The Forgotten Quarterback

Quarterback is such a polarizing position. It is the position most talked about in football. It is the position that is most scrutinized.  If you are successful it brings about fame and fortune. 20 out of the 25 highest paid players in the NFL are quarterbacks. Quarterbacks are considered the “Face of the Franchise”. We go out and buy their jerseys. They end up on video game covers. We turn on our televisions and they are all over our commercials. Endorsement deals are not hard to find for a NFL quarterback who is successful.

There are four different tiers of quarterbacks in my opinion. The first tier are the elite quarterbacks which are the top five or six in the NFL. This group is the group that can get a team to a Super Bowl or are MVP’s. Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethisburger and Cam Newton are the names that come to mind.

Then there is the second tier of the next five to ten who have the ability to be pro bowlers or have consistently done great in the NFL. Quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Andy Dalton to name a few. The third tier is the quarterbacks who have shown great flashes but struggle with consistency such as, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan or Carson Palmer. The last tier is the players fighting to keep their job year in and year out.

(Ben Liebenberg via AP)

(Ben Liebenberg via AP)

Finding a quarterback is no easy task. Every year teams draft quarterbacks in the first and second round hoping he can be their savior. They hope he can be the franchise quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years. A lot of them turn out as busts but every once in a while there is a guy who lives up to or exceeds the expectations and becomes a franchise quarterback.

There is one quarterback that comes to mind that is hard to place in one of the four tiers of NFL quarterbacks. It is hard to place him because he is young. The thing that bothers me is that even though we can’t place him into one of the tiers so easily and even though he is young, he is a franchise quarterback. I consider him to be sometimes overlooked or forgotten. I consider him to even be disrespected at times, but he may be close to winning a Super Bowl within the next three years.

Who is the quarterback I am speaking of and why is he so overlooked? Why is he forgotten at times? How is he disrespected?

It is because he doesn’t have the flash. He isn’t loud and in your face. He fails to boast about his accomplishments and stays extremely humble. Sometimes you even forget he’s the starting quarterback of a team that will be defending a division championship this season. They call him a game manager, but he is better than you or anyone else cares to admit or realize. This season will be his third, and only second season as a starter. You forget about him because of the market he plays in.

You forget because he’s so quiet and reserved. He is forgotten because he goes about his business without telling the world of his every move. In this day and age with Twitter, Instagram and every other social media outlet, that is just unheard of. He doesn’t care to post all the time talking about “the grind” or how much work he is putting in to get better. He just does it. You forget because at his young age his stats don’t say 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns yet. But they will, because he plays a game similar to one of the all time greats. Who is this under appreciated, overlooked and sometimes disrespected quarterback?

His name is Teddy Bridgewater.

Teddy is only 23 years old and has gained valuable experience as a NFL quarterback. You may be asking yourself why are am I focusing on a quarterback that is only in his third year? How can he be forgotten already? I am focusing on him because Teddy deserves recognition and respect. He is under appreciated and disrespected by football fans outside of Minnesota.

What kind of things come to mind when you hear the name Teddy Bridgewater? I usually hear things like game manager or he doesn’t throw a good deep ball. All he does is throw to his check downs. He only dinks and dumps. His touchdown numbers are too low. This is all disrespectful and somewhat untrue. I would rather hear the truth about Teddy.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The truth is, he makes great decisions for a 23 year old quarterback. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He only threw nine interceptions and committed three fumbles last season. Teddy takes what the defense gives him. If you watch Teddy Bridgewater play you can’t help but realize how closely his game resembles the greatest quarterback of all time. Tom Brady.

Calm down. I am in no way saying Teddy is on Brady’s level or will be as good as him. All I am saying is that the way they play the game is extremely similar. As Teddy continues to develop he will show the similarities more and more. There is a reason Adrian Peterson was quoted saying, “He reminds me of a Tom Brady because Tom Brady is great at those mediocre passes. Those short passes and midrange passes and that’s exactly what Teddy does as well. He’s the type of guy that needs the receiver that runs routes and that’s at a specific location that you’re practicing.”

If you sit down and take the time to watch the two quarterbacks play you will notice their similarities. Eye tests can tell a lot and my eyes show me that Teddy Bridgewater can be great. If you look at his career statistics you will notice it as well. Teddy has a career completion percentage of 64.9 percent. He has an average per attempted pass of 7.2 yards. Compare that to Tom Brady who has career completion percentage of 63.6 percent and an average per attempted pass of 7.4 yards. Those numbers are very smiliar, almost identical, yet Teddy gets no respect. I understand that Tom Brady has won four Super Bowls and has been around much longer than Teddy.

One of the most important things Teddy does is win. In his first 28 career starts he is 17-11. Last year was only his second season and first year he was the starter for all 16 games. He led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a division title. It may not be pretty or flashy. Teddy may not put up the best fantasy numbers in the NFL, but he is on his way to greatness. Lately we have been losing legends like Peyton Manning to retirement. Soon we will lose Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. Teddy will be one of the quarterbacks to help with that transition. You may not see it now, but Teddy will be one of the faces of the NFL in the coming years.

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