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Is Randall Cunningham's 1990 season one of the most underrated QB seasons of all time?


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Oh yeah, he put up the 1990 numbers with a bad line, weak running game, and a pair of 3rd and 5th round rookie WRs at #1 and #2 (Barnett and Williams)

  • It helped to have Jackson at TE and Byars as a very good receiving back
  • His coach was "Go make 5 plays for me" Buddy Ryan and his OC was Ritchie the K of 4-31 in his last 35 fame.
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I don't think there's any doubt that Cunningham is a hall of fame TALENT. I'm not sure his career ultimately warrants it, but had he gotten a ring that probably would've been different. Unfortunately injuries probably cost him a trip to Canton. A couple more years of play in his prime get him in IMO

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On 2/18/2021 at 4:29 PM, VanS said:

No player is perfect in every game.  Randall may not have been at his best in that game against Atlanta but he still put his team in position to win if not for the kicker choking.

I take Randall over Warner because I believe he's more talented.  I think if you put Prime Randall on the '99-'01 Rams he has more success than Warner.  Conversely I think if Prime Warner was on the 88-90 Eagles they have less success than they did with Randall.  Obviously there is no way to prove this thought experiment.  Its simply my opinion.

That's because you value physical talent over skill. Warner was the better player and the more successful player.

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2 hours ago, TecmoSuperJoe said:

Vinny Testaverde and Steve Young also had comparable years that season. Wouldn't say Cunningham's season was head and shoulders above them. 

No on Vinny. It was close on Young because of his running (454 and 6 TDs at 6.5 per at age 37!)

Randall had them on Rating by about 5 points.

ANY/A was 

  • Randall 8.54
  • Vinny 7.68
  • Chandler 7.61
  • Young 7.28
  • Flutie in 7th at 6.93 was closer to Vinny than Vinny was to Randall.

I will concede that Randall was the best passer that year but Young was very close overall when you count the running.

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2 hours ago, Jaguarfan said:

I don't think there's any doubt that Cunningham is a hall of fame TALENT. I'm not sure his career ultimately warrants it, but had he gotten a ring that probably would've been different. Unfortunately injuries probably cost him a trip to Canton. A couple more years of play in his prime get him in IMO

I agree that he would be close to a lock if he plays those extra 27 games in 1991 and 1993.

I still think he's in but I agree that its close and respect others who see him near the top of HoVG.

 

I also think when its close you look at degree of difficulty, Randall is near the top for hardest path.

You can watch the Fog Bowl on YouTube.

  • TD called back on Toney in motion.
  • Someone else drops a TD pass in their hands.
  • The actual fog rolls in and he still throws for 400+

His division competition won the Super Bowl 7 times.

His coaches were not exactly offensive innovators.

His O-lines in Philly were horrific.

  • One of them was a converted DT.
  • Another got traded from Indy, learned the NFL was now testing for 'roids got suspended and he shrunk. (Ron Solt)
  • In 1991 they traded 2 1st round picks to draft Antone Davis. He played like a 5th round J.A.G.
  • One was a terrible player best know as the brother of a local rocker (Joe, brother of Tommy Conwell)
  • Add in an endless collection of journeymen from other teams that no longer wanted them.
  • All of the lineman combined came up to 1 total pro bowl in their careers and it was the 'roids guy right before they started testing

He started off in year 2 as a relief QB because psycho Buddy put him in on 3rd and longs for 9 weeks before giving him a shot.

He was also brutalized in 1985 as of week 1 vs Lawrence Taylor when almost no one played that early as rookies.

  • He had a 27 rating in those first 5 games in 1985.
  • The same thing happened to Elway in 1983 and he had a 40 rating before they sat him for a month.
  • Marino's only rookie passes in September were laugh time when Miami was down 27-0 to the Raiders in the 4th.
    • He might have been fine anyway, young Marino was deadly even in October.
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This is from Ray Didinger on the Eagles O-lines with Randall:

https://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/just-wondering-on-a-slow-news-day-3569129

  • What are the Eagles going to do with their offensive line? Do you understand the security blanket we have enjoyed in the last decade with Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan at the tackle positions? I have been here long enough to remember the weekly cover-your-eyes feeling when the Eagles trotted out one draft mistake (Matt Darwin, Bernard Williams, Barrett Brooks, Antone Davis) after another at the tackle spots, and I remember trying to patch up the line with veterans who couldn't get it done any longer (Ron Heller, Ron Solt, Broderick Thompson). Those were nightmare offensive lines. We've had it good with Thomas and Runyan. Maybe they return in 2009. Maybe they don't. The security I feel now is that the Eagles have the best offensive line coach I've ever seen here in Juan Castillo, and for the Eagles to allow one sack every 27.3 pass plays in 2008, the best ratio in team history, was remarkable.
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On 2/20/2021 at 12:57 AM, TecmoSuperJoe said:

but he wasn't a one man army that could drag teams to the Super Bowl like John Elway could. 

To be fair Elway did play in the JV conference at the time.  The NFC totally dominated the AFC in the Super Bowl for a ridiculously long stretch there in the 80s and 90s.

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Cunningham lost some games to SB champs in the NFC but he also beat them, sometimes badly.

  • In 1987 Randall beat the SB Champ DC squad. 31-27  (and lost 34-24)
  • In 1989 he was up 11 in the 4th on SF and Montana went nuts with a comeback.
  • In 1990 he beat the Giants 31-13 (and lost 27-20)
  • In 1992 he beat the Cowboys 31-7 (and lost 20-10 and got crushed in the divisional 34-10)
  • In 1994 it was the 40-8 win over the 49ers

How did Elway do against those teams?

  • In 1988 he beat Elway 28-24
  • In 1992 he beat Elway 30-0

JV League

 

Elway is still the far superior QB overall, but he had a much easier path to the Super Bowl.

 

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21 hours ago, VanS said:

To be fair Elway did play in the JV conference at the time.  The NFC totally dominated the AFC in the Super Bowl for a ridiculously long stretch there in the 80s and 90s.

In the Super Bowl yes. But Elway still beat the NFC top dogs like the 49ers, Bears, and Redskins at various times in the 1980s with an unremarkable offensive cast. If we extend the sample size outside of the Super Bowl, the Broncos under Elway's guidance were usually fine against the NFC. 

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