Leadership, it defines football in both the direct and synergistic approaches. A football team’s leadership generally will make the difference between winning and losing, “between livin’ and dying” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). In practical terms, the lack of leadership on the field for a football team will lead to a general lack of communication, more penalties and on average more losses.
There is no position on the football field that defines this leadership generates wins as well as the quarterback. From reading defenses, to calling audibles, to making the decision to throw, tuck and run or even just eat a sack now and again, there is no player that can affect a team’s sucess quite as much as its quarterback. For reference, read up on what happened to the Colts the year that Payton Manning was out with a neck injury and they tried putting anyone with a pulse in at quarterback to try and salvage the season.
Established wisdom states that defense wins championships. However, even more well established wisdom states that the team with the most points on the board during the Super Bowl will actually win. Even the most talented and well organized defense cannot make up for an offense that gives up turnovers at bad positions on the field or which cannot stay on the field long enough to let the defense catch its breath from time to time.
This year, due to a few fateful games earlier in the year and in the playoffs, we get to predict something about the Super Bowl weeks in advance. The starting quarterbacks of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl (assuming no catastrophic injuries in the conference championships), will be at least 10 year different in age. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it truly is. On the one hand we will have a traditional field general who can make incredible throws and read defenses like he was in the defensive huddle. On the other hand, we will have a physical phenom who can make plays with his legs as well as his arm and who plays a distinctively new style of offensive football.
Please note that I have not named any players so far. That is simply due to the fact that it doesn’t matter whether the matchup will be Brady-Wilson or Manning-Wilson or Brady-Kaepernick or Manning-Kaepernick, the fact remains that the distinctive playstyles and philosophies will be a clash worth the price of admission (which luckily will be free for most of the people watching).
I’ve already heard the argument that the defenses for the four teams in contention are all fantastic and that they will likely be the deciding factor in the game, but that’s just plain wrong. All four teams have excellent defenses, so logically those defenses should cancel each other’s effect out. We are then left with the only reasonable conclusion being that the things that make the teams different will decide the outcome and who gets to go home with the belt. As an aside, I really hope they keep the gag going of pulling out WWE championship belts because nothing would be funnier than Payton Manning doing his best John Cena impression.
So, this Hyper Sunday (yeah, we’ve left Super somewhere around 1996 since the pre-pre-pre-pre-game show seems to start about ten days in advance) take a look at a real generational clash between the prototype quarterback of 2000 going up against the prototype quarterback of 2010.