QB or Bust



Three weeks ago I was helping the marketing department promote the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the tailgate before the Cleveland Browns home game against the Miami Dolphins. I always find it interesting to see what fans wear to the games. Some causal fans just have on a Browns t-shirt or hat, while other diehard fans are decked out from head to toe in Browns apparel. Of course, like at most National Football League games, the most popular and visible item being worn was the football jersey. What amazes me is not that I saw a lot of Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis jerseys, but that I saw jerseys with the names of Couch, Frye, Garcia, Anderson, and Quinn. It was a who's who of forgettable quarterbacks.

It made me think about how important it is for a NFL team to find its franchise quarterback. It is hard to believe but since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, they have started 16 different quarterbacks. The results of the quarterback position being in constant flux may be a major reason why the Browns have only made it to the playoffs once since '99.

Tim Couch Charlie Frye
Ty Detmer Derek Anderson
Doug Pederson Brady Quinn
Spergon Wynn Ken Dorsey
Kelly Holcomb Bruce Gradkowski
Jeff Garcia Jake Delhomme
Luke McCown Seneca Wallace
Trent Dilfer Colt McCoy

Likewise, the Dolphins have been struggling to find a quarterback "savior" since Hall of Famer Dan Marino retired at the end of the 1999 season. Since 2000, the Dolphins have started 16 different quarterbacks. During Marino's 17 years with the Dolphins the team made the playoffs 10 times. While counting the 2011 season (since the Dolphins started out so poorly), the Dolphins will have only made it to the postseason three times in the 12 seasons since Marino's retirement.

Jay Fiedler Daunte Culpepper
Damon Huard Cleo Lemon
Ray Lucas Trent Green
Brian Griese John Beck
AJ Feeley Chad Henne
Sage Rosenfels Chad Pennington
Gus Frerotte Tyler Thigpen
Joey Harrington Matt Moore

Every April, teams are praying, hoping, wishing to find their franchise quarterback at the NFL draft. Sometimes teams have to make a tough decision and end up getting lucky by selecting the right quarterback.

Quarterbacks can make or break not only entire seasons but entire decades for teams. During the last three drafts, potential franchise quarterbacks have been drafted by teams who have been struggling in recent years, Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions (2009), Sam Bradford with the St. Louis Rams (2010), and Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers (2011). All are considered potential franchise quarterbacks. All shown flashes of brilliance. Stafford lead the Lions to a 5-0 start this year for the first time since 1956. Bradford was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. Newton started off his career with back-to-back 400-yard passing games.

I'm not sure who will be the next Dan Marino, but if you were going to visit our online store and buy one jersey, who would it be – Stafford, Bradford, or Newton? You can let me know by purchasing the jersey or simply adding a comment to this blog.

In the meantime, we can all be thankful the fad of "zubaz pants" is long gone. That's right, you won't find them in our Hall of Fame store but you can in this video found on YouTube.

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