Friday, May 6, 2011

Sam Bradford: Why the Rams Are Guaranteed a Super Bowl This Decade

Pop quiz... Who was the last defensive power house to win a Super Bowl?

Chances are you had to think about that question, and you still aren't even sure of the answer.

You might be thinking of the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers or the 2007 New York Giants. Or, depending on your definition, you might be thinking of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or the 2000 Ravens.

But if the question was 'Who was the last elite quarterback to win the Super Bowl?', then your brain would have to think back to no further than last January, when Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers won the Packers their first Super Bowl since 1996.

Who are some elite quarterbacks, who are currently active, that have not won a Super Bowl yet?

The most obvious answer is Phillip River in San Diego. Atlanta's Matt Ryan is another answer, but does he really count? He's only been truly lighting it up since last season.

Carson Palmer is another, but his injury stricken career has kept him from entering an elite level.

What about Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb? They are star quarterbacks, but they are not elite passers. They have above average passing stats, but they depend on their legs just as much as their arms.

Here are some of the supreme passers in this league that have won Super Bowls: Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady; also Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger (unless you want to be picky).

Here's another tidbit of info relating to my point. This is a list of the past 15 Super Bowl champions and the quarterbacks that led them.

2010 Green Bay Packers- Aaron Rodger

2009 New Orleans Saints- Drew Brees

2008 Pittsburgh Steelers- Ben Roethlisberger

2007 New York Giants- Eli Manning

2006 Indianapolis Colts- Peyton Manning

2005 Pittsburgh Steelers- Ben Roethlisberger

2004 New England Patriots- Tom Brady

2003 New England Patriots- Tom Brady

*2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Brad Johnson

2001 New England Patriots- Tom Brady

*2000 Baltimore Ravens- Trent Dilfer

1999 St. Louis Rams- Kurt Warner

1998 Denver Broncos- John Elway

1997 Denver Broncos- John Elway

1996 Green Bay Packers- Brett Favre

* Indicates a team that won the Super Bowl without a suitable quarterback, mainly due to having one of the best defensive units in the history of the game.

The key point of that list? If you don't have an awesome quarterback, then you better have one of the best defenses that the league has seen in years, or else you're not winning a Super Bowl.

'Defense's Win Championships' is an overused cliché. This is a quarterback driven era, and you're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

Don't get me wrong. Defense is very important, and it's vital towards winning a Championship. All 15 teams on that list had solid defensive units. But it's just not realistic to expect a Super Bowl victory out of a team that does not have a franchise passer.
So, considering that Sam Bradford had the best pro day since Troy Aikman, according to's Gil Brandt, and was considered by many to be the best quarterback prospect since Carson Palmer, what does that mean for St. Louis fans?

What does it mean to St. Louis fans that Bradford threw for over 3,000 yards as a rookie? He was only the third quarterback to ever accomplish that; Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan are the other two.

It means that Bradford has an extremely high ceiling. He has the physical tools, as well as intangibles that are out of this world. Barring injury, or a total implosion within the organization (not likely, considering the direction the team has taken), it is very likely he will become an elite passer in this league, and that is what it takes to win a Super Bowl in the NFL.

The NFL is not a world of guarantees, so excuse the title. But if the "sure thing" does not exist in football, then Sam Bradford is certainly the next best thing.

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