A few days ago, my fellow YouTube sports enthusiasts/NFL prognosticators and I had a twitter war over this subject–Is Russell Wilson an elite quarterback? It was a battle that lasted an hour with nobody leaving the battle satisfied with the outcome or proof that they are right (sorry Football Guru, you didn’t prove your point). I come to find out that everybody has their own definition of an ELITE quarterback and qualifications to be as such. There’s one thing I know, the word ELITE has been thrown around loosely and sports fans get caught up in the moment too much when they go and tag a player as ELITE.
The quarterback position is the most important position on the field; he is 70% of the game. Championship-caliber teams are built with the quarterback as the main focus on both offense and defense. You have pass rushers that can get to the QB and knock him down, an offensive line to keep the pass rushers from the QB, wide receivers who are on the same page with the QB to catch his passes and you need a secondary who can knock down the passes from the QB.
I’ve heard everything when it comes to the specifications of an elite quarterback. Sports fans say the elite has to put up enormous numbers when it comes to passing yards and touchdowns, the elite has to have Super Bowl notches in their belt and they have to show the clutch gene in big games in the months of January and February. These requirements are “must-haves” to separate them from good quarterbacks.
You can win a Super Bowl with good quarterback that knows how to manage the game, limit the turnovers and let the star players and other phases of the game take over. I believe elite quarterbacks are winners; they are the ones that want the football in their hands and carry the team when they need to and make the big plays and be consistent in doing so. Dynasties are made with elite quarterbacks and when their careers are done, they are on a one way trip to Canton, Ohio–the football Hall of Fame.
Currently, there’s four quarterbacks in the NFL that everyone considers elite. They are Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Quarterbacks who are borderline elite are Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The quarterback who has jumped on the hyper drive escalator and moving fast towards the elite status is Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. What this young man has done within the three years he has been in the NFL is amazing. He has led the Seahawks deep into the postseason since becoming the starter and won a Super Bowl ring last season by beating an elite QB in Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos convincingly; now he’s on his way to fitting another championship ring on a finger when he goes up against another elite QB in Tom Brady next week in Super Bowl XLIX.
I can see how it can be easy to tag him with an ELITE status right now for what he has accomplished, but he has been in the league for only three years. He has to have a substantial body of work where he continues to show this winning characteristic continually for me to tag him as elite. Let’s remember, Peyton’s brother Eli Manning beat Tom Brady twice in Super Bowls and people were quick to add on the “te” at the end of his name; and this was the same quarterback who led the league in interceptions more than once during his career. So let’s slow down and see what Wilson can do in the next two to three years. I’m not saying he’s not in the talks, but I just can’t tag him right now.
So what is your definition of an elite quarterback and who fits that mold in today’s NFL? It is interesting the kind of debate you will spark by bringing those two questions up in a conversation; just make sure you have the time and patience.