Teddy Bridgewater compared to the best NFL quarterbacks


How does Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater compare to the NFL’s best passers, like Brady, Rodgers and Manning through their first 26 games?

Drafting a quarterback in the first round of the draft is always an exciting time. With the pick comes excitement and hope that our favorite team will finally rise above the mediocrity that has plagued us for far too long. And unlike the previous quarterback the Vikings drafted in the first round *cough* Christian Ponder *cough*, Teddy Bridgewater was not seen as a reach, and in fact was considered by most to be a steal.

If I had to choose one thing to compare Teddy’s career to, it would be a roller coaster. Even before the draft, there were a lot of up and downs. Widely considered to be the best quarterback of the 2014 NFL draft and potential number one overall pick, Teddy slipped to the 32nd pick because of a (horrendously) bad pro day. Then in his rookie season, Bridgewater was supposed to sit behind Matt Cassel and learn for a year or two before being handed the reigns, but injuries forced him into action, so he took the starting role and never looked back. Even to this day, you can hear the crowd chant “Teddy! Teddy!” when he makes a good play, and within a couple plays you’ll hear the crown’s displeasure when he does something bad. Like I said, there are a lot of ups and downs in the career of Theodore Edmond Bridgewater.

Unfortunately for Teddy Bridgewater, this is a “what have you done for me lately?” sport. That is why, if you listen to public radio, you’ll hear more people than ever calling for Teddy to be replaced. In an effort to put your mind at ease, I went ahead and compared Teddy’s first 26 starts to the first 26 games played by Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Christian Ponder. I chose Rodgers, Brady and Manning because I believe they are the three best quarterbacks of this era. I also included Ponder because I have heard way too many people wish we could have him back and I wanted to put into context just how much better we have it now.

All of the information I am going to share with you is from pro-football-reference.com, and I only included the games where each player threw at least 15 passes. Also, please note that I am not saying Teddy is or will become a first ballot hall of famer like the first three quarterbacks I am comparing him to. This is simply to see how Teddy’s early career stacks up to the legends of our game.

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Looking at these stats, a few things jump out. The first thing I noticed was Teddy has the highest completion percentage out of the five. While some of that may be because Teddy throws shorter passes, it still goes to show you that Teddy has great timing, touch and accuracy when throwing the ball.

The second thing that stood out to me was the passer rating of each quarterback. Aaron Rodgers is far and away the best of the bunch, but Teddy is firmly planted between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. I don’t know about you, but that seems like some pretty good company to me!

Dec 10, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

You might have also noted that Teddy Bridgewater is on the lower end of touchdown passes, yards and attempts through his first 26 games. I think a large part of that has to do with the offense. Teddy Bridgewater has the luxury of handing off to one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game, while Rodgers, Brady and Manning all were forced to be the majority of their respective offenses.

One thing that isn’t mentioned in the table above is the age of the quarterbacks at the time of their 26th game. Teddy Bridgewater is by far the youngest of the five at 23 years, 30 days. Peyton Manning was second at 23 years, 242 days, while Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Christian Ponder were all over 25 years old.

Again, I’m not saying Teddy Bridgewater will turn out to be the next Rodgers, Brady or Manning. But at this stage of their respective careers, Teddy is the youngest of the group and his completion percentage, passer rating and win loss record compare favorably to some of the greatest to ever play the game.