Chip Kelly is tired of all the questions about whether Nick Foles is the quarterback of the future. He finally responded on Monday that Foles was the “starting quarterback for the next 1,000 years here.”
The quarterback of the future stuff is pretty silly. Foles is the quarterback of the present, throwing 19 touchdowns and no interceptions, averaging a whopping 9.1 yards per attempt, and a 125.2 passer rating. That would be the highest passer rating in league history, and Foles should get to the qualifying number of attempts for the record books in the next game. It is currently just ahead of Aaron Rodgers in 2011, Peyton Manning in 2004, and Tom Brady in 2007. That’s some tall cotton.
Quarterbacks of the future don’t get truly deep into it as much as we might think. Worry about five, or a thousand years, later. We could come up with many examples. Would you have pictured Peyton Manning in Denver five years ago?
Let’s try, though to come up with examples of Foles types, and see how long they were the starter for the team they broke out with. True comparisons are, of course, difficult. Not many have come out of the shadows to become MVP candidates when having no notable history and not even being the starter at the beginning of the year.
Here are the top ten seasons since 1970 that meet each of the following: (1) the player was drafted outside the top 50 picks or undrafted; (2) the player had thrown fewer than 300 career passes; and (3) in a season with at least 200 passes (or its equivalent in a shorter season than 16 games), the player posted a league-normalized Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANYA+) rating of 115 or better.
A couple of those guys were backups behind Hall of Famers, who had to go elsewhere to start (Mitchell and Bono). Staubach is a special case on the other end, as a Heisman Trophy winner from Navy who started later in life after serving his military commitment.
The median number of years that members of that group were the main starter for the same team where they “broke out” was three more years. Foles is younger, which bodes for him lasting longer. We are at the outset of Chip Kelly in the NFL, so who knows if he will be the first in a line of production like the Rams from the 1970’s, who went from Harris to Haden to Ferragamo (and had Jaworski on the roster), or Washington of the 1980’s, when Theismann, Schroeder, Williams, and Rypien all put up big years. A thousand years is out of reach, but a thousand days from now would be a good benchmark.