Thursday, July 26, 2007

The New York Jets: Losing to Losers

Nothing's tougher for an NFL team than going undefeated. After nearly a century of NFL play the 1972 Miami Dolphins still stand alone as the only perfect team ever. But strangely, losing all your games is almost as difficult as going undefeated. Since the merger only the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have managed to blow an entire season’s worth of games. You've got to go all the way back to the WWII era to find other perfect losers. Somehow, someway, even the absolute worst football teams find a way to eke out that one win enabling them to avoid the eternal shame that would come with losing every single game. And “eke” is the correct word to use. Since the merger, eleven teams have posted one-win seasons and of those eleven stirring victories, eight were decided by a seven points or less. The largest margin of victory in those eleven games was thirteen points.

Here are the teams that fell just short of awful perfection:

1971: Buffalo Bills
1972: Houston Oilers
1973: Houston Oilers
1980: New Orleans Saints
1982: Hoston Oilers
1989: Dallas Cowboys
1990: New England Patriots
1991: Indianapolis Colts
1996: New York Jets
2000: San Diego Chargers
2001: Carolina Panthers

Only the Oilers managed to post multiple one-win seasons, including back-to-back ones! But what of the teams that managed to lose to these losers? On the roll call of teams that failed to defeat the above-listed Awful Eleven only two franchises appear more than once. The Colts lost to both the 1973 Oilers and the 1990 Patriots. But the biggest Loser to Losers are of course the New York Jets. Three times were the Jets asked to defeat a winless team and three times did the Jets deny that request. They lost to the 1972 Oilers, the 1980 Saints, and the 1991 Colts.

Note with awe that the Jets not only uniquely managed to pull off this feat three separate times, but each ignominious defeat took place in a different decade. The Jets embarrassed themselves in the 1970’s, the 1980’s AND the 1990’s. Unfortunately, the Jets’ “streak” appears to be in serious jeopardy. Just two years remain in this current decade and New York has yet to fall to a winless team in the 2000’s (the Oughts?). No NFL team has even ended a season with just one-win since the 2001 Carolina Panthers. Time is running out for the Jets to put their record out of reach for probably all-time. This MUST happen (Did I mention I hate the Jets?). Will the football gods cooperate?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

R.I.P.Duante Culpepper's Dolphins Career (2006-2006)

For all but three of their first 34 seasons, the Miami Dolphins began a season with a future Hall of Fame quarterback on their roster. Either Bob Griese or Dan Marino manned the helm for almost the entire 1966-1999 period and Dolphin fans took it for granted that QB was the one position we weren't going to have to worry about. The 21st century: Different Story. The Wannstedt/Spielman team preferred to bring in free agent signal callers and from 2000 through 2005 we saw the following "legends" behind center: Damon Huard, Jay Fiedler, Ray Lucas, Sage Rosenfels, Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte, A.J. Feely. To paraphrase Monty Burns, readers, I hated writing that list as much as you hated reading it. Stuck with Frerotte, Rosenfels, and Feely on the roster, Nick Saban swiftly realized he wasn't going to win anything until he brought in a real QB. But who would that be? Drafting a QB wasn't an option, Saban wanted to win now and the team had dramatically improved in his first season. So free agency was (again) the path to tread for 2006. The two best available QB's in the offseason: Drew Brees and Duante Culpepper.

Ironically, Miami could have snagged Brees in the 2001 draft but Wannstedt overruled Spielman's unusually shrewd recommendation. Now Brees was agan there for the taking, this time having already proved himself as a high-quality player. And he desperately wanted Miami to sign him. Only problem, Brees suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder the season before. And as good as Brees had been in 2005, it couldn't compare to the best seasons of one Duante Culpepper. Culpepper and Randy Moss had been lighting up the league for years. Plus Culpepper possessed tremendous mobility. Of course, Culpepper had a little injury problem of his own; he managed to blow out all three ligaments in his knee. So which damaged QB to take? That was a question Nick Saban pondered long and hard. But his crack medical staff analyzed the situation and determined Culpepper was healing far ahead of schedule. And the last thing you want is a passer with an injured shoulder. So Culpepper got the nod and Brees was stuck with the pathetic Saints.

