Matt Cassel figures to quarterback the Chiefs. Matt Ryan is the man with the Falcons. Matt Schaub commands the Texan huddle. Matthew Stafford quarterbacks the Lions.
Matt Flynn was signed to quarterback the Seahawks, though he's getting pushed by rookie Russell Wilson, who for some odd reason is not named Matt.
The Titans, because they don't know a good story, or maybe even a good quarterback, when they see one, have named Jake Locker to start over Matt Hasselbeck. And the Dolphins have picked rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill over Matt Moore.
Want your son to grow up to be an NFL quarterback? It might be too late, if you didn't name him Matthew. Of 32 NFL starting quarterbacks this season, at least four, probably five and maybe by midseason seven could have the first name of Matt or Matthew.
In 1990, Matthew ranked 25th in frequency among U.S. male names, behind usual suspects James, John, Robert, Michael and Williams, which ranked 1-5, but also behind Brian, Ronald, Anthony, Kevin and Jason (20-24).
Matthew is gaining some in popularity. It was the 16th-most common name given to boys born in 2010, but still behind names like Ethan, Jayden and Mason.
So the proliferation of Matt quarterbacks makes no numerical sense.
Or historical. This is a new development. Before the current crop of Matts — which also includes Raiders backup Matt Leinart — the Matthew Brigade didn't make much of a dent at quarterback. Not counting active players, I found only seven Matts in NFL history who played quarterback, and none of them to much acclaim. Matt Cavanaugh, the old Pitt U. journeyman, was the best.
The Matts trump all kinds of other names that are more common. Like Bill. Or Billy. Or William. Or Willie. Only 21 Bills or root names of William have quarterbacked in NFL history, and few were notable. Billy Wade. Bill Nielsen. Billy Kilmer. Bill Munson. Billy Joe Hobert. Bill Kenney. That's about it.
I found 28 Jims, Jimmys or Jameses. Some were notable: Jim Everett, Jim Hart, Jim Kelly, James Harris, Jim Harbaugh, Jim McMahon, Jim Plunkett, Jim Zorn. But not five starting at once.
I found 29 Johns or Johnnys or Jonathans, including John Elway and three nifty Johns who quarterbacked in the same era: Unitas, Brodie and Hadl. But that's three, not five. Even accounting for expansion, the Matt percentage is more impressive now.
I found 33 Bobs or Bobbys or Roberts, but none heavily concentrated in the same year, though 1949-51 sported two greats in Bob Waterfield and Bobby Lane.
You want to try Tom? Twenty-six, but only Brady and Kramer and Thompson (1940s) were name brands.
There have been only 10 Dans or Dannys, though Danny White, Dan Marino and Dan Fouts all led teams from 1983-87. Alas, Dan Pastorini was gone from the Oilers huddle by 1983.
Only five Drews have been NFL quarterbacks, but in week 12 of the 2004 season, three Drews started: Bledsoe for the Bills, Brees for the Chargers and Henson for the Cowboys. It was Henson's only career start.
Kens? Eight, though Anderson and Stabler were good quarterbacks at the same time for much of the '70s.
Sams? Seven, with Baugh and Bradford the notables.
But there could be five Matts alone starting on opening day in the NFL, and it could be seven at some point in the season.
Matts are taking over pro football, though it could be worse. Among the Matts, only Hasselbeck has so much as a playoff victory. Until that improves, the Manning surname will trump the Matt given name.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.