Welcome to the inaugural NFL QB Style Power Rankings where each week we analyze quarterbacks’ statements. All of them. Figurative ones made with their arms and legs, or their podium clothing and accessories, and actual ones made by their mouth during said podium appearances.
Arbitrary points will be awarded for game performance, postgame demeanor, and overall psycho-spiritual appearance. Bonuses can be collected by subtly incorporating team colors into an outfit, appearing to be a time traveler from either the past or future, actually being a time traveler from either the past or future, and likely having seen the abyss. Points will be deducted for visible #Branding, the presence of pocket squares, workout gear, and/or resembling my middle school boyfriend.
Each week, we’ll feature one quarterback from every NFL division, plus two wild-card selections from each conference, for an even dozen. All decisions and results are cumulative, final, biased, and totally unscientific.
AFC East: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady completed 25 of 32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns in New England’s 28–21 win over the Steelers, in which he played because he Did Not Cheat. He also managed to look like the kind of person who would bring his lawyer around to work with him. Which …
+15: Trolling Goodell by wearing a flasher’s trenchcoat
-3: Disturbing smirk
-5: Popped collar
-0.25: Mysterious headset interference
Week 1 Score: +7.75
AFC North: Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Manziel went 13 of 24 for 182 yards, with one touchdown and an interception at the Jets after coming off the pine for the injured Josh McCown. Imagine the panic in the locker room five minutes before this postgame appearance, when Johnny raced around begging for a tie to borrow. He tried to quickly throw one on, but it fell incomplete.
+10: First NFL career touchdown pass
+5: Self-awareness to wear a lily-white shirt — clean slate and all
-12: Plays as well as the waiter he dresses like
Week 1 Score: 3
AFC South: Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans
Brian Hoyer did not have a great Sunday. He was replaced by Ryan Mallett late in Houston’s 27–20 home loss to Kansas City, and spent most of his press conference talking about how embarrassed he was. He definitely has seen the darkness, but it’s unclear whether his embarrassment was over his performance or wearing the shirt that you wear over to your buddy’s house to watch the game, only to discover he is already wearing the same shirt. It is, however, semi-subtly in Houston colors.
+3: Team color coordination
+15: Has seen the abyss
-5: It really was embarrassing, though
Week 1 Score: 13
AFC West: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
ARE YOU KIDDING WITH THESE PATTERNS. ARE YOU KIDDING. WE HAVE PLAID, STRIPES, AND POLKA DOTS. WE HAVE ANOTHER PLAID FOR THE POCKET SQUARE. WE HAVE CHAOS. Seriously, though, beyond the noodle-armed on-field play (24 of 40 for 175 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception in Denver’s 19–13 win over the Ravens), there are perhaps other patterns Peyton should invest in. Yes, he should have OMAHA’ed out of this ensemble.
-15: -5 for every pattern over one, or duplication of a pattern
-15: Bonus negatives for overall sartorial offenses
+10: Offsetting points for “fashion bravery”
-4.4: Yards per attempt
Week 1 Score: -24.4
Wild Card: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton completed 25 of 34 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals’ Week 1 win over the Raiders. That was all well and good, but a coifed Big Red left a significant question unanswered during his postgame media session: How do you make hair do this? Why make hair do this?
+5: Hair above 1 inch in height
-0: Interceptions (!)
-50: 50 points fewer than total Dalton playoff wins. You’re not fooling us with a quality regular-season game against the Raiders.
Week 1 Score: -45
Wild Card: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
#RealBeatReporterQuestion that should have been posed to Joe Flacco: “Do you think you should be considered elite when you come dressed to the postgame presser dressed like that?” Flacco (18 of 32 for 117 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions in Baltimore’s 19–13 loss at the Broncos), clearly nonplussed, held very still and blended mostly, but still inadequately, into the Ravens’ backdrop—as he did during the game.
-3: Ravens games ever in the history of the franchise with fewer yards of offense
-10: Not elite
Week 1 Score: -19
NFC East: Kirk Cousins, Washington
Kirk Cousins completed 21 of 31 passes for 195 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in Washington’s 17–10 home loss to the Dolphins. Could RG3 have done that? No, no he could not. RG3's job is to pace the sideline, not in uniform. His job is to bare his teeth in a hollow-eyed simulacrum of joy when Washington scores touchdowns. His job is to let the cameras zoom in and ask: Has he cracked yet? This is Kirk’s team (for now).
-9: -3 each for the body, mind, and soul of RG3
+1: For watching Tom Brady tape before the game and thinking: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Week 1 Score: -8
NFC North: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler completed just 18 of 36 for 225 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the Bears’ Week 1 loss to the Packers. That said, no one expects anything from Cutler anymore, so it’s not like there was much disappointment in Chicago. That’s pretty much how we feel about Jay’s ho-hum postgame threads, too.
-11: Losses to Green Bay
-3: Same Old Jay
+2: Number of sensible four-door sedans you’ll need to sell to purchase that watch
Week 1 Score: -12
NFC South: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston struggled mightily in the Buccaneers’ Week 1 loss to the Titans, completing just 16 of 33 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Then, the controversial pick from Florida State struggled even mightily(er) in choosing which shirt to face the media. Where to even begin? Actually, let’s not.
-2.5: Decades since a player’s first NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown
-2: Uniform number of JaMarcus Russell, the last No. 1 pick bested by the No. 2 in Week 1
+2: Festive team lapel pin
Week 1 Score: -2.5
NFC West: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick completed 17 of 26 passes for 165 yards and ran the ball seven times for 41 yards in the 49ers’ Week 1 win over the Vikings. His 49ers dressed in mourning, so Kaepernick decided to celebrate by going straight from the media room to a yachting adventure for one. Hey, sailor! Using the (don’t fine me, these aren’t) Beats headphones to simulate a bow tie is a fantastic touch.
+10: Likely post-game chardonnay
+8: Lives remaining after the Harrison Smith hit
Week 1 Score: 13
Wild Card: Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli Manning went 20 of 36 for 193 yards in Sunday night’s Week 1 loss at the Cowboys. Not only was Manning pretty mediocre, but his clock-management-bungling fourth quarter was one for the ages. Eli knows it, as shown by the fact that he looked like Denver the guilty dog during the postgame. Did you get into the kitty cat’s treats, Eli? Did you? Did you lose count of timeouts? Did you do this?
+3: Sure, field goals are nice
-7: The TD you told Rashad not to score would have been nicer
-3: Dressed like a first-year banking analyst
-7: Seconds left when the Cowboys scored their last touchdown
-4: Eli’s age at the time the rule he claimed not to understand was changed
Week 1 Score: -18 (the anti-Peyton)
Wild Card: Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo went 36 of 45 for 356 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in Sunday night’s win over the Giants. Look, forget all the stuff about him having the most fourth-quarter comebacks in the NFL since, like, 2006; it’s far more fun to associate him with choking. By the way, did I mention that Gatorade is delicious and now comes in low-calorie varieties?
+5: Gatorade calories
-2.5: Gatorade G2 calories
+5: +1 for each shade of purple
Week 1 Score: 7.5
See you next week!