The stage was now set for Culpepper to join Griese and Marino in the Dolphin pantheon. Just one problem: he couldn't play. Oh sure he suited up and started 5 games, but he couldn't play. Healing far ahead of schedule? A tissue of lies! He couldn't freaking move and was a sitting duck behind the line of scrimmage. That never stopped Dan Marino but the knee injury exposed Duante as the anti-Marino. Without his mobility Culpepper was worthless. And surprise surpise, turns out Duante needed more knee surgery and recovery time after all. And the icing on the cake: Brees recovered just fine from his problem, led his team to the playoffs, and was this close to winning the MVP award. Perfect. Saban screwd up a personnel decision as badly as it could be screwed up. Yeah, this one's going down in Dolphins history. Saban blamed everybody but himself before bailing for Tuscaloosa and millions of dollars. Don't let the door hit you in the ass loosa!

New coach Cam Cameron refused to give Culpepper a shot at the starting job. He'd rather have a 37-year-old QB coming off one of the worst concussions we've ever seen. And really, who wouldn't? Cam didn't even want Culpepper around as a backup. He's worse than Cleo Lemon? I suppose after watching Duante's 5 Dolphins starts you could legitimately think that. Maybe the guy's nothing without Moss. Maybe he lied about how well he was recovering or perhaps he was too lazy to rehab properly. Still, giving up on the guy after one year is harsh. And we got nothing for him. Guess Cam just doesn't think Culpepper's got what it takes to run his system, like ever. And keeping him around would (I guess) risk creating a distraction or a QB controversy. So he had to go.

One year ago: excitement, anticipation, playoff fever.

Now: shell-shock, depression, years of rebuilding, millions wasted.

So long Duante.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fun NFL Facts

In 1934, Chicago Bears rookie running back Beattie Feathers became the NFL’s first-ever 1000-yard rusher. In 11 games he rushed for 1004 yards on only 119 carries (8.44 YPC!) and scored 9 TD’s. His rushing record stood for 13 years.

He played for 6 more seasons, 43 total games, yet he totaled fewer yards and TD’s in those 6 seasons than he did in his rookie season alone; just 976 yards on 259 carries (3.77 YPC) and 8 TD’s.

Huh? How could this guy have been so great in 1934 and so blah the rest of his career? Well, it's not like you can go talk to a whole lot of people who saw him play so who the hell knows. Some have speculated that the 8.44 YPC is a phony stat, artificially inflated by poor stat-keeping. Possibly some kick return yardage got mixed in there. Sounds plausible. Another explanation is the shoulder injury the Big Chief suffered late in '34. He had to wear a shoulder brace the rest of his career. That's probably not going to help you win any rushing records.

Whatever the answer, Beattie still owns the NFL record for yards per carry in a season and he'll always be the answer to the trivia question: Who was the NFL's first 1000-yard rusher? Remember that and amaze your friends.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Marv Levy, Hall of Famer?

How did Marv Levy get into the Hall of Fame? I mean, I know he’s a beloved figure, a great guy, a WWII vet, etc.  But Hall of Fame?  There’s 21 coaches in the Hall of Fame and do you know what they all have in common for the most part?  They won a championship.  18 of them did.  In fact, 16 of those 18 coaches won multiple championships.  That’s what great coaches do.  Levy had lots of chances at a Super Bowl, but his teams managed to blow four in a row.  The two HOF coaches who won “only” a single title are John Madden, who still holds the NFL record for highest winning percentage, and Sid Gillman, (winner of the 1963 AFL crown) one of the all-time great offensive innovators.  That leaves two Hall of Fame coaches who, along with Levy, failed to win a single title: George Allen and Bud Grant.  Here’s the records of the three men:

George Allen116-47-5.705
Bud Grant158-96-5.620
Marv Levy143-112-0.560

Both Grant and Levy took teams to four Super Bowls and both lost every single time (both also won Grey Cups as coaches in the CFL but that means nothing when we’re talking about the Hall of Fame).  But Grant won more games than Levy and has a far better winning percentage.  I don’t know that Grant deserved to go in either but putting Levy after him in lowers the floor much more for future Hall of Fame coaches.  Allen only made it to one Super Bowl but his winning percentage is far, far higher than Levy’s.  Third-best ever.  And he turned around two terrible teams, the Rams and the Redskins.  On top of that, you might want to give him credit for his work as the defensive coordinator for the 1963 NFL champion Chicago Bears.  As Allen Barra put it: “[Allen] was the Bill Walsh of defensive coaches -- the most innovative defense man in modern NFL history, Buddy Ryan notwithstanding. He essentially invented zone defense and was the first to use the nickel-back.”

