You might've noticed: there's some bad quarterbacking going on in the NFL today. Some really bad quarterbacking. And it's reached the point where the announcers are fully willing to call them out for it; not just for bad plays, but for being terrible quarterbacks, which is unusual in an announcing booth - anyone who's ever seen a game where Brett Favre is playing knows that. All across American, people are turning on JaMarcus Russell, Tony Romo, Jason Campbell - and bizarrely, embracing astoundingly mediocre quarterbacks like Kyle Orton. It's a terribly confusing situation, but fortunately, I've solved part of the problem:
Seriously. Quarterbacks are supposed to be leaders, supposed to be guys that you can trust, guys teammates look up to. And yet you see half a dozen quarterbacks in the league rocking some truly terrifyingly bad moustaches and playing some truly terrifyingly bad games. Nobody trusts a guy with a moustache. He makes a play call, and his receivers don't hit their routes - they're not taking advice from a man in a moustache. And the offensive line isn't gonna hold up - how hard are you gonna block guys to keep them away from a man with a moustache? I thought so.
These players aren't seeing the same patterns I am - the key to saving their careers is but a razor blade away.
Consider a man whose career plummeted away from its early promise. Want to see why?
Jake Plummer (2005)
Yeah, that's right. That's an epically bad moustache.
Here's the crazy thing: on the year that Plummer grew this moustache, he had probably the best season of his career - went 13-3 as a starter, threw 18 touchdowns and only 7 picks, and averaged 210 yards a game with a quarterback rating over 90. Those are solid figures right there, the sort of season dozens of teams would want from their starting QB.
After the next season, Plummer was out of the league. These things are not unrelated.
Now, consider these examples from this season.
This one's a no brainer. Campbell's spent his whole career struggling to show "leadership," his coaches and owner constantly undermine him, and - despite the fact that he (famously) never throws interceptions - team management decided not to bring Byron Leftwich because they were worried he was going to take over the locker room. Really, when team management is worried that Byron Leftwich is going to show more leadership than you, it's time to make a change.
Side note: this may not be totally Campbells' fault - he does play for an organization that last week brought in a bingo caller to revitalize the offense. You could not make that stuff up.
Kyle Orton (Part 1)
Alright, I couldn't find a picture of Orton with just the moustache, but I did find a couple with the full beard. What Orton does is that he starts every season clean shaven and then lets it go until he's got sort of a half-beard/moustache thing, and then he eventually gets to quasi-beard status. At the same time, his skills slowly decline until he's no longer recognizable as a quarterback.
Let's take a look at the current Orton.
Kyle Orton (Part 2)
See, that man looks like a real quarterback. And he's sort of playing like one, the Broncos are undefeated, and we're seeing debates about whether Orton is a great quarterback or not. It's all a mirage. As the moustache comes in, these debates will disappear.
Matt Hasselbeck (2005)
The Seattle Seahawks still blame their Superbowl defeat on the bad officiating, but I know the truth. It was Matt Hasselbeck's "Playoff Moustache."
It should also be noted that since this point, Hasselbeck's career has never been the same.
Aaron Rodgers (2008)
Rodgers is not having a great season. His Packers are 2-2 and he lost to Brett Favre on Monday Night Football in the most-watched event in cable television history. Yet even though he held the ball too long and got sacked 8 times in that game, the announcers never called him out on it, and you know why?
Because he shaved off the moustache.
Now, you might say, "lots of successful quarterbacks had giant moustaches." And it's true. Look at this guy:
Alright, now that's a man. But that was a different time. It was the 70's. It was loose, relaxed. You could trust a man in a moustache.
You see, the issue is not moustaches. The issue is that a team needs to look at a quarterback and see a guy who you they'd take a bullet to protect. It's the NFL - people get hit so hard they never walk again. You can't have a quarterback who looks like...
This is a man who wears a ski cap on the sidelines regardless of the weather. It was 85 degrees in Houston last week, and after every series, Russell put the hat on.
In a related note, Oakland lost 29-6 and Russell went 12-for-33 for 128 yards. Yikes.
He's having trouble getting in sync with his receivers. Is that shocking to you? I mean, if you were a wide receiver in the NFL, would you look at this guy and say "yeah, I'm gonna do what that guy says"?
Turn your hat around, Tony. It's 2009. It's time.
And everyone wonders why he's having so much trouble getting his career back on track.
Oh, Carson. I don't even have words.
And finally, the biggest problem of all...
Here's the only moustache exception I'm willing to allow.
Because Jay... you've got to do something. Oh, man. I wouldn't let that guy lead me out of a paper bag.