And the East finally has come up with some top young quarterbacks—Don Meredith, Norm Snead, Charley Johnson, Frank Ryan, Sonny Jurgensen, Bill Nelsen, Jack Concannon, Dick Shiner and Gary Wood, to name a few. The West is still stronger at this position, but there is not the obvious gap there was. And if, as some coaches believe, the total blitz is ending the era of the drop-back passer and bringing the scrambler into the most prominent position, then the two best quarterbacks for the next several years may well be Tarkenton of Minnesota and Meredith of Dallas—one from the West and one from the East.
As the cycles go in football, within two or three seasons the East should stride into the championship game and into interdivision games with vigor, confidence and maturity that do not at the moment exist. The element of uncertainty will return. The fans, who have waited patiently since the famous Baltimore-New York overtime championship game of 1958, will have something to argue about again. That is an event to anticipate with joy. These late-December reruns on television have become somewhat stale.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]