Over the last 20 years the national football league has eclipsed major league baseball as the nation's real national pastime. The rise in popularity has coincided with the increased emphasis on the passing offense, highlighted by record breaking quarterbacks. Quarterbacks have become the face of the NFL and the league markets the players accordingly.
The emphasis on the quarterback is no different at the college level. Quarterbacks dominate media and fan discussion and claim the Heisman trophy nearly every year.
When star college quarterbacks go on to play in the NFL they become the most closely scrutinized athletes in sports. And while not all quarterbacks succeed in the fish bowl, their college affiliation follows them everywhere.
When Jake Plummer threw passes as an NFL quarterback his ASU affiliation was in the back of many fans' minds. When Aaron Rodgers throws a pass for the Green Bay Packers many fans associate him with his California alma mater. The same is true of ex- Utah and current 49er starting quarterback Alex Smith.
The University of Arizona has produced a number of NFL all-pros, but the school has never been known as a breeding ground for future NFL quarterbacks.
Not since Bill Demory in 1972 has a UA quarterback gone on to play in the NFL. The 39 year absence is far and away the longest streak of any Pac-12 school and one of the longer streaks in Division 1 college football.
Foles, a Michigan State transfer and former ASU commitment, figures to put an end to that drought next year. Coming into the year, multiple draft analysts pegged Foles as a first round pick, and while they acknowledge Foles' immobility, they are enamored by his frame, arm strength, deadly accuracy and soft touch.
Besides figuring to break UA's pro quarterback drought, Foles has put up historic numbers. He has a chance of finishing the season as the leading passer in UA history; he currently ranks third in both career passing yards and touchdowns and is among the leaders in completion percentage.
UA fans should enjoy watching Foles compete in his last 10 regular season college games. Regardless of the outcome of any of the contests, he should be universally appreciated for giving UA fans someone to root for at the most important position in professional sports.