Not wanting to miss out on the chance to get some “bracket”-based consumer marketing/fan interaction, this week the NFL asked its fans to vote for the “Greatest Quarterback of All Time.” Instead of raw votes, fans can chose a quarterback from four different eras and the tally will send the top vote-getters through the bracket ladders towards football immorality.
With my #2 pencil at the ready to mark my ballot, I quickly noticed that Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo was not on the list. That made sense to me, at first glance, as Romo, despite having put up Hall of Fame numbers over his career, has not enjoyed the post-season success of the other quarterbacks.
Then, I looked closer at the list. The “Baby Boomers” bracket is populated by the greats of the game, including legendary Cowboy’s quarterback Roger Staubach. The “Generation X” bracket includes some other legends of the game, but also a few quarterbacks that enjoyed limited success in the postseason – Warren Moon (3-7 in the postseason), Dan Fouts (3-4), and Boomer Esiason (3-2). The “Millennials” bracket, featuring Troy Aikman, follows suit with a couple of very good players with postseason woes – Rich Gannon (4-3) and Steve McNair (5-5).
The final “Right Now” bracket is where the real head shaking really began. Romo’s stratospheric numbers (29,565 yards, 208 TDs, QB rating 95.8) failed to put him on the list, but NFL fans can now vote for Phillip Rivers (4-5) or 3rd-year Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as the “Greatest QB of All Time.”
Let us pretend, for a moment, that this is more than a marketing-ploy/popularity contest to determine who really is the best quarterback to ever play the game. How did the NFL populate their brackets? It obviously was not based on number of Super Bowl rings, quarterback ratings, career longevity, or simple wins/losses.
So, I stepped back. Stopped being analytical, and accepted that this bracket-thingy was what I suspected when I first saw the Eli Manning’s photo on the email next to the words “Who is the greatest quarterback of all time?” – NFL marketing.
Having realized that, I wish the bracket had been done differently.
Do I think that Tony Romo is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time? No. Of course not. However, despite the obvious non-scientific approach to creating this list, I think his name should have been in that “Right Now” bracket. I know that I would have rather had #9 leading a huddle than many of the names on the list.