A franchise quarterback: it must be nice to have one.

A franchise quarterback: it must be nice to have one.
September 30
15:42 2021

I have loved the game of football since I was young and as I grew older, I realized the quarterback position is the hardest position in sports at which to excel. There are so many factors that go into becoming a franchise quarterback and very few people have those attributes. So for fans of teams that have one, you should feel very lucky.

As you know, I am a fan of the Washington Football Team (WFT) and needless to say, we have not had a franchise quarterback in quite some time. Since I have become a knowledgeable fan of the game, my team has not had a franchise quarterback and that is a 30-year timeframe.

Prior to my becoming a fan, there were several quarterbacks that wore the burgundy and gold that were very good quarterbacks. Sammy Baugh, Joe Theismann, Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer and Doug Williams immediately come to mind. But if we are being honest, none of those names are mentioned among the best of the best and that’s where my frustrations lie.

I am not asking my team to get a Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino or a John Elway-caliber quarterback because they don’t come along that often. But is it too much to ask for my team to get someone the level of maybe Philip Rivers, Steve McNair or even Matt Ryan? It just seems that the WFT has whiffed on all of their quarterback selections over the past 25 seasons.

The WFT isn’t the only franchise that has dealt with this problem, either. Teams like the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears have all had quality teams over the years, but the lack of a franchise quarterback has prohibited them from getting over the hump.

It really does deflate a fanbase when you feel that you have all the requisite pieces of a championship-contending team, except for the most important position in professional sports – the quarterback position.  

A franchise quarterback can make up for many deficiencies that a team may have. And you know if you have the ball last, there is a great chance of you winning a close game. A great example of that would be Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. While the Seahawks had a great defense his first couple of years, many of their cornerstone members of that defense either retired or went to other teams. As the years passed, the defense could no longer carry the team to victory and it was up to Wilson to pick up the slack.

Wilson did more than pick up the slack for Seattle. He has pretty much carried the team over the last five or six years. In fact, thus far he has never had a losing season in his 10-year career. The fact that Wilson is under center gives Seahawk fans confidence that their team will be fighting for a playoff spot every year.

The WFT last won the Super Bowl in 1991 and the starting quarterback for that team was Mark Rypien. Rypien was by no means a hall-of-fame-caliber player; if I’m being honest, he wasn’t even a perennial pro bowler. He really caught lightning in a bottle and led one of the best Super Bowl winning teams of all time.

Since Rypien, some of the players that have been the starting quarterback for Washington have been names like Heath Shuler, Gus Frerotte, Trent Green, John Friesz, Tony Banks, Patrick Ramsey, Rex Grossman, Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck, Todd Collins, John Beck, Josh Johnson and Case Keenum.  

None of these players are household names and most are only recognizable to diehard football fans. The WFT has spent a lot of draft capital on quarterbacks over the last 30 years and almost none of them have panned out to at least be serviceable signal callers.  

Every Washington fan remembers how we gave away three first round draft picks to the Rams in 2012 to move up and draft Robert Griffin III out of Baylor University with the second overall pick. The first year, it seemed like we made the right choice by giving away all of those draft picks because Griffin led us to the playoffs as a rookie.

Everything went downhill when Griffin was injured late in the season against the Baltimore Ravens and was hurt once again during the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. He was never the same player after that and is now out of the NFL all together.

I get jealous as a fan when I look at a team like the Green Bay Packers. Since 1992, the Packers have pretty much had either Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers under center as their quarterback. That is almost 30 years of top tier quarterback play. The Packers only had two Super Bowl trophies during that span, but they have only missed the playoffs eight times since 1992.  It has to be a great feeling to know that you’re going to be in hunt for a playoff spot every season.

The same thing can be said for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers went from Joe Montana to Steve Young, two hall of fame and Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. From 1981 to 1998, the 49ers enjoyed watching two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. During that span, the Niners won five Super Bowls and were always in the hunt nearly each and every year of that run.

Over the last 20 years or so, the Miami Dolphins have been attempting to find the heir apparent to legendary quarterback Dan Marino. They have tried through the draft and free agency just like the WFT, but they have pretty much come up empty, just like us. There are other teams like the Browns who have used numerous first round picks on quarterbacks like Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel and Baker Mayfield; all since 1999.

So, for the fans of teams right now that have a franchise quarterback, enjoy it, because some of us fans out here would love to be in your shoes right about now. Selecting a quarterback is really a crapshoot, because no one really knows how a player will pan out on the next level. 

It would just be nice in my lifetime to watch my team play with one of the top five or six quarterbacks under center.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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