The Demise of the Left-handed Quarterback?


Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to KeithJJ

The number of left-handed quarterbacks has hit a record low in the NFL. Why did this change happen and will it be permanent? (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to KeithJJ)

One of the most valuable positions in football is the quarterback. Everyone knows about the right-handed tosses made by the quarterback, but few people know about the left-handed tosses. Recently, however, the number of left-handed quarterbacks that are competing in the NFL has dropped to a record low: none. In fact, one of the last left-handed touchdown passes wasn’t even thrown by a quarterback. NFL wide receiver Dez Bryant, who is currently a free agent, threw a 16-yard touchdown during a trick play. The most recent left-handed touchdown pass was thrown by Quarterback Patrick Mahomes on October 1st of this season. Between these two touchdown passes, there were more than 800 touchdown passes thrown right-handed.

One reason that left-handed quarterbacks are disappearing is that they are harder to design plays for. Many of the plays used by professional and college football teams are designed for a right-handed quarterback. This gives a huge disadvantage for left-handed quarterbacks. But not all people think so.

“I don’t think so because the majority of people are right-handed in the world. There’s very little chance you see a left-handed quarterback often,” said junior Uriel Coffi.

Left-handed quarterbacks may also be harder to play with. The term “blind side” is a common term used in football, referring to the side of the quarterback that is facing away from the pocket. Since the left-handed quarterbacks would have to face the other way to throw the ball the entire dynamic is thrown off. The offensive linemen would be on the opposite side of where the blind side normally is. This puts more pressure than normal on that side of the line. There are many people who say that a football thrown by left-handed quarterbacks is harder to catch, but that isn’t always the case.

“It’s easier to catch from a left-handed quarterback. They have better and more consistent spirals when they throw it and all in all, from my experience, they are more accurate,” said sophomore Austin Garrison, a wide receiver for the Hillcrest Rams.

Recently, there have also been a few busts in the left-handed quarterback category, including Tim Tebow. Now it isn’t unusual to see quarterback bust, because of the difficult transition from college to professional quarterback. However, given the low number of left-handed quarterbacks already, a few busts could dramatically shift the numbers of left-handed quarterbacks in the league. Also, many left-handed quarterbacks are being overlooked for right-handed quarterbacks because of the starter.

“I was told that coming out for the draft…, that I probably wasn’t going to be the best fit [in] some places because the starter was a righty,” said left-handed quarterback Kellen Moore in an interview with FiveThrityEight.

Many left-handed quarterbacks are also leaving the sport of football to play a sport that gives an advantage to someone who is left-handed. In baseball, throwing with your left-hand is harder to deal with to, but, unlike football, that is a positive thing. A left-handed pitcher in baseball is a highly coveted play similarly to how a good quarterback is highly coveted in football. In fact, twenty-five percent of all pitchers in baseball are left handed when only one in ten people are left-handed. However, just like football, that twenty-five percent is a lower number than it used to be.

“The absence of the left-handed quarterback is a permanent issue due to the lack of any signs of improvement [among left-handed quarterbacks]. The last great left-handed quarterback was Michael Vick and I don’t believe we will see another Michael Vick anytime soon,” said freshman Austin Cooper.

The real question is whether the absence of left-handed quarterbacks is a permanent or temporary change. While there is a lot of reasons why it could be permanent such as they are harder to scheme for, they are harder to play with, and baseball heavily recruits left-handed players, there are some potential quarterback stars in college who throw with their left hand. Some of these players include Malik Zaire of Florida and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama. Only time will truly tell the fate of left-handed quarterbacks.