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Cradle of Quarterbacks

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One region in America has produced some of the greatest quarterbacks we have ever seen. What makes these men so special? What can we learn from them and their success?

Johnny Unitas won three NFL Championships and one Super Bowl. He was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection who was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player on three occasions. Joe Montana was a four-time Super Bowl Champion and a three-time Super Bowl MVP. Montana played in eight Pro Bowls and twice was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Joe Namath led the New York Jets to a Super Bowl victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Namath was a four-time AFL All-Star and two-time AFL MVP. Dan Marino was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection who was the NFL’s MVP in 1984. Jim Kelly was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who led the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowls. George Blanda played more seasons of Pro Football (26) than anyone else played. He was a four-time AFL All-Star who also won the AFL’s MVP. Blanda made a name for himself as a place kicker, too.

These six men, all from Western Pennsylvania, are six of the 26 quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This one region in the Country is the cradle of quarterbacks and is truly incredible! Western Pennsylvania has produced other fine quarterbacks but these are the best of the best! I think, like most people, I would rank Tom Brady as the best quarterback of all-time with Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas neck and neck for second and third. Joe Namath was a great quarterback for a short period of time and Dan Marino and Jim Kelly were outstanding for many years. Western Pennsylvania had its foundation in coalmines, steel mills, and railroads. Many of the great athletes from this region were first and second generation sons of immigrants. The toughness, work ethic, and great attitude that they possessed made them really special!

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© Flickr user JoePenna

When they were honored at the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2015, each quarterback reflected on his career and had some wise words of wisdom to share. Marino stated:

“Nothing against Mr. Rooney, but beating the Steelers to go to that Super Bowl,” Marino said. “Donnie Shell and Jack Lambert were on that team, and I grew up watching the Steelers and loving Franco and Terry and Mel Blount and Joe Greene and everybody else. To be a 23-year-old kid in that game and win that game was pretty special to me.”

Marino will always be a legend. Even if you never watched football or didn’t follow the game much, if you grew up in America you heard the name Dan Marino. Kelly also took this time to comment:

“You always dream as a little boy of wanting to play in the NFL but never even thought about or dreamt about being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Kelly said. “The first time I walked into the Hall of Fame, I saw Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones, Gayle Sayers, Bob Griese — and I can go on and on.”

So what can we take away from these great men and their astounding accomplishments? They started young, with a dream, and grew up devoting their time and energy to making that dream come true. Dreaming can be very beneficial to your focus. In fact, daydreaming has been found to help you be more productive! Maybe that was part of their secret; all the time they spent daydreaming about getting out on that field, playing some amazing games of football, and receiving the honor of being in the Hall of Fame.

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Howard Kellman

Howard Kellman

Howard Kellman is the longtime radio and television “voice” of the Indianapolis Indians and a professional speaker. When he’s not broadcasting, he travels around the country inspiring audiences.
Howard Kellman

@howardkellman

Play-by-play broadcaster for the Indianapolis Indians Professional Speaker 2009 inductee Indiana Sportscasters Hall of Fame
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