This year’s Super Bowl matchup shows you don’t need a particular type of quarterback to win in the NFL. The Ravens’ Joe Flacco has 38 rushing yards this season. The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick ran for 56 yards on a single touchdown gallop against the Packers a few weeks ago. But in the long term, when you’re building a franchise, which kind of signal-caller is the better bet?
Conventional wisdom says a runner is more likely to get hurt than a stay-in-the-pocket statue. Just ask Joe Flacco, who told the assembled press on Wednesday that “quarterbacks like [Kaepernick] are eventually going to have to become mostly pocket passers to survive in this league.”
This belief is shared by NFL personnel gurus. During the 2011 season, then-Colts vice chairman Bill Polian was deciding whether to draft pocket passer Andrew Luck or the mobile Robert Griffin III as Peyton Manning’s successor. Polian was ultimately fired before he got to make that call, but he let Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in on his thinking regardless. "I'd probably pick Luck,” Polian said. “When you boil it all down, you worry about running quarterbacks getting hurt."
But is this correct—are mobile quarterbacks like Kaepernick, Michael Vick, and RGIII, more prone to getting hurt than conventional passers such as Flacco, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady?