Entering this off-season all the talk regarding free agency was about where young Green Bay Quarterback Matt Flynn would end up. Of course this was before Peyton Manning entered that same market; then everybody forgot what they were talking about and focused on the “elephant in the room.” Despite Manning now being the top target for any team wishing to acquire a Quarterback, the interest for Flynn still remains high in this years QB-thin free agency class. Coming across a good quarterback is something many teams struggle with and rightfully so, as many top prospects at the position simply fail to pan out. However, unlike other positions where the failures are less glaring, a bad quarterback simply radiates disappointment. This is primarily because the position controls the game and poor decisions from the team’s leader often result in losses. The quarterback position in itself is one of, if not the toughest in all of sports, all the blame (and glory) is placed in the hands of one player.
Across any other team sport it’s difficult to find another position which shoulders as much responsibility for their team’s success. That being said a good quarterback can often be credited as a franchise hero. Just take a look at Eli Manning and his success story, the guy went from being cast as a waste of a pick (if you remember the Giants could have kept Phillip Rivers as their guy) to an icon in under a year. Manning’s inspired play in the 07’ playoffs endeared him to fans and begun a legacy that was only further cemented during this year’s impressive Super Bowl run. It just goes to show that in today’s sports culture players are remembered for what they’ve done recently, not for their struggles of the past.
The Matt Flynn situation is interesting for many reasons. For one we don’t have a large scope of work to look at when evaluating the guy considering he’s started only a handful of games his whole career. Although in his college days he led LSU to a National Championship and performed very highly in doing so, his NFL resume is extremely thin. He did have a career game last year against the capable Detroit Lions, going for 480 Yards and 6 touchdowns with only 1 Interception, but that’s just one game. It’s easy to get excited about a good performance, but it’s naive to let that one sample deem the product effective. Flynn is for the most part largely untested despite a testimony from fellow Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, in which he essentially said Flynn is a top-15 Quarterback in this league. If Rodgers is correct in his judgment, and he may well be wrong, then Flynn is a very valuable asset for whatever team he lands with.
However, what if Matt Flynn is just another Kevin Kolb, a guy who was hyped to death after playing a few good games? I find it interesting that teams are so willing to take a gamble on this kid when the failure rate of Quarterbacks in this league is as high as it is. Teams wishing to sign Flynn will undoubtedly have to offer him some guaranteed money along with a multi-year deal, meaning you’re stuck with him whether he performs good or bad. I’m sure a desperate team will come along offering an inflated contract, but I’m just not sold on Flynn just yet. His lone performance last year came against a Lion’s defense that got lit up at times (like when Drew Brees made it look like a Saints practice in the Divisional Round), and also came with Flynn directing a very capable offense in Green Bay. One thing that must be said though is that Green Bay had nothing on the line in that game while the Lions had seed positioning to fight for, meaning their team hypothetically should have been playing at a higher level, yet Flynn was able to drive his team to victory (45-41) amidst his impressive individual game.
The whole situation around Flynn shows that people, and NFL teams alike, tend to “prisoners of the moment” and don’t take everything into account when making decisions. I mean a few weeks ago all the buzz in the sports community was about Jeremy Lin, a guy who in the broader view of the NBA merely had a few good games (albeit they were damn impressive). It’s in our nature to let the moment get the best of us and to let hype take over, but that doesn’t mean we chuck logic and rational thinking out the window. Any team considering signing Matt Flynn to a long term deal should do so because they believe he has the build (he is 6-2, 225 Lbs, which is identical to Aaron Rodgers ironically) and game to lead them to Championships. Any team that is pursuing Flynn to appease fans lust for a quality Quarterback and is doing so based off his one good game last season may be in store for some tough times. If you throw that game out the window this guy has done nothing, and I mean nothing, in his four year career. This may be primarily because he was playing behind MVP Aaron Rodgers or because he was not good enough; this season we are sure to find out.
One last irony remains though and that’s the storyline of Flynn and Rodgers. Rodgers was stuck in a similar position early in his career sitting behind future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, and had to wait for his fourth season until he got the chance to play. Flynn is going into his fifth season and is now getting a chance to finally play, the only difference is that Rodgers was a top pick (selected 24th overall in 2005) while Flynn was a 7th rounder in the 08’ draft, indicating his potential was not seen as high. All that could change though if Flynn can prove himself, and he’ll certainly get his chance with his new team. The draft isn’t always right. Hey, Tom Brady was selected late in the 6th round, and from what I can gather, that guy’s a little better (just a little) than a 6th round pick…perhaps Matt Flynn is too.
Would You Pursue Flynn If You Were A GM? How Good Will He Be? Any Thoughts or Questions Let Me Hear Em!