To be considered a “legend”, as one of the “greats” in any sport, a professional athlete needs to have a huge amount of talent. On top of a natural affinity for a certain physical endeavour, a leading athlete also has to be hardworking, dedicated and a leader in the field.
However, while these skills are sometimes enough for certain athletes to make it to the top and rank among their sport’s finest, there’s also times when it isn’t enough. Michael Jordan might be considered one of the best basketball players of all time and he may not have had to talk his way into that position, but he’s almost an exception to the rule.
Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk
In reality, the majority of the leading sportspeople in the world have risen to the top of their profession through a combination of skill and personality. An obvious example of someone who has been able to combine physicality and personality in the last few months is Conor McGregor.
The fighting Irishman has had a meteoric rise in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) thanks to his penchant for punching people and his skills in front of a camera. This combination of talents has made him one of the hottest prospects in the sport, banked him a bundle of cash and, importantly, earned him a shot at a world title.
While McGregor might be something of an enigma in terms of his personality, his strategy is one that many athletes have used to elevate their status and one shining example from the football world is Andrew Quarless.
The Quarless Conundrum
Since becoming a fifth round draft for the Packers back in 2010, Quarless’ performances have been good but not great. Despite taking to the field under the Green Bay banner with a wave of positive momentum behind him, Quarless hasn’t quite fulfilled the promise the “experts” expected. However, if you listen to the man himself, he’s still the next big thing.
The pre-season lull is often a time for players and journalists to take a break and prepare for another season of action. However, for Quarless, it’s another opportunity to get his name in the headlines. With writers willing to cling onto anything in order to generate a story, Quarless duly offered them some ammunition in June when he said he’s every bit as good as Rob Gronkowski.
Despite boasting a record that pales in comparison to Gronkowski’s, Quarless told a group of NFL reporters that he feels he doesn’t get the respect he deserves and that he’s on the same level as Gronkowski. Naturally, trying to align yourself with a powerhouse tight end like Gronkowski is a bold move, but it’s one that’s helped Quarless get his name back in the headlines as the next “breakout star” in football.
Quarless and the Media
Regardless of what the critics say, Quarless is likely to court more headlines during the new NFL season and why? Because of his physicality and personality. Like Mr. McGregor and others that have used their mouths to supplement their skills, Quarless has a knack of stirring up a discussion and it’s a strategy that seems to work.
Indeed, with the Green Bay Packers currently ranked as second favorites to win the 2015/2016 Super Bowl with online bookmakers such as betfair, much of that focus can be attributed to Quarless and his way with words.
Breaking Down the Numbers
There’s no doubt that Quarless can hold court with the football media, but does his record back up his talk? Or, more accurately, will Quarless meet his and the football community’s expectations this season?
Putting personal opinions (and hype) aside, the best way to judge Quarless’ potential is to do as the bookies do and review the stats. Setting a betting line and predicting the most likely winner takes a combination of historical analysis and statistical foresight and that’s why bookmakers often get it right.
So, if this is the case, then it also makes sense to use this strategy to break through the bluster and assess whether or not Quarless will become the top tight end in the NFL during the 2015/2016 season. In the interest of objectivity, we’ll run through Quarless’ total stats from 2010 through to 2014.
Andrew Quarless NFL Stats:
- Total Yards: 909
- Average Yards Per Reception: 10.7
- Total Receptions:85
- Longest Reception: 34
- Touchdowns: 6
Of course, stats without any context are just numbers on the page, so to give us something to pin them up against, let’s take a look at Rob Gronkowski’s numbers from the last five years. Is that an unfair comparison? Possibly, but Quarless himself said he wants to be considered alongside such players so we’ll oblige him.
Rob Gronkowski NFL Stats:
- Total Yards: 4,379
- Average Yards Per Reception: 14.2
- Total Receptions: 308
- Longest Reception: 52
- Touchdowns: 54
As you can see, for Quarless to be considered a match for Gronkowski in the tight end stakes, he’s got a lot of work to do. In fact, if he wants to match one of the NFL’s leading players next season, he’ll need to improve his average yards per reception by almost 50%. Moreover, Quarless will need to rack up more than three times his overall yardage without Gronkowski moving a muscle if he wants to break into the sport’s upper echelons.
Is Quarless a Good Bet?
Anyone with any semblance of football knowledge will understand that this is virtually impossible. However, that doesn’t mean Quarless is a failure. In fact, if the tight end was happy to continue providing a solid service to the Packers, then everything would be fine. However, as we’ve seen, Quarless wants more from himself and he’s been very vocal about it.
Going back to our sports betting base, would the bookmakers bet on Quarless to top the charts during the 2015/2016 NFL season? While this isn’t easy to answer, we can get some insight into the odds setters’ feelings about Quarless by referring back to the Packers’ Super Bowl Odds.
According to Betfair’s football betting experts, the Packers are 7/1 for the biggest prize in football. Following this same track, the Packers are also tipped as 4/11 for the NFC North division.
As you’d expect, Quarless will be an integral part of the Packers’ success, but it’s also fair to say that the team is more of a unit than a one-man band. Quarless isn’t a player capable of leading by example and inspiring greatness in his teammates through his receiving and scoring records.
Good but Not Great
However, he is a solid player who can and will do a job for the Packers in the coming weeks and months. Is it possible to say that Andrew Quarless is an elite tight end in the NFL? Probably not. However, it is possible to say that the 26-year-old still has room to grow and if he can achieve half the goals he sets himself, then he’ll be a dominate figure in the NFL.
At the start of this article we outlined how the greats often get to the top through a combination of physicality and personality and there’s no doubt Quarless is happy to use this strategy. For many, though, the Penn State graduate needs to utilize a little less of the latter and a little more of the former if he ever wants to become a legendary tight end.