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Alex Smith doesn’t know what “game manager” means

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Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has heard himself referred to as a “game manager,” but he’s not quite sure why.

“I have no idea what that means,” Smith said when asked on NFL Network what he thinks of the game manager label.

What it means is that Smith is good enough not to lose games for his team, but not good enough to be the primary reason his team wins games. It’s something of a backhanded compliment, but Smith says he’s not particularly worried about whether he gets criticism, praise or anything in between.

“At this point in my career I’ve been playing long enough that I don’t really care what anybody’s saying,” Smith said. “I care about the guys in this locker room, the guys in this building and going out there and winning football games. They can call me whatever they want to call me as long as we’re winning, so fine with me.”

Smith isn’t playing at anywhere near the level of the two other quarterbacks of undefeated teams, Peyton Manning in Denver and Drew Brees in New Orleans. But he says he’s playing well enough to win, and that’s all that matters.

“When the games have been on the line and we’ve had to make plays, we’ve made them,” Smith said.

If that makes Smith a game manager, he can live with that. So can the Chiefs.

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89 Responses to “Alex Smith doesn’t know what “game manager” means”
  1. blacknole08 says: Oct 11, 2013 8:31 PM

    Oh Alex it’s simple. You play not to lose and let the defense win the game.

  2. gerard33 says: Oct 11, 2013 8:34 PM

    He’s a WIN manager

  3. aallgod says: Oct 11, 2013 8:36 PM

    The guy seems to be winning, so who cares? Hats off to him for being blunt.

  4. johnnyprc says: Oct 11, 2013 8:36 PM

    He knows what it means….he just doesn’t want to be labeled that. Sure its not as cool as “playmaker”, but its a lot better than “loser”. I bet 1/2 the teams in the league wish they at least had a “Alex Smith” (aka Trent Dilfer) on their team.

  5. Mr. Wright 212 says: Oct 11, 2013 8:37 PM

    Look in the mirror. That’s what a game manager is.

  6. noburghfan says: Oct 11, 2013 8:40 PM

    Hey , don’t tell him he is not the reason for the wins , he will screw it up , by being a difference maker !!

  7. radrntn says: Oct 11, 2013 8:41 PM

    GO Raiders!

  8. greg2geez says: Oct 11, 2013 8:42 PM

    The Raiders 2-3 record is as good as any the Chiefs have played so far.

  9. nfl4days says: Oct 11, 2013 8:46 PM

    Alex is way better than dilfer.

  10. ottawabrave91 says: Oct 11, 2013 8:47 PM

    how many teams have a better record than the chiefs? Derp broncos going down. soon. then see when saints lose

  11. hor2012 says: Oct 11, 2013 8:48 PM

    I can think of a game two game managers that one the Super Bowl Alex. It’s no harm in being a game manager

  12. smcgaels1997 says: Oct 11, 2013 8:49 PM

    Silly Alex.. That’s you

  13. TheDPR says: Oct 11, 2013 8:50 PM

    Andy Reid has been looking for this kind of game manager since he’s been a head coach in the NFL. McNabb had no accuracy, Kolb took too many chances at the worst times, and Vick just makes too many dumb plays. Alex Smith is Reid’s kind of QB.

  14. theytukrjobs says: Oct 11, 2013 9:02 PM

    It is silly to say a QB plays well enough to not lose but not good enough to win. You either win or lose.

    Game manager is more of a dis than anything else. But if you were to try to put an explanation to it, it would be a QB that doesn’t throw for many yards/td’s but also doesn’t commit many turnovers or take many sacks.

    I don’t know. Smith’s numbers are good, regardless of his label, and they are winning.

  15. germanstingray says: Oct 11, 2013 9:09 PM

    Smith is a “game winner.” Raydurz suck. Chiefs go 6-0.

  16. abninf says: Oct 11, 2013 9:10 PM

    Tony Romo is playing at a much higher level. But he’s 2-3. Winning is all that matters.

  17. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Oct 11, 2013 9:12 PM

    Hes 24-5-1 in his last 30 games. And he’s leading an undefeated team this year that was among last years worst. He was VERY young when drafted and is just coming into his own. Period.

  18. banger60 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:12 PM

    GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!

  19. lsd29787 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:16 PM

    Chiefs fans thinking Super Bowl wow!

  20. 4ever9er says: Oct 11, 2013 9:17 PM

    There’s no shame being a game manager (which all QBs should be, I’d hate to see the ones who can’t manage a game). Troy Aikman won 3 Super Bowls and is in the HOF, it wasn’t because he was a great QB, it was because he was a good QB on a Great Team. Aikman was the ultimate game manager, so Alex if they call you a game manager remember Troy Aikman he was the best!!!

