Why NFL Teams Gamble on Starting Rookie Quarterbacks
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In today’s NFL, every team has a “win now” mentality. There’s no time for rebuilding or down years. You need to compete each and every day, or else you’re out; and that goes for the players, coaches, and front office. You either win today or you’re gone tomorrow.
Because of this trend, struggling teams have forgone the training of old and slowly building from the ground up for the immediate payoff. And when it comes to gaining the interest of the fans and media, there’s one go-to decision for every struggling team: the rookie quarterback.
Blitzed is an in-depth study as to the reason why teams choose to hand the keys of their franchise over to an unproven rookie. But there are multiple layers as to the odds of success for these athletes. While much has to do with their mental and physical toughness, the coaching, front office, and state of an organization all play a crucial role.
In the last two NFL drafts, quarterbacks have been taken as the first two picks (Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota in 2015; Jared Goff and Carson Wentz in 2016). The face of the franchise can’t grow a beard, but is expected to lead his team on the gridiron.
Covering the history of this trend with a running timeline of the 2016 NFL season and top draft picks Goff and Wentz, as well as interviews with numerous current and former quarterbacks, coaches, and executives, distinguished journalist Thomas George breaks down how teams decide on starting a rookie quarterback and why the chances of an immediate payoff are such a mixed bag.