The saying goes that quarterbacks are the faces and, in several ways, the CEOs of National Football League teams because they are literally front and center dozens upon dozens of times each game. A quarterback who finds success, even one who doesn’t necessarily win a Super Bowl, is able to land commercials that air on national television, and those who are deemed to be even serviceable starters sign contracts that guarantee them millions upon millions of dollars because a franchise QB can be hard to find for certain clubs. The Cleveland Browns have literally never had a franchise QB since returning to the NFL in 1999, and it doesn’t appear the club is any closer to fixing that problem than it was roughly 20 years ago following the initial organization's move to Baltimore.
With that kind of fame and fortune comes a special type of hatred only seen in the sports world. Football fans mock these signal-callers whenever they flop, and some do so using hilarious QB memes that go viral on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. No QB is safe from this phenomenon. All-time greats such as Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and others have all become “meme-ified” for one reason or another over the past decade, and this practice will continue so long as the NFL exists as the most popular league in all of North American professional sports. We’ll see if any QB meme from the second half of the 2017 season beats your favorite among the 15 showcased here from the first eight weeks of the campaign.
18 Tony Romo Turnover
Former Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo left the huddle for the broadcast booth ahead of the 2017 season, and some had a bit of a laugh about the matter by going with the “turn over” route upon mentioning his new job.
Romo wasn’t the most reliable QB in the NFL during big games, particular in contests that occurred in January, but even fans of other NFC East teams and critics of his play would have to admit that he’s been a revelation as a commentator. The 37-year-old appears to possess the talent to become the best in the business after only half a season, and logic suggests he will only continue to improve with more time in the booth. At least his takes can’t be intercepted by defensive backs...
16 Jay Cutler and Bad News
Jay Cutler seemed content in retirement and in his new role as a commentator until Miami Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill suffered an injury in August. The Dolphins signed Cutler, a decision that worked out about as poorly as many in football circles expected. After Cutler suffered multiple cracked ribs during a loss to the New York Jets, a meme, somewhat cruelly, pointed out that his injury was not, in fact, season-ending, and that he would eventually be able to return to the lineup.
All knowledgeable individuals realize Cutler isn’t the long-term answer for the Dolphins, but he’s probably more reliable than Matt Moore. Yes, that’s a rather low bar, and the state of the team’s offense may be why the Dolphins were deemed to be sellers in the final hours of the trade deadline.
15 Blake Bortles Plays Darts
Noted NFL Draft expert Matt Miller launched Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback Blake Bortles into a list of the top QB memes of the 2017 season all with a single tweet. After Bortles explained that he entertained himself by playing darts after he lost electricity at his home during Hurricane Irma, Miller tweeted “That poor wall,” a reference to the quarterback’s struggles with accuracy and his inconsistent play.
While this was a five-star tweet worthy of being mentioned among the top memes of this season, it should be noted Bortles has had some positive moments this fall. Maybe Bortles, and the Jaguars, in general, should just play all home games in London. They look rather formidable whenever they “host” games overseas, and they may enjoy performing in the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium set to open in 2018.
14 Tim Tebow Can’t Hit
Former Denver Broncos starting QB Tim Tebow abandoned his dream of remaining in the NFL to attempt to make it in the minor leagues within the organization of the New York Mets, but Tebow unsurprisingly struggled to make contact when facing even mediocre pitching.
Tebow, who also works as a college football analyst, unintentionally went viral early this fall when a fan held a sign that read “Tim bats .226 at Single A” behind him while he was working a pregame show. As savage as that was, one cannot help but appreciate that fan’s creativity. Nobody can take away the fact that Tebow once notched a home playoff win versus the Pittsburgh Steelers even if the guy can’t hit a curveball with any regularity. The Mets still should’ve called him up this past September, if only to have some fun at the end of a terrible season.
13 Kirk Cousins & Game Of Thrones
You almost have to feel sorry for Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. No matter how much the guy wins and looks like the real deal, some fans and apparently some within the organization do not believe he is worthy of a long-term deal.
Following Washington’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on September 10th, somebody created the following QB meme featuring the signal-caller: “Being a Redskins fan is like Game of Thrones: Constantly getting screwed by Cousins.” Winter may, indeed, be coming for those who haven’t appreciated Cousins since he took over for Robert Griffin III if he escapes the club via free agency following the 2017 season. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone in some cases, and the Redskins would be foolish to allow Cousins to leave in 2018.
11 Smokin’ Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and his teammates have routinely been roasted since the team blew a 25-point lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, but Ryan was able to have the last laugh after the Falcons defeated the Green Bay Packers on September 17th.
A meme featuring Ryan playing the role of the running “Smokin’ LeBron James” joke that pops up every NBA postseason appeared after Atlanta’s win featuring the following caption: “Green Bay, Old Bay, eBay, Mandalay Bay, Guantanamo Bay. Don’t Matter. Falcons by 15.” As much as the Internet never forgets and will likely continue to mention Super Bowl LI long after this season ends, at least Ryan and others within the Falcons could chuckle after a win in 2017.
10 Andy Dalton Playoffs
You wouldn’t have to look far and wide to learn Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has yet to win a single playoff game during his NFL career. After the Bengals dropped a second consecutive game to fall to 0-2 to begin the campaign, somebody posted a meme featuring Dalton and the following caption: “The Bengals better improve or they won’t be able to lose in the first round of the playoffs this year.”