I suppose Levy was a bit of an innovator, coming up with the K-gun, but I don’t recall seeing a whole lot of teams trying to emulate what the Bills did, but I do see lots of teams using zone defenses and nickel backs.

Levy did coach a great team and going to four straight Super Bowls is sort of impressive.  Problem is that we’ve now lowered the bar for future HOF coaching candidates.  Take a look at these guys:

Marty Schottenheimer200-126-1.613
Dan Reeves190-165-2.535
Bill Cowher149-90-1.623
Mike Holmgren147-93-0.613
Mike Shanahan131-81-0.618
Tony Dungy114-62-0.648

Yeah, Schottenheimer never made a Super Bowl and his teams probably choked more than Levy’s (though the guy’s had some horrible luck in the postseason), but can you really turn away a guy with 200 wins?! He’s fifth all-time, his winning percentage is much higher than Levy, and Marty turned around three different teams.  You want a Super Bowl loser? How about Dan Reeves. He’s lost just as many as Marv.  Reeve’s winning percentage is a little lower but 47 more wins is a lot and, like Schottenheimer, he took three different teams to the playoffs. 

Cowher, Holmgren, and Shanahan all have a comparable win total to Levy, but all three have a much better winning percentage too.  Cowher and Holmgren have more playoff appearances and a ring each. Holmgren took two different teams to the Super Bowl, and while Shanahan hasn’t yet caught Levy in wins he’s got two Super Bowl rings.  If Levy’s in don’t those three guys all have to go in now?  (And I’m assuming Parcells was going in anyway but if Levy’s in the Tuna can’t be far behind now).  And what Tony Dungy?  He’ll have to coach a few more years to catch Levy in wins but he’s seventh on the all-time winning percentage list right now, he’s turned around two teams, and he won a championship.  Plus, of all the coaches discussed here, Dungy may be the one who’s made the biggest impact on the game thanks to the Cover-Two defense and the number of his former assistants who’ve become head coaches. 

Putting Levy in was a major break with HOF tradition.  And now that he’s in, there’s going to be a flood of coaches to follow.  It’s only fair.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gym Rat on Steroids

I'd seen a couple of references around the web to this Deseret News article by Dick Harmon about new Dolphins rookie QB John Beck. Supposedly Beck was having trouble learning the Cam Cameron system as he was used to some simplified color-coded nonsense at BYU. Great, another dumb QB on the roster.

Uh, no he's not. Next time, I'll just read the article first. Now that I have, I'm not worried about him at all. Yeah, it's taking him time to grasp Cameron's super-complex system but who wouldn't that be true for? Check this out:

[A]t BYU, his huddle call for a basic pass play would involve two words, usually a color and a two-digit number. With the Dolphins, who use a lot of shifts and motion, the call could involve eight to 10 words or phrases, each signaling a specific aspect of the play. For example, a Dolphin play call might require the following wordplay:

      1. A phrase identifying the initial shift
      2. The name of the formation
      3. A tag word identifying what motion leads to the formation
      4. A protection scheme
      5. Receiver pass routes, a three-digit number
      6. A tag word identifying adjustments
      7. A call identifying what a back is to do

A Dolphin pass play might sound like this: "Scatter-Two Bunch Right-Zip-Fire Right-273-Pivot-F Flat."

Got all that? Beck hasn't. Yet. But it sure sounds like he's busting his hump trying to master it all as soon as possible. (And he's not even signed yet). The guy's actually got his wife holding play sheets in the supermarket to quiz him. I like this: "Beck has put Dolphin plays on a white board, created note cards and Doman-like play sheets. He studies them like a pyramid-scheme builder with a tax form." You know Brady Quinn's not doing that!!! Maybe Miami still has a shot at a quality QB starting for them in this decade.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Your NFL Running Back Class of 1985 Featuring Lorenzo Hampton

The Miami Dolphins reigned as defending AFC Champions at the time of the 1985 draft.  Miami possessed a great young quarterback, two terrific young receivers, a quality offensive line, and a pretty good defense.  The biggest area of need was at running back.  The last time the Dolphins spent their top pick on a running back was in 1968 when they got Larry Csonka.  Not so coincidentally, Miami hadn't had a good RB since Csonka's departure.  With typical Dolphin luck, the year they finally decided to once again spend a first-round pick on a running back it turned out to be the worst year for running back since, like, ever!  

