Although most would agree that mobile quarterbacks’ plays are a lot exciting and fun to watch, trends show that mobile quarterbacks have short-term success versus stationary ones.
A stationary quarterback is a quarterback who uses the protection of his offensive line to his advantage and makes passes from the pocket. Mobile quarterbacks are more athletic and use their dual threat capability to make throws from the pocket, but also run when no one is open or they feel the need to.
The most prominent mobile quarterback in the league right now is Cam Newton. Newton gained quick success in his NFL career, being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in his first season and then leading his team into the playoffs three years in a row from 2013-2015. He has already broken numerous records as a dual threat quarterback, and if he is able to recoup from a disappointing 2016 season, has a good chance of continuing his successful career and being inducted into the Hall-of-Fame at the end of his career.
Everyone knows Michael Vick, who formerly played for the Falcons, Eagles, and Steelers, and how he exploded onto the scene when he came into the league before his off-the-field mishaps. There’s also Aaron Rodgers, a player who is not so much of a running quarterback, but is more than capable of scrabbling when necessary to get more time to make throws or even run for first downs. The only other players besides Vick, Newton, and Rodgers to receive long-term results from their dual threat capability are Randall Cunningham, who is in the College and Philadelphia Eagles Hall-of-Fame, Steve Young and John Elway, both Hall-of-Famers.
A lot of dual threat quarterbacks who receive such rapid success when they initially join the league are subject to injuries, which lead to inconsistent play and end up derailing their careers and having to leave the league early. The reason for this is because they are subject to more hits when they leave the pocket because they become runners and no longer have the protection from blockers or from quarterback safety rules.
Vick had an successful career during his prime, but peaked early and was not able to sustain the same exciting play in the later years of his career. He had to retire from the league at 36 after not being signed to a team the whole 2015 season. His full, successful season was at 30. Cunningham’s last successful season was at 34.
In the league today exist high-caliber players who are in their high-thirties who are still playing exceptionally well. Tom Brady, for example, is 39 years old and just won a Super Bowl. Philip Rivers, who is 35, is one of the most accurate quarterbacks of all time and was named to the pro-bowl this past season. Drew Brees is a perennial Pro-Bowler and is 38 years old.
Peyton Manning (now retired, but played for Broncos and Colts) was able to exit the league winning a championship at age 39. He is an undisputed soon to be Hall-of-Famer as soon as he is eligible.
All of these quarterbacks have one thing in common – they are all stationary quarterbacks. When you are a mobile quarterback, you are subject to more injuries and history shows you have an increased chance to have a short-lived career.
Sophomore Isaiah Johnston said, “Yes, mobile quarterbacks are subject to short term success because stationary quarterbacks are less vulnerable due to offensive line blocking.”
That is another problem with being a mobile quarterback, which is not exactly their fault. Teams with more stationary quarterbacks tend to build a good offensive line around their quarterback in order to protect them, but mobile quarterbacks do not get the luxury of the same treatment. Their general managers do not focus on offensive line blocking so much because they feel that because their quarterback is so elusive and tends to venture from the pocket, their blockers do not have to be stellar.
Junior and starting center on the Monroe Falcons football team Dom Alongi said, “NFL GMs [general managers] look for more pocket or traditional quarterbacks and build a line around them so they have more prolonged careers.”
It is clear that although their play is more versatile and fun to watch, the prominence of a mobile quarterback has its shortcomings. They usually are subject to more injuries, shorter careers, and minimal success. If you are going to put your body on the line for this sport, shouldn’t you go about it in the safest way?