By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts Blues Master

An all-star band of pro quarterbacks took the field Thursday night, in the first big slate of pre-season NFL action.
The cast of elite talent included two sure-fire first ballot Hall of Fame QBs, two more likely HOFers, the greatest running quarterback in history, a meeting of 2008 first-round picks, the top QB in the game today, and the Mannish Boy No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft who is so talented he reportedly sold his soul to the devil.

OK, we made up that last part. But Robert Griffin III was one of the few offensive bright spots Thursday night.

Elsewhere The Sky Is Crying today for those other quarterbacks – not to mention football fans everywhere – who are singing the football blues after a largely punchless offensive evening. Hell, even the game’s marquee players were caught in the Crossroads, shaking off the dust and rust of an interminable off-season.
Here’s a look at the cast of quarterbacks who gave us a bad, bad feeling that real football is still an agonizing month away.
Tom Brady and Drew Brees got the QB blues – Brady and Patriots have learned to sing the Shotgun Blues after their high-powered offense has fizzled in its last two Super Bowls, including another agonizing loss to the Giants just six months ago.
Brees and the Saints suffered a similarly tough loss to the 49ers back in the NFC playoffs.
The two shotgun masters combined for 10,721 passing yards last year, with the two most productive seasons in history.  They combined Thursday to complete 5 of 12 passes for 34 yards, while Brady repeatedly misfired with his new deep-ball weapon Brandon Lloyd.
The Patriots won, 7-6, in a punchless offensive effort by both teams just a day after Brady was photographed Messin’ With the Kid in the Boston newspapers.
Rex Grossman got the QB blues – The Redskins this offseason landed Sweet Black Angel Robert Griffin III, the uber-talented rookie who spread his wings for the first time in Washington’s 7-6 win over Buffalo Thursday night. 
RGIII got the start and told the world I’m Ready. He played sharper than one of those oft-copied Robert Nighthawk guitar licks. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 70 yards and the game’s only TD to off-season acquisition Pierre Garcon.
Grossman, meanwhile, showed dark shades of the 2011 Redskins and must feel like he was Born Under a Bad Sign. He completed just 2 of 10 passes  for 22 yards and, hell, if weren’t for bad luck he wouldn’t have any luck at all.
Peyton Manning got the QB blues – The King of the Delta Blues himself took his game to Sweet Home Chicago Thursday night and largely watched as his brand-new Denver Broncos cranked out a 31-3 victory over the dark-blue Bears.
The Pride and Joy of New Orleans, Tennessee and now Denver played only the opening drive, and performed like the virtuoso we’ve come to expect out of the future Hall of Famer, crisply leading the Broncos down field while connecting on 4 of 6 passes. But his final pass deep in Bears territory was tipped and picked off, ending his evening on a down-and-out note.
Philip Rivers got the QB blues – You have to wonder if The Thrill Is Gone for San Diego fans, after Rivers’ lack-luster season in 2011 (27 TD, 20 INT, 88.7 rating).
The first showing in the pre-season provided little thrill, either.

Rivers did complete 3 of 5 passes for 37 yards, while putting his team in the end zone with a 23-yard score to Antonio Gates. But he also suffered an INT, kicking off the pre-season the same way he left off in 2011, a year low-lighted by a career-high 20 picks.
Aaron Rodgers got the QB blues – The reigning MVP and his juggernaut Packers were singing the West Coast Blues during a 21-13 loss at the San Diego Chargers. Rodgers completed just 2 of 8 passes for 16 yards and 1 INT.
It was a far cry from Rodgers’ effort against San Diego last year, when he completed 21 of 26 passes (80.8%) in a 45-38 Packers victory.
Michael Vick got the QB blues – Eagles fans were singing It Hurts Me Too on a painful night for the team as it hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night.
First, Philly faithful chanted Andy Reid’s name, an effort to honor the coach just days after he lost his son and Eagles assistant Garrett Reid.
Second, it didn’t take long for the fragile Vick, who has played only one full season in his career (2006) to suffer his first injury of the year. He smashed his thumb after completing 3 of 4 passes for just 6 yards and left the game as a result.
On the bright side, the Eagles held on for a 24-23 win over the Steelers and Vick’s injury appears minor.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Vince Young got the QB blues Aint’ it a Shame the QB situation in Buffalo has been so dreadful for so many years?
It ain’t getting better anytime soon, at least if Fitzpatrick and Buffalo newcomer/former phenom Young were any indication Thursday night.
The combined to complete just 11 of 26 passes for 111 yards, as the Bills mounted just two field goals in a 7-6 loss.
One can only wonder How Many More Years Bills fans are doomed to suffer the Hard Luck Blues.