One of the benchmarks I like to use for NFL trends is championship success. Teams that make it to the championship games and the Super Bowl are NFL trend setters to ALL GM’s in the league. When you look at the 4 teams in the championship games this weekend, let’s consider the rushing stats for all 4 starting QB’s this weekend:
Jalen Hurts: 165 attempts, 760 yards, 13 td’s, 4.6 yards/carry
Patrick Mahomes: 61 attempts, 358 yards, 4 td’s, 5.9 yards/carry
Joe Burrow: 75 attempts, 257 yards, 5 td’s, 3.4 yards/carry
Brock Purdy: 22 attempts, 13 yards, 1 td, 0.6 yards/carry
Clearly, Hurts is the definition of a scrambling QB. If he wins the Super Bowl, expect every unimaginative GM to sit up and take notice, although a lot of what he does is due to the great offense around him. (the GM’s might miss that part)
Mahomes is kind of a unicorn, but even reading into his rushing skills, along with the Jalen Hurts factor, means an Eagles-Chiefs Super Bowl would definitely signal an end to the pure pocket passer era. (Brady and Rodgers, take note!)
Burrow is kind of a borderline QB between scrambler and pocket passer. While he is capable of running, he isn’t in the same league with a lot of the league’s scramblers. A Bengals-Eagles Super Bowl leaves the pocket passer question open, although showing a serious trend away from pure pocket passing.
Purdy is the big question mark in this debate. If the 49ers win the Super Bowl with him, the whole argument for scramblers goes back to the drawing board. Sure, scramblers are fun to watch, but look at the recent Super Bowl winners, and all you see are pocket passers: Stafford, Brady, Mahomes (unicorn), Brady, Foles, Brady, Manning, and Brady. You have to go back to 2013 when Russell Wilson (539 rushing yards, 5.6 yards/attempt) won the Super Bowl to find an accomplished scrambler. Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to 1994 to find a scrambler who won the Super Bowl: Steve Young, who was also a brutally efficient passer (3969 passing yards, 70.3% completed, 35 td’s, 10 int’s).
This year’s Super Bowl contenders do lean towards the scrambler side, but they also prove that even scramblers have to be efficient passers to win championships.