Miami picked the University of Florida's Lorenzo Hampton.  I just happened to be attending UF in 1985 and I was excited about the pick.  I have no idea why though.  I hated it when Hampton carried the ball for the Gators.  It seemed so unnecessary since the Gators already had two other backs who were clearly better than Hampton: Neal Anderson and John L. Williams. Every handoff to Hampton was just one fewer carry for Neal and John L to run free.

Two memories come to mind for Hampton's Dolphin career.  The first: an awesome Monday Night game against the Jets where Sweet 'Lo (yeah, that was his stupid nickname) ran wild.  The Jets had beaten Miami earlier in the year 51-45; Marino threw 6 TD's but the Fins still found a way to lose.  Miami's defense was pretty much nonexistent by that time.  Anyway, by the time of the Monday Night rematch, Miami was a mediocre 5-6 while the Jets came in at 10-1 riding a 9-game winning streak.  But despite the winning streak, Paul Maguire would go on TV every week and say the Jets really weren't that good and would ultimately be exposed, and every week Bob Costas would just laugh in his face as the Jets notched another win.  So Hampton kicked off the rematch with an early 54-yard run and wound up with 148 yards on 19 carries, two TD's, and Miami kicked Jet ass 45-3. They also kicked off a 5-game New York losing streak, a losing streak Paul Maguire all too happily claimed credit for predicting.  Hampton's great game created the brief illusion that he was in fact the gamebreaking franchise back Miami thought they'd drafted.  He wasn't. 

My other Hamption memory was watching a Dolphin game on TV and hearing Dick Enberg identify Miami Vice (a huge hit at the time) actress Olivia Brown as Lorenzo's fiance.  Later in the game, Enberg informed us that Ms. Brown had called the network to let them know she was happily married to somebody else.  Oh my. 

Anyway, Hampton played 5 years for the Dolphins but you'd have to say his NFL career was a disappointment. A bust really (though I'm sure he's a hell of a guy).  He had one decent year, 1986, where he ran for 830 yards on 186 carries, scored 9 TD's and caught 61 balls for 446 yards and 3 TD's. Of course, if you take out that Jets game his numbers aren't so impressive. He never ran for more than 414 yards or averaged over 3.9 yards a carry in any other season. Compare that to the NFL careers of his former UF teammates. Neal Anderson had 3 thousand-yard, double-digit touchdown seasons and made 4 Pro Bowls, while John L. Williams played for a decade, made a couple of Pro Bowls as a fullback and had 6 seasons catching 50 or more passes. I told you they were better. Too bad they were a year behind Hampton and therefore not a part of the 1985 draft class.

Could Miami have done anything differently in the 1985 draft?  If they were intent on a runner, than I don't think so.  As I mentioned earlier, the 1985 running back class really really sucked.  Check it out for yourself:

09 Giants George Adams Kentucky
26 Broncos Steve Sewell Oklahoma
27 Miami Lorenzo Hampton Florida

35 Cleveland Greg Allen Florida State
53 Seahawks Owen Gill Iowa

75 San Francisco Ricky Moore Alabama

103 Dallas Robert Lavette Georgia Tech
104 St. Louis Ron Wolfley West Virginia

114 Dallas Herschel Walker Georgia
118 Detroit Joe McIntosh North Carolina State
126 Chiefs Bruce King Purdue
135 L.A. Raiders Dan Reeder Delaware
137 Seahawks Johnnie Jones Tennessee

167 Miami Ron Davenport Louisville

172 Cincinnati Kim Locklin New Mexico State
182 Packers Gary Ellerson Wisconsin
185 Washington Lionel Vital Nicholls State

197 Bills Jacque Robinson Washington
202 Detroit Scotty Caldwell Texas-Arlington
207 Chargers Curtis Adams Central Michigan
218 L.A. Rams Marlon McIntyre Pittsburgh

