Pro Football as we know it, and I sure hope that we get to know it again soon, has always been driven by the quarterbacks. The modern era of football, starting from the 1960s for the most part, has been lifted by quarterbacks. Many people view football as America’s game. It is uniquely American.
Pro Football in the 1930s,1940s and 1950s was a good game but not the exciting game that it is today. The metamorphosis of this great game happen in the 1960s.
Quarterbacks became the stars of the game then, and they still are today. QBs in the 1960s started to throw the ball alot, many times deep, and the bomb in football became common. The deep throw became the most exciting play in all of football. It still is today.
The era of the QBs in pro football really took off in the 60s and 70s and 80s and still exists in 2020. Why do QBs carry the ball, pun intended, in that fashion in pro football? Why are they stars? The really good ones are stars because they play the game with a swagger. They are like pirates or gunslingers riding into town to take over every Sunday. Men who watch pro football many times dream of being a pro QB. Women very often like to watch them because they are the center of attention, the center of all the excitement.
There is a Pro Football Hall of Fame but many times I think they get the QB position wrong. They too often just look at stats or if they have ever won a Super Bowl. To me there is another way to evaluate quarterbacks and that is excitement. What QB would you pay to watch play? What QB would you watch every time they are on TV? What QB is daring, willing to take risks, throw deep, show no fear, never back down? Those are the QBs that football fans like to watch. So I propose seven QBs for you that I think fit the aforementioned attributes. I call them my Magnificent Seven. I don’t care if they are in the Hall of Fame or not or if they have ever won a Super Bowl. They are in no particular order, just my Magnificent Seven.
He was the first real rock star QB and he put butts in the seats. “Broadway” Joe played the game with a bravado that is unmatched even today. He threw deep often, wore the white shoes, (unheard of), had long hair and he was the first. Still today in his 70s he draws crowds and excitement wherever he goes. He also won the most important Super Bowl ever played, Super Bowl lll.
Doug is the smallest QB of the modern era of pro football. At 5-9,5-10 Flutie was a human dynamo on the football field. He was a creator. He was unpredictable. He was a visionary with a football. You watched him every second because you just never knew what he would do on the field.
Fouts may have quarterbacked one of the greatest offenses in the history of pro football with the San Diego Chargers. Fouts was fearless in football. He would throw the ball on every down if he had to. It was an air attack unparalleled in pro football.
Joe ‘Cool’ Montana was unflappable. He was so cool in the pocket. He never appeared to be nervous or to worry. Joe always played the game with a style. He was so smooth, so fluid he played the QB position with an attitude that he would never lose. And Joe did not lose very often. Joe Cool won four Super Bowls.
Brian was a surfer from San Diego. He was a very low draft pick for the Cleveland Browns. No one thought Brian would be much of a QB in Cleveland. But Sipe had other ideas. He became the all time leading passer in the history of the Browns. In 1980 he was named the most valuable player in all of pro football.
Brian led the Cardiac Kids in Cleveland and it seemed like they won all of their games in the last minute. They were incredibly fun to watch.
Doug was a top draft choice of Tampa Bay and had success there, but not enough success. Doug was traded to Washington. What he did in Washington changed all of pro football. He became the first African American QB to win a Super Bowl.
He kicked in the door so that black QBs in the future would get the opportunity to lead a team in the NFL. Doug, because of his toughness, leadership and skill, changed the game forever.
Ken “The Snake” Stabler was a left handed QB that was so very accurate throwing the football. Ken seemed at times to be able to throw a football through the eye of a needle. He was an incredible leader and took his Raiders to a Super Bowl.
These seven QBs are not all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but in my mind they should be. They made pro football fun, they made it exciting! When they were quarterbacking you had to watch to see what they would do next.
They were all rock stars , gunslingers, and lead singers in the band.
Who are your Magnificent Seven QBs ?
Tom Cole is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Taylor Automotive Family and teaches broadcasting at St. John’s Jesuit and Adrian College