I've had my fill of some things around here. The one I've reached my wits end on in the QB conversation. I can't take anymore of this Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel talk. I'm going to go through and dismantle the arguments in favor of these guys.
Then I'll show why The Chiefs cannot afford to not afford RG3 this April. Enjoy the ride.
First, put Peyton Manning out of your heads. Bringing him in is terribly short-sighted and foolhardy for a number of reasons. Among them are his age, health, expense, and opportunity cost. At 36, Manning is in the twilight of his career. At best we would hope to wring 3 years out of him. At the end of that period we're sitting in 1995 again, wondering what to do with our QB vacancy and likely no jewelry to show for it. Also consider than Peyton's neck may never be truly right again. It'd feel pretty shitty to have the most expensive man in football riding our bench because his neck has been aggravated by hits from DL escorted to him by Barry Richardson. Even if he stays healthy, the cost is not worth it twofold. Pioli has played the salary cap pretty well thus far, keeping us in position to be able to retain players we develop (Hali, DJ, Bowe, Carr). Maybe we get an uncertainty discount on Manning but he's still going to be expensive enough to obliterate our cap space. "But we have to spend it all anyway!" Right, so spend it on players who can contribute long term. Thus is the opportunity cost. We could spend in on, I don't know, a QBoTF prospect instead.
As for Cassel and the rest of our QBs, they're a platoon of mediocrity. I feel generous calling Cassel average and likewise I think the term discounts Orton a little. Either way neither stray appreciably far from the mean. The point I want to slam home here is that average, or even above average, just isn't good enough. If the best one can say of your (non rookie) QB is that "he's above average" then you should be moving mountains to find a replacement. Average QBs can and do make the playoffs with regularity. My definition of a successful season for the Chiefs is winning a playoff game. I've seen us get there enough, but I'm not old enough to have seen a win. As far as the franchise goes, lets talk about who has won playoff games here.
The last time the Cheifs won a playoff game, Joe Montana was at the helm. Of the playoff games the Cheifs/Texans have won, either Montana or Len Dawson was the QB for 7 of the 8. These two men, Dawson and Montana, are the only two QBs in Chiefs history anyone would even consider using the word elite to describe. Outside of them there are only two other QBs the Chiefs have fielded that I would consider better than average by a significant margin. They are Trent Green and Steve DeBerg(debatable, I know). As for that outlier in the 7 of 8 number, it was won by Mr. DeBerg in 1991.
Maybe the Chiefs have just had a spurt of bad luck for the last half century or so. To judge this, let's look at what kind of QBs typically make it to the superbow. I went through every SuperBowl since 2000 and rated all 26 QBs on a 1-5 scale. 5= great 4=well above average 3= roughly average 2= well below average 1= awful. Of those who appeared, here they are by rating:
5: P. Manning, Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, Warner, Rogers
4: E. Manning, McNabb, Delhomme, Gannon, Collins, McNair
3: B. Johnson, T. Dilfer, Hasselbeck,
I know some of you could quibble with some of those but keep in mind it's rough, and I gave primacy to the year of play. Some notes about what my crude rating scale shows: The average SB QB comes in at 4.4, or very good. On only three occasions do I have the inferior QB prevailing: E. Manning def. Brady, T. Dilfer def. Collins, and B. Johnson def. Gannon. Recall that in 2002 the Buc's coach was John Gruden, who knew the opposing Raiders inside and out, having been their coach the year before. No 5 rated QB lost a SB without also having won one. The only non-5 to appear in more than one SB is E. Manning. Of the 26 SB appearances, 65% were by 5s. 85% were by a 5 or 4. The point here is that unless you have a top end QB, your chances of getting to a SB are tiny. Said another way: if you want a SB ring, you need at least a very good QB.
This April, the biggest thing in Quarterbacking since Peyton Manning is going to be on the board. He'll go to IND, ironically, to succeed Manning. There is, however, a nice consolation prize for a team willing be be aggressive in the QB market. Robert Griffin would be the high prize in any other draft. He's a brilliant guy, has exceptional accuracy, and luminal speed to boot. A good decision maker with an accurate arm is rarely any worse than "good." He's got "franchise QB" written all over him. The Chiefs MUST be aggressive in trying to acquire him through the draft. St. Louis bought all their stock in Sam Bradford, so they'll be looking to deal 2 overall to a QB hungry team. A team that has won fewer playoff games in the last half century than chance should permit should certianly be that team. It doesn't matter what it would take to move up to 2 to get him; give St Louis whatever bounty they ask. If we get a franchise QB out of the deal no one will look back and think "man, just wasn't worth it." The skeptic could argue that he's just a prospect, and we have no way of knowing how good he'll be in the NFL. That's only true because it's true of every player ever drafted. Fact is that the draft is where NFL players come from, so that's where you're going to make (or break) your team. This team has very few holes in it. RT, maybe ILB could use an upgrade, but QB is the crater in the team. It's outsized importance mandates that we be aggressive in fixing it. It is therefore imperative that we move up in the draft and select Robert Griffin. Maybe the experiment fails, but we're already failing by not trying.