Whether or not the Bengals will consider moving on from Dalton following the 2017 season is unknown as of the typing of this sentence, but Cincinnati fans can all be thankful about one thing: At least you don’t root for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns would probably happily take Dalton if given the chance to land him in 2018.
9 Tom Brady Dat!
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady once again checks in on the list of the most hilarious QB memes for the 2017 NFL season, this time after a victory. The Patriots took care of business against the New Orleans Saints in September, and somebody commemorated the moment with a meme dedicated to the Saints’ rallying cry.
“Who day saying they gonna beat them Saints!” asks the first part of the meme, and that question is answered with a picture of Brady smiling and raising his hand as if to alert the world he is, indeed, that guy. The tradition that is some writing Brady and the Patriots off whenever they lose one or more games in the first half of any season continues to amuse, as there is no sign the veteran is slowing down anytime soon.
8 Ezekiel Elliott vs. Tom Brady
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has the goods to be one of the best offensive players in the NFL, but even the second-year pro experiences a bad outing every now and again. Elliott managed to rush for only eight yards during a loss to the Denver Broncos this past September, and an NFL fan posted the following meme after that weekend: “Rush yards Sunday: Tom Brady: 9, Ezekiel Elliott: 8.”
Brady did, in fact, out-rush Elliott that weekend, as the New England starting QB not known for being the most elusive QB in the league picked up nine yards with his legs versus the New Orleans Saints. There won’t be many days when Brady accumulates more rushing yards than any top-tier running back. We hope he enjoyed this occasion.
7 Not This Time, Aaron Rodgers
As mentioned earlier in this piece, the Atlanta Falcons have been on the receiving end of jokes and unflattering memes since blowing the lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl this past February. A
fter the Falcons beat the Packers, however, somebody, probably an Atlanta fan, posted a meme of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers jokingly preparing to launch a comeback versus the Falcons only to then get crushed by a defensive player behind the line of scrimmage. Things didn’t get much better for Rodgers after this game, as he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 6. It seems likely Rodgers won’t play again this season even if the Packers make it to the playoffs. Superstitious Green Bay fans may want to blame this meme for the team’s woes.
6 Eli Manning “It”
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is often mocked by fans and critics whenever he throws a costly pick or for making a classic “Manning face” following a miscue. Manning is hardly the top reason the Giants are one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this season, something joked about in a meme that popped up this past September.
The images feature Manning serving a role in the movie It and entering a sewer all because he was promised offensive linemen were down there waiting for him. New York refusing to bolster the line and entrusting players such as left tackle Ereck Flowers proved to be a disastrous mistake and a decision that wasted one of the final years of the two-time champion’s career. Eli deserved better in 2017.
5 Matt Ryan Didn’t Blow the Lead!
We couldn’t go through a list of the top QB memes from the 2017 NFL season without having some fun at the expense of the Atlanta Falcons and starter Matt Ryan. The Falcons had an opportunity to avenge that Super Bowl loss to the Patriots when the club traveled to New England on October 22, but the Patriots earned a 23-7 victory on that occasion.
After Atlanta’s second defeat to New England of 2017, a “think about it” meme starring Ryan and this caption appeared online: “Can’t blow a lead if you never have one.” It may be better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but losing a game by double-digits to a better side may be less painful than blowing a 25-point lead in front of a worldwide audience.
4 Cam Newton’s Outfit
It’s rare when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton isn’t mocked by pockets of NFL fans for the outfits he showcases during post-game press conferences. Newton again generated attention after a loss to the Chicago Bears on October 22 when he wore an outfit that resulted in at least one person suggesting he looked like Samuel L. Jackson, “with emphasis on the ‘L.’”
Newton has received criticism from many for ending pressers early and also for making what were deemed to be sexist comments while speaking with reporters, but he isn’t letting anybody change the way that he dresses for these occasions. Cam is going to be Cam regardless of what anybody thinks, and taking an “L” on any given Sunday won’t keep him from staying true to number one.
3 Tom Brady Misses Julian Edelman
The New England Patriots began the defense of their latest Super Bowl victory with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on the first Thursday night of the season. Following that outcome, a meme arose of QB Tom Brady longingly staring at a picture of Julian Edelman.
Edelman, one of Brady’s favorites targets over the years, was lost for the campaign when he suffered a serious knee injury during the preseason, but that unfortunate incident had little to do with the New England defense playing poorly during the first half of the season. Don’t look now, but the Patriots won six of seven games following that first loss, and it appears New England will stroll to yet another playoff berth in January. Brady almost always wins regardless of who is in the huddle.
1 One more for Joe?
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was absolutely crushed by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso during a Thursday Night Football game in Week 8, and the starter suffered a concussion on that play. As unfortunate as that moment was, some out there couldn’t help but create memes after a dazed Flacco appeared to gesture while on the ground after suffering that hit.
This one, which shows a concussed QB asking for one more alcoholic beverage before calling it a night, may be the best of the bunch. All signs, as of the final day of October, are that Flacco won’t miss any future games, which makes it a bit easier to have a laugh about these types of pictures. All kidding aside, we hope Flacco recovers and is as good as ever once he returns.