Do quarterbacks have to be leaders?

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter


By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

I’m taking a break from my quarterback series to discuss a trait found in some quarterbacks. Leadership.

Leadership has come into question quite a bit in the past month or so, especially among the quarterback position.  Specifically Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger,   whose leadership skills have recently been called out.

Of course, this could be just some silly, off-season stuff to keep us talking.  If so, I fell for it. But it did get me to thinking, do quarterbacks really have to be good leaders?  I don’t think it’s a true requirement.  Respect, yes.  Leadership skills? I’m going to go ahead and say no, and this is why.

Not everyone is a leader, and leadership styles differ.  Respect is something that is earned, and you don’t necessarily need to be a strong leader to earn respect.  Especially when you’re just starting out in the league. You may not be a leader right away, but if you have the respect of your teammates, it can go a long way.

Yes, you guys are going to tell me about Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.  He is a leader, he has respect, and he’s on his way to doing great things, no doubt.  But take someone like a Deshaun Watson, or Marcus Mariota.  They both get respect, but are they good leaders?  One could say yes, they are both leaders in that they lead their offense.  Leading their offense is one thing, leading a locker room of professional football players with more experience than you is another.

I also have to ask, if the quarterback has to be a leader, why then do teams have captains that are not always the quarterback? Teams may have a defensive captain, a offensive captain that isn’t the QB, or even the punter as their captain.  Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been a captain on his team for years. Aren’t those other players leaders in some way as well?

I guess what I’m really trying to say here is, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers may very well be not be the best leaders in the world, but that’s OK. In my mind, a quarterback, while leadership is a wanted quality, it’s not necessarily a requirement.  They have respect, because they do have at least 1 Super Bowl ring, and they’ve been there for so long.

Also, you’re never going to please all the people, all the time.  Something that we should all keep in mind.


Talk quarterbacks with Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN

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