With my cheesehead squarely (well, triangle-ly) situated on my head, I shriveled into the couch as the news that Aaron Rodgers threw an interception at Lambeau Field flashed on the computer screen. This was Halley’s Comet, only that it happened once more in the same game. I couldn’t believe that the feared Rams defense lived up to the predictions, that they’d be the ones to force Rodgers into interceptions. Directionless in my football watching, I knew that what I needed to bring me back to reality was to watch an ~elite~ quarterback work. I needed to watch the Cleveland Browns.
The hallmarks of an ~elite~ quarterback aren’t readily definable, but rather, they’re made of an accumulation of factors. Some are directly related to football. Others only happen because of what’s been done on the football field. Below, I build the case that today’s game versus the Baltimore Ravens, Josh McCown cemented himself as an ~elite~ quarterback.
~Elite~ Quarterbacks Are Affiliated With Spectacular Catches
The Immaculate Reception. The Catch. Odell Beckham versus the Cowboys. All of these catchers were thrown by certifiably ~elite~ quarterbacks: Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Eli Manning, respectively. On Sunday, Josh McCown joined their ranks when he threw a touchdown pass to breakout tight end Gary Barnidge that he caught between his legs. Great quarterbacks elevate the play of all those around them. ~Elite~ quarterbacks assist their receivers in making history.
~Elite~ Quarterbacks Defeat Other ~Elite~ Quarterbacks
The “Joe Flacco is an [~]elite[~] quarterback” phenomenon has peaked in recent days, with phenom originator PFT Commenter having gotten two presidential candidates (one, Donald Trump, was asked, while the other, Martin O’Malley, answered without prompting) to admit to Flacco’s ~elite~ status. The games of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady that are most scrutinized are those played against each other. It’s one thing for a quarterback to lead a team to victory. It’s another to outplay a fellow ~elite~ quarterback. With Flacco understood as ~elite~, McCown’s outplaying of Flacco helps him ascend to this most coveted of quarterback statuses. McCown threw for a career-high 457 yards, logging 425 of these in regulation, the fourth-most against the Ravens in franchise history. After the Browns defense stopped the Ravens in the beginning of overtime, he executed a truly ~elite~ drive to set up a game-winning field goal. A lesser quarterback would have wilted.
~Elite~ Quarterbacks Have Brothers Who Star in Commercials
Both Eli and Peyton Manning qualify for this factor, as the pair have starred in their fair share of commercials. This, as discussed above, is as attributable to their ~eliteness~ on the field as it is an independent facet of. But, guess who gets to add his name to this list? That’s right, Josh McCown. His brother Luke has been the star of commercials for Verizon, further cementing his ~elite~ status.
With these three key factors in mind, I truly believe we witnessed a performance that can only be described as ~elite~. Josh McCown may have quieted the chants for Johnny Manziel for now, but one misstep will have Cleveland fans clamoring once again for the electric quarterback. For now, Browns fans and football watchers across the country should bask in the light that ~elite~ performances such as McCown’s cast widely.