Peyton to Miami: What History Tells Us

I was born in 1985, and I'm a life long Dolphins fan. This means that I grew up starry-eyed right in the middle of Dan Marino's career. It also means that right about the time Marino retired was also the time that I was old enough to really know what was going on with the Dolphins.

And just like everyone else, the 12 years since Marino retired right before the 2000 season have been painful. Watching Huard, Fiedler, Lucas, Griese, Feeley, Rosenfels, Frerotte, Harrington, Culpepper, Lemon, Green, Beck, Pennington, Henne, Thigpen, and Moore struggle to become franchise quarterbacks for the Dolphins has been frustrating. I'm ready for this team to finally make a move that gives us a great quarterback to match up with the young talent we have all over the field.

At first glance, Peyton really looks like that answer, but then I stop and think for a second...... What would it really do for us?

Learning From the Past - Part 1 - Acquiring QBs

Let's start by looking at how each of the previously mentioned failures of quarterback were picked up by Miami.

  • Huard - Free Agency
  • Fiedler - Free Agency
  • Lucas - Free Agency
  • Griese - Free Agency
  • Feeley - Trade (2nd rounder)
  • Rosenfels - Trade (7th rounder)
  • Frerotte - Free Agency
  • Harrington - Trade (5th or 6th rounder)
  • Culpepper - Trade (2nd round)
  • Lemon - Trade (Feeley + 6th rounder)
  • Green - Trade (5th rounder)
  • Beck - Drafted (2nd round)
  • Pennington - Free Agency
  • Henne - Drafted (2nd round)
  • Thigpen - Traded (undisclosed)
  • Moore - Free Agency

Ok so quick look - what's missing there? That's right! We haven't drafted a FIRST ROUND QB since, well, Dan Marino! But hey, that's not news to anyone, right?

Learning From the Past - Part 2 - First Round QBs

So then, let's look at QBs taken in the first round since 2000. By my count, there's 32 QBs. Now, rather then getting technical and grading them by who's a franchise QB or not, let's just grade them by a number I call BTATDHHSM. Also known as "Better Then Anything The Dolphins Have Had Since Marino." It's easy, either a 0 or a 1, with 0 meaning they are worse then anything the Dolphins have had since Marino, and a 1 meaning they were better then anything the Dolphins have had since Marino.

So, total all of those up and we get..... 16 QBs BTATDHHSM.

Fellas, that's 50%. Yeah, I know that first round QBs aren't always slam dunks, and if you look over the entire history of the draft I also know that they "bust" more then any other position. But if you look at this, and you look at the 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2010 drafts, and you see 4 drafts with 11 QBs that alone produced 9 QBs that are BTATDHHSM. That's a lottery I want to be involved with.

Learning From the Past - Part 3 - Franchise QBs that change teams

Finally, I want to look at one last statistic. Records of QBs that were formerly franchise QBs that move to other teams.

