Alabama Football: Can AJ McCarron succeed in the NFL?

It’s been a long time since an Alabama quarterback made it in ‘The League’

hunter fordThe legacy of Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler is ancient history to most football fans these days. Go back to Harry Gilmer and you must be a great-grandpa.

All of the above mentioned were quarterbacks for The University of Alabama and had great success in the NFL.

I wonder if AJ McCarron can become a great NFL quarterback, or if he can even start a few games?

Starr was a senior when “Ears” Whitworth arrived at Alabama. Whitworth would go down in history as one of the worst Alabama coaches. Whitworth thought it was a good idea to play younger players, and didn’t play Starr much.

But, Starr hooked up with Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi and won the first two Super Bowls.

Broadway Joe Namath famously won the third Super Bowl over a heavily favored Baltimore Colts.

Kenny “The Snake” won a Super Bowl with John Madden and the Oakland Raiders.

Starr and Namath are enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Gilmer, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame, played for the Redskins and Lions in the 1940s and 50s.

The Crimson Tide has put a lot of players in the NFL over the years, but not that many quarterbacks of any stature…outside of the ones I have mentioned. Brody Croyle? Yeah. Bless his heart and his glass shoulder. John Parker Wilson? Is he still on a roster?

The “Snake” won a Super Bowl and was one of the most colorful characters in a great age of NFL football. He also played for coach “Bum” Phillips and the old Houston Oilers. Remember Billy “White Shoes”? Anybody? I can’t believe Ken Stabler is not in the NFL Hall of Fame. Snake and Bum also hooked up for a stint in New Orleans. Match made in heaven.

Broadway Joe is in the Hall of Fame mostly off the strength of his guarantee to beat the mighty Colts, and the fact he was a flamboyant dude. Outside of Super Bowl III, Namath had a bad win –loss record, and less-than-impressive stats. Ole Joe was playing with no knees, though. Imagine what he could do if he were mobile. Namath injured his knees in college. Bear Bryant once said something like: “Before Joe got hurt, he moved like a panther. After he got hurt, he moved like a human.”

Richard Todd, who played at Alabama and for the New York Jets, was one of the more successful ex-Tide quarterbacks, and the most recent ex-Tide QB to have a decent NFL career as a starter. Todd was famous for being the Jet’s starter in the late 1970s and early 1980s during the “New York Sack Exchange” era.

Jeff Rutledge played for Alabama and was the “starter” on the 1978 Crimson Tide national championship team. I say “starter” because in the old wishbone system, many quarterbacks played.

Rutledge was a 14-year veteran in the NFL, was a journeyman back-up, but was part of three Super Bowl teams. His NFL career ended in the early 1990s.

Let me get back to where I started in this column. Can AJ McCarron be a quality NFL quarterback? I think he has the skills…but he needs to get that Dorito off his shoulder.

It would be great to see an ex-Alabama quarterback make it big again in the NFL.

By the way, SEC quarterbacks, even great ones, are not always that successful in the Big League.

Here is a list with old and recent SEC quarterbacks who played, at least for a short time, in the NFL. Can you match all of the names, with the SEC school they played for, and all the NFL teams they played for?

Archie, Eli and Peyton Manning. (two different SEC schools, several NFL teams, one family…the easy question…or is it?)

Cam Newton. (okay, easy)

Tim Tebow

Bert Jones. (getting tougher)

David Woodley.

Y.A. Title

Jay Barker

Stan White

Jay Cutler

Matthew Stafford

Joe Ferguson (Trick question because when he played his school was not in the SEC)

Steve Spurrier

Shane Mathews

Pat Sullivan

David Greene

Danny Wuerfull

Fran Tarkenton

JaMarcus Russell

Scott Hunter

Steve Sloan