Yesterday we talked about who the face of the Chicago Bears is now that Brian Urlacher has retired. A few of the Bears mentioned were Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Jonathan Bostic, and head coach Marc Trestman.
Writing that article got me to thinking about who the face of each franchise is. I'm obviously a Bears fan, but I'm also a fan of the NFL in general. Before giving it much though I assumed that most teams would be most identified by their quarterback. Curiosity got the best of me, so I ran down each team to think about their franchise's face, and I figured why not pass along my thoughts to you guys.
I'll go division by division, and start at a familiar place:
- Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler - For now, it has to be Cutler. He's the straw that stirs the drink around Halas Hall, and love him or hate him, he's probably the most talked about Bears player.
- Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers - Hard to go with anyone except arguably the best QB playing the game today.
- Detroit Lions - Calvin Johnson - When you are the best at your position, and one of the best of all time, you are the face of your franchise.
- Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson - See above. He's absolute stud running the ball. I'd be interested to hear if Viking fans consider Jared Allen the face of their franchise.
- Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III - He was such a huge part of the Redskins success last season, and he has some national notoriety.
- Dallas Cowboys - DeMarcus Ware - The first face I think of when I think about the Cowboys is owner Jerry Jones, and the second is Tony Romo. But the more I think about it, the more the consistently great DeMarcus Ware comes to mind.
- New York Giants - Eli Manning - Manning has had his ups and downs, but he's a 2 time Super Bowl winning QB.
- Philadelphia Eagles - LeSean McCoy - Their most well known player is Michael Vick, but he may not be the starter. DeSean Jackson is very gifted with the ball in his hands, but McCoy is a do it all type back that should thrive in 2013.
- Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan - Ryan had his team in the NFC Championship last year, and their passing will be stellar again this season.
- Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton - His first two years in the NFL can be stacked up against any other QB in the history of the league and his numbers will look impressive.
- New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees - Since signing as a free agent, Brees has been the man in New Orleans.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman - I guess I'll finish up the QB sweep here in the South, and Freeman is the face by default. I wanted to go with Doug Martin, but he has only one season under his belt. If newcomer Darrelle Revis can get back to his 'Revis Island' days, it might be him.
- Arizona Cardinals - Larry Fitzgerald - He's been their best player for some time now.
- St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford - With Steven Jackson off to Atlanta, their O is officially all about Bradford. They do have a few very good defensive players, but when I think Rams, I think offense.
- Seattle Seahawks - Richard Sherman - My first thought was their rookie QB, then it was their powerhouse tailback, but there's just something about the loudmouth Sherman that stands out. He talks the talk, then backs it up. U Mad Bro?
- San Francisco 49ers - Patrick Willis - The Niners have an embarrassingly good roster, and you could argue about 4 or 5 of their players as the Face, and you can make s good case for head coach Jim Harbaugh being the face of the franchise. But Willis is a beast, and he's getting national recognition thanks to his Visa ad.
- New England Patriots - Tom Brady - You weren't expecting Aaron Hernandez were you?
- New York Jets - Rex Ryan -The Jets simply don't have anyone worthy of being the face of the franchise, and head coach Rex Ryan has a huge personality. Some may argue that Mark Sanchez is their face, and he very well could be, but his notoriety has been more for being bad in the Big Apple.
- Miami Dolphins - Cameron Wake - Ryan Tannehill has the potential to be the man at some point, but Wake has been their most consistent and best player player for a few years now.
- Buffalo Bills - Mario Williams - After getting that giant contract, he is their most high profile player.
- Pittsburgh Steelers - Ben Roethlisberger - The Steelers are still a defensive team, but it's Big Ben that you think of when thinking about Pittsburgh. Troy Polamalu is right up there too. I wonder who Steeler fans think is their Face?
- Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco - No more Ray Lewis, Ed Reed is gone too, so enter one of the highest paid players in the NFL, and the reigning Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
- Cincinnati Bengals - A.J. Green - In a few years this may be QB Andy Dalton, but for now Green brings so much to the Bengals offense it's hard to go away from him.
- Cleveland Browns - Joe Thomas - Yes, an offensive lineman. Deal with it.
- Tennessee Titans - Chris Johnson - He may eclipse 2,000 yards rushing for the 2nd time in his career in 2013.
- Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck - You may be thinking; Another rookie QB? But when you essentially replace a legend at QB, then throw for over 4,300 yards, you get to replace the legend as the face of the franchise too.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Maurice Jones-Drew - MJD is really all they have, and he's been good for 7 years now.
- Houston Texans - J.J. Watt - Watt received a lot of national recognition last year, and that catapulted him to the face of the franchise.
- Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning - The phenomenal Von Miller may take over once Manning hangs them up, but for now Denver is Manning's town.
- Kansas City Chiefs - Jamaal Charles - If the Chiefs rebound like many experts predict, Charles could be in the MVP discussion.
- Oakland Raiders - Darren McFadden - The Raiders haven't had a winning record since Marc Trestman was calling their plays in 2002. McFadden is the face of the franchise only because Al Davis is gone.
- San Diego Chargers - Antonio Gates - This has to be Gates right? Philip Rivers is a very well known player, but Gates has made 8 straight Pro Bowls, and is one of the best tight ends ever to play the game.
Now it's your turn, what do you guys think?
And if you're not a Bears fan, be sure to weigh in on your teams face of the franchise.
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