  21. chasezdad16 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:26 PM

    A game manager is what Andy Dalton needs to be…looking at you jay gruden…

  22. tfbuckfutter says: Oct 11, 2013 9:26 PM

    nfl4days says: Oct 11, 2013 8:46 PM
    Alex is way better than dilfer.


    That’s definitely not something you set out striving to be described as.

    That’s like someone telling Louis CK he’s funnier than Carrot Top.

  23. easyrider1903 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:26 PM


  24. Mr. Wright 212 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:39 PM

    The thing is, why does he get so bothered by it? It is who he is. He has had chances to make big plays downfield and hasn’t proven capable of doing it more than 3 or 4 times a SEASON.

  25. scmems07 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:43 PM

    He didn’t look like a game manager when he out played drew brees two years ago in the playoffs, or when he out played Eli manning that next game only for the special teams to lose the game on two fumbled punts. It’s pretty clear that the niners kept the wrong qb, kap is struggling to complete 50% of his passes and throw for 150yards while smith is sitting pretty at 5-0. Smith is 24-5-1 in the past 3 years, only Peyton has a better win% than smith during that span.

  26. ddogdaddy says: Oct 11, 2013 9:51 PM

    I have a feeling Harbaugh will be wishing Alex Smith was still managing his offense by the end of the year.

  27. f1restarter says: Oct 11, 2013 9:52 PM

    In a nutshell:

    A game manager is a QB who can only be successful when he has good players around him. He won’t make plays, carry the team on his shoulders, or make everyone around him better. A game manager’s job is to not screw up.

    “Game manager” is an accurate description of Alex Smith.

  28. poridge1214 says: Oct 11, 2013 9:59 PM

    Eli Manning is a game manager, and somehow gets credit for being elite. Right now he’s the one player managing to lose games for his team. But when his defense say, holds the highest scoring offense in NFL history to 14 points in the SB, Eli somehow gets SB MVP.

    Yes, Alex is a game manager, but if this is supposed to be the ultimate team sport, it’s nice to finally see the TEAM getting credit instead of a wild, gun slinging QB.

  29. hendeeze says: Oct 11, 2013 9:59 PM

    Go Alex!

  30. raiderlyfe510 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:04 PM

    Game Manager means that somebody once called an average QB who was moving an offense well a game manager on national TV…and then mindless media sheep echoed the term and made it into a real term by excessive usage.

    Newslash: Every QBs a game manager. And by Monday Alex Smith will be a game manager with a 5-1 record.

  31. noleitup says: Oct 11, 2013 10:10 PM

    Chiefs 5-0. My Bucs are about to be 0-5. The guys winning who cares.

  32. ravensinhbg says: Oct 11, 2013 10:10 PM

    I used to make jest of his existence as an NFL qb. He is more than serviceable at this point. Good for him.

  33. dolphins4 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:14 PM

    Game manager = winner

  34. braceyourselffor12 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:15 PM

    As a Niner fan it was great watching Alex redeem himself under Harbaugh then get put in a position to succeed in KC under Reid. He can make plays when needed, but he knows how to control the offense and dictate the pace of the game.

    @ Mr.Wright

    I’d rather have Smith make smart plays then play bizarro football throwing passes to the opposing defense like Eli. By the way, how are your 0-6 Giants doing?

  35. repmochief50 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:18 PM

    Hmmm, lets check Websters……

    Game Manager: What the 3-2 49ers wish they had for a QB right now!

  36. billmead1976 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:25 PM

    Going back three seasons, Smith is like 28 and 3.

    That’s pretty good.

  37. wiley16350 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:25 PM

    I actually think people get game manager confused with caretaker. I wrote an article about the different types of qb’s on my website., greatestqb. It is under the rating qb’s tab. I believe a game manager is a QB that doesn’t play out of his physical abilities. Focuses on getting the ball to his playmakers and taking what the defense gives him. Game managers still make plays and throw the deep ball but won’t force the issue. A caretaker is the kind of QB that people perceive as a game manager. Caretakers are QB’s that just don’t make mistakes and allow the running game and defense to shine and lead the team to victory. Alex Smith is a game manager but on the lower end of the scale. Tom Brady is a game manager on the higher end of the scale. The difference being, Brady makes more plays and less mistakes.

  38. biggyd33 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:26 PM

    I think 75% of the NFL would love to have Alex smith as their QB..Alex smith = game manager = WINS= Tim tebow !!!

  39. beauregard says: Oct 11, 2013 10:33 PM

    KC is guaranteed two loses when they play the Broncos. Now don’t get mad Chiefs fans, there’s no shame in losing to Denver who is head and shoulders above everyone else. Get your wildcard spot and make some post season noise.

