Longo: Pete and Russell at top of NFL playoff heap
If you follow Twitter, you’ve seen someone’s list.
It’s so “in” to rank the quarterbacks.
Best of all-time.
Best of the decade.
Best of the upcoming NFL playoffs.
Yes, one genius had Tom Brady 10th among the 12 starters in the upcoming postseason, just behind, gulp, Buffalo’s Josh Allen and just ahead of cellar-dwelling Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco) and Kirk Cousins (Minnesota).
But we all know, darn well, what wins in January and February. It’s not just QBs. It’s QBs and coaches.
So with that in mind, we deliver our own list, ranking the best to worst coach-QB combos in the upcoming playoffs.
The criteria is simple. Who do you trust? Who will deliver?
So with that, away we go.
1. Pete Carroll and
Russell Wilson, Seattle.
Let’s face it. Carroll, an absolute ninny in his three seasons with the Patriots (Google him, kids), is one awful goal-line call away from being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
He is competent, not spectacular on the sidelines, and that’s enough because Wilson is a bad, bad man. He is the most feared arm in the game.
2. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City.
Reid is running out of second chances. But soon or later, this blind squirrel has to trip over an acorn, no?
Mahomes is just the guy to push KC over the top. He’s got the bigtime release and the quick feet to match.
The kid has been ice.
3. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, New England.
If this was a GM/QB combo, you’re talking No. 10 or 11 here. But it’s coaching that drives this boat (“Eight Rings”).
Brady isn’t himself, but he wasn’t himself in the Super Bowl a year ago either, and BB found a way to stifle the Rams.
Don’t disrespect here, folks. Many have tried. Nearly all have failed.
4. Drew Brees and Sean Payton, New Orleans.
The consummate underachievers in the bunch still command respect, right?
Shouldn’t Brees have three or four rings by now?
I know. They were robbed last year. It’s the only reason these two make the top five.
5. John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson, Baltimore.
Jackson’s playoff stinker a year ago is a giant strike against this duo.
The 2019 MVP-to-be is holding Harbaugh down.
Realizing the Ravens play in Maryland, I’m Mr. Missouri when it comes to these two.
6. Mike Vrabel and Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee.
Vrabel might be my favorite coach in the game.
He’s smart, classy and knows the difference between championship mettle and being just another team. His QB is the issue.
I never looked it up but I’m told Tannehill is German for “run-of-the-mill.”
7. Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz, Philadelphia.
The Eagles’ boss has a title. And Wentz might have had the best season that nobody knows about.
8. Matt Lafleur and Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay.
Of all the quarterbacks in the field, Rodgers has the most pressure on his No. 12.
Remember when this guy was in the “best of all-time” conversation.
The best guy in the game has to do more than win one Super Bowl. His window is just closing, almost as fast as Brady’s.
9. Bill O’Brien and Deshaun Watson, Houston.
This is all about track record.
Neither of these two has done a thing in the postseason, despite having ample opportunity. I will never buy in.
10. Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco.
This one hurts a ton because I have an absolute man-crush on Jimmy G.
I firmly believe he’s the next big thing.
Unfortunately, his coach oversaw the most calamitous collapse in Super Bowl history with the 28-3 lead for Atlanta.
What a chump. If this was Jimmy G and anybody else, it’s top five. But flat-brim Shanahan? No thanks.
11. Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins, Minnesota.
Would you go to battle with either of these guys?
Zimmer’s goal seems to forever be a “Wild Card.” And Cousins’ might be the least enthused QB in the field.
He’s got his contract. Playoffs are like a pay cut.
It’s golf season, man.
12. Sean McDermott and Josh Allen, Buffalo.
The easiest choice in the bunch. Allen can’t throw and his coach can’t gameplan.
Other than that, the Bills have a great thing going.
What the heck was McDermott doing in the biggest football game of his life at Gillette Stadium two weeks ago? That might have been the worst performance by any coach in the game since the Bills canned Dick Jauron.