  • Joe Montana - 49ers to Chiefs - Chiefs became playoff contenders, but no Super Bowl wins.
  • Johnny Unitas - Colts to Chargers - Chargers still sucked
  • Brett Favre - Packers to Jets to Vikings - Injury plagued, but made both teams playoff contenders, even took Vikings to NFC Championship game, but no Super Bowl wins, and Vikings are worse now then they were before Favre.
  • Fran Tarkenton - Vikings to Giants - Took Giants from bottom into contenders, but again no Super Bowl.
  • Kurt Warner - Rams to Giants to Cardinals - Lost job to Eli with Giants, took Cardinals to lose in Super Bowl and then to playoffs again, but injury ended it.
  • Warren Moon - Oilers to Vikings to Seahawks to Chiefs - Injured with Vikings in 3rd season, Vikings remained playoff contenders that they were before Moon, Seahawks and Chiefs career basically non-existant.
  • Drew Brees - Chargers to Saints - The one that got away. We all know this story by now.
  • Joe Namath - Jets to Rams - 2-2 record with Rams before injury ended his career.
  • Ken Stabler - Raiders to Oilers to Saints - Again plagued by injuries, nothing of note after his Super Bowl win with the Raiders.
  • Y. A. Tittle - 49ers to Giants - Never really was the "franchise" guy for the 49ers, but he did have a decent career with the Giants after the trade, winning three straight Eastern Division titles, followed by 2-10 season before Tittle retired.
  • Sonny Jurgensen - Eagles to Redskins - Actually did really well with the Redskins, but again was plagued by injuries and never won a Super Bowl, though he was All-Pro/Pro Bowl for 4 of his seasons with the Redskins.
  • Norm Van Brocklin - Rams to Eagles - Improved the Eagles and eventually won the Champioship in 1960 before retiring.
  • Drew Bledsoe - Patriots to Bills to Cowboys - Played well with the Bills and the Cowboys, but never accomplished anything of note. Bledsoe is most well known for being let go to make room for younger QBs Tom Brady, J.P. Losman, and Tony Romo.
  • Bobby Layne - Lions to Steelers - Nothing of note with the Steelers
  • Boomer Esiason - Bengals to Jets to Cardinals to Bengals - Mediocre play and more injuries, don't think he even went to another playoff, though I might be wrong.
  • Doug Williams - Bucs to USFL to Redskins - Never won anything with the USFL teams, and was a backup with the Redskins CORRECTION: Doug Williams did win a Super Bowl with the Redskins after moving. Sorry about that :)
  • Donovan McNabb - Eagles to Redskins to Vikings - Hasn't done anything since leaving the Eagles
  • Roman Gabriel - Rams to Eagles - Took a 2-11 team to a 5-8 team, and went to Pro Bowl, but that was all.
  • Randall Cunningham - Eagles to Vikings to Cowboys to Ravens - Great season in 1998 throwing to Cris Carter and Randy Moss, but that was all.
  • Steve McNair - Titans to Ravens - Picked up the Ravens a bit and won the division, but nothing else of note.
  • Michael Vick - Falcons to Prison to Eagles - Still doing pretty good with the Eagles, though you have to imagine he'd likely still be with the Falcons if it wasn't for the prison time.

Sure, there's a few championships in there from pre-Super Bowl era, and even a few Super Bowls, but not that many at all, and the vast majority of these moves ended with injuries and mediocre play.

But what does all this mean?

Peyton Manning coming to Miami would sell tickets. Lots of tickets. It would probably also make us playoff contenders.

But would it make us Super Bowl contenders? I don't know. Looking at this research you would say no, but we're also all painfully aware of what happened when we let Drew Brees slip away because of a hurt shoulder. Drew Brees was also 27 when he signed with the Saints, and it took him 4 seasons to win the Super Bowl. Manning is turning 36 this month, so 4 years would put him at 40. Oldest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl? John Elway when he was 38.

So if the past tells us anything, it's that we would likely see 3-4 seasons of playoff contender status because of Manning, but likely wouldn't win a Super Bowl. Then, when Manning leaves, we may be in even worse condition then we started, because Peyton wouldn't want to see us draft a first round QB during that entire time period.

Which brings me to my final point. I believe that picking up Manning in free agency is mortgaging our future for a few good years (and to sell lots of tickets). Yes, it would be nice. In fact, it would be very nice. The idea of having 3-4 seasons that aren't completely painful to watch is certainly enticing, but it's still a band-aid fix for a bigger problem that still needs to be addressed.

There is no easy fix in the NFL. We need to build this team the right way and start actually taking some risks with young players to build our future. Yes, Offensive and Defensive lineman are generally the safest pick in the first round. But as the old saying goes, a boat is safer in the harbor, but that's not what boats are built for.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Phinsider

You must be a member of The Phinsider to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Phinsider. You should read them.

Join The Phinsider

You must be a member of The Phinsider to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Phinsider. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.