The Manning Effect

If the Jets-Tebow trade doesn’t go through disregard the paragraph about him.

This past NFL season was dubbed the year of the quarterback by ESPN and they fumigated us with constant next level stats about quarterback play. I just hope that they name the past month either the Offseason of the QB, or The Manning Effect. There is an obsession amongst GMs across the league because they know that they have to find something resembling a franchise quarterback if they want a shot at the title. Think of the GMs as Morpheus and the QB’s as Neo. The quest can only be completed if “The One” is found, but just why is “The One” so important in football?

In order to find the last non “franchise quarterback” that won a title, you’ll have to go back to the 02’-03’ season. That season a Buccaneers team led by QB Brad Johnson defeated the Raiders in Super Bowl 36, but Johnson was nothing more than an overseer of the offense, much like the QB that won a championship two seasons prior.

Trent Dilfer set the blue print for Johnson. In 00-01 the Ravens sported one of the best defenses in the past 25 years. That left Dilfer with the responsibility of capitalizing on short fields and keeping the offense out there long enough to give the defense a breather. Both the 00’ Ravens and 02’ Bucs led the league in total defense, but sadly this may be the last time that a team is led to a championship based on just defense.

Just look at the list of quarterbacks that have won a championship since Dilfer’s led Ravens in 00-01’: Tom Brady, Johnson, Brady (2X), Ben Roethlisburger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Roethlisburger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning.

Out of 12 championships, 10 have been won by what we consider franchise quarterbacks. Combine that fact with the new defensive rules that have basically neutered defenses against the passing game and the need to find a quarterback that is like an epidemic that is spreading faster than the virus in Contagion.

That’s why John Elway jumped at the chance to sign Peyton Manning. He knows that Tim Tebow isn’t a starting quarterback in this league, even if his popularity is something that hasn’t been seen since Hulkamania ruled the 80’s. All along Elway wanted a QB that reminded him of a certain number seven that played for the Broncos. Elway knows what it takes to carry a team to a championship on the field. The first time that he laid eyes on Peyton, Elway knew that he was going to do everything in his power to make sure that Mile High was going to be Manning’s new home. That’s why the front office gave Manning a ridiculous 5 years/$96 mil. contract that is eerily similar to the deal that he had with the Colts. The next closest offer was somewhere around 5 years/$60 mil. That’s $36 million more dollars! Even if Manning’s main goal is to win a championship, who in their right mind would turn down the opportunity to make that amount of money, especially when you’re a 35 year old coming off four neck procedures. I’m clearly chasing the wrong profession.

Remember Peyton made Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark household names among football fans. Look at how fast Wayne faded last season when he had the house Painter and Dan “I’m going to run out of the back of the endzone for a safety” Orlovsky throwing to him. Manning is going to do the same for Demarius Thomas and Eric Decker this season. He is going to turn a chicken shit offense into chicken salad, which is exactly what Tim Tebow couldn’t do.

That’s why it only took a fourth round pick for Denver to pack Tebow’s bags and say see ya! Have fun getting your ass handed to you by Mike Francesa and the NY Post!

It is a very strange publicity stunt by the Jets. No doubt the idea of having the league’s most polarizing player in the world’s biggest media hub was something that Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum just couldn’t pass up. Don’t rule out that the Jets might be incorporating a two QB system this upcoming season. That was the talk surrounding Tebow before he went on his magical run last season, he was seen as an H back or someone who could run a more dangerous wildcat. Who happens to be the Jets offensive coordinator? Tony Sparano, the inventor of the Wildcat offense. Still this is a very curious move by the Jets, who seem to be focusing more on putting asses in the seats instead of putting together a better product for the fans.

The Manning effect not only ran through Indianapolis, Denver and New York, but also hit Washington, and San Francisco along the way.

When the rumors of Manning to the 49ers started rumbling, Alex Smith felt a sense of betrayal and flew down to Miami to listen to what GM Jeff Ireland had to offer. In a desperate attempt to sign a quarterback Smith was rumored to be offered a contract that guaranteed him $8 mil a year and he actually mulled over the idea, that was until Manning announced that he was going to the Broncos. Smith avoided a divorce with the team that drafted him first overall back in 05’ and to top it off he’s getting that $8 mil a year. So basically he used the leverage of the Peyton drama to get about another $6 million guaranteed over a three year span, hopefully he sends a thank you card to good ol’ Peyton after SF moves on past the first round of the playoffs and Miami is trying to figure out what to do with their top 5 draft pick.

For once Dan Snyder actually made a smart decision by not waiting around for the Manning sweepstakes; maybe he knew that he was going to get stood up outside the Cheesecake Factory while waiting for Peyton with a box of chocolates and flowers in hand. Instead Snyder took action and flipped three first round picks and two second rounders with the Rams to move up presumably to grab Robert Griffin the 3rd. I like how the 3rd looks instead of III, can we find a way to get CBS, FOX, ESPN, and NBC to make sure that gets put up on the graphics this year, thanks!

Griffin will end up as a better quarterback than Andrew Luck, he reminds me of a combination of Vick, Brees, with a child like enthusiasm for playing the game sprinkled on top. The Vick part comes from the obvious comparisons between the two (his scrambling and running speed with the ability to throw the ball down the field). The Brees part comes from how his Baylor team rallied around him and believed in what he preached a quality that only few in the league have. To top it off he wore Superman socks, with capes attached! to the Heisman trophy presentation. The price of five draft picks in the first two rounds is well worth it for the dividends that RG3 can provide.

The smartest team in all of this chaos? The Seattle Seahawks. They grabbed Matt Flynn for 3 years with only $10 million dollars guaranteed. Anytime that you can sign someone that won’t hurt your books and has a big upside it has to be considered a win. Still think about it though, $10 million dollars for someone who has only played in two NFL games, one against a good Patriots defense, the other against I wish they were better Lions secondary. The media (cough**Peter King**cough) has played a part in hyping up Flynn to a point where he was the second most sought after offensive free agent and you know what maybe that says all that needs to be said about the NFL right now.

The fact that Matt Flynn got that kind of attention means that ESPN HAS to coin this as either the offseason of the QB or The Manning Effect. Six franchises have changed their course of action in the past month because they know that a Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson like quarterback isn’t going to bring home a Lombardi trophy.

Just sit back and look at the picture of Elway and Manning, can’t you just see Elway offering Manning the red and blue pill?

Follow me on twitter @scottdargis


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