By: Nick Suarez, Senior
It’s fall, and that means two things: Presidential candidates trying to act like they are common people, and then there’s football. If politics and football have one thing in common: the idea that one person can make or break their game.
In football, the coveted quarterback is the person who potentially deciding Super Bowls, and in most cases, it’s the “the team is doing okay” and coaches, players, and staff can “keep their job” position. Similarly presidential candidates this early in a primary are their own quarterback: relying on their own ability to do their jobs because there is no one else (besides your campaign manager) to blame. As the comparisons are many, it’s comical to think that two people with such divergent jobs (sports and politics) are similar (and at this point, note that their comparisons do not mean that the quarterback has the same political views as the candidate and vice versa).
Joe Biden/Eli Manning
We all remember this guy right? A few years ago he was good, not great but good. Each guy is definitely good enough to “right the ship,” but each doesn’t lead the team by themselves (in the past, almost anytime they were asked to lead the season/campaign ended in complete and utter disaster). Look, no matter their faults, these guys will always be remembered for two big victories- Eli Manning’s two Super Bowl wins, and, of course, eight years of the Obama Admin.. Admittedly they were carried by someone with much more polish and refined sense, but at the end of the day, each beat the evil empire! However, recently, any old school veneer has faded, as they clearly failed to keep up with the times and are now faced with an angry public and young upstarts waiting to take what should be their job.
Bernie Sanders/Brett Favre
This duo is arguably the most controversial on the list. They are known for their competitive spirit and emotional outbursts that ensure that no matter where they are on the field you feel their presence. That competitive edge does not win over everyone: Some call them arrogant, rude, and at times downright mean spirited. But, that same passion has sustained consistent winning for longer than any other presidential candidate/Quarterback. It’s also worth noting that their critics don’t exactly appreciate their willingness to switch teams and leave in order to win, and they’re both chastised for their ages because, at their age there is no real reason to be playing the game the way they do. But that passion, that raw need to continue to do their job, and the occasional attitude, are exactly why their fans love them: It sets them apart from their colleagues, and it makes them seem different and somewhat new. An argument could be made that other candidates/quarterbacks are stronger, smarter, and better funded, but when they get on the field, the one thing we know is that sparks will fly.
Elizabeth Warren/Patrick Mahomes
Relatively new to their respective careers, both have wowed with stellar early performances, and the only real concern can be boiled down to a simple question: Can they win it all? It does seem unfair that the question is imposed, especially due to the fact that both are (relatively) new, but when they play such high stake games like politics and professional football, pressure is expected (and welcomed in most cases).Their records at this point are stunning and early successes have lead to only more hype. In some cases, that hype could be their downfall. Now, it should be noted that neither Warren nor Mahomes has had a “bad” outing-- they have just had average performances. Average is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when the competition is barely able to keep up the pace, but when the competition gets stiff, and the stakes become high (presidential campaign or Super Bowl), then it’s the crowd who will see if they are able to continue to have incredible performances.
Beto O'Rourke/Josh Rosen
Both Beto O’rourke and Josh Rosen started out with huge potential, but since then, everything seems to have gone wrong for them. Rosen got demolished due to an inept team, and he failed to make any starting impact within his first year. Meanwhile,O’Rourke blundered his campaign announcement, and he failed to capitalize at either debates; in fact, O’Rourkes’ most memorable moments have been his various blunders throughout the first two debates. While both have had memorable moments since their disaturerus starts, both need to acknowledge that any chance they had of becoming a true staying power has been rendered useless by various (political) blunders.O’rourke should run for Congress or Senate and try to make some strides and gain a resume and Rosen could be a perennial backup where he can mature.
Andrew Yang/ Gardner Minshew II
Minshew and Yang are likely the strangest pair you will find on the list. Yang has dazzled with his social media blitz finding support for his strange Libretarian-esque universal basic income proposal. Meanwhile, Minshew has found huge amounts of respect for his strange name (he is the first Gardner Minshew). Minshew is no stranger to bizarre stories (He tried to break his hand with a hammer so he could redshirt his freshman year at Washington State) and his bizarre looks (He has a killer mustache). It’s also worth noting that in both cases, their critics argue that their presence does nothing more than distract from larger issues (Social Media frenzies or playing smart football). In fact, that same strange energy that gave them staying power has been used to discredit and slander them. Realistically, neither Yang nor Misnhew have the chance to sustain their early winnings, but watching their unorthodox style roll out has probably been one of the most entertaining aspects of the “candidates” on this list.
Kamala Harris/Ben Roethlisberger
Kamla and Ben are the epitome of the quintessential early overachiever: one who fails to live up to their early success. For Roethlisberger, it was winning two early Super Bowls that made many feel as though Rothlisberger, would compete with the likes of Brady and Montanna for G.O.A.T status, however Rothlisberger has not won a Super Bowl in this decade and has failed to make any meaningful playoff pushes in the last three seasons with arguably the best support in the league. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris shined in the early debates as she successfully clashed, which positioned herself to be a frontrunner for the nomination, but since that early debate, she has done nothing to differentiate herself from other middle of the pack nominees. Both have had the tools to succeed, but have not done enough to validate all the praise given to them from their early performances.
Pete Buttigeg/Dak Prescott
Pete Buttigeg and Dak Prescott are the ultimate underdog success stories. Prescott went from 4th round pick to starting quarterback to America’s team (the Dallas Cowboys). Buttigeg, meanwhile, went from small town Indiana mayor, to viable pick for the presidential nomination. The issue with each of them is their inexperience asking someone so new to the field to win it all is an extreme proposition, and they have both failed to calm critics who are highlighting their youth, incapable of being a true winner.
Cory Booker/Marcus Mariota
Where the last duo was a pair mired in hype and talent, this duo is mired in mediocrity and disappointment. On paper, there's no reason that Mariota or Booker should be as bad as they are. Mariota came out of a pro-style offense and being a Heisman trophy winner made it seem that he was up for a great if not legendary NFL career. Booker, meanwhile, had several excellent Senate campaigns, which seemed to indicate a great chance at the presidency in 2020. Questions about their ability to perform on the big stage seemed to ring true as neither has done enough to prove that they truly belong with the rest of their peers. Both came in with enormous expectations and have failed to live up to them, and while there is still a chance for both to turn the tide, it seems as though time has run out on their chances to have a real impact.
I am Nick Suarez; an iPrep senior interested in politics, sports, and history, also a Proud Social Democrat!