Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ARMAGEDDONOUTTAHERE, Part 2: A new update on The Once And Future Kings ("Kings" being said sarcastically.)


Rogue Mutt, diehard commenter/diehard Detroit Lions fan weighed in on the first entry in this series with this analysis:

If the Bills can't beat the Lions (who not only have TIED their own record for futility on the road but are down to either third QB Drew Stanton, a starter with a bad shoulder, a backup with a broken nonthrowing arm, or picking some guy off the street) in Buffalo then they are going 0-16
.
Rogue Mutt, your industry shouldn't just be accounting, it should be psychicing. Psychickry? Psionics? Whatever... because the second installment in this series of Great Losers And Greater Losers is Great Loser Quarterbacks! A look at two quarterbacks who, in their incredible ineptitude managed to transcend the ordinary qualities of suck-osity that mark a regular loser -- and are therefore appropriately symbolic of this week's showdown between the last team to go 0-for-Everything and the next.

Up first: The Legendary (?) T.J. Rubley: T.J. Rubley was the sixth of six brothers, all of whom played quarterback in their time, but none of whom, presumably, played it with the elan that T.J. brought to the position:



That was Rubley with the Ducks. After college, Rubley began his pro career with the Rams, then went to the World League and the CFL before landing with the Packers. His career stats in the NFL show a lifetime quarterback rating of 78.1, marking him as marginally efficient, with five fumbles in the 10 games he appeared in -- marking him as slippery fingered.

But that's not enough to make Rubley a grand loser; after all, he did make it to the NFL, something only about 1600 athletes per year get to do, and Rubley would've been remembered not at all if it wasn't for one fateful play, in 1995. The Packers were playing the Vikings that day, and Rubley was #3 on the Green Bay depth chart, behind a Not-Yet-Sexting (Hopefully) Brett Favre and Ty Detmer. When Favre got injured and then Detmer got injured, too, Rubley got his big chance. With the game tied 24-24 and under a minute remaining, and the Packers on the Vikings' 38, Coach/Walrus Impersonator Mike Holmgren called a QB sneak -- but Rubley audibled to a roll-out pass, tossing a lame duck that was intercepted by the Vikings

Rubley wasn't the only person to blame in the game: Favre had two interceptions and a fumble, and Detmer had thrown an interception, too -- but only Rubley was cut the next morning, and only Rubley never took another snap in an NFL game again: he was on the Broncos' roster the next year, but that was the end of his career.

It might have been his personality that sealed his fate -- consider this quote from Rubley's past, when interviewed about his college career, answering a question about getting frustrated by high school players on his old team not knowing what to do:

"High school was very difficult for me, learning the college game and playing with high school kids...Kids wouldn't do what they were supposed to, and I was like, 'What the hell?' "

I imagine that's exactly what Holmgren said about the audible.

Not all failure leads to ignominiously (nice word, right?) being cut on the drive back from the Mall of America. Just ask Rob Johnson, who has quarterbacked at least three teams, by my count -- and none of them well.

Rob, who's middle name is Garland, and I just felt like mentioning that, was a Jaguars' backup whose college career as a Heisman hopeful didn't seem to carry over to NFL esteem -- he was picked 99th in the draft in 1995, and couldn't overtake Non-Immortals Steve Beuerlein and Mark Brunell on the depth charts. Like Rubley, though, Rob got his chance due to injuries. Unlike Rubley, Rob didn't immediately stink up the place, but instead set a record for highest completion percentage in a debut game by a quarterback.

A year later, Johnson would get his chance to help sink my beloved Buffalo Bills, going to join Wade Phillips' crusade to forever destroy that team. After a 1-3 start, Johnson was injured and Doug Flutie took over, getting the Bills into the playoffs. The next year, Johnson would play in even fewer games -- but one of those games would be when Phillips inexplicably started Johnson over Flutie in a playoff game against Tennessee. Johnson boasted before that game that he didn't need to worry about then-great Jevon Kearse, and learned early in the game how wrong he was: The QB Bills' fans would call "Robo-Sack" gave up a safety to Kearse early in the game.

Johnson wasn't done wrecking the Bills until 2002, when he joined Tampa Bay, and actually helped lead the Bucs to a victory over the Bears -- showing his uncanny penchant for setting weird records by being the first QB of the Bucs to win a game when the kickoff temperature was below freezing. Johnson coasted to a Super Bowl ring on the backs of Tony Dungy's team that year, and then left for two forgettable years at the Redskins and the Raiders. He was briefly on the Giants' roster in preseason but never played again. His last pass attempt was against Green Bay -- a pass to Jerry Rice that fell incomplete.

15 comments:

Rogue Mutt said...

You knew things were bad in that 0-16 season when the Lions started Dan Orlovsky (who?), whose career highlight will forever be accidentally running out of Minnesota's endzone for a safety.

If the Lions hadn't won 2 games already we'd be worrying about another 0-16. Instead we just get to worry about giving $43 million upfront to a guy with glass shoulders.

But since I started following the Lions in the Barry Sanders era here's a (probably incomplete) list of QBs:

Andre Ware
Erik Kramer
Rodney Peete
Scott Mitchell
Dave Krieg
Don Majokowski
Frank Reich
Gus Ferrotte
Charlie Batch
Joey Harrington
Mike McMahon
Jeff Garcia
Jon Kitna
Dan Orlovsky
Daunte Culpepper
Drew Stanton
Matthew Stafford
Shaun Hill

A couple guys like Garcia and Culpepper had a good year or two elsewhere, but yeah, not exactly a list of Hall of Famers there. About the only thing worse would be a litany of Browns quarterbacks in that time period, or possibly the Bears too. When it comes to QBs, some teams just seem to never be able to pick a decent one and other teams seem to get lucky (like the Patriots with 6th-round pick Tom Brady) and have one fall into their laps, as the Packers did when they traded for a then-Falcons backup named Brett Favre.

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