It’s a QB Injury Epidemic

As Jerry Seinfeld might say… what’s the deal with QB injuries? I mean really? broken thumb, cracked ribs, sprained toe… who ARE these people?! In all seriousness, the king of sitcom reruns has a point, what’s up with the casualty count in the NFL right now? Sure there have been years where a large number of players get injured, but typically they are at the skilled positions like RB, WR, CB, etc. When was the last time this many playcallers went down?

The number of players out right now is staggering (Manning, Henne, Vick, Cutler, Schaub, Collins, Campbell, Leinart, Cassel, and Kolb)… plus injuries to Bradford, Romo, Stafford, Vince Young, Hasslebeck, and Tarvaris Jackson, who have since recovered from their dings. Add 1 more if you count Roethlisberger‘s broken finger and questionable status going into Kansas City this past Sunday. Realistically that’s 15 teams who have had to wonder about the status of their QBs at some point 11 weeks into this season. That’s nearly half the teams in the NFL, and at least one player in 7 out of the 8 NFL divisions!

As predicted by many, Vick took a pounding and didn't hold up this season

This doesnt even count those players that have been benched due to poor performances… McNabb, Gabbert, Grossman, Beck, Freeman, Painter, and Orton. Adding it all up, we see that 59 different Quarterbacks have thrown a pass this year. That’s right FIFTY NINE! An average of nearly two QB’s per NFL team. Unfortunately the stat department at WhitSport isn’t nearly the size of that at ESPN, but going back over the past few seasons an interesting revelation was found… The 2010 NFL season featured 70 different QBs, while the 2009 season saw 68 different passers.

So why does the 2011 season seem so much more brutal in terms of playcallers going down? Simply put, it’s the magnitude of the QBs that are hurt. Six of the QBs that have been mentioned in the above paragraphs played in the post-season last year, and two were in MVP discussions. With guys like Manning, Schaub, Cutler, and Vick on the shelf, NFL fans have been exposed to the likes of Curtis Painter and John Kafka. Even Matt Leinart got in on the action. The other reason these injuries have garnered such attention is due to the playoff implications. The Texans will still likely run away with the AFC South division crown, but may have to rely on the arm of a rookie QB once they make their first ever post-season appearance. The same situation unfolds in Chicago, where the Bears were on a roll, up until Jay Cutler broke his thumb.

Tebow gets in on the action while a disappointing Orton looks on (before eventually being cut)

In the end, several conclusions can be drawn. The Quarterback position is one of the most vulnerable in all of sports; injuries are prevalent and being benched is never an unthinkable option. Though we didn’t delve this deep, it was fairly evident that teams which started more than 1 QB during a season have far less appearances in the playoffs. Overall, the QB position remains one of the most crucial spots in football in terms of solidarity and consistency. It also becomes fairly clear why Offensive Linemen are drafted in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. Keeping a top-tier QB is essential to success, and an upright passer is a healthy passer. Overall, this season has surely seen its fair share of injuries to the NFL’s marquee players. Let’s hope the rest can remain healthy and set up another wild finish to an already-entertaining season.

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