John Hadl has a name which looks like there's something missing. But
there's nothing lacking from the respect he commands within his
"He's the best passer in the league," said Joe Namath after the San
Diego quarterback completed his days in the old AFL with six straight
seasons of throwing for more than 2,000 yards.
"Any credit I get should go to John Hadl," said Lance Alworth, the
Chargers' all-pro receiver. In Alworth's case, of course, there has to
be a flip side to that praise. The presence of such a fine target, fleet
and sure-handed, undoubtedly has enhanced Hadl's career. Still, other
aspects of the Chargers' offense have not always been so good and Hadl
often has delivered in trying times.
At 6-1 and 218, the 9-year veteran is a sturdy soul and a strong leader
and competitor. Those qualities may be tested more and more as the
Chargers' rangy young Ivy League quarterback, Marty Domres, seeks to
unseat him from his job.
the 30-year-old Kansas product has some strong backers around the NFL.
"Hadl is one of the really underrated quarterbacks in the game," said
one scout. "Knockers will say he throws the interception but many times
they're batted balls or things of that nature. I don't think he's been
given the protection necessary for him to be effective. He has a very
quick release and he throws the long ball well. He hasn't always shown
good judgment in throwing into coverage, but he has worked on it. One
thing I really like about him is he's a great competitor and a guy
who'll come back after an interception and throw. He's not one who's
afraid of adversity. He'll go into the cloud and try to get through it.
He doesn't take a 180-degree turn from it."
A highly-respected defensive back said, "I'm a John Brodie fan and I
compare Hadl with Brodie in the type of ball he throws and the way he
sets up. Hadl, however, has a tendency to get in a rut by throwing
certain types of patterns repeatedly. If you have faced him for a number
of years, you get to know what he'd do in certain situations, and sit
back and wait for him. But he's a very durable guy and doesn't get
flustered. You can tell he throws the ball well on the up patterns, the
long stuff. It comes into the receiver's hands easy. Some quarterbacks
have a tendency to throw it harder."
Another scout supports that testimony. "Hadl can throw the bomb," he
said. He likes play action passes and does an excellent job of faking.
He has a fast set-up and is considered a good scrambler. He will run the
bootleg very effectively. He has a flair for the unusual. He'll slow
down the pass rush or pursuit with reverses, Statue of Liberty, wing
reverses, flea flickers and other stuff."
Hadl, it seems, is many things to many people.