Tony DeMeo


Can Your Quarterback Win Ugly

One of the critical traits of winning Quarterbacks is the ability to win “ugly games” By ugly games I mean games where moving the ball is like the Bataan Death March. This is when you need a Quarterback that’s going to make enough plays to win regardless of a poor stat performance.

Games become “ugly” for a number of reasons:

1. The opponent’s defense is playing lights out. They’re motors are revving higher than the offense.

2. The weather is inclement – strong wind or heavy rain making ball handling difficult.

3. Poor execution – fumbles, dropped passes, penalties, sacks etc.

This is where the QB must take over the game if he’s a winner.

Most Quarterbacks do well when facing an inferior opponent or when every bounce is going their way but the guy you want is the guy who can rally the troops when all hell is breaking loose. That’s the guy you want as your QB.

When we recruited Quarterbacks I wanted to see his best game, his highlight video (without the music) and a game his team lost. I wanted to see whether he was a thermometer or a thermostat. Does the score affect him or does he affect the score? Many teams are enamored with stats or combine results but never look at what the guy did when the poop hit the old fan. Like Larry Byrd said “Some guys put up numbers and some guys win championships”

Nothing aggravates me more than to see a Quarterback go & sit by himself after a 3 and out series. Why not just write “Loser” on your

jersey? Those guys regardless of their ability never pan out– their better than their teammates. Yet some NFL teams actually draft these divas and then can’t figure out why they stink. My rule was simple “If you pout, you’re out” because that negativity will spread through-out the team.

Now the guy you want leading your team is a guy who is an agent of hope, a guy who never folds the tent and always expects to win. This guy never turns the ball over because he has such high expectation of winning that he doesn’t need to force a pass. He has a winner’s patience. He’s the guy who rallies the troops when they have had a bad series instead of going around sulking feeling sorry for himself. I want a Quarterback who’s going to give encourage to a receiver who has just dropped a touchdown pass not a guy who’s going to throw his hands in the air and further embarrass the dejected wide out. A great example of a Quarterback that could win ugly was Joe Montana. The 49ERs had trouble moving the ball vs The Bears 46 Defense designed by Buddy Ryan. Ryan’s Defense did 2 things: (1) They rushed 1 more than the Niners could block which led to numerous hits on Montana (2) they played tough bump & run on the Wide Receivers thus taking away the Quick Passes of The West Coast Offense.

Bill Walsh knew this 46 scheme was going to be tough to beat so it was imperative that Joe could win ugly & he did. Montana never had a good stat game vs The Bears & the 46 Defense (He never completed 50% of his passes vs the Bears) However, Montana did not the turn the ball over, he controlled the clock and he hit enough big passes to win the game.

Tom Brady is another example of a guy who could turn a game around with his patience & poise. Tim Tebow led the Broncos to the 2nd round of the playoffs by winning ugly. Tebow took over a 1-4 Bronco team and

led them to the playoffs. The NFL never gave him a chance to do it again. Russell Wilson is another QB that can change the game. Russell can do it with both his arm and his legs.

So when you’re trying to decide who your QB is going to be, look for the guy who can win ugly.