Andy Dalton is unlikely to receive more than a paragraph or two in the early 21st century history of professional football. However, this does not diminish the Red Rifle’s importance in the development of the game. The opposite is true.
Initially, the resume Dalton has accumulated 35,279 passing yards, 226 touchdown passes, and 135 interceptions throughout the course of his 11-season NFL career, which is still active today. In each of his first five seasons, he led the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs and was chosen three times for the Pro Bowl. True tale On the NFL Network’s Top 100 list of the best athletes in the world back in 2016, Dalton came in at No. 35 (!). Ken O’Brien, Ron Jaworski, Jim Everett, and Jay Cutler are just a few players whose careers Pro Football Reference says have been “identical quality and shape” to Dalton’s. Good business!
Dalton, however, was never able to go into second gear and compete with the top passers in the game. Maybe it was his decent, if not amazing, statistical production. The Bengals never won a postseason game with Dalton at the helm, making his team’s January difficulties more more troubling.
Chris Wesseling, a friend and coworker of mine, began organizing well-attended tavern gatherings called Wesstivus to celebrate Cincinnati’s annual postseason defeat in the early 2010s, which almost always occurred in the earliest Wild Card window on Saturday afternoon. Chris Wesseling used the occasion to paradoxically celebrate. Wess was a resident of West Cincinnati, and everyone who knew him will attest to his famous annoyance with Bengals management. He had assembled a 200-page dossier of press clippings and printouts that detailed years of organizational mismanagement years earlier. It acted as the man’s and his childhood team’s divorce papers.
Dalton became a person of enormous interest to Chris despite (or perhaps because of) his tumultuous past with the Bengals. He referred to Dalton as the “primary meridian” of NFL quarterbacks and suggested that other clubs should utilize him and his distinct style of plus-mediocrity to assess the condition of their own quarterback position.
Wess believed that his team’s talent and leadership were solely responsible for Dalton’s achievements and failures. Dalton didn’t have the potential to improve or degrade a team; instead, his success or failure depended totally on the foundation that was created around him. While Andy Dalton couldn’t make you better, he also couldn’t make you worse.
Wess’s “The Dalton Scale” was built on these principles. On a 2019 episode of the podcast Around The NFL, Chris provided the following explanation: