I'm sitting here on the couch, not working do to an injury, watching NFL network's "Top 10 Greatest Superbowls",a compilation of NFL networks list of the 10 best superbowls ever player, when I come to a completed understanding that has a great deal of significance for Tampa fans. Teams included among the list are the 70's Steelers, the 80's 49ers, the 70's Bills, and the 00's Patriots. Quarterbacks among these games included on this list consist of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, John Elway, Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Rodger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, and even Johnny Unitas. In fact, of the 20 teams that played in the top 10 greatest superbowls, more than 75% of these teams were led by a quarterback considered 'elite'. Why are those men considered 'elite' though? Is it because of the outcome of those games? Is it because of previous records broken or consistant statistics? Or, perhaps a better question should be asked- Are there other details to a quarterbacks success?
Josh McCown was a retired high school football coach 2 years ago. He had to have retired for one of 2 reasons. (1) He decided himself, he was done with immense toll the game takes on your body, or (2) the coaches decided for him. Either way, someone said his playing career was over. Yet, he still managed to engineer and incredible backup performance, almost leading the Chicago Bears to the playoffs in Jay Cutler's absence. Why? What was left that apparently, absolutely no one, including himself could see? My answer; Nothing. Nothing that has to do with him, that is. What was different was his situation. A situation that includes Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
The constant I found among all the highly esteemed superbowl teams was that of dynamic players across the board. The play makers around such quarterbacks and the 'elite' coaching staff that instill drive and determination from a team are what make superbowl victories. Solid foundations are the key. Solid play-makers are the doorway. Solid quarterbacks just unlock and walk-through that door. Elite quarterbacks often emerge from such programs as well.
What's the difference between Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson? No, don't say "Russell knows when to 'slide'". The difference is their programs. Russell wouldn't slide if he felt he had to make every first down by himself either. My point is that Robert is more talented in my opinion, but isn't looked at like that. So, would we have a slightly different opinion of Jake Delhoume, if Adam Vinateiri had missed his game winning, Superbowl 37 kick, propelling the Panthers to victory? Probably. Wouldn't we look at Tom Brady differently without that victory as well?
I challenge you, the reader, to wrap your mind around the fact that an elite quarterback, as valuable as may be, is only as good as the pieces around him. Without the early 2000's team, Tom Brady hasn't won a Superbowl. Peyton Manning is 1 for 3, and has never not had an all-star cast around him. Joe Montana had the greatest receiver of all time, and hit a Bengals defender right between the numbers, which the defender dropped, but was that close to costing them the game. Elway couldn't win until he had Terrell Davis. The purpose of this article is not to undermine Hall-of-Fame members. They deserve their respect. However, the concept that we have of such ones, I think, is misunderstood sometimes.
Fundamentals are fundamental. Our quarterback next year, needs such. And only then, with pieces around him, can lead to success. No one in this year's draft looks as though they have such. Johnny Manziel is shaping to be the greatest disappointment since Jamarcus Russell. Multiple quarterbacks are shaping to be taken in this first round though, and I can only hope that we won't get caught up in the arms race. Doing so, in my opinion, would be a serious mistake.