John Brodie always has had a style which impresses people, whether
they're teammates, rivals or professional observers. Whenever the
discussion turns to quarterbacks, the 35-year-old San Francisco star is
one of the first to be mentioned as a guy who really has it.
"Some quarterbacks have an occasional good season," Bobby Layne said,
"and some go way up and then come way down. But through the years Brodie
is about as good as there is. Put him on the field with a few of the
right people on his side and he'll whip anyone."
A friend once said, "John just has an air about him which makes you feel
he can do anything well. He's just a natural athlete. He's a par golfer.
Why, you can sit around having a drink with him at a club and you're
sure he can step on the dance floor and be the best dancer in the
As he danced into his 14th pro season, the 6-1, 203-pound Brodie
obviously was playing near the top of his game, and the 49ers seemed
determined to get up there with him. It could be that the passer with a
career completion percentage of 55 per cent will prove his best is yet
"If I had an obstacle course for passers," said one scout, "where they
had to throw a variety of passes, I think Brodie would rank right up
there at the top. Maybe behind Joe Namath, but right in there with
Johnny Unitas and Sonny Jurgensen."
A star cornerback said, "When Brodie is right, there's no better passer
in the business. He can throw any type of pass and he calls a good
One rap against Brodie through the years was his inability to recognize
various defenses, but he has shown signs of solving that fault. His
interception rate has dropped sharply and his protection from the 49er
line has improved.
A rival defender said, "It's a pleasure to play against Brodie. If he's
hot, he's pinpointing everything. When he has it going, he'll take you
to the heights as a competitor."
Another defensive back noted, "I like the way he handles a club and
keeps his confidence. He's one of the best passers you'll find. His long
ball is right on target and it comes into the receiver's hands easily."
Confidence seems synonymous with Brodie.
"The thing I like about him is he's a chance guy," said a scout. "He'll
gamble on a play. For years the knock on him was that he couldn't win
the big one. Put a lot of pressure on him, they said, and he'll put the
ball up for grabs. But a lot of people do. When the 49ers are doing a
job for him, he's a fine one. He's smart. He knows the odds on his doing
things. He takes great advantage of everything surrounding him."
Another scout said, "Brodie, along with Joe Namath, is considered to
have the fastest release of the ball. His release is not only quick, but
is very high and hard to defend against. He is one of the best at laying
off to his backs if the linebackers are deep or are helping cover the
That's Brodie, a man of frequent brilliance.