As I have made it a point to say on this very site, QB controversies are one of the only interesting parts of the pre-season…but should they really get so much play?
On ESPN2’s NFL32, a show where Chris Mortensen mixes with some of Bristol’s B team to touch on the same NFL storylines the network has been regurgitating all day, there was an interview with Seattle coach Pete Carroll on Monday. He was invited on specifically to discuss the Seahawks’ QB controversy. Tuesday while watching the Scott Van Pelt Show on the same family of networks, one of the regularly scheduled news breaks informed me that while Kevin Kolb is still starting the next pre-season game, John Skelton is now favored to get the starting nod come the regular season. The Dolphins QB situation is one of the major plots of the HBO original series Hard Knocks, and maybe the closest battle of them all is between 2nd year signal caller Jake “he was drafted in the top ten because everyone has a boner for quarterbacks” Locker and Matt Hasselbeck.
I understand the attention paid to these storylines because after all, there isn’t a more important position in all of pro sports. It’s certainly different than pondering who the Minnesota Twins set-up man is going to be. But let’s consider a few stats.
Last year eight out of the top ten teams in passing yards made the post-season, while only five of the top ten rushing teams could say the same. When it comes to yards given up, only four of the top ten teams in passing defense and five out of ten in rushing were still suiting up come playoff time. Now there are a lot of numbers you can pour through, but I think this is a very basic way of showing that despite how many factors there are in a football game, it is very likely that (with some exceptions of course) you are going to go as far as your quarterback takes you.
It almost seems like I’m making the point that these competitions are something we should focus on extensively, but I actually think these numbers show the opposite. How many of the teams that made the playoffs last year had any doubt during camp who their starter was going to be? The most you could say is two, with Denver and San Francisco. In many past seasons, that number was zero.
At the end of the day spending a lot of time talking about the importance of a QB controversy, unless you are a fan of that team, is somewhat of a catch 22 situation. Any team that doesn’t have a proven and unquestioned starter at quarterback on their roster is probably not going to be making any waves this season anyway. Of the four teams I mentioned before, I expect exactly zero of them to make the playoffs. For as many headlines as these stories dominate now, much of that will fade as soon as a starter is established. The story loses all excitement, because then all you’re left with is another mediocre football team with an average quarterback. This is not to say that the media should only talk about good teams, or teams with good quarterbacks, but maybe frame the conversation so it doesn’t seem like the fate of a team hangs in the balance when in all likelihood they were behind the eight ball from the beginning.
The logical part of my brain and the rest of it are at odds, however, as I am still very interested in how these things play out. I started a football blog after all, so I love talking about unimportant shit!
Have you heard enough about these QB battles? Put down your “Team Skelton” mug and let us know in the comments section.