Griffin has spent his offseason rehabbing and taking veiled and non-veiled shots at his head coach, Mike Shanahan. Wilson was a third-round pick in last year’s draft after a stellar collegiate career at North Carolina State and Wisconsin, but he stands just 5’11”, and that was a sticking point to many NFL teams. Wilson proceeded to beat Griffin in the wild card round and nearly upset Matt Ryan and the Falcons in the Georgia Dome in the Divisional Round. Wilson has garnered praise for his laid back, zen-like approach to football, which has clearly succeeded in the Pacific Northwest.
The fourth ‘king’ is Kaepernick, who was in his second year in 2012, but similar to the fast start to Tom Brady’s career in New England in 2001, Kaepernick took advantage of an injury and nearly duplicated Brady’s storybook ending of winning a Super Bowl. Kaepernick wowed the football world in the second half of the football season and then he ran straight into the record books with an NFL-record 181 rush yards and one rush touchdown to go along with 263 yards through the air and two more touchdowns.
Griffin, Kaepernick and Wilson gave credence to all the talk that Carolina’s Cam Newton was ushering in a new era of quarterbacks that can run and pass. In the past, there was no doubt that running quarterbacks ran because they weren’t good throwers. The same can’t be said for Griffin, Kaepernick and Wilson. When Newton won the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, everyone called him the new prototype of what a quarterback will be.
Call me old fashioned, but to me the “prototype” is a pocket passer who makes good decisions and doesn’t chance getting hurt by running. Sure, Aaron Rodgers and Luck can run for a first down if they have to, but for the most part they stay in the pocket. Think about the quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls in the past decade — Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowl rings, but he’s a complicated case. He’s not running by design, but more of a function of his game where he tries to keep a play alive, but even at his tall stature, Big Ben has battled injuries the last two seasons.