  40. wiley16350 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:33 PM

    I should also say that it is debateble if Alex Smith is a high end caretaker or low end game manager. I think he is a low end game manager based on the times that I have seen him play, but he might only be a caretaker. The reason I have a different definition of game manager than most is because There has to be a way to differentiate the playing styles of guys like Favre and Marino with the Styles of Montana and Brady. Read my article on greatestqb and you’ll get a better idea of what i mean.

  41. stampede101 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:43 PM

    The fantasy football generation has skewed the perception of what a good QB should be.

  42. nflgerry says: Oct 11, 2013 10:57 PM

    This is the same guy that had a 6-2-1 record with a SB team last year and has now contributed to a complete turn-around in KC. Some reporters wouldn’t know a winner from a hole in the ground.

  43. mrwalterisgod says: Oct 11, 2013 11:00 PM

    He wins games in a conventional matter. He can’t win shootouts or games in which the run game can’t pick him up or the defense holds the other team down.

    A bust in terms of a #1 overall pick, but not a bad qb at all. Just not an upper echelon guy.

  44. shayeezy says: Oct 11, 2013 11:01 PM

    the 49ers beat the saints in the playoffs, and it damn sure wasn’t because of their defense. brees may have finished with more passing yards, but alex made several plays with the game on the line after his defense nearly gave it away in the final minutes. he might err on the conservative side, but he also makes less mistakes than any QB in the league. ultimately, this game is about wins and losses, and the winning percentage of teams with alex at QB speaks for itself.

  45. bobzilla1001 says: Oct 11, 2013 11:05 PM

    There are only four quarterbacks in the league who routinely carry their entire teams: Peyton Manning, Brees, Brady and Rodgers. All other QBs are “game managers,” including Kaepernick, who hasn’t been nearly as successful on a personal level in San Francisco the past two seasons as Smith was in 2011 and into the 2012 seasons.
    A strong defense can make “winners” out of most any non-elite NFL quarterback. History has proven that time and time again.
    One side note: Andrew Luck is slowing creeping into the “elite” category.

  46. mbhrick1 says: Oct 11, 2013 11:12 PM

    Alex is a great quarterback. He made great plays for the 9ers as well in years when most of the rest of the team(and the coaching staff) was questionable. It’s great that he is excelling in KC. Good Luck, Alex!

  47. ninersreciognizebch says: Oct 11, 2013 11:13 PM

    What it means Alex is you can pick a part a defense 1-10 yards but you cant do much after that you’ve got a noodle for an arm your not very accurate 10-25 yard and god forbid if take a shot deep oh wait don’t ask you to put the game in your small hand’s besides the book on you is pretty simple MAN PRESS COVERAGE LOAD UP THE BOX WITH 8 TAKE AWAY ALL THAT UNDERNEATH STUFF AND YOUR IN TROUBLE ALEX (ny giants twice ,ravens thanks giving night 2years ago) 3 more wins is all I can ask you for as Die hard 49ers fan

  48. djcologne says: Oct 11, 2013 11:14 PM

    He’s gonna know what Sunday Bloody Sunday means when the Oakland pass rush plants him in the turf…..

  49. gbatap says: Oct 11, 2013 11:39 PM

    I wonder if the 2011 saints think Alex plays to not lose?

  50. 49erstim says: Oct 11, 2013 11:41 PM

    I wanna throw that playoff game against the Saints a couple years ago into the face of you haters, but it simply isn’t worth the time. Why do we have to have tiers of how well QBs are playing. The three QBs mentioned are winning. Period. To compare anybody to Peyton right now is ridiculous anyway. That can os rewriting the record books. Time for you numbskulls tolearn a new ttune.

  51. assuredmutualdestruction says: Oct 11, 2013 11:43 PM

    I’ll take the game manager over that saliva glazed, bicep kissing bust in Frisco.

  52. saintsredwings says: Oct 11, 2013 11:44 PM

    He’s doing fine for now but being a game manager catches up to you. Ask Matt Shaub.

  53. rodh32340 says: Oct 11, 2013 11:49 PM

    The team is 5-0 with you at QB…who cares what they call you?! Embrace it!

  54. footballchic777 says: Oct 12, 2013 12:00 AM

    He isn’t doing anything this year he didn’t do over the past 2 previous seasons with the 49ers. 3011 Division Champs! 2012 Conference Champs. And yes, HE was the one who had them on the winning road in 2012 for what, 10 games! Then he lost his job to a concussion and a QB with show. Well, how is that working for them this year? Check out all of the numbers Smith had in 2011, and even 2012. He was one pass away from the NFL accuracy record. You call it game manager……I call it efficient. MANY teams would love to have his number….. 5-0! Ask the Giants or Jags!

