Having a franchise quarterback is very important in the National Football League and I will tell you why. The fact is, as you can read here, a bust at drafting a quarterback can ruin an NFL team for years.
In the early years up till the late 1970’s or so the NFL was a running league. Teams won by running the ball and stopping the run on defense. Oh there were notable quarterbacks like Y.A. Tittle, Johnny Unitas Bart Starr and others. But runners like Jim Brown were the stars of pro football.
Then NFL owners got the idea that scoring attracts fans, thus more money for the owner’s pockets. So they changed the pass defense rules that let defenders bump the wide receiver all the way down the field. This was sometimes known as the Mel Blount rule because the Steeler defensive back was devastating to opposing receivers. Later more rule changes were made to keep defenders from hurting a quarterback. These rule changes make it much easier to pass the ball than in the past, thus you need a great quarterback.
These rule changes were made to protect the face of the franchise, the quarterback. A healthy quarterback means more points in games, thus keeping the fans happy. So now a franchise is a must in the NFL. A franchise quarterback is simply a top level player at the position who can put up great passing numbers and win games. But it is more than that, some are tough quarterbacks who stay in games when injured and have the confidence of their teammates. Ben Roethlisberger usually does not have huge passing stats but he was the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and now has two rings to his credit.
Of course teams with a strong defense and a good running game do tend to do well in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens and to a lesser degree the New York Giants have won recent Super Bowls without a franchise quarterback. I know all you Giants fans are rending hair and cussing me right now. I am just not convinced yet that Eli Manning is an elite quarterback.
The top franchise quarterbacks in the NFL are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner, Phillip Rivers, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Arguments can be made for Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Matt Ryan being NFL franchise quarterbacks.
In this Peyton Manning and Tom Brady comparison article I explain why Manning is better than Brady, thus the best quarterback in the NFL. Take Peyton Manning away from the Colts and they are a 500 team if that. That is how important a franchise quarterback is in the NFL.