Super Bowl XLVIII: A Big Win for Mobile Quarterbacks

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looks at the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody could have predicted the dominant fashion in which the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII last night in New Jersey.  While the victory certainly rests on the backs of the Seahawks’ defense – the “Legion of Boom” as they like to be called – the win will add fuel to one of modern football’s greatest debates: the pocket passer vs. the running quarterback.

Though he was sacked only once, Peyton Manning was hit four times and driven out of the pocket perhaps more than any other game this season.  The pressure undoubtedly caused at least one of the Broncos’ four turnovers.

Opposing quarterback Russell Wilson, by contrast, was not hit even once.  Instead, he elected to leave the pocket when sensing pressure - a decision which resulted in a big play more often than not.  When Manning began to run from defenders more in the second half, he proved to be much less efficient, often overthrowing his receivers.

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) gets past Denver Broncos middle linebacker Paris Lenon (51) in the third quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Many pundits have been quick to write off the idea of a running quarterback ever surpassing that of a traditional passer in terms of success and longevity.  Certainly, mobility has always been an admired trait, such as that which characterizes Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger.  However, few could have envisioned a quarterback who averages 514 rushing yards a season defeating the single-season passing yard and touchdown record-holder on the game’s biggest stage.

Alas, Russell Wilson may be changing the conversation, as he is the first “Option Quarterback” of the new generation to win a Lombardi trophy.  Traditional passers like Peyton Manning can still be successful – hell, he was the best quarterback all year.  But the increased focus on rushing the passer around the league has raised the demand for athletic signal callers.

While one victory doesn’t determine the future, consider this: If the Seahawks didn’t advance to the Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick would have been starting for the NFC.  And if neither the Seahawks nor the 49ers made it, Cam Newton would have been under center.  The tide may be changing.

Do you think the future of the Quarterback position is really changing?  Sound off in the comments below!

Topics: Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Russell Wilson, Super Bowl

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  • LoZ4life98

    Kaepernick started for the AFC? Someone has his facts wrong.

    • SK_Jersey13

      Thanks for the catch!
      So what do you think, does this say anything about the Running QB vs. the Pocket Passer debate as a whole??

  • Penguin88

    slip ups happen. its obvious he meant NFC.

    anyway, valid points raised in the article. It never occured to me how 3 of the final 4 QBS in the NFC playoff race were mobile passers. I agree this is a victory for mobile passers but it will long before they receive the full respect they deserve for changing the dynamic of the game.

    • SK_Jersey13

      Appreciate the D, PenguinsDez!!
      Don’t you think, though, that the impact pass rushers have in today’s game has already changed the dynamic??

  • Ya John

    Yes in this new era the most effective Quaterbacks can escape the pocket and make plays down the field. Nearly every quaterback in playoffs this year had mobility, however some elect to throw and others will threaten you with their running ability. Andre Luck, Alex Smith, Aaron Rogers, Andy Dalton all can make plays out of the pocket. Russell Wilson, Collin Kapernick, Cam Newton, RG3, Michael Vick all make plays throwing and running out of the pocket. This is the future and you wonder how and why any one would ever argue pocket qb vs mobile qb, mobility is clearly an asset.

    • SK_Jersey13

      I agree. I think what explains it is that in the past it was thought mobility meant sacrificing accuracy. Players like Wilson have made strides in disproving that – but with guys like Manning and Brady still going strong, it’s an uphill battle for the likes of Wilson, Newton and company.

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