Can you win the Super Bowl without a top 6 or 7 quarterback? It’s a debate that’s been transpiring on local sports radio for about a year now. The question has played out to perfection in the Divisional Round of the playoffs this year. With the rule changes in the NFL catering to offenses I was inclined to take the better QB in every game. Having the franchise QB means there is no deficit is too big to overcome and that one guy can single handedly win you the game. Being from around here and watching Tom Brady I know that having the right guy throwing the ball can mask almost every other deficiency on your team. Going back to Brady’s first win in a Super Bowl there hasn’t been a team to win the Super Bowl that didn’t have a top 5 QB (except Brad Johnson in 2002).
Yesterday you had Peyton Manning who is an elite QB and got you to the number one seed when you were nothing more than a wild card last year with the same exact team. On a scale of great QB’s in the NFL Manning would surely be up there and is definitely going to the Hall Of Fame when he hangs up the cleats. Just the addition of him alone got you from 8-8 to 13-3. On the other end of the spectrum you had a team in the Ravens led by the defense mostly and a QB that is not a top 10 guy. It truly was an example of QB verses the balanced team and for all of us that thought you needed the franchise QB to win in the playoffs we were stunned. The Ravens were balanced with a run-first approach, great defense and took their shots down field when they needed to.
In the next game you had Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers who is a top 3 QB and won the Super Bowl a couple years ago going up against the 49ers. On paper the 49ers have a much more balanced team being better on defense, special teams, running game and coaching, but the Packers have the stud at throwing the ball and the 49ers have the rookie QB. Once again the balanced team prevailed seemingly shutting the door on the debate.
I will be the first to admit I believed you needed that guy and if it came down to it I would pick the better QB in any game, but it seems that the flags come out less in the playoffs and defenses can actually shut down great QB’s. Today is another pretty good example of this debate. The Falcons, with Matty Ice (who is a top 6 guy) verse the Seahawks and The Patriots, with Tom Brady verse the Texans. If it goes anything like yesterday’s games the Pats might actually be in trouble. There is one slight difference and that is that I don’t think the Texans running game is better than ours which gives us the complete edge on offense. Today is going to be another amazing day of football and another day the debate rages on; Would you rather have the elite QB or the more balanced team?