Payton Manning passed Johnny Unitas in touchdowns thrown in about half the time.
The youth of today automatically assume Manning is the superior QB. This thought cements with the medias slobbery and ineptness. Whether it's an article or show asking if Manning is the " greatest ever ", the kids start to actually believe he is amongst them.
What the media neglects to explain is the huge rule change that has eased the game for the offense and quarterback especially. There is a 5 yard chuck rule now coming closer to its 30th year of existence. This is a major rule change. Even more impact than MLB lowering the pitching mound to help raise batting averages. There was even a second rule change in the NFL that year that greatly helped the offenses. It was to allow offensive linemen to extend their hands from the previously tucked into their chest position out to be able to grasp the defensive lineman. These two rules have made the quarterback the diva of the league.
The rules since have been manipulated to protect the quarterback even more so to the point many fans think since the quarterback is already in a protected bubble akin to the Pope mobile, that the NFL may as well dress the QB in a dress or wear flags since he is practically untouchable now. All it does is make me wonder how much greater the QB's before the rule changes may had faired. Imagine Terry Bradshaw being able to throw to Swann and Stallworth with only that 5 yard chuck rule. Manning, Harrison and Wayne pale in comparison. Try to imagine the Colts trio with a 10 yard chuck rule. Doesn't seem as imposing certainly. You could play this game with Marino and the Marks, or the Greatest Show on Turf, or the current Patriots arsenal. It is nearly impossible imagining them putting up half the numbers they accumulated. Another thing to question is longevity. Ron Jaworski played over 100 games in a row for an NFL record. He did this despite being laid out on the Vet's concrete field more than once. In fact, there is a video on youtube showing maybe the most fierce hit he ever took, courtesy of Bears Mike Hartenstine
If a QB were hit like that in todays NFL, that lineman would be suspended probably the season, if not lifetime, get his paycheck revoked, be charged criminally and be slandered by the current boobs running the league. These guys want a basketball game in pads and sell out the games integrity daily to where one imagines George Halas to Bert Bell turning in their graves like a rotisserie chicken. The only thing wrong with the statement " this ain't your daddys NFL " was the missing accompiament " ITS WORSE "
Would Bret Farve get past 100, let alone 200 games under the old rules? No way. Farves over rated toughness cannot be compared to Otto Graham, Y.A. Tittle, Unitas and probably hundreds of more QB's from the 30's to 70's. Farve has never taken the hits these guys have. It isn't his fault, but he will benefit in the long run as he ages. The reason was to enhance the chances of long term health.
The worst thing the 5 yard chuck has brought to the NFL is the weak armed tosser. There are few QB's with arms strong enough to be considered throwers in today's dink and dunk NFL. Though the factor that todays QB does not call the plays anymore helps in this equation, the new look NFL tinkers each year to open the passing lanes with it all controlled by the coaches. Robotic is a term that comes easily to mind to describe the modern day QB. Many claim Joe Montana to be the best ever at the QB position, even though he had mediocre arm strength at best. The 15 yard out was a pass you never saw Joe throw. This pass is regarded to be the true test of arm strength. Steve Youngs first few years in Tampa Bay showed a weak armed QB who was regarded a bust when shipped to San Francisco. He couldn't throw a 10 yard out pattern, which was a staple play in the Buc's offense then. This, to me, symbolizes the West Coast QB.
Only a handful of QB's on all NFL rosters today could make this pass consistently. Is there a solution to make the QB masculine again? No. The owners don't want that. But, if they did, then it would take a few years. Just like it did to weaken it. The first thing to due is to re-implement the 10 yard chuck rule. Though the NFL is trying to reach the novice fan for its attention and money by glorifying the offense, the fact is fans like to see hard hitting more than a touchdown. By leveling the playing field again, the defense will have more chances to deliver the bone crunching blows fans love. Another change that would make play more exciting is to allow a QB call the plays again.
Human error is part of the fun. This being said, getting rid of replay would certainly bring more controversy - a staple of the NFL's interest. I'm not saying that all QB;s today are without skill. Young QB's like Brady, Young, Rothlesburger, and Campbell all show exciting futures barring injury. All were thrown to the wolves early in their career instead of sitting on the bench a few seasons, which used to be the norm. If that were to happen now then they would considered a bust. That is a shame, because the influx of unlearned QB weakens the NFL with their inexperience alone.