In American football, a game manager is a quarterback who, despite relatively poor individual statistics such as passing yards and touchdowns, performs well enough to win games. Game managers often benefit from strong defense and rushing offense on their teams. The player is expected to not lose games with interceptions, fumbles, or poor decisions, particularly during important situations near the end of a game.
The New York Times called it a "backhanded compliment". The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "As consolation ... Quarterbacks are called game managers only if they're winning." The Associated Press opined, "But like any cliche, [game manager is] oversimplified". Former Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian laughed, "Every quarterback is a game manager, it's what the job is all about." College coach Nick Saban added that "I don't think you can be a good quarterback unless you're a really good game manager." The Los Angeles Times noted that although Trent Dilfer was not an "elite" quarterback, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl with a dominant defense and Dilfer as a game manager. Peyton Manning, who was a five-time NFL Most Valuable Player, transitioned into a game manager role with a defensive-oriented Denver Broncos squad in 2015, when he won his second championship and became the oldest quarterback at age 39 to win a Super Bowl.
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- Sullivan, Tim (November 13, 2011). "Though not flashy, Smith now a 'game manager'". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on January 17, 2012.
- Maxymuk, John (2008). Strong Arm Tactics: A Historical and Statistical Analysis of the Professional Quarterback. McFarland. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7864-3277-6. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Farmer, Sam (January 28, 2012). "In the NFL, it's (almost) all about the quarterback". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Bishop, Greg (January 15, 2012). "Smith, for Once, Is a Reason for San Francisco's Victory". The New York Times. p. SP3. Archived from the original on January 17, 2012.
- Knapp, Gwen (2012-01-12). "Drew Brees really pays Alex Smith a compliment". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Zenor, John (November 1, 2012). "Saban: Game manager label is high praise for QB". yahoo.com. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 20, 2012.
- Voisin, Ailene (February 7, 2016). "Was this Peyton Manning's 'last rodeo'?". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on February 9, 2016.
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