According to Wikipedia, a franchise player is an athlete who is not simply the best player on their team, but a player that the team can build their "franchise" (team) around for the foreseeable future. The misunderstanding that a franchise player is only "the best player on a team" disregards the fact that an inordinately bad team will undoubtedly still employ a player with superior skills, relative to his team. However, such a player could be so bad in comparison to players at large that labeling such a player a franchise player would be inappropriate. It is an elite status, but it is not necessarily a singular position; a large team such as an American football team might have a few franchise players at different positions. The term may be used alongside a particular position name to describe a player, such as a "franchise quarterback".
There seems to be a lot of arguing about the impact of a franchise quarterback and their importance to the team along experts and analysts. Everyone seems to think that a franchise quarterback is necessary to win championships. I agree to a certain extent, but lets not get all caught up in this quarterback mystique. Let’s look at who people argue is the best quarterback in the game. Peyton Manning has been without a doubt the most consistent dynamic quarterback of his generation. Manning however only has won one super bowl in his career.
If you look across the league, the quarterback position is important, but good teams have two things in common; they run the ball and they play good defense. No disrespect to the quarterback position, but teams that have won the Super Bowl has all had very good running attacks in the big game. Look at the one Super Bowl that Manning won. It was a game dominated by Dominic Rhodes. Even when you look at some of the elite quarterbacks that won the championship, they were all matched with some great running backs and a great defense.
Let’s take it back a few more years and look at Brett Favre. Favre in all of his greatness didn’t win but one Super Bowl. One… And he got that one because he had a monster in the backfield in Dorsey Levins and a defense that was led by “the minister” Reggie White.
Some would argue that Tom Brady is the exception, but that would also be a misnomer. The one year that the Patriots were dominant and pass happy, they went undefeated during the regular season, but they got beat in the big game due to their lack of ability to run the ball and control the game after they got a lead.
Naturally there are going to be some exceptions to the rule but it’s interesting to watch teams position themselves to get a franchise quarterback. Watching teams like Chicago mortgage a few picks and players to get a guy like Jay Cutler, or even watching a team like Minnesota deface itself and look desperate to bring in a guy like Brett Favre, you can rest assured that teams would love to have themselves a franchise quarterback. You would think that these teams would have figured out that a good defense and a solid running game is enough to get you close. Then you solidify the passing game. Take a look at the Ravens, Steelers, and Jets. They get close or win it year after year and they do it with defense and running the ball. If you think Ben Roethlisberger is a franchise quarterback, then you are a fool. He just doesn’t hurt his team. They put backups in and still get production because Steeler football is smash mouth football, which means we are going to run, and we are going to play defense.
Others have fallen short as Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub, Donovan McNabb and others considered to be franchise quarterbacks have yet to make it happen. If you look at each of them, with the exception of Rivers, they have struggled in the running game. Unfortunately for Rivers, his best running back couldn’t stay healthy when it mattered most.
Now as the NFL draft rolls around everyone is looking for the next franchise quarterback. There may or may not be one available but there are some players who can make a difference out there. If I was on the clock, those are the guys I would look at first. Especially if a guy like Trent Dilfer can win a Super Bowl.
Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!