So with Kevin Kolb now out of the picture, the Arizona Cardinals are back to square one at the quarterback position.
While Steve Keim and Co. will likely exhaust every option (draft and trade market) before training camp opens in July -- and already have to some degree with the signing of Drew Stanton -- there is one place they probably haven't dared to look yet…Hollywood.
So in honor of the Cardinals' on-going search for the next franchise quarterback, I give you the top five big screen quarterbacks of all-time.
And yes I know they're not real, but please indulge me.
5. David Greene, School Ties, 1992
School Ties is more or less a relevant film these days for one reason: it features Oscar-winners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck before they were known commodities. But the movie centers around New England prep school quarterback David Greene (Brendan Fraser) and his fight against prejudicial treatment on and off the gridiron. It's not a sports flick per say, but from the limited football scenes it's clear the St. Matthews Prep quarterback had a decent grasp of the position.
The 6-foot-3-inch Greene was an imposing figure in the film (based in the 1950s), but even in today's NFL his body frame is right on par with the likes of Tom Brady and Eli Manning. However, Greene possessed something the aforementioned Super Bowl MVPs have always lacked: the ability to make a play with his feet.
4. Levander ‘Bird' Williams, Wildcats, 1986
The one caveat to this selection is that ‘Bird' (Mykelti Williamson) didn't even open the season as the Wildcats' starting quarterback. Instead he opted for a life of petty thievery, until Coach McGrath (Goldie Hawn) gave him an ultimatum of either going to jail or playing football. Outside of his criminal past, ‘Bird' was the real deal. Before he arrived, Central High was teetering on the brink of obscurity with the likes of Trumaine (Wesley Snipes) and Krushinski (Woody Harrelson) leading the way. ‘Bird' not only made the Wildcats a contender, he single-handedly put the team on his back en route to a city championship.
Think Daunte Culpepper before injuries, a boat cruise sex scandal and a transition to Nick Saban's offense killed his career. ‘Bird' had top-end speed for a quarterback, good recognition of one-on-one coverage and the type of arm strength that kept opposing defenses on their heels.
3. Shane Falco, The Replacements, 2000
I've seen bricks perform more convincing roles on screen than Keanu Reeves (my apologies to fans of the Matrix or Point Break), but he sold me as the washed up, replacement quarterback of the Washington Sentinels. Before RGIII took the nation's capital by storm, Shane Falco and a bumbling cast of scabs were the talk of the town.
Falco is easily the least-sound quarterback on the list when it comes to fundamentals, in fact he had a lot of Jake Plummer in him. But as was the case for "Jake the Snake" during Arizona's magical run in 1998-99, when it's winning time throw out the shaky decision-making skills and poor footwork.
I'm also willing to forget all of those deficiencies thanks to this gem of quote:
2. Ronnie ‘Sunshine' Bass, Remember the Titans, 2000
There seems to be a consistent theme with this list.
Hollywood has quite a thing for the guy who comes off the bench and eventually leads his team to an improbable championship run. While that not-so sudden realization puts a bit of a damper on my love of sports movies, I have to say ‘Sunshine' (Kip Pardue) played the overdone role better than most. Maybe it was the stream of oldies music blasting in the background of most of his montages in the movie, but ‘Sunshine' just had the look of a top-flight quarterback.
During T.C. Williams High School's run to a high school championship, ‘Sunshine' had decent mobility outside the pocket, proved he could make all the throws, and relished the opportunity to make a big block or key hit.
Note: The real-life Ronnie 'Sunshine' Bass wasn't too shabby behind center either. Bass went on to play quarterback at South Carolina in the early 1970s.
1. ‘Steamin' Willie Beamen, Any Given Sunday, 1999
Before Mike Vick, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick, ‘Steamin' Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) was the poster child for dual-threat quarterbacks.
Beamen went from being the Miami Sharks' third-string quarterback to an overnight sensation as only Oliver Stone could draw up. He was pompous, flashy and everything today's sports organizations would hate in the face of a franchise, but it was hard not to love Beamen in every scene he was in, especially those that took place on the football field. And that's saying something with a supporting cast that featured Al Pacino, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor and L.L. Cool J.
What he lacked in tact and a team-first mentality, Beamen certainly made up for with explosive speed, allusiveness and athleticism rarely portrayed by a fictional quarterback before or after 1999.
Then again, Beamen defines his greatness better than I ever could:
Honorable mention: Mike Winchell (Friday Night Lights), Paul Crewe (The Longest Yard), Paul Blake (Necessary Roughness), Reno Hightower (The Best of Times) and Johnny Walker (Johnny Be Good)