The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Depends on Scheme


Ben and Kurt (sounds like an ice cream) illustrate the value of a player perfectly fitting a certain team dynamic. They fit their respective teams so well that they are playing for the Lombardi trophy. Both quarterbacks represent their club's current philosophies well. Neither may be considered the best quarterback in the league in terms of pure talent (see Payton Manning, Tom Brady et al.), yet both prove that having players mirror a team's philosophy, chemistry and surrounding talent can be more important than pure talent. This is the beauty of the NFL.

Ben is big, physically imposing and a very tough player. He may be the most difficult quarterback to bring down since Joe Kapp. In that respect he fits the Steelers' rough-and-tumble team image and philosophy. He has a big arm and is able to bide his time in the pocket. Many of his big plays come from shedding tackles while being just elusive and strong enough to focus on and hit his targets downfield. He is able to improvise with his strength and vision. He also benefits from a complementary physical running attack. That's why they have success with play action and occasional gimmicks.

On the other hand, Kurt is very cerebral and effectively scans pre-snap so he knows exactly where to go with the ball quickly. While his arm strength does not match Ben's, he gets the ball out quickly and is very accurate when given enough time. He can throw effectively from different angles. It's not surprising that Kurt is given a bit more latitude to audible at the LOS. You will see more of a quick passing game from the Cardinals, such as smokes, hitches, screens, slants, fades, crosses, options and this fits with their two big receivers who both have outstanding RAC (run after the catch) ability.

Both QB's are very tough competitors and are not phased by the big game atmosphere. However, they are very different types of tough leaders. Ben is just a big man who is difficult to bring down. Kurt will hang in to deliver and take the late hit. The main thing is, their teammates believe in them and their abilities fit their schemes. So to answer the burning question of who is better or who would one rather have: if you're in the Burgh you prefer Ben and if you're in the Valley you prefer Kurt. This may seem like a cop out, but there is no simple answer. Beauty is in the eye of the schemer!

From an agent's perspective, the key is always is to find where his client fits so he can sell his player's strengths to their maximum. In terms of marketing of the quarterbacks of this ilk, the key again is to target companies that fit the profile of the player. In terms of Roethlisberger, one would look at pick-up trucks and outdoor companies, while Warner would be the perfect spokesperson for the more sophisticated and cerebral products, such as Microsoft or a life insurance company. Either way, both quarterbacks and their respective teams have been blessed to have found the perfect fit, and further blessed to be playing on the last day in January.

By Peter Schaffer  |  January 28, 2009; 7:13 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Peter Schaffer , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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