The job of the Quarterback starts at the huddle, making sure the center is the first man setup exactly eight yards behind the ball. The QB takes his place at the end of the huddle, nearest to his sideline. The rest of the huddle adjusts around him.
There are only 40 seconds available to get the play started. The Quarterback needs to be as efficient as possible as soon as the referee puts his hand down to start the play clock. In the huddle, the Quarterback does all the talking and the other players listen. Once he commands his troops, he issues a “ready” call, and the rest of the huddle claps their hands in unison and break away in formation.
Once at the line of scrimmage the Quarterback is responsible for various pre-snap reads:
- Reading the base defensive formation in front of him
- Putting players into motion to determine coverage (zone / man)
- Identifying the central point of the defense for his offensive line to key off ….. “52 is the MIC”
- Issuing out Code words that alert the offensive players of any context or urgency
- “OMAHA” – the play clock is getting low and there’s a need to rush to the L.O.S.
- “RAMBO” – Alert that a detached receiver is uncovered
- “EASY” – Snap the ball on the second sound
The Quarterback is also responsible for any adjustments before the snap:
- Issuing out any audibles
- Calling out the live color to initate the audible signal
- Declaring then new snap count, although most audibles will go on ONE
- Declaring the new play
Again, all of the above is done within a 40 second window of time. Don’t forget about the other information being processed by the Quarterback, which needs to be memorized in order to effectively run the play: The location of the backs (Normal H / Near / Far / Up / On / Split / Flood / Zero / Eagle),…. or the variations of alignment for the Tight-End (Normal / Flex / Wide / On / Off)…. or all the variations of their current formation that he may need to shift into, depending on the personnel grouping he has on the field (few good examples below).
To be successful at his job, the Quarterback needs to have complete mastery of the offensive system as well as his body and motor-skills. To get that mastery, the Quarterback lives and breathes all things practice, repetition, and total commitment to the team. That’s why there are so few “elite” Quarterbacks in the world – it’s back-breaking hard-work, combined with world-class athleticism and intelligence.
Which brings me to Deflate-Gate
Rules are rules, and rules should be followed. If rules were proven to be broken (and let me be clear, “most-probably sorta were broken” is not appropriate verbiage to declare proof), punishments should be doled out, especially if Tom got himself caught in a stupid lie.
But let’s get one thing straight for all those members of the NFL Witch-hunt brigade. Reducing the difference of a football from 13.5 PSI to 12.5 PSI, is NOT the reason the following happened in the 2014-2015 Patriots season.
Bouncing back after “The decline of Brady”
Remember that fateful Monday night when the Patriots got absolutely TROUNCED by the Kansas City Chiefs on national television? The week after, they picked themselves off the mat and hung 43 points on the (at the time) undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.
Here are some key stats, none revolving around a PSI differential of +/- 1 …
- Forcing three Bengals fumbles
- Kyle Arrington returning a fumble for a touchdown
- Ridley rushing for 113 yards
- Vereen rushing for an additional 90 yards
- Holding Giovani Bernard to 62 yards on the ground
AFC Championship Game
Or how about the time that Patriots bullied the Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 45-7 in the AFC Championship game…
Some more key stats, and again, not revolving around the scientific state of pressure within a pigskin.
- Holding TY Hilton to 36 yards receiving
- Holding Andrew Luck to 126 total passing yards, and zero TD’s
- LeGarrette Blount rushing for 148 yards and three TD’s
What I feel is the most compelling argument for appreciation (rather than mob-based discrediting) are the non-deflate-gate examples of brilliance seen in the biggest game of them all. First, calling in Malcolm Butler at the last second to go jump a route that they had been drilling on all week during practice. Second, not taking a time-out and pressuring Pete Carroll into calling a very questionable play that led to an INT.
Both of these plays made the game and season for the Patriots. But no one seems to remember that. Everyone lingers on deflate-gate, and minimizes what should be recognized as a truly remarkable accomplishment.
Time to get over it
If you are still bent out of shape over deflate-gate, or the Patriots being big-bad stinking cheaters, then by all means continue to cry-out for justice. But if you love the game of football as much as I do, let the League determine what Brady gets (if anything, and again based on proven wrong-doing’s) and be done with it. The 2014-2015 Patriots were a GREAT football team, who fought through adversity to win what was arguably the best Superbowl of all-time. Tom Brady is the GREATEST Quarterback to ever put on a helmet, and despite (allegedly) getting himself caught in a lie – should be recognized as such based on his accomplishments.
I refuse to let uneducated fanatics, the media, and people who do not understand what it takes to win football games at the professional level, ruin what was the most enjoyable season of NFL football since 2004-2005.