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  • Writer's pictureDom

Every USA President as a Quarterback Part I

Happy President’s Day. A federal holiday for some, but not me unfortunately. I was too busy living the American Dream creating shareholder value today which inevitably delayed the posting of this blog. Which I announced as my biggest and best yet. Biggest by far, we sit at almost 13 pages as a type this intro and I still have many late era presidents to compare. Which is why we are breaking this out into an unprecedented 4-part 4-day blog extravaganza.


I believe the two most important positions in this country are President and Quarterback. I have learned that many of these leaders have very similar career arcs, traits, interests, and ailments. So, what better way to celebrate President’s Day week then comparing some of America’s most influential men. Some of these are strong connections that feel perfect. Others are not, deal with it. Believe me, it can be difficult to compare Chester A. Arthur and Millard Fillmore to the likes of modern day QB’s but I did my best. Anyway—lets get into it.


1. George Washington as Bart Starr

The OG Quarterback and the OG President. The standards for what it meant to be one of these leaders of men. Both guys are legendary and we’re not where we are as a country without them. Washington being the first president and leader of the revolutionary war and Starr winning the first two super bowls ever for the most iconic franchise in NFL History. Both existed in such a different time that their legacies grow constantly without many today really understanding what it was like to watch them operate.


If anyone asked who the greatest president or quarterback was, and you answered with either of these men it’d be hard to contest. There’s nothing flashy or controversial about either. Starr won multiple championships before the Super Bowl Era, and they are often forgotten due to an arbitrary mark in history when someone just declared the game the Super Bowl. Washington was aa great revolutionary war leader, but he is really remembered as the first president despite many achievements before his time in the oval office.


 2. John Adams as Ryan Fitzpatrick

Adams is tough one to compare, very successful is many facets of American history but his biggest impact to this country was not necessarily done when he was President. Should I compare his achievements and tenure in office to a Quarterbacks on field performance? Should I look at a total body of work? I think this is a great happy medium that catches both aspects of his career. Similar contradictions appear when talking about the legacy of Ryan Fitzpatrick. On the field he was a solid QB who moved around frequently and made an impact in nine locker rooms. Now Fitzy is an analyst and does an incredible job. Adams biggest contributions were in the congressional work in early days of American government and had a long-standing commitment to advance democracy after his term.


John Adams was the first Vice President and said, "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived, or his imagination conceived." Other than being a convoluted quote that a smug Harvard grad would spew (both men are Harvard grads), it really reminds me of a backup Quarterback. The power is so close, you are one step removed from the most important position, but you have minimal impact. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quintessential back-up QB and journeyman mirroring John Adams career in politics.

 3. Thomas Jefferson as Peyton Manning


Hall of Fame, all time great status for both men. Thomas Jefferson was one of most cerebral presidents whose intellect defined his success as President. Manning similarly is one of the great Quarterback minds the NFL has ever seen. Jefferson authorized the Louisiana Purchase, when buying land had not yet been an ability of the commander in chief. Peyton revolutionized the audible with some of the most iconic audio clips. Notably “Omaha”, which coincidentally would end being square in the middle of the Louisiana area bought by Jefferson. Peyton had some early struggles against some of the greats in the playoffs losing to Brady. Jefferson faced hardship in the election of 1796 where John Adams barely edged him (pause). Four years later he edged John Adams (double pause). Jefferson has lots of political friends who helped him accomplish his goals to reach office, a power shared with the Manning family and friends who run many covert operations behind the scenes to drive success throughout the NFL.


After acquiring the Louisiana area Jefferson had sent Lewis and Clark out west to explore the new American land. Peyton’s biggest accomplishment was when he sent Wayne and Clark out to explore the secondary in Super Bowl XLI. Wayne and Clark combined for 97 yards a TD in the Super Bowl win cementing Peyton’s legacy. We still see the impact of both in society in more obsolete ways. Jefferson dawns his face on the $2 bill, a largely irrelevant and unused note; while Manning calls games on the ESPN+ Manningcast an equally irrelevant and unused method of watching Monday Night Football.


4. James Madison as Drew Brees


A small-statured man who oversaw the development of Louisiana and solidified himself as one of the all-time legends at what he did? What a layup of a connection to make. Physically similar Madison at 5'4 and Brees at 6' both showed that size, in fact, does not matter. Before you freak out about 5’4 being the same as 6’ in my mind, please account for height inflation. I would’ve been putting up an easy 20-10 at 5’9” in 1800 if basketball had been invented.


