After a solid career at the University of California, Jared Goff found his number called first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the then-St. Louis Rams and head coach […]
After a solid career at the University of California, Jared Goff found his number called first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the then-St. Louis Rams and head coach Jeff Fisher. In just three seasons in the league and two full ones as a starter, Goff has earned two Pro Bowl selections, a 26-9 record record over the past two seasons, and in case you haven’t heard, he’s starting in his first Super Bowl on Sunday.
The next generation of quarterback’s has been hyped up for some time. While Andrew Luck, Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahommes all have playoff wins under their belts, Goff will be the first quarterback drafted since 2012 to appear in the Super Bowl (Russell Wilson and Nick Foles).
Goff leads the Rams high flying offense with poise and accuracy that just doesn’t match up with his mere 24 years of age. Once upon a time, Tom Brady was the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl, at the same age of 24 (Ben Roethlisberger later broke this record at 23.)
In a trend highlighted by the “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” movement after the 2012 Super Bowl, a Super Bowl victory can increase a quarterback’s stock by major amounts, both in the public opinion and that of NFL GM’s. Flacco became the highest-paid quarterback of all time in no small part thanks to his win in the big game. Though the outcome could have easily been reversed if Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree hooked up or pass interference was called in the game’s final minute, Flacco earned a tremendous amount of credit for the win.
Such is the nature of the NFL. It’s a team sport, with 106 players represented between the two teams. But at the end of the day, we’re going to be talking about how Tom Brady/Jared Goff either won or lost the Super Bowl.
Before evaluating how a Super Bowl victory would affect Goff’s career, where does he stand now? In only his second full season as a starter, he’s fairly rated behind greats like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees as well as veterans like Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger. Coming into these playoffs, I also would’ve taken Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahommes, and Andrew Luck above Goff. In terms of ESPN total QBR, Goff ranked 10th in the 2018 regular season. A preseason ranking from NFL.com ranked Goff 20th in the league. The analytics based Pro Football Focus rated Goff the 8th best signal-caller of 2018.
Overall, I’d say Goff is regarded as a border-line top 10 quarterback depending on who you ask. Personally I’d probably agree with the PFF ranking of 8th in the league.
But as we said, a Super Bowl win can change so much in public perception. Eli Manning is a near-lock to make the Hall of Fame with average numbers over the course of his career. Nick Foles looked shaky as a starter with the Rams, but now teams would pay an arm and a leg to acquire him from the Eagles. Super Bowl victories can also be marks of accession to the elite, like Drew Brees in 2009 and Aaron Rodgers in 2011.
A Super Bowl victory would cap off an incredible run of success for Jared Goff. Especially with Tom Brady as the opponent, a win would earn Goff and the Rams tremendous respect around the league. Goff looks to become the third quarterback to outduel Brady in the big game, after Eli Manning and Nick Foles. Signal-callers to fall to Brady and Belichick include Russell Wilson, Donovan McNabb, Matt Ryan, Jake Dellhomme, and Kurt Warner.
Coming off a regular season with 4,688 yards (4th in the NFL), 32 TD (6th in NFL) and a 13-3 record, coupled with a postseason with back-to-back wins over Brees and Brady, Goff would easily enter the elite conversation.
Assuming a world where Goff wins the Super Bowl, I think he becomes the 5th best quarterback in the league, behind Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahommes. This would put him slightly ahead of Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers. Russell Wilson could give Goff a run for his money at #5, with a 1-1 Super Bowl record of his own, but I’ll give Goff the slight edge to his more high octane playing style.
Where do you rank Goff right now? How high would you rank him with a victory? Is it fair that NFL legacies are decided this way? To join the conversation, reply here or tag Sak Sports Blog on Twitter.
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Header photo: AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo