An NFL team doesn’t always need a franchise quarterback to compete in the post season


A common NFL myth stated “it takes a franchise quarterback to be a successful NFL team.” Really?  Actually the 2017-18 playoffs  totally debunked the myth.

Playoff teams’ starting quarterbacks

Lets start with the division winners.  Three winners had franchise quarterbacks.  New England Patriots had Tom Brady.  The Pittsburgh Steelers had Ben Roethlisberger.  The New Orleans Saints had Drew Brees.  The three of them are future Hall of Fame members.  Kansas City Chiefs had Alex Smith.  Obviously Smith had some decent seasons but his team drafted a potential replacement in the 2017 draft.  The Jacksonville Jaguars had Blake Bortles. Also the Los Angeles Rams had Jared Goff  an unproven newbie.  In addition the Minnesota Vikings  (Case Keenum) and the Philadelphia Eagles (Nick Foles) used well traveled journeymen as starters.

The wild card teams had one true franchise quarterback in  Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons.  In addition the Carolina Panthers had Cam Newton an almost franchise quarterback.  The Tennessee Titans had Marcus Mariota a high draft choice who has not lived up to his potential, yet.  Last the Buffalo Bills had Tyrod Taylor.  The Bills benched Taylor during the season for a quarterback who threw five interceptions.

Wild card weekend quarterbacks

The franchise quarterbacks fared well on Wild Card weekend.  Teams led by Drew Brees (Saints) and Matt Ryan(Falcons) won their wild card games.  Other winners, Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota were not the strongest quarterback in their respective games.  Half of the franchise quarterbacks won their game.

Division round quarterbacks

However the division round told an entirely different story.  Four franchise quarterbacks started in the division round games.  Only one  was a winner at the end of the weekend.  Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Ryan went down to defeat. Tom Brady was the last franchise quarterback in the playoffs.

Championship Sunday

Tom Brady stood out as the last franchise quarterback. He played against Blake Bortles, whose play improved during the season, but still ranked near the bottom of all NFL quarterbacks.   Also  the other game sported two perennial second string quarterbacks.  Case Keenum played against Nick Foles in that game.  Tom Brady (the last man standing) won in a hard fought battle.


As we all know Nick Foles played the game of his life and his Eagles defeated the Patriots.  This outcome surprised many football fans and sportswriters.


First let me say that I know that football is a team game and quarterback is not the only important position on the field.  Commentators will say this is a quarterback driven league.  The rule changes favor quarterbacks, quarterbacks are very highly paid, teams will give up quite a bit to have a franchise quarterback, and quarterbacks fare well in the draft.  The haves have a franchise QB and the have not’s do not.  However this season proves there is more to winning than just a quarterback.  Nothing was more enjoyable than watching second tier quarterbacks make the playoffs, win games, and ultimately win the Super Bowl.