The Game Manager: Just Win Baby

January 16, 2016

In the last few years, I have been hearing the “Game Manager” moniker used to describe quarterbacks. If you are a quarterback, is there a more insulting term to hear than that?  When that tag gets placed around a quarterback’s neck assume right away that he doesn’t have lofty statistics and a supermodel wife. Describe him as somebody that has the personality of a soap dish and can barely throw the ball farther than ten yards.  Lastly, go on to believe that he barely made his high school football team and went to junior college or played in the Arena Football League.

Seriously, why does a quarterback get labeled the dreaded “Game Manager”? I really think the term got started and pinned on the Baltimore Raven quarterback, Trent Dilfer. Poor Trent Dilfer, he wasn’t lighting up the Fantasy Football charts and these scrupiless fantasy owners only used him if they were forced. Forget about the fact that he was the QB on a winning team, and that he was on the field when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001.

By definition, a game manager will execute a conservative offensive game and not turn the ball over. The team that he is quarterbacking will win by not fumbling and by not throwing a lot of lower percentage passes downfield to eliminate the risk of interception. The game manager will usually have a good running game to use to his advantage and solid defense that keeps opponents from running up large scores. Therefore, the team can win a high percentage of games by doing just enough to win. Wow, sounds like a robot that can execute simple commands.

I think I correctly captured the term as described by pundits in the media. Have you ever heard a coach ever describe his quarterback as a game manager? Have you ever noticed that if a QB gets calls a game manager he usually has won more than lost?

When the game manager is working his magic and managing the game plan, he might throw a touchdown pass or two and the whole team has played well in all aspects. It becomes an odd dynamic to always put your finger on. Football is called the ultimate team sport where all pieces must gel and complement each other. The game manager is the cerebral mind on the offensive side and he must get his squad in check to execute a winning formula. The good quarterbacks know when to get rid of ball, take less sacks and when to run. Again, these are game manager qualities.

Bill Walsh the legendary coach of the 49ers who perfected the west coast offense knew that a quarterback that could master the short and mid-range throws could disrupt the defenses enough to have a successful running game. The need to keep chucking the ball all over the field creates a higher percentage chance for turnovers. The first 49er Super Bowl team in 1982, there wasn’t a lot of statistical marvels on that team.  It was Joe Montana masterfully executing a conservative game plan along with a really good defense.

Next time you hear the innocuous game manager term, listen to what the so-called expert is telling you. Most likely he going to say the quarterback is not a big play come from behind leader and will only take you so far. I love game managers, I like a good running game that punishes and a solid defense that can keep the other team under 20 points. Sounds like winning to me.