Sports Perspective: The Era of the Quarterback - The Explorer: Columns

Sports Perspective: The Era of the Quarterback

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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 4:00 am

As New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas’ record of 47 consecutive games with at least one touchdown on Sunday night, it solidified the direction in which the game of football is headed. 

Dating back only one season ago, we witnessed history on the arms of Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. All of them with the exception of Rodgers threw for more than 5,000 yards in the regular season, which hasn’t occurred since Dan Marino’s 1984 season. In addition Aaron Rodgers threw an incredible 45 touchdowns while not playing in the final game of the season because the Packers had already locked up the top seed in the playoffs.

It seems as if the combination of improving offenses, higher quality quarterbacks and the restrictions defenses face due to player safety issues mandated by the NFL has equated to a disaster for defenses across the league. With a talented quarterback under-center, teams simply have an overwhelming advantage. 

Since 2004, the Super Bowl winning team has had a future hall of fame quarterback on their side. From Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers to Eli and Peyton Manning, quarterbacks have already begun their dominance of the game.

So far, through five weeks of the NFL season we have surprisingly seen a defensive stand. Teams such as the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49‘ers who are not known for their play at quarterback, rather their dominance defending them, have found themselves at the top of the standings. 

However, defensive powerhouses have tended to slide down the rankings as the season progresses. Last season, defensive oriented teams like the Chicago Bears and New York Jets were playoff bound until falling apart, causing them to miss the playoffs. Chicago got off to a strong 7-3 start before losing five straight games. The New York Jets, who lost five of their last seven games, also missing the playoffs, followed that performance.

On the other hand, there is a direct correlation with offenses moving up the rankings as the season progresses. Both the Saints and Patriots lost only two of their last 12 games landing them a playoff spot.

Whether all of this is just a coincidence or a conspiracy theory really can’t be determined, but the dominance of quarterbacks around the league, from rookies to veterans has been obvious. It is clear that offensive savvy teams have already begun to take over the NFL.

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