One of the reasons some Miami Dolphins fans are so vexed by coach Brian Flores picking Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen as the team’s starter for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills is that they’re worried the 36-year-old veteran might go all Fitzmagic on the Bills.
They’re worried Fitzpatrick might actually lead the Dolphins to a victory.
And it’s not that Dolphins fans hate winning. It’s that some believe even one victory in 2019 might knock their team from the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 draft — which they believe would ruin Miami’s chances of landing the draft’s best quarterback.
What a disaster!
So this is where I tell you history doesn’t care much for your concerns. History knows that the NFL draft’s top pick is nothing more than a chance of landing the best player. It’s a lottery ticket.
But it doesn’t often become a winning lottery ticket.
The Dolphins, who are absorbing much contempt and disrepute while tanking in 2019, are on the painful path to the top pick so they can land a quarterback who will help get them to sustained winning and future championships.
That’s the team’s words.
So that quarterback the Dolphins pick next April, presumably with the first overall selection, better be Super Bowl awesome. Except, history says he probably won’t be.
Look at the actual draft history ...
Since the dawn of the this century, a span of 20 NFL seasons, no quarterback drafted No. 1 overall has won a Super Bowl for the team that drafted him. Only one of the 14 quarterbacks picked No. 1 overall since 2000 has actually won a Super Bowl — Eli Manning.
But Manning was selected No. 1 overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and refused to play there. So add that potential problem to the list of concerns the team with the top pick might have to manage.
Anyway, Manning was traded to the New York Giants who picked Phillip Rivers at No. 4 overall and traded him to San Diego in exchange for Manning. And Manning won two Super Bowls with the Giants even while posting a .500 record as the starting quarterback in the regular season.
But everyone else? No Super Bowl title.
Consider the list of quarterbacks selected No. 1 overall since 2000:
2001: Michael Vick by Atlanta.
2002: David Carr by Houston.
2003: Carson Palmer by Cincinnati.
2004: Eli Manning picked by San Diego.
2005: Alex Smith by San Francisco.
2007: JaMarcus Russell by Oakland.
2009: Matthew Stafford by Detroit.
2010: Sam Bradford by St. Louis.
2011: Cam Newton by Carolina.
2012: Andrew Luck by Indianapolis.
2015: Jameis Winston by Tampa Bay.
2016: Jared Goff by the Los Angeles Rams.
2018: Baker Mayfield by Cleveland.
2019: Kyler Murray by Arizona.
You know their histories: Outside of Manning, none of those No. 1 overall picks has a Super Bowl win.
But dig deeper. This list suggests simply finding a good quarterback at No. 1 overall is no certainty. Russell, for example, was a tremendous bust. As was Carr.
Bradford was a disappointment, and Winston is on a similar course.
And even the ones who have been or were good — Newton, Vick, Palmer, Luck and Stafford — were more teases than franchise changers.
And now the ultimate slap to the argument that the No. 1 pick is so valuable it’s worth losing for: Multiple times since 2000, the quarterbacks selected No. 1 overall or even in the first round did not turn out to be the best quarterbacks in their respective drafts.
In 2000 the best QB in the draft turned out to be Tom Brady in the sixth round.
In 2001 it was Drew Brees in the second round rather than Vick at No. 1 overall.
In 2004 you can argue Manning was the right choice because he has won two Super Bowls. You know what? Ben Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls and he was picked No. 11 overall. And Roethlisberger has a far superior won-lost record than Manning.
In 2005, Aaron Rodgers was picked No. 24 overall, or 23 slots after Smith. And we know who turned out better.
Four quarterbacks, including Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, were picked in the 2012 draft’s first round. But the best quarterback in that draft was Russell Wilson who was selected in the third round by Seattle.
No quarterback was selected No. 1 overall in 2017. The Chicago Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2. Later that round Patrick Mahomes went at No. 10 overall and Deshaun Watson went at No. 13.
Then there’s this scary possibility: There are years in which no good quarterbacks come out at all. It happens, folks.
In 2018, for example, Mayfield led a run of five quarterbacks selected in the first round. Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Rosen and Lamar Jackson all have had varying degrees of success. And failure.
So what does that make the coveted No. 1 overall selection? The evidence proves it is nothing more than a lottery ticket that may hit. But probably not.