  55. kingpel says: Oct 12, 2013 12:14 AM

    He’s right. It’s a mindless label. If a bigger name was statistically comparable to Smith we would be talking about how he is gutting out wins and willing his team to victory. We are just conditioned not to be impressed with Alex Smith no matter what he accomplishes.

  56. rondayne33 says: Oct 12, 2013 12:15 AM

    blacknole08, looks who’s talking raiders fan. You don’t even know what a win is

  57. baddegg says: Oct 12, 2013 12:21 AM

    Tony Promo, by contrast, is a “playmaker.”. Give me Alex Smith every time.

  58. 4thqtrsaint says: Oct 12, 2013 12:32 AM

    I always thought of him as a game manager until the 2011 playoffs. That was the game, against my Saints, that he became a playmaker. I like ol’ boy.

  59. jeremycrowhurst says: Oct 12, 2013 12:44 AM

    I seem to recall Alex Smith “game managed” the 49ers to a 36-32 win over the Saints in the 2011 playoffs, including two touchdowns in the last six minutes or so.

    Man, it would be interesting to see what would have happened if the 49ers had taken Aaron Rodgers, and he’d been thrown to the wolves right away, and Smith landed in Green Bay learning from one of the best for a couple of years.

  60. raiderrob21 says: Oct 12, 2013 12:46 AM

    Trent Dilfer=Brad Johnson>Alex Smith
    Alex Smith still needs to get to and win a Super Bowl to be referred to as a game manager. Right now hes still considered a BUST!
    #1 Overall pick that has done NOTHING!

    RAIDER NATION!!!!!!!

  61. raiderapologist says: Oct 12, 2013 12:57 AM

    Five games, seven touchdowns, no losses. So far, so good. Wins are what counts.

  62. thermalito says: Oct 12, 2013 1:09 AM

    If being a game manager is so easy, then why can’t every QB seem to do it? How come other QB’s can’t seem to win games as much as Smith does?

  63. bigj7769 says: Oct 12, 2013 2:04 AM

    Just one thing: NO QB since 2011 has more WINS!! I don’t care how he plays as long as the TEAM succeeds.

  64. axespray says: Oct 12, 2013 2:10 AM

    “Win manager….aside from those seasons when he had to carry the team and didn’t live up to his 1st round draft selection.”

  65. hyperalgesia says: Oct 12, 2013 2:31 AM

    While he may not know what a game manager is, he must know what happens to them when they win super bowls. The unemployment line is no disneyland.

  66. Dennis Allen's Outgoing Persona says: Oct 12, 2013 2:41 AM

    When I think of Alex Smith I think of the number one pick of 2005. Has he lived up to that? Absolutely not. As a resident of the Bay Area I remember him being benched for Shawn hill and Troy smith.

    Is the guy Peyton manning? Not even close. But does the guy say all the right things, work hard, and have the desire to be a winner? Absolutely.

    As a niner hater and definitely a chief hater as a raider fan, Alex has definitely earned my respect because let’s be honest… He has faced a lot of adversity, especially from within and he overcomes it with class. I wish him all the luck except for this sunday

  67. dirtydrew says: Oct 12, 2013 2:44 AM

    Nice way of saying you don’t drive the ball down field. Or as we in the bay call Alex Smith, Captain Checkdown.

  68. mydogsnameisvick says: Oct 12, 2013 2:56 AM

    A quarterback that manages to make football boring.

  69. viachicago22 says: Oct 12, 2013 3:11 AM

    He’s a better Kyle Orton. But he’s never going to win a Super Bowl.

  70. joetoronto says: Oct 12, 2013 3:53 AM

    “I have no idea what that means,” Smith said

    A game manager can’t get the job done when his team gets behind, Alex.

    That’s right, sometimes check downs just don’t cut it. 🙂

  71. sourdoughsam says: Oct 12, 2013 4:19 AM

    He runs the West Coast offense the way it was meant to be run and he gets criticized for that. Of course he isn’t Manning or Brees, but this guy is playing the QB position a lot better than simply a “game manager.” It’s not just a back-handed compliment – it’s a disrespect to all that he’s invested and endured to this point in his career.

  72. theguybelowmehasnoarguement says: Oct 12, 2013 4:40 AM

    What do you call your 8 years in SF? Definitely not a play maker. One good year, does not make up for 8 crappy years Alex. Having said that, Congrats on your success

  73. pabrownsfan says: Oct 12, 2013 5:46 AM

    I’ve always liked the guy and wished Cleveland would have picked him up. I wonder if they miss him in S.F.

