There are a lot of things that get sports fans riled up, but there isn’t anything that can ruin a Green Bay Packers fan’s day faster than scrolling through their Twitter feed, clicking on an article that ranks the Top 10 Quarterbacks in the NFL Right Now, only to find that Aaron Rodgers is behind Tom Brady and Russell Wilson in this particular author’s piece. It doesn’t matter what kind of case the author lays out as to why Rodgers isn’t the best quarterback in the NFL, it’s going to cause a lot of Packer fans’ blood to boil.
That’s just how sports fandom works.
Sports fans love to argue; Packers’ fans love to tell you why Rodgers is actually the best quarterback in the NFL, and why Wilson is actually overrated. None of these arguments or discussions ever end with one side admitting defeat and siding with the other. Both sides just get exhausted arguing in the comments section or finally come to the realization that arguing about quarterback rankings at a wake might not be the right forum to discuss such arbitrary things.
But it’s still fun, because sports are fun and ranking quarterbacks, point guards, all-time teams, etc. is just something sports fans are constantly debating. It’s addictive, really. Researching why Wilson is actually better than Rodgers to help your case is almost as fun as watching Wilson shred the San Francisco 49ers’ defense on Sundays. Almost.
But the human mind is programmed to focus on the negative, so we like to watch videos of Christian Hackenberg nailing unsuspecting reporters with errant passes rather than a perfect bomb to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the red zone. (The New York Jets are not taking in 2017, remember.) Nothing brings opposing fan bases together than a mutual hatred of the New England Patriots. Two negatives do make a positive, mind you.
Below are five quarterbacks who aren’t the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, but, depending on who you read or listen to, have been considered anywhere from the fifth-best quarterback in the NFL to the twenty-sixth quarterback in the NFL. At times, they’ve been overrated, others underrated.
Here is why the following five quarterbacks are on my short-list for Most Overrated heading into the 2017-18 NFL season.
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott’s rookie season was a hodgepodge between what Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson were able to pull off in their rookie seasons. They found themselves in the perfect situation that would be conducive to long-term success. In Year 1, they looked as though they had been there before. (Remember: Wilson took down the Patriots as a rookie in Week 6 and Big Ben went 15-1.) That’s good company to be in, sure, and yet I don’t feel as good about Prescott as I did about Roethlisberger and Wilson years ago.
The hype train took off long ago for Prescott, but have we gone too far? Would you really take him over 20 other NFL starting quarterbacks? I wouldn’t. Jameis Winston? Cam Newton? Kirk Cousins? The list goes on. Prescott may very well become a top-10 quarterback in this League, but he’s not there yet. Teams have had a full offseason to prepare for Year 2 of the Prescott Experience. What if he’s just a slightly, above-average game manager for the Cowboys for the next 10 years? Would that really be all that shocking? Will he ever be better than Tony Romo at his peak?
There are more questions than answers right now for Prescott, and, because of the Cowboys surprising success last season, he’s already, perhaps unfairly, found himself in the overrated category.
4. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
This hurts me as a lifelong Carson Palmer Defender. Like Jay Cutler, I have always felt that Palmer has been a victim of circumstance. You place him on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last 10 years, he probably has a ring or two. But the Carson Palmer of 2015 is gone, and he’s probably not coming back.
There may be nothing more damning than the Arizona Cardinals projected win total out of Vegas: 7.5 wins in 2017. A Kurt Warner Send-Off isn’t coming, and that’s a shame.
But I get it. Palmer’s 2015 season is tough to let go, especially for his many apologists. He was a real MVP candidate, but he’s not anymore. The Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs last year, and it wasn’t because Ryan Lindley was under center late in the season. As long as Palmer plays in Bruce Arian’s system, some fans will hold out hope that the Screw It I’m Going Deep strategy will lead to one final, magical run for the Desert Birds.
Don’t count on it.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
This is kind of cheating, but as the author of this piece, I’ll allow it. Garoppolo, who has started two games in his professional career, went undefeated. He had a 4:00 TD-to-INT ratio. In two games, Garoppolo had the look of a Tom Brady back-up who wouldn’t set your franchise back for years. He looked like someone who could be a franchise quarterback on another team. And it was just two games.
The Cleveland Browns were reportedly willing to open up their treasure chest of assets — but still have thirty-six draft picks in 2018 and 2019 — and the Patriots didn’t budge. Perhaps they really do see him as Brady’s heir, or maybe, like the Browns, teams have fallen a little too in love with a mid-round quarterback who has started two games in his career on a Super Bowl-winning team. Garoppolo may be less Matt Cassel and more Steve Young, but it’s too early to call. He is quite handsome, though.
2. Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions
Stafford and the Lions had an incredible 2016 NFL regular season. They overachieved, made the playoffs, and did it all without future hall-of-famer Calvin Johnson. They also went 0-5 against other playoff teams.
It was a bizarre year for a multitude of reasons, but the one consistent was Stafford’s Post-Calvin play. For years, he was killed for constantly targeting one of the greatest wide receivers of all-time, but he had his best year without him.
But should we expect lightning to strike twice? That’s the expectation. But it’s easy to forget that Stafford had a better QB Rating in 2015 than 2016. That he threw 41 touchdowns to 16 interceptions in 2011. He’s always been solid, he just didn’t have his favorite weapon last season, and it shifted the narrative on Stafford, in his favor. The Post-Calvin bump was real, I just don’t expect it to last.
1. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill might be the most-interesting case overall. In recent history, Dolphins’ fans have dealt with more Jay Fiedler-types than Dan Marino-types. The Chad Era (Pennington and Henne) wasn’t that long ago. Tannehill falls somewhere in the middle. He’s probably not going in the Dolphins’ Ring of Honor, but he’s not getting his jersey burned, either. He’s complicated.
With Adam Gase in the fold, Tannehill had a career resurgence before going down with a season-ending injury in 2016. His coach clearly believes in him, but was Tannehill’s success in 2016 more of a Gase Effect than anything else? It’s a little of both, as Tannehill had the best completion percentage (67 percent) and QB Rating (93.5) of his career last season.
He’s also 28-years-old. Is that who fans should come to expect from Tannehill going forward? Less touchdown passes, but more efficient play? He was much-improved for the Dolphins last year, but, like Stafford, he’s had similar years and there are a copious amount of quarterbacks you’d still rather have under center than them. So can we settle down on the MVP Dark Horse talk, please?