So two Friday’s ago, ESPN introduced this new quarterback rating system and I think that no reasonable person would argue that its more efficient and its more accurate than the old quarterback system that was introduced in the 70’s or 80s. This one is really a lot more accurate because if you fumble a lot – like a Jay Cutler, in the old system they didn’t take away any points for that, which is ridiculous because if you fumble twice in the red zone isn’t that a negative? This system doesn’t give you yards after the catch – meaning if you throw an 8 yard slant and Andre Johnson runs for 80 yards, you’re not getting all those yards. So this new quarterback rating system is much more accurate.
Here is what’s amazing about it though – and this goes back to the phenomena known as Tim Tebow. Like everybody is like “Tim Tebow’s a winner!! He’s unbelievable” I would argue that Tim Tebow is not built for the NFL because he was such a college winner and here’s what’s amazing. I went and looked up the top 15 quarterbacks in the new quarterback system, the top 15 – now; I don’t count Kerry Collins because he retired. So he was #15 so I moved up #16 Matt Cassel to # 15. Now think about this…it’s amazing.
We all think that it would be a natural human trait to think “great in college, 38-8 in college…he’s going to be great in the pros” but in fact…it’s just the opposite! As ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer said a couple of years ago, the number one quality an NFL quarterback needs is toughness. It’s not arm strength, lots of guys – like Matt Ryan didn’t have a huge arm, Drew Brees doesn’t have a huge arm, Eli Manning doesn’t, Big Ben doesn’t. You don’t have to be fast either! Peyton Manning can’t run, Tom Brady can’t run and you don’t have to be a genius…is Big Ben a genius? But you have to be tough because you’re going to get beat on and here’s what’s amazing.
When I go from Matt Cassel, was he a winner in college? He was a tight end! Was David Garrard – did he go to a sexy school? Was he a big winner in college? No!! #13 Matt Schaub didn’t even play for the best football program in his own state! He went to Virginia but Virginia Tech is the powerhouse in that state. What’ the point Andrew? The guys surrounding Matt Schaub were inferior to the guys he generally played. Joe Flacco at Delaware, Tony Romo undrafted, Big Ben from Miami of Ohio, Philip Rivers # 9 from North Carolina State, Josh Freeman #8 from Kansas State, Eli Manning is from Old Miss, Drew Brees from Purdue, Aaron Roger from Cal, Matt Ryan from Boston College and Tom Brady struggled his entire career at Michigan to start and hold onto the starting job.
Only 2 of the top 15 quarterbacks in this league – Peyton Manning from Tennessee, which was a national power at the time and Michael Vick from Virginia tech which has been a tremendous program for about the last 20 years, those are the only guy of the top 15 that played in powerhouse program that often had star players around them and often had better players for them than against them. My point? 13 of the top 15 quarterbacks in this league either played at non-traditional powers where they had inferior athletes. Drew Brees went on a field and 7 of the 8 in the Big 10 games; he had less talent than his opponent did. You don’t see any Ohio State quarterbacks in the top 15. It’s funny, you look around and you don’t see any Texas, USC nor Oklahoma…isn’t that funny?
The whole point about Tebow is that he’s a winner, but heck every Florida quarterback has been a winner! And it hurts them in the NFL. Shane Matthews was All-SEC 3 years in a row. Rex Grossman was National Player of The Year, Chris Leak was unbelievable in college yet none have been stars in the NFL. It’s because those traditional powerhouses in college like Oklahoma, Florida and USC…they go 12-1 or 11-2 every year. Their players are basically better than virtually every player with perhaps one exception in their own conference, so that doesn’t really help you into the NFL. Matt Ryan at Boston College in seven games a year, perhaps nine, had less talent…he had to bang out wins. Philip Rivers at N.C. State – when was the last time N.C. state had the best 4 or 5 talent in the ACC? Big Ben…in Miami of Ohio, Josh Freeman at Kansas State, heck you think Kansas State is even close to Oklahoma? Nebraska? Texas? in terms of quality of recruits? Why are we shocked that Tebow doesn’t walk into the NFL and star?
Matt Leinart was 37-2 at USC and you know what he lacked? Toughness! He never got sacked, like he threw an interception on every 55 throws – that’s how rarely he even faced a real pass rush. His receivers were significantly better than the Cal, Arizona, Arizona State corners that were guarding them. He had miles of time, miles of space…all sorts of time. It is so amazing to me that we all know better than this – yet we’re all shocked that Tim Tebow just doesn’t light the world on fire…why would he? Going to USC, Oklahoma and Florida doesn’t help you as a QB; I’d argue that it hurts you. You get cuddled, protected; use to having receiver’s wide open.
Tony Romo – go look up where he went to college, no NFL players, he had to fight to get into the NFL and so did Josh Freeman. Kansas State is the least glamorous college program – say what you want, maybe in the U.S. It’s in Manhatten – and I’m not talking about New York, Manhatten, Kansas…try finding that on a map! So as we look at this entire situation, here’s what’s interesting. Remember the year that Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler came out? Leinart was 37-2, Vince Young won a national title but who succeeded out of those 3? The guy that got his behind kicked every week in the SEC, Jay Cutler. The guy that got batted around, that never had a winning season in college but that developed an innate toughness, which has helped him in the NFL and last year he was sacked more than any other NFL QB. Matt Leinart didn’t know what that hard feeling was like because he never touched it. So when Trent Dilfer was talking about this a couple of years ago he said “the most under-rated quality for a QB in this league is toughness” and now look at the new quarterback rating and look at how few of these guys were surrounded with stars in college. So that is why Tim Tebow is not amazing!