Monday, September 03, 2007

Defending Champs

In a completely earth science unrelated post, I feel the need to comment briefly on the upcoming NFL season. As some of you may know, I am a fan of the NFC Champion Chicago Bears. Although they had a disappointing Super Bowl, the Bears were easily the best team in the NFC last year. As a Bears fan, I am constantly asked about our quarterback, Rex Grossman. Grossman had an up and down year last year. During the first few games of the season, he was unstoppable. On track for MVP consideration. Then something happened, Rex lost confidence in his throwing, and he alternated between solid games and truly horrid games. In the end, he did lead the NFC Champion Chicago Bears into the Superbowl, which they lost (but I primarily blame that on the defensive play calling, don't get me started.)

What bugs be is how negative people are about Grossman. He is the best quarterback I have seen in Chicago since the injury prone Jim McMahon. Comparing ourselves to the Green Bay Packers, who have one of the best quarterbacks ever, is just embarassing. Here are the 20 Bears starting quarterbacks since Favre started his first game in September 1992 (he hasn't missed a start since)

Jim Harbaugh
Peter Tom Willis
Will Furrer
Erik Kramer
Steve Walsh
Dave Kreig
Rick Mirer
Steve Stenstrom
Moses Moreno
Shane Matthews
Cade McNown
Jim Miller
Chris Chandler
Henry Burris
Kordell Stewart
Rex Grossman
Jonathan Quinn
Craig Krenzel
Chad Hutchinson
Kyle Orton

So what kills me is how much crap Grossman is getting. 2006 was his first complete year as a starter, and he took the team to the super bowl! Why are we complaining. I know the most popular person in a city is always the back-up quarterback, but give him a break. Let's compare his first full season with the early seasons of other quarterbacks.

Rex Grossman 2006 Peyton Manning 1998 Brett Favre 1992 Brett Favre 1993 John Elway 1983 John Elway 1984 John Elway 1985
comp/att 262/480 326/575 302/471 318/522 123/259 214/380 327/605
Passing % 55 57 64 61 47 56 54
TD 23 26 18 19 7 18 22
INT 20 28 13 24 14 15 23
Team Record 13-3 3-13 9-7 9-7 2-7 9-7 13-3
Rating 73.9 71.2 85.3 72.2 54.9 76.8 70.2
Games Played 16 16 15 16 9 16 16
Playoffs yes no no no no no yes
Conf Champ yes no no no no no no

1983 was a full season for Elway, it was a strike year so they only managed 9 games

I am not trying to say I think Grossman is the next Favre or Manning or Elway, what I am saying is that at the time, how many people thought Favre, Manning, or Elway would be so good? Perhaps a few, but looking at the numbers we should be giving Grossman a lot of credit. Stats-wise he is right in there, even better than some of them, and you'll notice he is the only one to lead his team to the Superbowl!

I think a lot of the push to replace Grossman or not give him time to develop stems from the upsurge in fantasy football, and our current obsession with stats. No one in 1983 had a fantasy league season ruined by Elway. Even Manning in 1998 was before the main rise in popularity. Quarterback take time to develop, which is why I am perfectly happy giving Grossman time. When he is on, he is unstoppable. With experience comes consistency.

And what happened to giving people time? My favorite example, Mike Krzyzewski, perhaps the greatest modern college basketball coach, was 38-47 his first 3 seasons, and 13-29 in conference! How many D1 schools would stand for that now? His second and third year he didn't even make the NIT!

And with that, Bear Down!


ksquires said...

I agree with you to a point about Rex. I don't think he deserves as much blame as he's been getting and I think he'll eventually be a good QB. However, comparing him last year to some of those other guys is a bit misleading.

Manning's first season was his rookie year and the Colts were putrid. Manning had a training camp and then was thrust into the starting role. Rex was able to watch and practice for a few years prior to his first full season.

I'm not a Bears fan, but I'm rooting for good things from Grossman. It's not fair to burden him with all the disappointment from the Super Bowl. He played poorly, but what should a team expect from a player in his first full year? A Super Bowl championship? I'd be happy that they even made it. Go Rex!

Thermochronic said...

Point taken, I think the big idea for me is that he had a good season, better than the previous 20 Bears QB's, and in the same ballpark with some of the better QB's of late. Grossman certainly benefited from an exceptional defense, I just get tired of how many people are ready to throw him to the wolves. Seriously, folks think Brian Griese is a hidden superstar? I think Grossman is the future and I am happy to watch him develop.

Thanks for the comment. I enjoyed the days when the Colts were garbage.

Ron Schott said...

Go Packers!!!

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