  74. scothawk says: Oct 12, 2013 5:57 AM

    There are lots of things that Alex Smith doesn’t know the meaning of.

    Deep pass
    Completion to Bowe

    Are just a couple that spring to mind

  75. janessa31888 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:49 AM

    As a Browns fan, this guy is better than most of the quarterbacks we have had over the last decade. Game manager is better than game Loser. As we found out with Derek Anderson and now Brandon Weeden, big arm does not mean big brain.

  76. getyourownname says: Oct 12, 2013 7:58 AM

    “game manager” is the label applied to QBs who do their job and win games by people who watch from the sidelines and lack the athletic ability to do much more than tie their shoelaces.

  77. johanvil says: Oct 12, 2013 8:50 AM

    He should ask Trent Dilfer then.

  78. ajg314 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:10 AM

    The guy is 5-0! What the heck is it with people and sports “experts” who have GOT to put certain athletes, or just people in general, in a certain slot or with a certain label. Damn but this is stupid.

  79. trollhammer20 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:11 AM

    Game Manager: A derogatory term used by fantasy football fans to describe a QB who wins a lot of games, but doesn’t put up the sexy numbers required to justify where they drafted him.

  80. filthymcnasty1 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:12 AM

    It means that you are undraftable in fantasy football.

  81. Waffle 2.0 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:45 AM

    Game manager is term made up by the NFL and ESPN Fantasy powers that be to describe what used to be referred to as a capable winning quarterback.

    The quarterback is the general of the offense, the guy that manages the whole unit but we all know that wins aren’t validated these days unless you throw for 400 with 4TD’s even if those passes come from the 2yd line. What’s important is that it was a pass that resulted in a touchdown.

  82. bobzilla1001 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:51 AM

    Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning each have “won” two Super Bowls. And this season, those two quarterbacks’ teams are a combined 0-9. Don’t tell me that Alex Smith, or Tony Romo, or Matt Schaub, or Ryan Tennehill, or Blaine Gabbart can’t win a Super Bowl with the right TEAM…
    Football is The Ultimate Team Sport, a fact that is proven on a weekly basis, only to be ignored by the quarterback obsessives who would rather believe that football is about just one position.

  83. nickmiller63 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:52 AM

    How is it that this question continues to live?

  84. jiveturkeygobbler says: Oct 12, 2013 10:08 AM

    People saying Alex sucked in SF don’t know jack. SF sucked while he was there. No receivers ever. New coach and oc almost every single year. Alex was taken number 1 for a reason. With the good coaching he has had these past few seasons, he is proving his worth.

  85. haleyistheman00 says: Oct 12, 2013 11:52 AM

    It’s funny but didn’t Alex smith have to chiefs come from behind and win this past week??? Against a very good titans defense. The dude has the highest winning percentage since 2011 but I guess that means nothing. Haters gonna hate.

  86. Mr. Wright 212 says: Oct 12, 2013 2:12 PM

    braceyourselffor12 says: Oct 11, 2013 10:15 PM

    As a Niner fan it was great watching Alex redeem himself under Harbaugh then get put in a position to succeed in KC under Reid. He can make plays when needed, but he knows how to control the offense and dictate the pace of the game.

    @ Mr.Wright

    I’d rather have Smith make smart plays then play bizarro football throwing passes to the opposing defense like Eli. By the way, how are your 0-6 Giants doing?
    Pretty much done, with two Super Bowl titles, the latest coming over the Game Manager and having destroyed him once again last year.

    Trash talking the Giants doesn’t negate what I said, and it certainly doesn’t affect me, because my life isn’t wrapped up in how they play one week to the next.

    So as I was saying…

  87. Mr. Wright 212 says: Oct 12, 2013 2:14 PM

    bigj7769 says: Oct 12, 2013 2:04 AM

    Just one thing: NO QB since 2011 has more WINS!! I don’t care how he plays as long as the TEAM succeeds.

    While QBs who can throw downfield have won Super Bowls at the end of those two seasons. Point?

  88. gfcf42489 says: Oct 12, 2013 2:32 PM

    I’m happy for Alex. Heck, I’m happy for Reid too.

    Sucked for Alex last year when he got benched, but he handled it like a Pro. I’m glad he’s got some redemption this year. No doubt Arrowhead Stadium will host a playoff game this year.

  89. assuredmutualdestruction says: Oct 12, 2013 2:50 PM

    What’s really “laughable” is the bus full of niner fans that ran over this guy to put Kaepernick on a pedestal. You got what you asked for…Vince Young 2.0.

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