In one of the most interesting features to the day, at least to me, Dan Pompei at the National Football Post asks agent of the quarterback stars Leigh Steinberg about how he identifies quarterback talent. I recommend reading all of it but I thought it might be worth highlighting a few of what I thought were his unique insights:
“A quarterback has to be able to be able to elevate his play in the clutch. Steinberg talks about wanting his QBs to have a ‘quiet mind’ when the volume is turned up. ‘Most games are close,’ he said. ‘They often come down to one drive. When a quarterback has thrown interceptions, his team is behind, and he has to be perfect on a final drive, what does he do? That’s so important. You want a quiet mind. I used to see Ben Roethlisberger multitask—he would watch TV, take five phone calls, be on his computer. But he could tune out every extraneous thing, and focus on task at hand. He has a quiet mind.’”
“Strong roots make for sturdy branches. In 1993, Steinberg was in the pole position to land Rick Mirer. Then he met [Drew] Bledsoe. And he met Bledsoe’s family. Bledsoe’s father Mac especially impressed Steinberg. As a result, Steinberg chose to pursue Bledsoe instead of Mirer. ‘I saw the stability and security from that family, and how his father was a great motivator,’ Steinberg said. ‘We look at that aspect of a player’s background, his bloodlines. When I met Jim Harbaugh’s father, I knew what we had there. Steve Young’s father [LeGrande] played at Brigham Young and his nickname was ‘Grit.’’
“Willingness to be a role model reveals character. Steinberg only wanted players who would give back. ‘If they are interested in retracing their roots, they tend to be of high character,’ he said.”
When I look at many of the quarterbacks that have failed over the course of my lifetime, most didn’t have many or most of these characteristics. If you want a good example, Vince Young is the poster boy. On the other hand most of the greats had these characteristics. They’re obviously very general rules but they certainly seem to be legitimate characteristics to look for.