If the quarterback position is the most important position in the NFL, why can’t many teams find their field general?

Has the NFL watered down the most important position in football by having 32 teams? Or have the defenses in the league become more sophisticated? Possibly, there simply are not enough athletes that posses the mental and physical abilities needed to perform at this high level of competition?

Joe Montana. Would you want any other quarterback leading your team in the clutch?

Roger Staubach. Roger, the Dodger, made scrambling what it is today. Would there be a place for the Randall Cunninghams and Michael Vicks without him?

Joe Namath. Mr. Guarantee! Is there anyone out there bold enough to guarantee a victory in the biggest game of the year and actually pull it off?

Troy Aikman. A solid leader who didn’t care much for stats, but always did all he could to get his team a win. 3 rings in 4 years – Outstanding!

Dan Marino. Best quarterback to never win a Super Bowl or best quarterback ever, period?

John Elway. Mr. Comeback! After the NFCs 13
year dominance in the Super Bowl from 1985 to 1997, who else would come along and win Back-To-Back Super Bowls for the AFC.

Peyton Manning. Pure passing perfection. Arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game.

Dante Culpepper. No question that this is what all quarterbacks should be! Standing tall at 6’4″ and a solid 260 pounds of speed with a rocket launcher for a throwing arm!

Tom Brady. Ultimate team leader. He always puts his team above all else. Not great statistically, but how many rings does he have? Oh yeah, three!

Terry Bradshaw. Many may argue that the Steelers defense made that team so great or that Swann and Stallworth elevated Bradshaw, but the man lead his team to four Super Bowl Championships.

Of the quarterbacks mentioned above, only Manning, Culpepper and Marino are not Super Bowl champions. Manning and Culpepper still have a chance, but as the talent around them starts to drop off, can they ever hope to win the big one? The rest of the QBs mentioned above are not just Super Bowl Champions, they are Super Bowl MVPs. They all won it at least one time, Brady and Bradshaw are two-time Super Bowl MVPs, and Montana won it an astonishing three times.

Will we ever see quarterbacks like this again? Vick is fun to watch and nobody can question Manning, McNabb and Culpepper’s strong arms, but will they ever lead their team to the promised land ? Will they ever hoist the Lombardi high over their heads?

Let’s take a look at what the NFL has to offer at the QB position in 2005-06.

Of there 32 teams in the NFL, only half really know what they have in their starting quarterback. Of those 18 teams that have a proven starter, only 5 or 6 have Super Star qualities.

In the AFC, you will see New England (Brady), Indianapolis (Manning), Houston (Carr), Tennessee (McNair), and Pittsburgh (Roethlisberger) all with great starting QBs. Is Carr ready to jump into that elite group. I think so, but more because of Andre Johnson, Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford. McNair has had problems staying healthy in Tennessee, but I would want him
starting for me before half the other QBs in the league. Now that teams have had a year to study him, will Roethlisberger be able to prove that last year was not
a fluke?

That leaves Brady and Manning as the two elite QBs in the AFC. No surprise they were the starting QBs in last years AFC Championship game. Can they lead their teams back there again, and will this be the year that Manning is able to finally defeat the Patriots in the playoffs?

The middle tier in the AFC, finds Baltimore (Boller),
Cincinnati (Palmer), Denver (Plummer), Jacksonville (Leftwich), Kansas City (Green), NY Jets (Pennington), and San Diego (Brees) all with a starting quarterback in place. Boller may be a starter now, but for how long? He was not effective last year when called upon to make the crucial play. Does Denver really think Plummer can make a strong push in the playoffs with his erratic play? Palmer still has a couple of years of growing pains and I am not sure Green has fully recovered from the “what might have been had I not gotten hurt in the pre-season of the ’99 season” syndrome. The makings of a huge quarterback controversy is brewing in San Diego. How long will Rivers sit? If Brees fails to produce the same type of numbers from last year, how long before he starts looking over his shoulder?

Of this middle group, Leftwich and Pennington have a shot a becoming stars in the NFL. But I do not believe their teams have the quality behind them to make them super stars.

That leaves Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland and Oakland in the AFC who have questions about who to start at quarterback. Buffalo shipped Bledsoe off to Dallas and now will most likely start 2nd year man J.P. Losman. Did anyone in the Bills organization see him play last year? He really is not going to be the QB they thought they were getting. So they brought in Kelly Holcomb from Cleveland and also carry veteran journey-man Shane Matthews and Torry Woodbury on their roster.