Madison was Secretary of State during the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the size of the country. $15 million for 530 million acres of land. 203 years later a new deal for $60 million would land Brees in New Orleans for 6 years. Both deals dramatically changed the region forever. I believe their legacies oddly mirror each other too. Brees was overshadowed by the great QB era of the late 2000's but still found a way to get his ring. Madison, one of the fathers of the constitution, got his flowers from his peers but publicly doesn't receive the same shine. Perhaps the most underrated QB and president in their respective histories.


5. James Monroe as Nick Foles


The most fun fact I’ve learned throughout this whole blog is that a young James Monroe was on the boat with George Washington when he crossed the Delaware river and can actually been seen in the iconic picture holding the American flag. He was destined for greatness early on, just like Foles. Foles had early success in Philadelphia completing a season with 27 TDs to 2 INTs. He would have a longer path before his Super Bowl winning run in 2017 bouncing around to different opportunities around the NFL. Monroe and Foles both had important exposure the nation and organization they would soon lead, and once they took over, they did not disappoint.


The Monroe Doctrine was a key part of James’ Presidency where he called out Europe to not mess with the newly emancipated nations in Central America. Europe was doubtful of America’s ability to back up their claims of protection if any colonization attempts were made. Vegas was doubtful of Foles ability to back up Carson Wentz, slotting the Eagles as underdogs in all three of their playoff wins. Once Monroe bolstered the Navy he had a way to back up his word. This was the policy that was described as “speak softly, and carry a big stick”. There has never been a Quarterback in NFL history who more closely aligned with that message. Monroe and Foles both used their big sticks to command respect around the world and it led them to quite successful runs in power.


6. John Quincy Adams as Archie Manning


Despite where you think this might be going, the family dynamic is not the angle I’m taking with the Adams and the Mannings. Archie burst onto the scene throwing for 400 yards and rushing for another 100 in the first nationally televised game of College Football history. Adams was in politics since he was born, serving as his father’s assistant to diplomatic affairs in Europe a teenage. Both men were in the spotlight and stars from the day they were introduced to the public. Outstanding talents that were generally well liked be their peers. While promising careers seemed to lie ahead for both, things took a turn for the worst one Adams got to Washington and Manning got to New Orleans.


Adams was the first president to be selected by the House of Representatives after no candidate had collected enough electoral votes in the election of 1824. Andrew Johnson was pissed, as he won the popular vote and was a sore loser. He made it his goal to make Adams presidency miserable. No one had that vendetta against Archie but the Saints did him no favors personnel wise and it led to a painful tenure as the Saints Quarterback having just one season finishing over .500. Adams served in the House of Representatives after his run as president and had more success there. He served until he had a stroke on the House floor. Manning has also had a long standing impact with his two sons and now grandson in the spotlight, and we have reason to believe he will have heavy involvement in football until the day he dies.  



7. Andrew Jackson as Matthew Stafford


Jackson was tough as nails and showed it throughout his term. As a 67-year-old there was an attempt on his life and he responded by beating the gunman senseless with his cane. War experience helped shape him into the strong-minded figure he was in office. When I think of NFL Quarterback toughness I think of Stafford. Overcoming pain and injury in the impossible goal of bring football success to the Detroit Lions franchise. The clip of Stafford winning a game with a broken collarbone is one of the most badass clips in NFL history. These two guys left it all on the field every time.


Jackson and Stafford both put in long hours and it eventually paid off. Jackson had to wait his turn to get his chance as President and Stafford needed a trade after ten years in Detroit which led to a Super Bowl winning run in 2022. Johnson played hard and loose abusing his Veto power to strike down any bills he didn’t like, a power that was exclusively used for avoiding unconstitutional bills in the past. The 2022 Rams were playing hard and loose going all in to win their Lombardi acting with disregard for the future draft capital or salary issues that would surely come back to plague them. Say what you want about these men, but when push came to shove they ended up on top.


8. Martin Van Buren as Daniel Jones


Van Buren was often referred to as the “little magician” due to his ability to persuade legislators to support him, and his overall mild-mannered mentality. Reading that description I can’t help but be reminded of Daniel Jones. Jones has pulled off his own magic on the field for Giants including tripping over the phantom turf monster vs. the Eagles and magically making 6 years of hope disappear from the hearts of Giants fan. Van Buren was often criticized for wanting to advance his political career and not taking a hard stance on issues because he’d rather be liked and unimpactful than a progressive and face any criticism. Jones seems to be in that same boat where no one will decide one way or the other on him. Critics are met with back lash arguing that he hasn’t had the right opportunities despite being one of the longer tenured Quarterbacks in the league.


Van Buren also was the first president who was described as using a ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach in his campaigning to help him retain power. Non-sensible talking points were used to distract from what was really happening. Van Buren laid out he blue print for what would become modern day politics. Jones and Van Buren both pulled the proverbial curtain over their followers eyes. However, those followers never seemed to notice how far back he was setting them due to his indecisiveness. I have a feeling Giants fan will learn soon enough. If only they had listened to NFL experts like Andrew Berger, who from the jump saw right through the little magician’s tricks.


9. William Henry Harrison as Josh Rosen


The shortest career of any president saw Harrison old office for just 32 days. His record setting inauguration speech on a cold March day led to him catching pneumonia and dying just a month later. Josh Rosen, a top 10 pick, had one of the shorter NFL careers for a first round Quarterback in recent memory. Rosen was often questioned of his commitment and love of the football in his pre-draft interviews but he was a good talent mixed paired with an NFL frame that led many to believe he could be great. People believed the same of Harrison, never a strong political candidate who didn’t have the drive to be President. Still, the democrats thought he would be a strong enough personality to run and unseat Van Buren. They were correct but his tenure never got too far. Neither left an inspiring legacy and they are regretfully forgotten by the ever-moving sands of time.


10. John Tyler as Phillip Rivers


One of the more remarkable starts to career for any quarterback was Phillip Rivers. The 2004 NFL draft was riddled with controversy and the Chargers selected Eli Manning first overall who publicly refused to play in San Diego. A post draft trade saw the Chargers send Manning to New York in exchange for Rivers. A similar tumultuous start started the presidency of John Tyler. He was the first VP to take over after a death of the aforementioned President Harrison. On the campaign trail the Harrison/Tyler ticket was reluctantly endorsed by Senators describing them as the 'lesser of two evils'. A similar endorsement that Rivers received after the alternative was an Eli Manning who would just not play at all.


Additionally, of the field these men share hobbies and interests. Mainly just one hobby if were being honest—these two family men had 25 children between them. They could form and entire starting offense and defense, with enough left over for a special teams units. These guys were throwing seeds willy-nilly on and off the field. One of the most incredible facts in US history is that President Tyler has born in 1790 had a grandson who voted in the 2020 election 230 years later. John Tyler was born during THE GEORGE WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATION AND HIS GRANDSON LIVED LONG ENOUGH TO SEE ALL SIX SHARKNANDO MOVIES IN THEATHERS (there is no evidence Tylers grandson saw them in theather but he could’ve). I digress, Phillip Rivers had an incredible career looking back but he was underappreciated as a fringe HOF guy behind the likes of Brady, Manning, and Brees. Tyler, an early president, is less well known and a fringe founding father finding himself on the outside looking in at Mount Rushmore.



11. James K. Polk as Kurt Warner


James K Polk was regarded as the first "Dark Horse" president to win an election in a race against Van Buren and Henry Clay. His expansionist policies resonated with many Americans. He acquired California, Oregon, Texas and New Mexico in his time in office expanding west and embodying Jackson's mantra "manifest destiny". Growing the size of America by more than a third. Does anything in the NFL resemble "manifest destiny" more than an undrafted QB going on to win Super Bowl MVP and have his bust in Canton?  


After a few years playing for the Iowa Barnstormers and Amsterdam Admirals he finally got his shot. Although Warner was also third on the depth chart, behind Tony Banks and Steve Bono, when his campaign started. In 1999 Warner did his best Polk impression with an assertion of dominance out west winning the NFC West division title on his way to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl would be the franchises third since its inception and coincidentally growing the trophy case by the same size that Polk grew America.


We hit the conclusion of Part I as we approach the election of 1848. What a way to start Presidents Day week. Hope to see you all back here tomorrow as we continue our trip through American history.

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