By Paul M. Banks
Ever since the bone-headedly inexplicable 25th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, there’s been a lot of hype in Denver about what Tebow could do as a Bronco. His jersey is the runaway best seller among rookies. He’s been spotted walking across the Colorado river and turning mountain spring water into wine. But before you hail him as the next Elway, remember that history is NOT on his side. And I’m not talking about the obvious loop in his throwing motion either.
The NFL is where UF quarterback careers go to die. And here’s some of the more recent and infamous headstones.
Rex Grossman- We had to start here, the worst quarterback in Super Bowl history. Sadly, his one good half season (that would be the first 7-9 weeks of 2006) also earned him a slew of Chicago Bears single season passing records- can’t think of a better summation of the Bears’ pathetic quarterback history than the previous sentence.
Scouts say the 2001 Heisman runner-up is too short to properly see over NFL linemen, he’s also been labeled a “mental midget,” because he can’t seem to handle any type of emotional and physical pressure. It would explain why the current Redskins back-up with a career passer rating of “good God, that’s an ugly number” has always been such a “great practice player.” No one likes to get hit, but Train Rex seems to only thrive when that is outside the realm of possibility.
Chris Leak- Remember this guy? He won a national title and earned the MVP award in the 2007 BCS title game. Leak went undrafted and scored a Vince Youngesque 8 on the Wonderlic test. Of course, the Chicago Bears immediately signed him anyway. In the final preseason game he went 11-16, 88 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD. He was never heard from again. Today, he’s barely hanging on the Canadian Football League.
Danny Wuerffel- The nicest guy in the whole wide world is the original starting QB for Team Jesus; long before any of us heard of Tebow. Today, the nearly-bald Wuerffel works with Desire Street Ministries, a non-profit faith-based organization focusing on spiritual and community development in the roughest areas of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wuerffel’s home and Ministries. But he garnered a lot of national publicity for his determination to rebuild both the ministries and the city. He seems like such a nice guy that I hate to make fun of him. However, the 1996 Heisman trophy winner retired from football with a career 57.5 (yes, even worse than Grossman!) QB rating. There. I kept my criticisms of a fine young man with a very bad NFL career quite brief.
Jesse Palmer- This guy has gotten further in life of his looks than he has football. Today he’s best known as an ESPN college football analyst and the guy how captivated desperate and crazy women everywhere during his season as ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Palmer was drafted by the New York Giants in the 4th round of 2005 where he spent most of his career as a backup. He left football throwing just three career TD passes. On the plus side, Palmer was just the second Canadian in history (behind Mark Rypien of the Washington Redskins) to start at QB in the NFL.
Doug Johnson- I know what you’re saying “this guy wasn’t even that good when he was at Florida, why don’t you bring up Brock Berlin, Terry Dean and Shane Matthews while you’re at it?” Well, those are good points, but this article has gotten long enough to prove this point already. And despite his pedestrian collegiate career Johnson still found his way on to four NFL rosters somehow. Of course, he did nothing at each and every stop.