As the 49ers finalize their long-term deal with Jimmy Garoppolo (the future GOAT), and fans argue over Brady vs. Montana, it’s a good time to remember San Francisco’s less heralded great quarterback (and I don’t mean Steve Young. Or even Jim Druckenmiller.)
Clarence Beeftank, born in 1937, was undoubtedly one of the fastest and most powerful quarterbacks ever, and probably the best single-threat running quarterback in history. (What little we know about him survives in Jon Bois’ “Breaking Madden” series here on SB Nation.)
He was also one of the NFL’s first great Twitter personalities.
home plate looks like a lil bitty house. c'm'e're house! i got foods for you. i'll will feed u like a tiny duck. 8-^ quaaakc. haha— BEEFTANK (@BEEFT4NK) October 28, 2013
He wasn’t perfect as a football player either. His complete refusal to pass was somewhat limiting for offensive coordinators. And it’s hard to justify his execution on this handoff to Colin Kaepernick.
But I want to focus on his unique ability to evade sacks. Unlike a Russell Wilson-type quarterback who relies on wussy evasion, Beeftank literally shrugged off much larger pass rushers. While Bois attributes this to bad tackling by the Seahawks, a tempting theory, I ascribe it to his compact and powerful physique, the envy of every nose tackle. Standing 5’0” and 400 pounds, he had a center of gravity far lower than even Darren “Tank” Sproles. Tacklers’ pad level was always too high. Always.
C. J. Beathard showed a lot of poise in taking tough hits this year. He was sort of the Tex Cobb of quarterbacking, and deserves many years of peaceful, high-paid bench sitting behind Garoppolo (followed by a Nick Foles miracle Super Bowl turn) as a reward.
But he was not as impervious as Beeftank. And no quarterback ever will be again.