227 Minnesota Jaime Covington Syracuse
235 N.Y. Jets Mike Waters San Diego State
244 St. Louis Scott Williams Georgia
250 Bears Thomas Sanders Texas A&M

267 Chiefs Jeff Smith Nebraska
271 St. Louis Dennis Williams Gallaudet

288 Tampa Bay James Williams Memphis
289 Philadelphia Herman Hunter Tennessee State
295 New England Paul Lewis Boston Univ.
303 L.A. Raiders Steve Strachan Boston College
307 Miami Mike Jones Tulane

328 New England Tony Mumford Penn State

Can you believe how bad that group is? Do any names on that list jump out at you?  I see exactly one: Herschel Walker, and he probably shouldn't even count as part of that draft class. Walker, a college football stud, first played pro ball in 1983 but it was for the New York Generals of the USFL. For some reason (possibly the personal services contract he had with Donald Trump), Walker wasn't eligible for the the NFL's special 1984 supplement draft for USFL players so Dallas gambled a 5th rounder on him in the 1985 draft. It paid off when the USFL folded after their 1985 season and they signed Walker in 1986. So Walker wasn't really part of the 1985 college football draft class nor did he even play for an NFL team in 1985.

If you don't count Walker, the most successful back taken was probably the Cardinals' Ron Wolfley.  He never ran for very many yards but he made 4 Pro Bowls as a good blocking fullback.  The only other guys who made much of a mark were: (1) Steve Sewell, not much of a runner but a pretty good short-yardage receiver for John Elway; and (2) Thomas Sanders who played 5 years with the Bears as a change-of-pace back, won a ring, and, far more importantly, helped change the world along with the rest of the Shuffling Crew in the immortal Super Bowl Shuffle video. Now that's a true legacy.

Miami needed a big-play running back in 1985. As it turned out none were available. 1985 just didn't produce any great running backs. If the Dolphins had taken somebody else instead of Hampton, say Greg Allen or Owen Gill, I doubt things would have changed much. What Miami should have done was emulate Dallas and gamble a pick on Herschel. I mean, by 1985 everybody knew the USFL wasn't long for the world. They were bleeding money, losing franchises, and planning to move their games to the fall to compete with the NFL (haha). Dallas gambled and it paid off.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Gary Clark: Too Late The Dolphin

In 1984, the NFL held a supplemental draft for players in the USFL who hadn't yet been drafted by NFL teams. No doubt the NFL shrewdly recognized the USFL wasn't long for the world. With their three picks, the Miami Dolphins selected the following players: WR Danny Knight (26th overall), DE Dewey Forte 53rd overall, and WR Duan Hanks (82nd overall). None of the three made the team. By spending two of its three picks on wideouts, Miami must have been looking for some targets for Dan Marino. Now they already had the Marks Brothers but while Mark Duper had put up 1000 yards and 10 TD's in '83, Mark Clayton caught only 6 balls that year. Miami probably didn't know what they had quite yet. Anyway, the supplemental draft produced exactly two good receivers, and they both wound up on the same team. The Washington Redskins got both Ricky Sanders (16th) and Gary Clark (55th). Miami picked too late for Sanders, but the true find was Clark and Miami let him slip through their hands in both the 1st and 2nd rounds. For his career, Clark posted more yards and catches than either Duper or Clayton and he did that without a Dan Marino to throw him the football (Clayton caught more TD's though).


Clark was one of the best receivers of his time, better than his teammate Art Monk as far as I'm concerned. And in addition to his fine career totals, you could make a good argument that Clark was a great clutch receiver as well, something you might find it hard to do for the Marks Brothers (or Monk for that matter). Clark played in 3 NFC Championship Games and 2 Super Bowls. 5 championship games. Here's how he did:

1) 1986 NFC Title Game. Clark's first and worst championship game performance. 0 catches. Trailing 10-0 in the 1st quarter, Clark dropped a perfect Jay Schroeder's third-down pass into the wind. It would have at least been a 35-yard reception.

2) 1987 NFC Title Game. 3/57/1. On Washington's final drive with the score 10-10, Clark caught a 43-yarder from Doug Williams to put his team in scoring position. Clark then caught what proved to the winning TD on 3d-and-6 from the MIN 7. Clark improvised his pattern when he saw the planned corner route was covered.

