It’s that time of year again, when fans of struggling NFL teams all collectively forget that offensive lineman are the lifeblood of any decent football team and start blaming the starting quarterback for all the ills in their lives. Sorry guys, but Eli Manning is not the reason you forgot your anniversary this year. But where can suffering fans turn to when Blaine Gabbert is a prominent figure in their lives? Tim Tebow may just be a pipe dream, like the odds of Ben Roethlisberger getting a drink in a bar in Georgia. One (imaginary) option would be to turn to some of the great signal-callers of the silver screen. This week I courteously write-up a scouting report of the best quarterbacks to ever play fake football.
Paul Crewe, The Longest Yard (1974)
The pater familias of this list, the quintessential movie quarterback. Full of swagger, the former quarterback leads a merry band of convict misfits in an all-out game against their sadistic guards.
Crewe has all the intangibles down, as well as good instincts and a great arm. His off-the-field issues might be a deterrent to most teams, though, and I’m sure Goodell might blanch at the thought of a point-shaving scandal, but Crewe seems to be a master motivator, tactician, and is not afraid of the spotlight. He does not back down from a challenge. Crewe shows dedication to his team, even in the face of adversity. He has shown an ability to rally a team around him. If Michael Vick could return from prison to the helm of an NFL team, Paul Crewe could do the same.
Jonathan Moxon, Varsity Blues (1999)
Coming off the bench after a career-ending knee injury to starter Lance Harbor, Moxon steps into the role and promptly leads the West Canaan Coyotes to victory. Smart and studious, Moxon also possesses an accurate arm with adequate/above average arm strength. Even with offensive line issues, he seems to play above the pressure, and seeks very little recognition for himself.
While studious in nature, he does have some underlying concerns, specifically a cavalier approach to authority figures. He may have an overbearing father, and has a rebellious streak. He also has as a penchant for carousing, frequenting the strip club in his home town. Hopefully this is nothing more than youthful exuberance, since he is one of the youngest quarterbacks available.
Shane Falco, The Replacements (2000)
Falco is a former college star from Ohio State, but is dogged by a loss in his final collegiate game (1996 Sugar Bowl). He battles choking issues, but has the makeup of a star. He possess great arm strength, intangibles and probably is the best scrambler of the group. He makes good calls on the field, but sometimes second-guesses his own decisions. He quite possibly is the inspiration for Tony Romo. Falco needs support of a coaching staff in order to succeed, but teammates seem to play better with him on the field. Coach has said he has “miles and miles of heart.”
Possible red flag: likes to hang out with team cheerleaders. Not to be confused with Johnny Utah, although they share many of the same characteristics.
Matt Saracen, Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
Another backup turned starter. He helps his team recover after a horrific neck injury to starting quarterback Jason Street.
While he lacks traditional athleticism and arm strength, he epitomizes the “game manager” mindset. Mature beyond his years, Saracen has dealt with many things that few young men have had to deal with. Father is an Iraq war veteran; mother is not in the picture. He has spent a lot of time taking care of his sick grandmother, including working multiple jobs. Was pushed to wide receiver by another quarterback, but returned and shined in the playoffs. May not “love” the game of football and has aspirations as an artist and graphic designer. Very coachable, and ultimately will do whatever is asked of him on the team.
Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon (1980)
Not only the greatest name on this list, perhaps the greatest hero in Earth’s history. This former New York Jet not only excelled on the gridiron, but also in intergalactic combat. Gordon proved to be a tremendous athlete and good strategist in his fight to help the Hawkmen of planet Mongo. Additionally, shows great loyalty, even when put in a position of power over others. Shown to have the constitution to not be affected by Ming’s power ring, Gordon also put his life on the line to help will his team to victory. Flash has the best hair of any quarterback on this list, as well as the best backing soundtrack. Flash truly is the king of the impossible.
Have thoughts about my selections? Hit me up on Twitter @subtlehyperbole.
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