Height has always been tied to quarterbacks when it comes to the NFL. Many believe that a strong cut off line is six foot tall, because the player needs to be able to see down field over his offensive line. Players draft stocks have dipped simply because they did not measure up to what scouts and office personal consider to be ideal.
In recent years this trend has started to slip, and players are coming into the league and showing that height underneath center is not always everything. While it may play some factor, recent players like Drew Brees have shown that they belong in the tall man’s game.
Flash forward to this year’s NFC super bowl participant in the Seattle Seahawks. In 2012 they took a chance in the third round on a small quarterback out of Wisconsin, who many thought might be better suited as a career backup or need to switch to receiver to last in this league. He came in and won the starting job in training camp, and in his second year has led his team to the Super Bowl. We all know him now as the starting quarterback, Russell Wilson.
Wilson will become the shortest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history at only 5 feet 11 inches tall. Before him there were only 5 players to even start a Super Bowl under 6’1”.
Those players are Len Dawson for the Kansas City Chiefs, which he went 1-1 in starts in the 1960’s. Fran Tarkenton who led the Minnesota Vikings to three Super Bowls in the 60’s and 70’s, but came up short in each contest. Bill Kilmer who led to Washington Redskins into Super Bowl VII, but came up short as the Miami Dolphins completed their remarkable undefeated season. And Joe Thiesmann who lead the Redskins to back to back Super Bowls in the 80’s, who won his first one and lost the following year to the Raiders.
That puts the shortest starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history are 3-6 all time.
While only four other players have entered football’s biggest game at 6’1”, many people would still rather have the ideal 6 foot 2 man leading their team into the game. That sounds ridiculous to me, if we have learned anything from the over 50 years of professional football is that playing ability and the X-factor (heart) are more important when it comes to playing on Sundays in this league.
So are fate and the numbers against Russel Wilson when he will take on Peyton Manning (6’5”) in less than two weeks in this year’s Super Bowl? No, of course not. Height is just a number and Wilson will have to show all the critics why the shortest quarterback in Super Bowl history belongs. While the task may be daunting for him to take down the NFL’s highest powered offense in history, there is one thing Wilson has done time and time again. Proved to all his naysayers that he belongs in this league.
PSA: Marshawn Lynch does NOT want to speak to you.
the Seahawks and the entire NFL.