Being underrated in a system as large as the NFL can seem daunting, but it can also provide some amazing kindle to fuel an emberring fire. In fact, it’s much like being a wife or mother of a frantic household. You work hard to ensure peace among the ranks of those on your team just to find out, no one even saw what you did because the puppy decided to be cute, or the WR had an excellent game… on another team. The fact of the matter is competition is fierce in the league, one wrong move and your the scapegoat of the entire team, and one right move doesn’t negate all of that either.
While Brady, Brees, Rodgers and Ryan are always in the mouth of any QB discussion, what about the QB’s who go under the radar. Who does their job but don’t get the media attention they deserve? Today, we will attach three QB’s in the league that is underrated and underestimated.
“to rate or evaluate too low; underestimate”
I had the pleasure of growing up in Oklahoma, so maybe I’m slightly partial to this pick. However, no one did it for OU, at the time, like Sam Bradford. While he earned the starting QB job as a Sophomore, he redshirted in 2006, when Adrian Peterson was playing. Even without Peterson, Bradford was able to make the huge game-winning plays with RB DeMarco Murray, TE Jermaine Gresham, and then WR Malcolm Kelly. In 2008, he won the Heisman with 50 TD’s and over 4,500 passing yards. He is now one part of eight who have won the Heisman and then been selected 1st Overall Draft Pick.
He then received the highest paid rookie deal at $76 million to the St. Louis Rams with the 1st overall Draft Pick in 2010. While most say he hasn’t been able to live up to his expectations in the league, let us remember that in 2010, though he didn’t garner a Super Bowl appearance, he did, in fact, earn Rookie of the Year with 3,512 yards, 18 TD’s and 354 completions. While that may not be impressive to some, please consider this was more completions than Dak Prescott in 2016.
Only one season with the Eagles and he broke franchise records there, with 346 completions and a 65 completion percentage in 2015.
The best season of proving himself, by far had to be 2016. He was traded to a team early in the season and within 2 weeks was able to learn a new playbook and develop a chemistry with an entirely new offense. During this season, we came to know WR Stefon Diggs, WR Adam Thielen, and TE Kyle Rudolph well. Again, Bradford breaks a completion record, this time from that of Future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees, with a 71.6 passer rating for 2016. If this doesn’t convince you maybe the fact that his career passer rating is 84.5 tying him with Joe Flacco, but passing other QB’s like Eli Manning and Mike Vick.
If you asked me, that is a pretty successful QB career. He is hardly ever made a huge fuss over in the media, only that he hasn’t developed into the next Tom Brady (well who the heck has?) He is as tough as a bed of rusty nails. I’ve seen him hurt several times, even took a helmet to chest with his non-throwing arm in the way, while bruised, he just shrugged it off and said, “That’s Football.” The one thing that has impressed me from college to now, is that he has been pretty accurate. Though I do agree that he may need to protect the ball a bit more (fumbles) and at times make better decisions (interceptions), overall, these mistakes haven’t taken away from his ability to get downfield and into the End Zone.
Please keep in mind, that Bradford has been getting better and better with each year he is in the league, and that he is, in fact, the type of player that can have a wowing breakout season and bring the Vikings a Championship if the right weapons are part of the team.
What everyone knows about Mariota is that he is an exceptional dual-threat QB who is efficient in both, what they may not know is that he is more close to a Championship than you may think. Mariota happens to hail from the most beautiful state the US has, Hawaii. Though Bruno Mars and Marcus Mariota do look like they could be kin, it isn’t confirmed, though I’m sure the Honolulu brethren would still be seen as family in the same circles.
After leaving the island, Mariota’s award-winning journey soon began with his immediate success in Oregon, where he was tossing the rock for the Ducks from 2012-2014 where he was able to connect with an Olympian as his WR Devon Allen. At the start of his NCAA career, he started by being #1 in the Pac-12 with a Pass completion percentage of 68.5 and #2 in Pac-12 for TD’s responsible for with 32, beat only by Matt Barkly of USC with 36. In 2013, he continued to improve and this time led the NCAA in Total Yards Per Play with 9.1 as well as led his division, Pac-12 with a Passer Efficiency Rating of 167.7. By far 2014, was his most impressive year. He again improved his stats being the Pac-12 Division leader in Passing Yards (4,454), Passing TD’s (42), as well as TD’s Responsible for (42), but also he was the NCAA league leader in Passer Efficiency Rating of 181.7 and Total Yards 5,224 and 2nd in the NCAA for TD’s Responsible For. Finally, this led to more than a little recognition with awards like the AP Player of the Year, Davey O’Brien Award, the Heisman Trophy, the Johnny Unitus Golden Arm award and still, the list goes on.
In 2015, NFL Draft he was drafted 2nd Overall to the Tennessee Titans (Jameis Winston being the First Overall for the Buccs). During his tenure in the NFL, he has established himself as a legit QB. The one thing he lacked was dependable weapons at WR. Lack of weaponry was no excuse for Mariota who managed to be the AFC Offensive Player of the Week twice, had 2 comebacks and an 87 Yard single rush during his Rookie season. Though he ended 2016, on a sour note, he was still able to complete the season with a 95.6 Passer Rating and 26 Passing TD’s, he even caught a TD from his workhorse, RB DeMarco Murray. This 2017, season, his prayers were heard with two new WR and a TE. The only thing this team doesn’t have on its resume is a few playoff wins, but it looks like that tide is quickly turning.
Philip Rivers, by far, is the most impressive out of these underrated players, however, that doesn’t make his career any better. Having a great QB is not the only piece needed to bring home the wins.
Playing for North Carolina State, Rivers was a domineering force, by the time he graduated in 2003, he already had a completion percentage of 72. These stats gave him many accolades including the #1 NCAA Pass Completion Percentage, with 4,491 Passing Yards he was #2 in the NCAA, #1 NCAA Passer Efficiency Rating of 170.5, and #3 NCAA raking for Total Yards at 4,600. By the Way, with every NCAA record, he also received the #1 ACC record accordingly, and still holds the ACC record with Total Yards totaling 13,484.
Even with boasting all of these positive attributes he was voted 7th for the Heisman in 2003, which may be why he plays with such a chip on his shoulder. In 2004, he was drafted 4th overall by the New York Giants, who then traded a 3rd round pick in 2004, AND a 1st round pick in 2005, for Eli Manning. (I wonder if the Giants ever kick themselves for that trade?)
Rivers has played in the league for 12 years and has a passer rating of 94.7, ranking him #8 overall sandwiching him between Drew Brees at #7 and Ben Roethlisberger at #9. Great company to be in considering Rivers hasn’t ever won a Super Bowl, or even gotten to the Super Bowl. This makes him no less fun to watch. He, by far, has to be the single most passionate QB playing the game. I love watching him get fired up about great catches AND dropped passes, he talks just as much junk to the defense, and even sidelined he can get just as red faced about botched plays.
Given the right weapons and chemistry, Rivers is a Super Bowl champ and MVP waiting to happen. Thankfully, the Chargers got him an exciting target in WR Mike Williams, who has the ability to make ginormous plays for his team.
Though fans or announcers or mainstream sports media may underestimate these players, these players never count themselves out. The best thing is that these players still have a lot of fuel left in the tank to continue carving out a well-deserved name for themselves. With new talent at WR’s for all of these teams, 2017 season should be a record-breaking season for all of these QBs. Maybe even you will stop underestimating their skills.