Every few decades we get 'the draft'. It's a confluence of factors that creates a situation where multiple franchise quarterbacks flood the league at the same time. 1983 gave us John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. 2004 saw Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger enter the league -- however, it's impossible to find back-to-back years that gave the league some of its best young quarterbacks. It's natural to try and work out who's the best in our list-loving, ranking-based society -- but the often unspoken side effect are the inferiority complexes fans have developed about their quarterbacks.
There was furor over the weekend as a 49ers fan came to this blog and wrote a protracted post arguing the merits of the young QBs -- and surprise, surprise his statistical analysis found that Colin Kaepernick was above the rest (imagine that!). We weren't the only fans to play host to this article -- as each of the teams with young quarterbacks was visited with a similar article, changing out the name of their QB, and ensuring the analysis found them wanting.
Fans reacted as fans react. With a measured approach, steady hand, and logical response.... just kidding, Panthers' fans raged. After all, who comes into our house and talks ill of a player without a really solid justification. The reaction was a little excessive, but understandable. This blog is viewed as a safe-haven for those wanting to talk Panthers' football without being interrupted. Fan posts offer a point of ingress for other fans -- so it's natural to bristle at criticism, and take up a phalanx.
Here's the truth: Everyone's scared, even if we don't admit it. Despite their hot starts, at least three of these quarterbacks will likely fail. Unless this is the greatest outlier in league history, chances are we're not seeing six of the league's top-ten quarterbacks enter the league at the same time.
There's plenty to be scared of. For each of these QBs there are obvious pitfalls they haven't done enough to dispel thus far.
Cam Newton: Has all the physical tools, but hasn't shown the maturity to lead his team back from adversity.
Andrew Luck: Looks like the smartest QB to enter the league in a long time, but was turnover prone and showed questionable accuracy against a sub-par schedule.
Colin Kaepernick: Immense success quickly, but there's no guarantee it's him and not the offense he's running.
Robert Griffin III: Is exactly the same QB he was at Baylor, but that same player was injured because his play style and body type don't jive.
Russell Wilson: Showed he was a competitor, but largely untested as a passer. Only threw for 250+ yards on three occasions.
One can argue the minutia of each of these players pros and cons forever -- that's not the point. The point is that we're all in the same boat -- hoping for the best, but almost expecting the worst. This kind of inferiority complex causes fans to write fanposts trying to convince other fan bases that their guy is best, and causes us to get upset when someone says our guy is lacking.
This same situation is what makes us endlessly share positive articles, and hail writers as 'geniuses' who say Cam Newton is elite, but chide those who stop short of it. I used to think Panthers' fans were alone, and this thinking was a byproduct of such awful play at the position we've endured since the franchise was foundered -- but it's the same place fans of the Colts, Seahawks, Redskins, and 49ers find themselves in now. We're all afraid our guy will falter, and be forgotten over time. The arguing wont stop, but it's nice to have solidarity -- even from the enemy, and even when they don't realize it.