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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Sports and Society: Somebody find me a quarterback

Is NFL quarterbacking really this hard? I mean, is it ‘only half-a-dozen people on earth  can do it’ hard?

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I simply do not believe NFL quarterbacking is this hard.

According to my highly-sophisticated data collection system known as recency bias, week six of the 2023 NFL season was the worst single week of quarterback play ever. I have never seen more game-killing interceptions, more ill-advised throws and more boneheaded decisions than I did this past week, and I’m staging an intervention.

As far as I can tell, the quarterback is the single most important position in all of sports. During my research for this piece, I parsed through all 68 sports listed on Wikipedia as “Team Sports,” and of the ones that have players play simultaneously — disqualifying sports like bowling and relay races — no one player comes close to the importance of the football quarterback.

And so there is simply no way that the multi-billion dollar industry known as the National Football League parsed through hours and hours of college film, pre-draft measurements and innate physical skills and decided that these are the 32 people best equipped to do this job in the entire world.

During week six, I counted one “wow” performance and two passable performances. The rest ranged from extremely ‘whatever’ to downright offensive. Jared Goff put out the single actually good showing, while Tua Tagovailoa and Dak Prescott were totally fine. But everyone else kind of or totally, unequivocally sucked.

There were a ludicrous number of interceptions thrown this week, but the numbers do not bother me so much as how awful some of them were. Several quarterbacks are routinely throwing interceptions directly to defenders, almost like they were blended into the grass. Pocket awareness is at an all-time low and taking moronic sacks seems to be the new hot trend.

After watching Jordan Love stare at a route for four whole seconds and zip it perfectly to the other team, my friend texted me that it was like he pressed the wrong button while playing Madden. After watching Mac Jones play for my beloved New England Patriots for six weeks, I’m not sure the Xbox controller is even working.

I do not have an explanation for why quarterbacks look so bad. Maybe play calling has gotten too cute. Maybe everyone wants a superhero under center and they’re trying to do too much. Maybe I’m just reading the room wrong, but there’s got to be a better way.

The NFL should be investing trillions in this problem. Develop some novel training approach. Identify guys at birth or before that. Replace quarterbacks with robots. I’m open to whatever, but I refuse to believe there are only, like, eight people on earth who are good at this. I simply refuse.