy him as an elite guy, right? Here’s the thing. You might be thinking, “well if he beats Brady and Manning to get to the Super Bowl, then you’ll have to put him in an upper tier.” Well, guess what? I’ve got two words for you…Mark Sanchez. He beat them both in the ’10 playoffs. Now, he is defined by “The Buttfumble.”

4.  Joe Flacco – This would be the most painful, yet most enjoyable scenario if the Ravens win it all. Unless he threw for 350 yards in the remaining playoff game, here is what the narrative would be for a Ravens/Flacco-led Super Bowl win:

“MAN, YOU KNOW WHAT…THAT RAY RICE IS GOOD…..MAN, YOU GOTTA GIVE IT UP FOR RAY LEWIS IN HIS FINAL YEAR PLAYING WITH ONE ARM. YOU KNEW HE WASN’T GOING TO BE DENIED…DUDE, HOW MUCH DO YOU RESPECT ED REED?”

Nowhere did you see the name Flacco in that last paragraph. Much like Schaub, Flacco is in the game manager zone. In other words, your first Super Bowl ring holds little weight until he can prove he can his own weight.

NFC

1. Matt Ryan – This cat has the most to gain by winning a Super Bowl or at the very least getting to one. The NFL is probably dying to some fresh faces winning in the postseason. As pointed out in our initial podcast, Father Time is driving to Brady and Manning’s house, stopping for coffee at Wawa, and is about five minutes away. Alas, someone has to step up and fill the void. Ryan is 0 for the postseason but has home-field advantage this time around. Two wins puts him in the Super Bowl and a third will make him a cult figure in Atlanta. The Falcons have never won a Super Bowl. If Ryan can deliver a Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Dirty South, he’ll actually deserve the nickname “Mattural” that NFL Network so happily gives him without ever actually winning something significant.

2. Colin Kaepernick – I think this is the easiest to figure out. Kaepernick will get the 2001 Tom Brady treatment if the Niners win it all.”It’s a nice story, kid comes out of nowhere, etc.,” The asterisk will come from being tossed in toward the season’s stretch drive. Once the league has a chance to adjust to him, then the real fun begins. Kaepernick is still in the honeymoon phase through the end of this season. Head coach Jim Harbaugh stands to become the biggest star from a 49er Super Bowl victory because he pulled the trigger on the quarterback switch. Without that decision, who knows where the Niners are at the moment.

3. Aaron Rodgers – A second Super Bowl title in three seasons puts Rodgers on a fast track to the Hall of Fame and on a relatively short list of quarterbacks that won multiple Super Bowls. Unlike Eli Manning, who is on roughly a similar historical plane to that of Oakland’s Jim Plunkett (another two-time Super Bowl winner), Rodgers has the credentials outside of a Super Bowl win to back it up including an MVP (2011). Oh and another thing. While everyone is fawning over the return of Peyton in ’12, A-Rod was busy putting a nice bow on his last two regular seasons:

84 TDS, 14 INTS.

That’s right. Rodgers has thrown 84 TDs over the last two seasons! With another ring, THAT deserves Hall of Fame consideration.

Also, a Super Bowl win makes him the second greatest quarterback in Packers history behind Bart Starr and vaults him past the dude he replaced in 2008. Yeah, I went there.

4. Russell Wilson – A Super Bowl victory will make Pete Carroll look like a genius for rolling the dice on Wilson, while dumping boatload of money into Matt Flynn’s lap at roughly the same time. A Super Bowl ring puts Wilson ahead of his 2012 draft class counterparts, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, and already would make him a legendary figure for a franchise that is still looking its first Super Bowl. Plus, a rookie quarterback winning a Super Bowl. That’s never happened in NFL history. If he pulls that off…Golden Tate should buy him some doughnuts.

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