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Basic Biittner

Monday, October 31, 2011

Musings of an Idle Mind

I think it's time again to show the world just what "trivial" thoughts have been knocking around in my noggin recently. For many years, my friends and relatives have considered me a "Trivial Pursuit" genius of sorts, and want to be on my team if we are playing that game. Truth be told, my "genius" is very limited. If the question is about sports or entertainment, chances are that I may know the answer, no matter how "trivial" it seems to be. However, when it comes to the other subjects - especially science and math questions- forget about it!

At any rate, my mind does tend to pick up on things that others don't notice and - for the most part - could care less about. I, however, take advantage of my current profession, which allows me to share some of these thought - what I like to call "Musings of an Idle Mind" - with you readers from time to time.

This, in case you hadn't guessed it - is one of those times.

Observation # 1 - For many years, the "powers that be" have said that the qualities which are necessary for professional football quarterbacks are a strong arm, quick feet and intelligence. What these people DO NOT want to see in an NFL quarterback is a "runner." That's not the way to play quarterback in the NFL, "they" say. Well, they must not be paying much attention. "Running" quarterbacks have been around for decades in the NFL. Can anyone say "Fran Tarkenton" or "Steve Young?" Both Hall-of-Famers today, despite their not being a stereotypical NFL QB. Both were talented, had quick minds and feet, and were leaders - and winners. Jim McMahon and, in the early years of the league, Bobby Layne, and later Roger Staubach, were not your typical drop-back quarterbacks, either.

Blame Johnny Unitas for the (mis) conception that owners and writers seem to have about what an NFL QB should look like. Outside of a few guys like Unitas, Joe Namath, Dan Marino and Dan Fouts, the "NFL Quarterback" doesn't really look like that - that is, a guy who has limited mobility and always throws from a drop- back position.

Joe Montana could move when he had to, and so could John Elway and Terry Bradshaw. Today, in addition to those I've already mentioned, we have Ben Roethlisberger and, of course, Michael Vick, who have been known to pick up a few yards with their feet as well as their arms.

So, please, stop all the talk about Tim Tebow not being an "NFL Quarterback." No, Tebow doesn't throw a "pretty" pass, and his passing stats never look great. What Tebow does do, like Bobby Layne, Joe Kapp and Jim McMahon before him, is find ways to lead his team to wins, no matter how ugly those wins might be.

The other thing that will hopefully make all this talk of what an NFL quarterback should look like is this simple fact: most NFL QBS come from the college ranks, and guess what? Many of those signal callers did a lot of running in their college days.

Maybe with the success of Michael Vick, Cam Newton and now Tim Tebow, the "image" of a pro quarterback may just be changing.

The criteria for drop-back quarterbacks in the NFL in 2011, by the way, seems to have changed. The QB now must now apparently have a first name of Matt or Matthew. Of the 32 teams in the NFL today, five have starting quarterbacks who meet that criteria: the Texans' Matt Schaub, the Chiefs' Matt Cassel, the Lions' Matthew Stafford, the Falcons' Matt Ryan, and the guy who started it all, Matt Hasselbeck, now with the Tennessee Titans.

And don't forget Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, all of whom are often referred to as "Matt Chless."

Sorry about that. I guess idle thoughts are sometimes best left unspoken (or unwritten, as the case may be).

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner