NFL’14 Cherry Picks W5: Field Generals & Super-Chiefs

4 Oct

Born to Quarterback

Article III, Sec. 2, Clause 1., US Constitution states, in part:

President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States.”

The War Powers clause adds another twist (A1.S8.C11). No one ever said checks & balances would be easy. Nothing worth having ever is, eh?


NFL quarterbacks don’t bear the burdens of our Chief Executive, to be sure, but he is often referred to as a field general, marshalling his offensive troops in a Patton-esque, forward-moving campaign to gain territory and vanquish the opponent.

And it’s also fair to say that the President rarely, if ever, has to bear the weight of a 300 lbs lineman flopping on his person as does Joe Quarterback. The Kennedy clan was big on touch football (Jack was JV at Harvard) but none of ’em ever saw anything like Jared Allen or Justin Tuck bearing down with nothin’ but bad thoughts on their minds. Ouch.

In truth, QBs and C-in-Cs are pretty much worlds apart in the duties department. They do have one thing in common: as big kahunas, both get credit with a win, blame in a loss.

So in honor of all those who bear the lonely burden of leadership, I list those fifteen Presidents and c. 2014 quarterbacks who presently bear the burden best.

America’s Best Signal-Callers

1) Tom Brady, Patriots, pocket-passer;
FDR: His economic vision prescribed emergency medicine and took policy beyond simply feeding the greed, then he undertook to save the world;


2) Peyton Manning, Broncos, pocket-passer;
Lincoln: Made the union whole, more human and gave his life in the process;

3) Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, mobile-PP;
Washington: iconic leader who led world’s first revolt against imperium slavery since Spartacus (d.71 BC), gave the new office stature and then the nation a serious start;

4) Aaron Rodgers, Packers, mobile-PP;
Jackson: First non-elitist President who fought Indians, British, banker thugs and brought the people and democracy to DC;

5) Eli Manning, Giants, manager-PP;
Wilson: Professor President w/steely courage to make America a world leader in war (WW1) and peace (LoN), whose 2nd wife Edith (Ellen) co-ruled after his stroke (‘19);


6) Drew Brees, Saints, pocket-passer;
JFK: Saved the Earth (Cuban Missile Crisis) and then lost his life in the battle against entrenched power;


7) Joe Flacco, Ravens, manager-PP;
Cleveland: Should’ve been first 3-term President, designing a template for modern-era “government of the people, by the people, for the people;”


8) Phil Rivers, Chargers, pocket-passer;
Jefferson: Crafty Purchase (Louisiana) doubled the nation’s size, decades after he drafted America’s creed of independence (DoI ‘76);

9) Russ Wilson, Seahawks, mobile-manager;
LBJ: mis-policy in foreign war (Vietnam) did not derail efforts of this legislative juggernaut in making civil rights reality and honoring America’s seniors;

10) Alex Smith, Chiefs, manager-PP;

Polk: Pragmatic, fiscally sound and productive, James was Mr. Manifest Destiny, adding 13 States, in whole or part, to United States’ territory. Died 3 months post-term;


11) Matt Ryan, Falcons, pocket-passer;
Truman: The plain-talking, former farmer, WWI major and haberdasher proved critics & premature press-men wrong with a strong, spirited and common sense administration;

12) Tony Romo, Cowboys, pocket-passer;
Teddy: “Big Stick” buster of trusts, builder of Parks, a celebrity turned progressive;


Rounding Out Top 15:

13) Andrew Luck, Colts, mobile-manager / James Madison;
14) Andy Dalton, Bengals, pocket-passer / Andrew Johnson;
15) Carson Palmer, Cardinals, pocket-passer / William McKinley

Note: Quarterback Cues (no QBR):

Games started (longevity & mettle measure); career regular-season W-L; Clutch factor (post-season W-L & GWDs (See: Eli & Wilson), titles (SB / Conf.); Comp-%; TD-Int. ratio; sacks-suffered (See: Rodgers, Brady & Smith (highs), P. Manning (low)).

“All I Really Need to Know I Learned (on the Playground)”

A play on the title of Bob Fulghum’s 1989 best-seller (“…in Kindergarten“). The read? Never quite lived up to its nifty title. Short on reality, though, the billion copies likely printed-up made plenty o’ real cash for its producers. But I thank Bob for the segue.

Grade school on the whole was enlightening: teachers, the topics, most my classmates were friends. Those were the good years. After that, competition & cliques. Ugh.

But then learning isn’t confined to a classroom. There’s also the classroom of recess where “playground justice” was doled out by the kids in charge.

What we learned there wouldn’t fill a book (didn’t stop someone else), but it did start us young’ins on that all important pathway to self-socialization.

One of the biggies in recess: the tit-for-tat rule. Translation: what goes around, comes around, i.e., “He started it!” If you’re pushed first, you can push back w/ reason.

The NFL and NFLPA apparently don’t care much for that standard, but then those are the same blokes who usually sat things out on the playground battlefield (“Puff!“).

NFL’s goal: keep it simple, contain the problem. That’s great for them, and the chucklehead fan who thinks his, or her ticket (See; finger-fan woman @ J. Noah, AA Arena ‘13 ) gives a license to verbally abuse. But for players, not so great.


Case in point: Jets QB Geno Smith who, after suffering home loss (17-24) to the Lions last Sunday, then suffered verbal attack of a self-important licensee (fan) and did what any self-respecting person would do, he responded in kind. That got him $12,000 fine.

Gino apologized the next day but then had royal salt poured into his wound when one of the Manning princes (Eli) from on top his high horse chided the 2nd-year signal caller: “If they’re yelling at you, you probably deserve it.” Thanks, friend.

The word ‘fan’ is short for fanatic, originating in 1880s St. Louis when a writer tagged the very boistrous baseball game attendees who took it all very seriously. How seriously? You don’t wanta’ know.

Cat-calling of players and officials is a time-honored tradition in sport attendance. But there is a line you don’t cross, physically and verbally.

In these times, no person, no man, woman or child, millionaire player nor fan, should suffer the verbal hostility of another person, ticket or no ticket. It’s high time the NFL, NFLPA and press backed up players (and nearby normals) on this point, giving these guys some room to move when confronted w/the beer-swilling, venom-spewing chucklehead.

“No (pizza) for you,” Eli. “Come back, one week!”

Thankful for Small (NFL) Favors

Consider it one of those rare pleasures: NFL fans not having to endure the ludicrous uncorking of bubbly and donning ski goggles in shower of champagne after every playoff round victory, as the kids in MLB do on cue and with reckless, boyish abandon.

After winning what really amounted to a play-in game, wild card winners Royals and Giants got all wet in wild & wacky celebration, as if they’d just won the title or successfully landed rover on Mars. But boys will be boys.

Cherry Picks Week 5: “Nothing to fear but fear itself”

Bears (2-2) @ Panthers (2-2): 10-5 Fox 1:00 EST: Cats win
Falcons (2-2) @ Giants (2-2): Fox 1:00: Atlanta wins
Texans (3-1) @ Cowboys (3-1): CBS 1:00: Dallas wins
Bills (2-2) @ Lions (3-1): Fox 1:00: Detroit wins
Ravens (3-1) @ Colts (2-2): CBS 1:00: Indianapolis wins
Cards (3-0) @ Broncos (2-1): Fox 4:10 (GOTW): DEN wins
Chiefs (2-2) @ 49ers (2-2): CBS 4:30: Kansas City wins
Bengals (3-0) @ Pats (2-2): NBC 8:35: New England wins

Record: 26 – 10

Steven Keys
NFL Hunch Line
Photo credits: LBJ & M.Hammer / Vietnam ’66 (DSC) / Y. Okamoto / wc.cca; T.Brady / wc.cca / 12.18.11 / J.Beall; FDR / 1933 / E.Goldensky / wc.cca; Wilson / 1912 / Pach / LoC / wc.cca; D.Brees / Kuwait – 07 / wc.cca / T.Day; Cleveland / USNARA / wc.cca; A.Smith / wc.cca / M.Bragg / 1.31.14 – ProBowl; J.Polk / 1849 / wc.cca / LoC / Brady; Teddy / wc.cca / LoC / 1919?; G.Smith / 8.11.13 / eltiempo10 / wc.cca; Cherries / wc.cca / Spain / Hispalois / 7.2.12

Posted: 10-3-14 @ 10:52pm EST


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