Care to guess which active NFL player has the highest career passer rating? Here's a hint -- it's not Manning, Brady, Favre or any other quarterback.
The winner, in this case, is LaDainian Tomlinson. So what if he's thrown only 10 NFL passes? Tomlinson's career passer rating is 152.1, just a few points short of perfection. He's completed 70 percent of his passes and averaged 12.6 yards per attempt, and 60 percent of his passes have gone for touchdowns. This year, he's completed 2 of 3 passes and has a 125.0 rating, and that's a down year for him. That's Cantonian stuff right there.
Not only is LT the best running back in the league, he might even be good enough to start at quarterback on a few teams in the NFL. More accurately, he couldn't be as bad as many guys taking snaps on Sundays. There are lots of guys under center that should wear masks on payday, and I'm not talking about face masks.
So Page 2 decided to do a survey of the league to find what teams would be better served with Tomlinson under center. Teams starting rookies were excluded, so long as the rookie has shown serious potential (Tennessee and Arizona). And even though LT might have a better chance against the Chargers' 3-4 defense in the playoffs than Peyton Manning, the Colts were also spared.
Starter: Michael Vick
Key Stat: 75.1 career passer rating
Why LT? LT's got double Vick's quarterback rating. Double. And he could run the stretch play, too? This might be a no-brainer. Back in 2001, would the Falcons have traded with the Chargers to get the top pick in the draft -- which was used on Vick -- had they known Tomlinson might be a better runner and thrower than Vick?
Starter: Rex Grossman
Key Stat: 11 interceptions in last six games
Why LT? Tomlinson hasn't thrown a pick in six NFL seasons. With that spooky visor over his face mask, it's impossible to read his eyes. That's more effective than Grossman's method for looking off defenses -- throwing with his eyes closed.
Starter: Charlie Frye
Key Stat: 16 interceptions this season
Why LT? If Braylon Edwards, who has done little this season for my fantasy uhh, the Browns, feels inclined to give you the business on the sideline, and he's got a case, then something just ain't right. Plus, LT protects the ball a wee bit better than Frye, who can't seem to stomach staring at his teammates' hideous jerseys. That's the only explanation I've got for all those interceptions.
Starter: Jay Cutler
Key Stat: Zero NFL starts.
Why LT? Shoot, why not? Did you see Jake Plummer this year? And Cutler's just starting now? Does he have a torn ACL that no one knows about? Rookie or not, you've got to be skeptical of a guy who took this long to unseat Plummer, even if he can throw the ball a mile. Really, who wouldn't prefer the greatest statistical passer of his lifetime to that?
New York Jets
Starter: Chad Pennington
Key Stat: 7.2 career yards per attempt
Why LT? Because his yards per attempt is nearly double Pennington's. And if Chad is averaging barely more than 7 yards a toss but completing 64.9 percent of his career passes, it's a pretty safe bet that LT throws harder than he does.
Starter: Aaron Brooks
Key Stat: The name on the back of his jersey
Why LT? Because only the best back in the league could buy himself enough time in the pocket behind the Raiders' offensive "line." Plus, vertically obsessed Al Davis must drool over LT's gaudy yards per attempt, assuming he has any clue who LaDainian Tomlinson is.
Starter: Jeff Garcia
Key Stat: 7.3 yards per completion in 2006
Why LT? Because compared to Garcia, Pennington may as well be Doug Williams.
Starter: Ben Roethlisberger
Key Stat: 19 interceptions this season
Why LT? Tomlinson threw a touchdown pass and no interceptions against the underrated Raiders defense on Sunday. In Week 8, Big Ben threw a touchdown and four picks versus the Silver and Black. Need I say more?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Starter: Bruce Gradkowski
Key Stat: Less than 200 yards passing in seven straight games
Why LT? Because the forward pass really hasn't worked out too well the last 30 years for the Bucs, who have sent only two quarterbacks to the Pro Bowl in their history. And one of those was Trent Dilfer. Put LT under center, leave Cadillac Williams at tailback, call Barry Switzer and break out the wishbone. It's gotta be better than whatever it is Tampa's doing now.