The “It Factor” is huge for quarterbacks. If you have “It,” you can do stuff like Baker Mayfield did Thursday night, when he took the Browns where they hadn’t been in 635 days.
If you’re a quarterback and you don’t have “It,” you’re DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and all the quarterbacks the Browns have employed since Bernie Kosar last played for them in 1993.
What makes the arrival of Mayfield so exciting is that it looks like he has the all-important “It.”
What is the “It” in the “It Factor”? Good question. Let’s go to the idiom itself.
In the following exclusive interview, the first time “It” has publicly spoken on the subject, “It” explains itself. What is “It”? Why is “It” so rarely seen? All that and other tidbits —“It” bits — can be found right here, as “It” spills “Its” guts.
QUESTION: What are you?
ANSWER: I’m “It.” Didn’t you do your homework?
Q: I know who you are. I don’t know WHAT you are. If a quarterback has “It” what does he have?
A: He has me. I’m “It.” What part of this don’t you understand?
Q: All of it. What does a quarterback that has “It” have that other quarterbacks don’t have?
A: Well, for starters, guys like you bugging me.
Q: Very funny.
A: Has this interview started yet? Look, I don’t know what you want. But I’m “It.” I’m the thing all quarterbacks want but few quarterbacks have. I’m inexplicable, incalculable, inanimate, intangible. I’m nothing, but I’m everything. I’m “It.” Does that help in any way?
Q: Maybe. Who was the first quarterback who had “It”?
A: Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, the old Redskins quarterback. Did you know in 1943 he led the NFL in passing, punting AND interceptions?
Q: I did not know that. So Sammy had “It”?
A: Oh, yeah. Sammy had “It” all right. Sammy had all of “It” and then some. Sammy had everything. All the great quarterbacks have “It,” by which I mean they have me, since I’m “It.”
Q: What does a quarterback that has you, by which I mean “It,” look like?
A: He looks like he was born to do what he is doing. He gets everything. He knows what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and people follow him. He “Gets It,” which actually used to be my full name until we shortened it to “It” for marketing purposes.
Q: Marketing purposes?
A: Yeah, we’re thinking about starting small. Maybe some T-shirts, some caps. That’s all I can say right now.
Q: Can a quarterback that doesn’t have “It” develop “It”?
A: Nope. No chance. You either have “It” or you don’t. Sorry. There’s nothing worse, by the way, than a quarterback who thinks he has “It” but doesn’t.
A: Trent Dilfer. He made me an offer. I worked him out. Looked at his tapes. Nothing. I tried to let him down easy.
Q: So “It” can’t be coached?
A: No. It’s like charisma. You can’t coach charisma. You either have it or you don’t. There are two things in life you can’t fake. One is “It.” The other is charisma. In fact, somebody that has one probably has both. And we know it before they do.
Q: Really? Quarterbacks who have “It” don’t even know it?
A: That’s right. They don’t know it because they’ve always had “It.” Even at a young age. It’s not like they turn 21 and suddenly feel some tingling inside and say, “Whoa! Hold on! … Yep! I’ve got ‘It!’”
Q: So there’s no epiphanic moment?
A: I don’t know what that means. But if you don’t have “It” when you roll out of the womb, you ain’t getting “It.” That train has left the station.
Q: You never hear about the “It Factor” in other sports. Only in football and only with quarterbacks. Why is that?
A: Who do I look like, Jon Gruden? Maybe it’s not a part of other sports because I’m not a part of other sports. I’ve always been a football guy, a quarterback guy. It’s the single most difficult position in sports to play well. And the ones who do play it well have me, by which I mean “It,” to thank.
Q: So you think pretty highly of yourself?
A: Check my tapes. I think they speak for themselves.
Q: Who else do you think highly of?
A: Well, that new kid in Cleveland — Bakerfield? Whatever his name is — great genes.
Q: By which you mean …
A: Great me. He has me. He has “It.” We’re going places, he and I … and Cleveland. I’ve already got somebody working on a biography.
Q: What’s the title?
A: “It and Me.”
Q: So you get top billing over him?
A: Who said anything about him? It’s all about me.