In this day and age, the NFL is regarded as the most popular sports league in America as 35 percent of sports fans call the NFL their favorite sport, followed by Major League Baseball (14 percent) and college football (11 percent).
Most fans consider Pete Rozelle, the late former commissioner, to be responsible for the NFL’s immense popularity; however, over the last decade, the NFL’s success can be attributed to elite quarterback play.
When mentioning the NFL’s elite quarterbacks Denver Bronco’s Peyton Manning (age 38), Green Bay Packer’s Aaron Rodgers (age 30), New England’s Tom Brady (age 37), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (age 35), and Pittsburgh Steeler’s Ben Roethlisberger (age 32) are always at the top of every NFL analyst’s list.
Their résumés are impressive and illustrate why they are considered elite and so entertaining to watch.
Collectively, these five quarterbacks have eight Super Bowl victories, 13 Super Bowl appearances and 32 division title in the past twelve years. There have only been two years since 2002 when none of these quarterbacks were playing in the Super Bowl (Super Bowls XXXVII and XLVII). Not to mention, all five quarterbacks this season are in the top ten for most passing yards and touchdowns.
So what will happen to the NFL when they all retire?
Football fans everywhere should feel blessed to have had the privilege to watch these great quarterbacks in action on Sundays over the past decade. When they retire, the league will not be the same. Their successors have shown potential but they aren’t as consistent as the current elite quarterbacks.
Most NFL analysts believe that the quarterback position will continue to evolve from a pocket passer style of play to a dual threat style of play, meaning a quarterback who is a threat to throw the ball downfield and rush for big plays.
This dual threat style of quarterback play has been problematic for many defenses around the league as quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III have all thrived in this new era of NFL football.
However, the NFL is a league of adjustments. As defenses have been able to figure out how to contain these dual threat quarterbacks, their style of play has been less impactful. This season, these dual threat quarterbacks are a combined 20-23-1 and none of their respective teams are a lock to make the playoffs, as all of the quarterbacks have struggled.
Of all the younger quarterbacks in the NFL, Indianapolis Colt’s quarterback Andrew Luck has shown the most potential in becoming one of the elite as he currently leads the league in passing yards and is second in touchdown passes. However, Luck is considered to be more of a pocket passer than a dual threat quarterback.
This dual threat style of play at first seemed like the future of the NFL but has proven to be less effective and not as enjoyable to watch for NFL plans.
The NFL will most likely still be the most popular sport in America but the switch from pocket passing quarterbacks to dual threat quarterbacks will diminish its overall popularity.