It’s the deadest point of the NFL off-season, with news only sporadically breaking to interrupt the otherwise crushing doldrums. Even at this point of the year, however, media companies know that there is an insatiable demand for NFL content. Because there always is.
The problem is, only the most inconsequential transactions are currently taking place and training camps are still weeks away from starting. Positional battles might exist, but they won’t be resolved any time soon. By now, the past NFL season has been dissected so thoroughly that there’s nothing left to be gleaned from it.
That means: ’tis the season for the pointless ranking of players. NFL Network milks its annual Top 100 Players list for what seems like eight weeks. ESPN, not to be denied fodder that could produce extensive ratings-producing “debate”, turned to Jaws to rank the top 32 quarterbacks in the league. Because there’s nothing that pushes the dial like discussing how elite QBs are.
I’ve tried my best to ignore the daily updates to this list and the ire that results. For a while, it was easy, as not a great many people particularly care that, say, Andy Dalton is listed as the 19th best quarterback in the league for the second year in a row. But if you pay attention to enough to NFL news on a regular basis, you can only hold out so long.
Now that we’re getting to the meat of the thing, with quarterbacks the public at large cares about being debated, it’ll be difficult to ignore. After all, there’s nothing your average football fan loves debating like quarterback eliteness. Even if you hide from ESPN, it can’t be avoided. A few tweets pop up on your Twitter feed griping about where RGIII placed on the list. A beat writer for the Redskins claims its insanity.
Do I necessarily agree that Russell Wilson is better than RGIII? Or, for that matter, that there are 12 quarterbacks in the league better than RGIII? You know what? I don’t want to seriously think about either of those questions. Because you’re not arguing with reality. You’re arguing with Ron Jaworski’s arbitrary bullshit. And narrative, which might even be worse.
Sure, there are stats underpinning some of Jaws’ arguments, but those stats take a backseat as soon as he wants to pull out vague descriptions like ATTACKING STYLE OF PASSING and EYE DISCIPLINE when it comes to defending his choices. Before long, the always handy WHO HAS WON THE BIG GAMES will crop up.
Just watch, there’s going to be a purposely controversial inclusion in the top five. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he stuck Joe Flacco at number one. “Last year’s march to the Super Bowl proved once and for all that Joe Flacco is an elite passer and leader in the Nation Football League. Not only has he outplayed Tom Brady twice in the postseason, but he has the hardware as well. Sure, his stats may not always be great in the regular season, but he knows how to turn it on when it counts. I dare say no one else in the league can match his JUMP BALL DISCIPLINE.”
I beg of you: I know the off-season, especially this part of it, is brutal and the faintest whiff of football is intoxicating, but don’t feed into things that exist solely to provoke you. Just don’t look. Just don’t look.