Why Have Left-Handed Quarterbacks Vanished From the NFL?

The NFL hasn't had a lefty QB Kellen Moore retired in 2017

Why Doesn't the NFL Have Any Left-Handed Quarterbacks Anymore?
Former Falcon Michael Vick drops back to pass in 2006. (Rex Brown/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / August 16, 2019 11:50 am

In 2005, Steve Young became the first left-handed quarterback to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Since then, only one other southpaw signal-caller, Ken Stabler, has gotten the call to Canton (posthumously inducted  in 2016.)

The reason there are so few left-handed quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame is pretty simple: there aren’t many in the NFL.

The NFL has not had a left-handed quarterback playing in the league since 2017 when Kellen Moore retired to coach for the Dallas Cowboys following the season.

The reason none of the NFL’s 90 or so quarterbacks are lefties is mainly that offensive lines are built to protect a righty and coaches have to shift players and adjust plays in order to accommodate a lefty. Receivers are also used to catching balls thrown from right-handers and find it more difficult to snag left-handed throws.

(For that same reason, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has routinely used left-footed punters because he believes the spin on the ball looks different to players who are tasked with fielding kicks.)

In certain cases, like with Young or retired lefty quarterback Michael Vick, teams deem the juice is worth the squeeze. But in most cases, teams will opt to go with the easier righty route.

If [two quarterbacks] are totally equal in everything, [teams will sign] the right-hander,” Brian Xanders, a senior personnel executive with the Los Angeles Rams, told The Washington Post. “Everyone is more used to it.”

Interestingly, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who is poised to be the next great left-handed QB in the NFL, did not actually start out as a lefty but now throws that way after his father switched him.

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