Signal caller, gunslinger, field general—the quarterback goes by many lofty nicknames. It’s arguably the toughest, most high-pressure position to play among all sports. The quarterback touches the ball on every offensive snap, is responsible for reading the defense, adjusting the play, and executing complex schemes that require tremendous physical and mental prowess. He is expected to be the undisputed team leader, whether he’s an established veteran or an untested rookie. If he succeeds, he’s the most likely player on the field to be canonized by fans and broadcasters. If he fails, he’ll be vilified in the press and his home field fans will start cheering for the backup.
This book traces the interesting history of the professional quarterback, from the early years when the quarterback was a blocker (and the appellations quarterback, halfback, and fullback were literal and geographically correct) to the modern-day player who must be the eyes, ears, brains, and, of course, the accurate, strong arm of the offense. The narrative history in Section I is rich with statistical analysis. The author employs realistic metrics for statistical comparison across multiple eras, and includes all-time rankings as well as specific rankings among different styles of quarterbacks. Section II compares quarterbacks within their respective eras, putting their accomplishments in context with those of their contemporaries. Section III breaks down the quarterback position, team-by-team, for current NFL franchises. Appendices provide detailed passing records; additional statistics on everything from relative passer ratings to fourth quarter comebacks; and listings of first round draft picks, trades involving quarterbacks, awards, and uniform numbers.