Perhaps not surprisingly, the teams with the longest-tenured starting quarterbacks also featured the best records and the most playoff (or even Super Bowl) victories. Think Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers. Near the bottom of the chart sat the woeful Cleveland Browns, who have had 11 quarterbacks in the 14 years since the franchise was revived.
Sports Illustrated magazine recently ran a fascinating article on the unusual number of starting first-year quarterbacks in the NFL this year (currently six). In a sidebar, SI ran a table showing how many quarterbacks each team has had over the last 14 years, and the team’s performance over that same period.
The Sports Illustrated article and chart confirm what most of us know in our heads but sometimes forget in practice: It takes time to build a successful team, and the success of a team starts with the stability of its leadership. While talent-loaded teams can sometimes make a short-term splash, the most effective teams develop over the long term, led by a signal-caller who earns trust and respect over time. There is no substitute for numerous shared repetitions.