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Posted Oct. 29, 2009

Alpha Quarterback

I'm about to talk about something that I don't really has ever been specifically covered before by any football analyst.

We hear about leadership. We hear about it all the time whether you listen to the radio, watch ESPN or the NFL Network. We hear about how the quarterback needs to rally his team and be the No. 1 leader on the time. It's why quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, John Elway and Troy Aikman are/were so hearalded.

I'm going to talk about the ideal characteristics of a personality in a quarterback, as well as to how it relates to women (yes, this is definitely a unique article).

As you are reading this, keep in mind how highly I view an elite work ethic. Every quarterback needs one, but you also need more than just that. Just because Matt Leinart got women into Jacuzzis doesn't mean he can make it in the league.

Every elite quarterback who has ever existed in the NFL has been an Alpha male.

Normally, when you hear "Alpha male," you generally think of how it relates to sexual attraction with women.

All of my readers know what I am talking about. I'm talking about the star quarterback or stud baseball pitcher who got all the beautiful women in high school.

It takes more that just good looks to get women. You have to be able to handle pressure, and this also highly relates to what a quarterback must do under center going up against monster, speedy pass rushers in the NFL.

Women love a man that can handle himself in a confident way. He must have that ability to handle the pressure of tense moments and turn them into something less awkward.

Quarterbacks in the NFL have to be able to execute the exact same way on the field. No matter what happens, your teammates must believe in you. You have to make coverage reads, avoid 6-7, 280-pound, 4.6 pass rushers, execute the timing of the play, and do it all on a very clutch 3rd-and-8 with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter.

One player who symbolizes the Alpha male would be Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger hasn't been the most consistent quarterback in the NFL in the past partially due to an average offensive line and just an above-average receiving corps (it has actually been very solid this season, but that's besides the point).

No matter what happens down the stretch at the end of a close game, every Pittsburgh Steeler player on the sideline, coach, and every fan in Heinz Field believes they will win the game because of their confidence in Roethlisberger. He handles the big moments and the big plays. When the game is on the line, he plays on his toes, yet still very relaxed.

Another Alpha male would definitely be Peyton Manning. We see his great personality in his commercials. He has a great sense of humor and is very confident in his identity. Now, a great sense of humor doesn't make you a great football player - I am not saying that. What I am saying is we see it in games. His confidence carries over to the gridiron. On Monday night against Miami, he was very cool and confident down the stretch in that game-winning drive.

Nothing really gets to Manning. He believes in himself not just because he works his tail off, but also because of those innate traits. He is able to handle an elite pass rush and be in the moment.

All of these great quarterbacks (and great players for that matter, but lets stick with quarterbacks) do this. They don't think; they just react.

Alpha males react too. Whether it's hanging around with their man friends or flirting with a beautiful woman, they don't think about what to say and they aren't insecure in who they are - they just react to the situation.

Remember that I said just because a quarterback can attract women doesn't mean they can make it in the league. I say this because I don't want my point to get mistaken or misunderstood.

A quarterback who embodies the exact opposite of the Alpha male is Tony Romo. Romo not only has had a questionable love for the game (see Troy Aikman's Cabo criticism), but he also just can't handle pressure at all. This isn't something he will ever be able to fix; this is something I believe that just comprises his personality.

Romo simply looks lost in clutch situations when his team needs him. He doesn't rally his teammates. We hear the criticism all the time about how the team is not organized and lacks leadership. Look right at who is under center.

Romo didn't stand up for himself with Terrell Owens in Dallas. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't have put up with his drama. Romo is a wuss, and while he did date Jessica Simpson, he truly isn't an Alpha male.

Now, all quarterbacks generally in college are Alpha males because they are the big men on campus. But when you get to the NFL, which is a man's game and not a boy's game, everything becomes more greatly magnified � including a quarterback's psychological makeup.

One thing I also want to touch on, which I think is also a highly controversial thing to say, is I believe every quarterback needs a little big of arrogance.

Do you remember the scene in Bull Durham at the end of the movie when Kevin Costner's character Crash Davis was talking to the young pitching prospect who was headed to the show?

"Look, Nuke - these Big League hitters are gonna light you up like a pin ball machine for awhile - don't worry about it. Be cocky and arrogant even when you're getting beat. That's the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance."

I know this was a just a movie line, but I think there is so much truth here.

Every quarterback is going to get beaten up at the next level like that pitcher. You just have to be a little cocky and a little arrogant. I believe no matter what politically correct quotes a great quarterback gives, they all believe they are the best at what they do and are a little overconfident.

Most fans and analysts don't like it when a quarterback comes off as abrasive or arrogant in the media, but this gets their perception all messed up. They combine their feelings with a quarterbacks ability.

Jay Cutler gets a lot of hate in the media, and to an extent he deserves it because he has made some stupid comments. However, he is one hell of a quarterback. Jay Cutler is a winner. He is a little overconfident, but he also has a great work ethic and isn't fazed much by pressure.

