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History Dictates that a Two-Quarterback System Doesn’t Work in the NFL: A New York Jets Fan’s View
History dictates that the two-quarterback system is not a winning recipe for success in the NFL.
In the rare instances in NFL history where a two-quarterback system was implemented, it has almost never worked out in a positive way for the teams that tried it.
But with the New York Jets' recent signing of Tim Tebow, it appears that the team will give it a whirl by featuring at least two different identities on offense in 2012. In all likelihood, Tebow will be used in short yardage situations on third-down conversion plays, and Sanchez will handle the bulk of the passing duties on first and second downs.
Here's a look back at how the rest of the two-quarterback systems in NFL history fared:
There are a few different circumstances where a two-quarterback system may be used, and one of the most famous is the "reliever" system where an ineffective starter is replaced late in a game.
In 1981, Don Strock led the Miami Dolphins back from a 24-0 third quarter deficit during a 1981 playoff game against the San Diego Chargers, after Dolphins starter David Woodley proved to be ineffective.
In one of the greatest "relief" appearances in NFL history, Strock threw for over 400 yards and added four passing touchdowns to send the game into overtime. Strock frequently relieved Woodley in the 1981 and '82 seasons, leading many to call the tandem "WoodStrock."
Neil O'Donnell - Kordell Stewart
While Kordell Stewart faded away down the stretch of his NFL career, he was a jack of all trades in his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was fifth on the team in rushing, ninth in receiving, fourth in passing yardage, and one of the most exciting young players in the game at the time. Stewart was a quarterback, wide receiver, running back, punter and anything else that was asked of him that season.
He earned the nickname "Slash" for his exciting running plays that left opposing defenses utterly confused.
According to a 1996 New York Times report, "two of his plays in the fourth quarter [of a 1996 playoff contest against the Buffalo Bills] helped propel the Steelers to the American Football Conference championship game. The Steelers were clinging to a 26-21 lead with the Bills surging. After Neil O'Donnell kept a drive alive with a pass to Ernie Mills, Stewart took over at quarterback. Stewart handed off to Morris for 3 yards then carried left on the option for 5 more. O'Donnell re-entered the game, completed a pass for 17 yards, then handed off to Bam Morris, who scored on a 13-yard run. Game over."
That game was one of the few examples in NFL history where a two-quarterback system resulted in great success.
Roger Staubach - Craig Morton
Craig Morton was Tom Landry's quarterback in Super Bowl V for the Dallas Cowboys, but a losing effort in the game pushed Staubach into the national spotlight and the favor of Texas football fans.
The following season, Landry was so torn between the two quarterbacks that he started rotating the men on every play.
Staubach would eventually take over the Cowboys' starting job after leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in Jan. of 1972, while Morton would go on to play for the Denver Broncos and New York Giants after losing the starting quarterback role in Dallas.
George Blanda - Daryle LaMonica
Blanda was another legendary quarterback "reliever," having played in the NFL in four different decades as a kicker and quarterback.
"George Blanda will always be remembered as a legend of our game," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement following Blanda's death in 2010, "including his amazing career longevity of 26 seasons in four different decades. George's multi-talented flair for the dramatic highlighted the excitement of pro football during an important period of growth for our sport."
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