They might not quite measure up to the legendary NFL draft class of 1983, but the quarterbacks from the 2004 class are pretty impressive in their own right.
Two of them will square off tonight when Pittsburgh plays host to San Diego, a game featuring the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and the Chargers' Philip Rivers.
Rivers was the fourth overall pick in 2004, selected by the New York Giants, then traded to San Diego for No. 1 pick Eli Manning. Roethlisberger was taken 11th in that draft and now has two Super Bowl rings to his name.
Six quarterbacks were taken in the opening round of the 1983 draft: John Elway (first), Todd Blackledge (seventh), Jim Kelly (14th), Tony Eason (15th), Ken O'Brien (24th) and Dan Marino (27th). Elway, Kelly and Marino are in the Hall of Fame.
A look at the quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds of the 2004 draft. Manning has one Super Bowl title, and Roethlisberger two:
*--* Pick TD INT Rate Wins* PW Eli Manning 1 103 75 77.2 45 4 Philip Rivers 4 81 39 92.4 35 3 Ben Roethlisberger 11 104 73 89.4 52 8 J.P. Losman 22 33 34 75.6 10 0 Matt Schaub +90 37 27 88.0 11 0 *--*
*Regular-season wins; + third-round pick, the rest first; PW-playoff wins.
Cash Flo problem
Washington is on the $1 bill, Lincoln is on the $5 bill, Franklin is on the $100 bill. So who should be on the $5,000 bill?
Flozell Adams, that is.
The Dallas Cowboys left tackle has been fined by the league three times in three weeks, most recently $7,500 for tripping in the Carolina game. Before that, he was fined $5,000 for a shot to the head of a Tampa Bay player in the opener, and $12,500 for a pair of unnecessary kicks against the New York Giants.
"He's a very good football player," Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips said of Adams. "I think he's aggressive, more aggressive on the football field, but a lot of guys are like that. He just wants to protect the quarterback and do his job. I think he tries to do that all the time. He's certainly not a vicious player."
It looks as if the rules protecting quarterbacks and receivers are paying dividends. Through the first three weeks of the season there have been 21,077 yards passing, an average of 439.1 per game. That means the 2009 season is on track to break the record for the most net passing yards in league history.
The most net passing yards through the first four weeks of a season in NFL history (*through Week 3):
*--* SEASON YARDS SEASON YARDS 2007 26,711 2006 25,142 2002 26,016 2004 25,141 2005 25,835 2009 21,077* *--*
If Minnesota beats Green Bay on Monday night, the Vikings will become the ninth team in the last six years to start 4-0 a year after beginning the season 1-3 or 0-4. Seven of those eight turnarounds resulted in the team making the playoffs. Teams the last six years to start a season 4-0 after a 1-3 or 0-4 start the previous year:
*--* Year Team W-L Reach 2004 Atlanta 1-3 Conference Championship 2004 N.Y. Jets 0-4 Divisional Playoffs 2005 Cincinnati 1-3 Wild Card 2005 Tampa Bay 0-4 Wild Card 2006 Baltimore 1-3 Divisional Playoffs 2006 Chicago 1-3 Super Bowl XLI 2007 Green Bay 1-3 Conference Championship 2008 Buffalo 1-3 Missed Playoffs 2009 Minnesota* 1-3 *--*
*3-0 record in 2009