Philip Rivers is the same way. He definitely is arrogant and cocky, but he is also one of the most mentally tough players I have ever seen this decade.

I think men who are extremely successful with women are all a little overconfident. They all believe that they can hook up with any woman at any time. However, they are highly successful and this confidence (or overconfidence) makes them successful � just like a quarterback.

We all know Romo, deep down, really lacks confidence. When the game is on the line (especially late in the season because Week 16 is more important than Week 2), we all see it in his eyes and in his plays that he second guesses himself. He thinks too much and doesn't react like a great leader or an Alpha male.

I think we can all see how young signal callers like Matt "Matty Ice" Ryan and Mark Sanchez have that aura of confidence, leadership and charisma. It's pretty magical when you relate it to the game of football, which is so unique unlike any sport on the planet.

Now, I am not saying I look for personality traits in college prospects when I evaluate them. A quarterback like Bruce Gradkowski was known as a winner at Toledo, as was Vince Young, but the NFL is a different level.

You need more than just any one trait. You can't just have a great personality, confidence and arrogance (see Colt Brennan). You also can't just have the physical tools (Romo). You have to be extremely well-rounded to make it in the league.

I wrote this article because I think there is a lot that can be gained from it. Quarterbacks need to be that Alpha male. They need to be a little arrogant. They need to believe in themselves a little more than they should. They also need that great work ethic.

This is what separates the Aikmans and Mannings from the Romos. It isn't all just about talent; you also have to have the psychological edge at the quarterback position.

Matt McGuire's Recent NFL Draft Blog Entries:

Analyzing Andrew Luck's Decision - 1/7
Luck vs. Locker - 9/15
Top 10 Quarterback Busts - 7/7
NBA Draft vs. NFL Draft - 6/27
Six Sophomores Who Need to Step Up - 6/2
Kentucky 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Blog - 6/1
Brett Favre Retirement Conditions - 5/30
2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - 5/24
2010 NFL Power Rankings Tier - 5/21
2010 NFL Power Rankings - 5/18
NFL Mailbag: C.J. Spiller and Buffalo Bills Reaction - 5/14
LeBron James Game 6 Reaction - 5/14
The Buffalo Bills - 5/13
LeBron James: Celtic Pride - 5/13
The JaMarcus Russell Lesson - 5/11
Most Productive 2010 NFL Rookies - 5/6
Double Down - 4/30
2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog - 4/26
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Day 3 - 4/25
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Rounds 1-3 - 4/24
2010 NFL Draft Grades: First Round - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Trade Analysis - 4/23
Random Round 1 Thoughts and Analysis - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Class Predictions - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Trades - 4/21
Response to Mike Mayock's Redskins-Trent Williams Comment - 4/8
Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks - 4/6
Where Will Jimmy Clausen Go? - 4/5
2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks - 3/25
Gerald McCoy's Draft Range - 3/12
NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments (Anthony Davis) - 3/11
Offense Matters - 3/9
Mel Kiper vs. Todd McShay Debate Revisited - 3/8
Taylor Mays - 3/3
"He's a Winner" ... Not Really - 3/2
Quarterback Height (Jimmy Clausen) - 2/25
The Top Five Reasons the Redskins Won't Pass on Jimmy Clausen - 2/22
2010 NFL Draft: All-Overhyped and Underrated Teams - 2/18
Matt Ryan and the Rams - 2/17
Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow - 2/11
2010 NFL Draft Offensive Grades - 1/20
Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl - 1/14
Junior Quarterbacks/Jimmy Clausen - 12/29
2010 NFL Draft Prospect Updates - 12/21
The Michael Oher Lesson - 12/20
Cameron Heyward's Ceiling - 12/17
Jake Locker to Return for Senior Season - 12/15
Top Four Scenario - 12/8
"Suh" is Elite - 12/7
Carlos Dunlap Update - 11/11
Player to Watch - 10/30
Alpha Quarterback - 10/29
2010 NFL Draft Mailbag - 10/28
O Bradford, Where Art Thou (Draft Stock)? - 10/27
The Trojan Torpedo - 10/26
Quarterback Mobility - 10/23
Charles Brown's Stock on the Rise - 10/18
Mays-Clausen and Gaines Adams - 10/17
Mr. Overrated - 10/14
2010 NFL Draft Cursed? - 10/8
Conservative Carroll - 9/22
The Crabtree Lesson - 9/21
Scouting Notes: Weeks 2-3 - 9/20
Terrelle Pryor - NFL QB? - 9/15
Jay Cutler Trade Evaluation - 9/14
THE Choke State University - 9/13
2009 NFL Predictions - 9/10
2009 College Football Predictions - 9/3
The Brett Favre Line - 8/20
Why Vick Hasn't Signed - 8/12
The Vince Young Lesson - 8/10
Vegas NFL Power Rankings - 8/9
Dorsey Fat - Chiefs Stupid - 8/7
Eli Manning: The $100 Million Man - 8/6
Predicting Future Needs Part II - 8/4
NFL Draft Moved - 7/24
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