3) Super Bowl XXII. 3/55/1. On the second WAS drive of the 2d quarter, Clark caught a 27-yard TD on 3d-and-1 to put his team up 14-10. They never trailed again. He also had a nice 25-yard run in the 4th quarter though the game was all but over.

4) 1991 NFC Title Game. 4/77/1. WIth his team leading 20-10 with 2:23 left in the third quarter, Clark caught a 45-yard TD to break the game open. On Washington's earlier 74-yard drive that gave them a 17-10 lead, Clark kept the drive alive with a 6-yard catch on 3d-and-5 and he later grabbed a 16-yarder on the drive.

5) Super Bowl XXVI. 7/114/1. Clark caught a 16-yarder to the BUF 35 on the first play of Washington's second drive of the 2d quarter. WAS scored a TD on the drive to go up 10-0. On their next drive, Clark had a 34-yard catch on 3d-and-9 to the BUF 15. Two plays later WAS went up 17-0. In the 3d quarter, after BUF scored to close it to 24-10 and get back in the game, WAS took over on their own 21. Clark caught 4 balls on the subsequent drive, including a 10-yard catch on 3d-and-4 and the 30-yard TD that capped the drive and put the game away. Clark scored and accounted for 60 yards of the gamebreaking 79-yard drive.

4 different games with a TD, each in a critical situations, plus a few other important grabs in those games. Dude was money.

The Dolphins really blew it when they passed on this guy. When they traded away their rights to Anthony Carter the next year, the Dolphins wound up missing out on both of the best receivers that came out of the USFL.

Well, they didn't totally miss out. Clark spent the last year of his career in a Dolphins uniform and he was a solid 3rd receiver for Miami in 1995. But he was long past his All-Pro days by then.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Championship Quarterbacks Equal Hall of Fame Quarterbacks

You're an NFL quarterback. You want to make the Hall of Fame. What do you do? Clearly, the easiest way to achieve your goal is to just go ahead and win back-to-back NFL Championships. It's just that simple. Sure you could just pile up tremendous passing numbers like Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts, and Sonny Jurgensen, but that takes years of effort. The numbers don't lie. 12 QB's have won back-to-back titles and 10 of them have been selected to the Hall of Fame. And Tom Brady's going in as soon as he's eligible. So that's 11 out of 12 with Tommy Thompson the odd man out. Here's the list.

Sid Luckman CHI

Tommy Thompson PHI

Bobby Layne DET

Otto Graham CLE

Johnny Unitas BAL

Bart Starr GB
(1961-1962, 1965-1967)

Bob Griese MIA

Terry Bradshaw PIT
(1974-1975, 1978-1979)

Joe Montana SF

Troy Aikman DAL

John Elway DEN

Tom Brady NE

Really though, you probably don't even have to win your titles back to back. Just win two or more titles in your career and that should be enough. I count 6 guys who've done it "only" nonconsecutively (Counting those QB's who actually played in title-winning games). Hee's the list of all multiple title-winning passers:

Arnie Herber GB
(1936, 1939)

Sid Luckman CHI
(1940, 1941, 1943, 1946)

Sammy Baugh WAS
(1937, 1942)

Tommy Thompson PHI
(1948, 1949)

Bob Waterfield Cle/L.A. Rams
(1945, 1951)

Bobby Layne DET
(1952, 1953)

Otto Graham CLE
(1950, 1954, 1955)

Johnny Unitas BAL
(1958, 1959, 1970)

Norm VanBrocklin L.A./PHI
(1951, 1960)

Bart Starr GB
(1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967)

Bob Griese MIA
(1972, 1973)

Terry Bradshaw PIT
(1974, 1975, 1978, 1979)

Roger Staubach DAL
(1971, 1977)

Jim Plunkett OAK/L.A.
(1980, 1983)

Joe Montana SF
(1981, 1984, 1988, 1989)

Troy Aikman DAL
(1992, 1993, 1995)

John Elway DEN
(1997, 1998)

Tom Brady NE
(2001, 2003, 2004)

Poor Jim Plunkett and Tommy Thompson. Well, poor Plunkett anyway. Thompson's dead, he doesn't care. The only active QB this appears relevant to at the moment is Ben Roethlisberger. We know he's not putting up huge passing numbers playing for the Steelers so winning another title's probably going to be what he needs to punch his ticket to Canton.