QB: The Most Important Position In Sports
By Emin Avakian
What is the most important position in all of sports? The quarterback, of course. You didn't even think twice.
But is the NFL's reliance on its signal callers ultimately good or bad for the league's future?
I know what you may be thinking: "How dare a sane person hint at the demise of the country's most popular and most profitable league?" Well, don't kill the messenger. Just last week, Jason Whitlock responded to Mark Cuban's prediction of the decline of the NFL, stating that while he does not agree with Cuban's reasoning behind it, he can fathom the NFL doing itself in with its unapologethic focus on the quarterback position.
Backing up a bit, Cuban told reporters, "I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion. I'm just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."
It's no secret the NFL is, and has been, greedy. What other adjective is there to explain them wanting to televise a game every night of the week and expand the regular season to 18 games? On the flipside, they're greedy because the demand is there. Moreover, an implosion in 10 years seems unlikely given the league is as popular as ever.
Days after Cuban made the comments, he appeared on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption," with Whitlock filling in for Michael Wilbon as a guest host. Whitlock said he could see the NFL declining, but not due to the expansion of the television package or for business reasons; rather, Whitlock attributed the potential demise to the unrealistic reliance on star quarterbacks.
Is it breaking news that a football team needs a solid quarterback, no matter the level (pop warner, high school, college or professional)? No, you'd be hard-pressed to find a winning team overcome subpar play at the quarterback position.
Look, I don't know if the NFL is going to implode in 10 years (if ever), and I'm definitely not going to predict anything of the sort. I will, however, go with Whitlock and argue that the NFL is on its way to alienating players who are not quarterbacks. In turn, I do wonder if today's youth feel it's worth the time to train as anything other than a quarterback.
The league doesn't hide it either. We're a couple of seasons away from quarterbacks wearing red on Sundays and not just in practice sessions. Where does that leave pass rushers? Should the Houston Texans bother drafting Jadaveon Clowney, knowing that it's 15 yards the other way if the referees deem he hit poor ol' Andrew Luck a little too hard? Why are the Darrelle Revis' of the world highly paid when quarterbacks and receivers are playing catch with little resistance? Moreover, why pay an Eric Decker millions of dollars when he's expendable and just as effective as Joe Hands? After all, Manning has all the time in the world and defensive backs are to let receivers roam freely.
If quarterbacks are not to be touched, then why have a running game? It's no wonder that all 32 teams employ pass-heavy offenses. Can any of you name a coveted running back in this upcoming draft?
I get it, quarterbacks win games. The Super Bowl MVP award has been given to a quarterback 26 times in 48 years, including six of the last eight.
Quarterbacks sell jerseys, star in commercials and are the face of the league. Peyton Manning and a bunch of nobodies trumps a no-name at quarterback leading hall of famers around him, every day and three times on Sunday ::cut to CBS, FOX and NBC nodding their heads::
Again, the NFL is in a good place, and unless Roger Goodell tries to fix something that isn't broken, it's probably not going to be challenged for the No. 1 spot. But don't be surprised when the love for quarterbacks backfires and results in the backlash against the quarterback.