Monday, December 30, 2013

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be A Backup Quarterback

Remember when you were a kid? I do. I dreamed of infinitely impossible scenarios as a child. For a stretch, I dreamed of being the starting point guard for the Orlando Magic, playing alongside my favorite player, one Shaquille O'Neal. I was one part John Stockton, another part Michael Jordan.

Then in 1994, when I was a wee lad of nine, I was captivated by the Chargers magical run to the Super Bowl. I worshiped Junior Seau, Natrone Means, Stan Humphries and the rest of the crew. The moment when Dennis Gibson knocked down that pass at the goal line, sending the Chargers to the biggest game in team history was one of the greatest moments of my life.

I pictured that Super Bowl in my mind. Niners up by four, two minutes left. Quarterback Kevin Charity had to move the ball 80 yards. Greatness and triumph were inevitable. Every child's dream right? Nah. Forget that.

Once I started to understand the game in greater detail, I became enamored with the backup quarterback. Most backups play. Reserve running backs get carries, linebackers play on special teams and in certain packages. The only guy who doesn't see action is the backup QB. He sits there, armed with a baseball cap,(fitted or snap-back) a headset and a clipboard. If you see him on the sideline, he appears to be sending in signals and helping the coaching staff. You know damn well he is probably doodling dicks all over the paper.

So you wanna be Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers? Good for you. I aspire to be Charlie Whitehurst, Derek Anderson, Ryan Mallet and David Carr.

What the hell is wrong with me? I don't want the MVP awards, the Super Bowl trophy's and the glory? Sure, that would be rad. However, I don't necessarily want the injury risk, the pressure and the scrutiny. I want the large paycheck, without having to do a whole lot.

Take Charlie Whitehurst, for example. Charlie was a 3rd round pick for the Chargers back in 2006. He has the size and tools you look for in a quarterback. He is good-looking, young and filthy-rich! Whitehurst has played a handful of snaps this year for the Chargers and has pocketed a cool $1.2 million. Since he convinced Pete Carroll he might be a star. The Seahawks traded for Whitehurst. He started four games for the Seahawks. He pocketed $8 million.

Can you imagine the life? Whitehurst has thrown 155 career passes and has made well over $10 million dollars. Sure, the guy he backs up, Philip Rivers, makes exponentially more money, but look at the shit he has to deal with. A patchwork offensive line. Six years of Norv Turner. The stigma of being a loser and a whiner. Charlie Whitehurst has anonymity and a stacked bank account. He can walk the streets, go out drinking and bang girls in his beachfront property. Who wouldn't want that life?

Backup quarterbacks can also be immensely popular. In the bleak and pathetic Ryan Leaf era, the Chargers had a quarterback on the roster named Craig Whelihan. As Ryan Leaf suffered through arguably the worst season any quarterback has ever had. The fans were growing restless. His backup, was Whelihan. Wheihan was taken in the 6th round by the Chargers in the 1995 NFL Draft. He went to Pacific, a university that dropped their football program shortly after he left. As Leaf continued to throw interceptions and miss receivers, the fans clamored for Craig to get his shot. He eventually did. And he sucked.

Whelihan threw 14 TD's and 29 INT's in his career. He also played in the XFL and the Arena League. If the Chargers would have left him on the bench, he could have collected that handsome backup QB money. Actually playing in the NFL could have screwed him out of millions. Perhaps he should sue the Chargers?

If I ever have a son of my own, I will point him the world of backup QB's. It is a glamorous life, full of money, women and possibly cocaine. Why fuck all of that up by actually playing? Stay on the sidelines where it is safe and warm.