Oakland has to decide what they are doing. The addition of Randy Moss will make a good quarterback great and a great quarterback legendary! The problem is, the Raiders do not have a good quarterback on their roster. Now before I am hated by all of Raider Nation, do you really think that either Collins or an aging Ganon can carry this team? Moss is great, but he cannot work miracles.

Cleveland cleaned house this spring and saw the departures of Jeff Garcia and Kelly Holcomb. Then, they traded away a 4th-round draft pick to Seattle to acquire none other than 12 year veteran, Trent Dilfer. Dilfer will most likely start for the Browns but more by default since the
Browns’ other stable of QBs includes rookies Lang Campbell and Charlie Frye and 1st year man Josh Harris. Good luck to Romeo Crennel who takes on the responsibility of coaching this once proud team.

And finally the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have finally found out what most of us already knew – you cannot replace Dan Marino that easy. Here are the QBs Miami has on their roster, A.J. Feeley – couldn’t help them last year. Sage Rosenfels, who? Rookie Berlin, Brock from
Miami, and the recently acquired Gus Frerotte. Frerotte, seriously? Good luck Mr. Saban and welcome to the NFL!

The NFC is a bit worse off than the AFC is at the QB position. In the NFC, you have three teams with elite quarterbacks. As much as it pains me to say, Philadelphia with McNabb is one of them. You simply cannot question what McNabb has done for the Eagles. Four straight NFC Championship games! However, with T.O. making noise in Philly, will the Eagles repeat as NFC Champs. The other two are Dante Culpepper in Minnesota and Atlanta with Mike Vick.

Vick needs some help at the wide receiver position as Peerless Price was not the receiver Atlanta thought they were getting. Can Dante continue to put up those impressive numbers now that Moss is in Oakland?

The middle tier teams in the NFC are Carolina (Delhomme), Dallas (Bledsoe), Green Bay (Farve), NY Giants (Manning), New Orleans (Brooks), Seattle (Hasselbeck) and St. Louis (Bulger).Bulger, Hasselbeck and Farve all got their teams into the playoffs last year, but they were also the reasons their teams made quick exits from the playoffs. I know there are Packer fans that think Farve should hang ’em up, but do they really want Cal’s Aaron Rodgers to start his first year?

Seattle is in trouble if Hasselbeck goes down, as is Dallas with Bledsoe and the Rams with Bulger. Now that Bledsoe is reunited with Parcells, can he become the gunslinger he once was with the Patriots? Brooks looks like a super star at times but has also looked like a high school rookie as well. Delhomme is a good QB, but he has been helps by some solid running backs.

All I can say about Manning is that he is never going to fill his big brother’s shoes and Eli’s football karma is ruined for his spoiled tantrum he threw when he was selected by the Chargers. Now Rivers gets to learn behind Brees and Eli gets to learn by being knocked around with some brutal sacks and a 55.4 QB rating.

The NFC’s “have nots” include Arizona (Warner), Chicago (Grossman), Detroit (Harrington), San Francisco (Rattay), Tampa Bay (whoever they throw out there), and Washington (Ramsey).

Arizona may be in the best place with Warner, but he took 39 sacks in 10 games last year – OUCH! Not to mention his fumble problems. Some folks started to call losing the ball, a Warner”. Grossman and Harrington are both very inconsistent, and I am sure Mariucci will have a short
leash on Harrington this year.

San Francisco will have a tough time throwing rookie Alex Smith out there, but he could possibly start if he looks better than Rattay in training camp. However it will be a learning year for Smith if he does get to start.

What are the Redskins going to do at QB. They were horrible last year on offense, 30th overall, and that is despite Clinton Portis rushing for 1315 yards. Neither Brunell or Ramsey is the answer, and I am not sure they got a good deal bringing in Santana Moss for Coles.

Oh those Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What is Jon Gruden thinking out there? As of this writing, the Bucs have five QBs on their roster. They are Brian Griese, Akili Smith, rookie Jared Allen, Luke McCown, and Chris Simms. Simms is the likely starter, but the Bucs camp will be interesting
to watch this July and August. If Galloway goes down again, as he has often over the past few seasons, the Bucs quarterbacks will be in trouble, whoever goes out there.

That’s it, as I see it, five maybe six super star quarterbacks. After that it is a toss up.