‘Elite’ Term in NFL Requires Homework for Wagering

By Marc U.

 

Tom Brady
Does Brady fall under your definition of elite?

By definition, the word ‘elite’ means, the best or most skilled members of a group. Notice it doesn’t say anything about whether this is over a specific period of time and it doesn’t say anything about what it takes to become ‘elite.’ The debate over who is an elite quarterback in the National Football League sickens me and quite frankly can really skew the way you view a particular wagering opportunity or even how you draft in your fantasy football league.

When we as fans, odds-makers or expert analyists define just who is elite it almost always comes with a particular set of rules and caveats.

Peyton Manning is elite because of the sheer numbers he has put up over his career and his one Super Bowl title in two trips to the big game.

Tom Brady is elite because of his eye-popping numbers, three Super Bowl titles and numerous appearances.

Aaron Rodgers is elite because of his big numbers and Super Bowl title.

Drew Brees is elite because of his record-breaking numbers and Super Bowl title.

Now Joe Flacco is apparently elite after his flawless playoff run and eventual Super Bowl title.

The truth of the matter is that only one guy right now is elite by definition and that’s Flacco because he’s the hottest and most recent title winner.

 

Peyton Manning
Can Manning be considered elite with a playoff record under .500?

How can Peyton Manning be considered elite after yet another pedestrian playoff performance in the loss at home to Baltimore? Guys that are elite win right? Manning is now 9-11 in his playoff career. That’s not elite, but it hasn’t stopped him from being ‘elite’ during the regular season where he his on pace to eclipse nearly every quarterback passing record there is. Dan Marino was phenomonal during the regular season and got his team to just one Super Bowl but most would consider him elite though right?

Tom Brady is 8-7 in the playoffs since 2005 and has zero Super Bowl wins in that span. His regular season numbers are off the charts however making him elite though right? Although the game was different in terms of offensive schemes, Joe Montana was a good regular season quarterback but I don’t know that anyone would call him elite during the first 16 weeks of a given season. Put Montana in a big game however and more often than not he’ll beat you and most certainly be fairly labeled ‘elite.’

The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has put up fantastic numbers since becoming the starter in Green Bay. As a starter in the playoffs, Rodgers is 5-3 with four of those wins coming in their Super XLV year. So what do we use to consider Rodgers elite? We can say he is the victim of a leaky Packers’ defense or we can say injuries hampered the running game but all QBs have similar issues. Rodgers might be the closest right now to actually be given the title of ‘elite’ but must do more in the playoffs next season.

The case that always intrigues me the most is Ben Roethlisberger. The guy has three Super Bowl appearances and two wins, yet he is always grouped in that second five of top QBs. People point to his poor performance in Super Bowl XL as a reason but yet no one recalls that he passed the Steelers to three-straight road playoff wins to get there. Roethlisberger will need to play better in coming years especially coming off a couple late game intereceptions costing the Steelers a potential playoff spot, but he should never be left out of a discussion of who is ‘elite; and who is not.

What you as a bettor have to decide is who is an elite regualr season quarterback and who is an elite post-season quarterback. There are very few who have been consistently good in both ‘seasons.’ It really has become a game-by-game league when you wager.