For Pete's Sake

By: Pete Fierle

Pete Fierle, Manager - Digital Media/Communications
Pete's familiarity with the game's history is a result of spending two decades surrounded by the world's largest collection of pro football information. His many duties include overseeing the Hall's website as well as the day-to-day operation of the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.

Future HOFers?

Apr 05, 2012

A new "For Pete's Sake" blog appears each Thursday on

I don’t regard myself as a draftnik but I do recognize the NFL’s annual player draft as somewhat of a national holiday. You can be assured that I’ll be armed and ready on April 26 (and again on the 27th and 28th) with any combination of my television, iPhone, and laptop as I follow the pick-by-pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Draft experts have for the most part told us all that the top two picks of this year’s draft will be Andrew Luck going to the Indianapolis Colts and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III landing with the Washington Redskins.

Assuming that plays out as planned, it would mark just the fifth time since in modern draft history (since 1967) that quarterbacks have been the top two selections of the draft. The last time this occurred came in 1999. Here’s a look at the four drafts in which a passer has gone 1 and 2. I think you’ll agree that the crop from 1971 combined for the finest collective careers.

1. Cleveland Browns – Tim Couch, Kentucky
2. Philadelphia Eagles – Donovan McNabb, Syracuse
3. Cincinnati Bengals – Akili Smith, QB, Oregon

1. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning, Tennessee
2. San Diego Chargers – Ryan Leaf, Washington State

1. New England Patriots – Drew Bledsoe, Washington State
2. Seattle Seahawks – Rick Mirer, Notre Dame

1. Boston Patriots – Jim Plunkett, Stanford
2. New Orleans Saints – Archie Manning, Mississippi
3. Houston Oilers – Dan Pastorini, Santa Clara

And, of course, I have to put a Hall of Fame angle to this blog. There are 23 modern-era quarterbacks enshrined in Canton. Eleven of those passers were selected in the first round (not including Steve Young who went first overall in the 1984 supplemental draft). Only three (Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, and Troy Aikman) of the 11 were picked among the top two slots of the draft. In fact, the three were among the select group of just 13 enshrinees who were first overall picks.

But, before we talk about a Hall of Fame career, I suppose we should wait and let Luck and Griffin get drafted into the NFL first. Enjoy the “holiday” season.