Blake “the Snake” Bortles has spent his entire football career listening to, and ignoring, debates about his status as one of the most elite quarterbacks in the whole world. He heard it when he played baseball at Oviedo High School in Florida. “You’ll never be an elite quarterback!” opposing fans would constantly yell as he stepped up to the free throw line.
He heard it even more when he started at quarterback for the defending national champion University of Central Floridas. Banners proclaiming “eLOLite!” hung around UCF’s famed Lambeau Field. But Bortles proved that those banners were idiots by playing more than two seasons with the Knights’ famed amateur football team.
The debate around Bortles’ eliteness reached a fever pitch when he suited up for the Jacksonville Jaguar professional team in the National Football League football league. Some would say just making a football team in the NFL, long considered the best professional football league in North America and perhaps the whole world, qualifies one as elite. But others would say that you can’t truly be elite until you’ve won a World Cup.
Check the Numbers, Yo
To really determine Bortles’ elitedness, one only needs to look at Bortles’ numbers. As the saying goes, “Quotes About Statistics (127 quotes) – Goodreads.” And that’s never been truer than when discussing Bortles’ NFL career as a quarterback.
In Bortles’ four years in America’s “National” league, he’s attempted a “forward pass” 2,229 times. Of those 2,000-plus passes, his fellow offense-sided teammates, consisting of tight ends, wide receivers, fullbacks, wingbacks, and halfbacks (the last three sometimes called “running backs”), have caught, or “received,” the ball 1,318 times for a total of 14,928 positive yards.
When debating Bortles’ status as an eliteman, keep in mind that no other quarterback in the whole world has those exact statistical numbers. Bortles added another feather to his helmet when he became the first and only quarterback in the whole world to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018.
Perhaps being elite transcends numbers. A Google search of “Blake Bortles elite” shows just how elite Bortles actually is: As of this writing, the top results include “Blake Bortles Jacksonville Jaguars Jerseys Nike Elite,” “Blake Bortles – Madden 18 – 80 OVR Core Elite – Muthead,” and “the numbers don’t lie: Kirk Cousins is elite.”
If skeptics need further proof, consider that “Blake Bortles elite” turns up 292,000 results, while a search of “Blake Bortles not elite” only has 168,000 results. True, the latter search took .05 fewer seconds, and that sort of discrepancy can go a long way during a 40-yard dash.
The “elite” discussion will undoubtedly kick up again this weekend. Bortles and the Jaguars take on the vaunted New England Patriots, long considered this century’s best football team in the whole world. Scoring enough touchdowns against the Patriots should ensure victory for the Jaguars. The game will end after four quarters, but the debate about Bortles is probably only in the two-minute warning part of the first quarter.