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Still No Respect for Jeff Garcia

Is there any other player–outside of maybe Donovan McNabb–who gets more disrespect than former Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia?

There’s no question that Garcia is a sensitive guy–but you would be too if your job was consistently threatened despite your proven ability to play in the NFL.

Jeff Garcia Released...Again.

Jeff Garcia Released...Again.

First it was San Francisco.  Garcia came in after a great career by Steve Young and took over the reins of the team in 1999.  In 2000, Garcia exploded.  That year, he threw for 31 touchdowns and just ten intcerptions.  2001 wasn’t shabby, either, as Garcia threw 32 touchdowns, twelve interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 94.8.

During the 2002 playoffs, Garcia was instrumental in helping to lead the 49ers back from a 38-14 deficit in the third quarter.  The 49ers scored 25 unanswered points and went on to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Soon, the Garcia-T.O fued would heat up.  Owens, not liking Garcia for some unknown (but most likely) selfish reason, questioned Garcia’s sexuality.  Owens, discussing Garcia, stated, “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are it’s probably a duck.”  Garcia would be incredulous, making public statements that he doesn’t know why Owens was bent on cutting him down so harshly.

Garcia would eventually land in Cleveland, where then head coach Butch Davis refused to let him roll out of the pocket and make audibles.  His time in Detroit was equally disappointing in 2005.

The next year, Garcia found himself in Philadelphia, where he was able to resurrect his career.  With McNabb suffering a devastating injury towards to end of the season, Garcia led his team through an improbable run of victories, and the team advanced farther than anyone thought they would in the playoffs.

But then Garcia was promptly released–the team didn’t even make an effort to sign him.  In fact, the Eagles signed Jay Feeley to a contract to be the team’s backup, thus throwing Garcia back into the unemployment line.

Garcia was eventually signed by Tampa Bay, but Jon Gruden’s love for playing “musical quarterbacks” lead to frustration for Garcia.  Garcia eventually stated publicly that his head coach didn’t like to marry quarterbacks, he just wanted to date them.

That was evident in Tampa Bay.  Garcia was routinely yanked out of the lineup in favor of other quarterbacks on the roster.

This past week, Garcia was once again released by yet another team.  At age 39, Garcia would like to still play and doesn’t have any plans for retirement.

But why is Garcia so disrespected?  If anything, his inability to stick onto a team reminds me of Doug Flutie’s NFL career.  Two small, scrambling quarterbacks who were never given any expectation of success.  And despite their ability to lead and to win, they are still discounted.  In Buffalo, Doug Flutie was pulled by Wade Phillips for the highly ineffective (and far too often sacked) Rob Johnson.

It could also be Garcia’s personality–he does seem like a sensitive guy.  It’s possible that he clashes with certain coaches or doesn’t take criticism very well.  But he’s proven that he can win in this league.  And in a league where quarterbacks such as Tarvaris Jackson, Derek Anderson, Brodie Croyle and Dan Orlovsky all started at some point last year, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Jeff Garcia doesn’t latch onto some team.

Somewhere.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does an Eagles Loss Mean McNabb is a Choker?

There is a lot of chatter that Donovan McNabb–who went 28 of 47 for 375 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception but threw a few poor passes on a critical drive late in the fourth quarter—is a choker.

They point to his record of 1-4 in NFC Championship games. Many also point to the fact that McNabb not only threw interceptions but, literally, threw up in the Superbowl against the Patriots.

McNabb a Choker?

McNabb a Choker?

What’s being forgotten is that, to put it very simply, getting to the Superbowl is hard. Very hard. Go ask Barry Sanders, Dan Fouts, or Chris Carter. Winning it is even more difficult. Go ask Dan Marino or Jim Kelly.

It’s funny—we as fans and the media have the ability to cut down players and coaches if they don’t win it all. What’s forgotten is how difficult it is to consistently get to the playoffs and championship games. Afterall, at the end of every season, only one team is happy.

Does McNabb deserve some blame for last weekend’s loss? Sure. Anytime a team loses in spectacular fashion, scrutiny ensues—and it’s often understandable. It may be very possible that McNabb is a quarterback that folds under pressure—I won’t deny that. Some people have ice water in their veins—some don’t. But don’t forget that McNabb was key to the Eagles being able to reach five Championship games.

Let’s too not forget about McNabb’s supporting cast. McNabb is one of the only quarterbacks in recent memory to almost never, sans Terrell Owens, have a legitimate number one receiver. And when Owens came on board, the Eagles went to the Superbowl. Surprise, surprise?

The Eagles also need a big back for short yardage. The idea that Andy Reid believes that Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter can carry the load on 3rd or 4th and 1 is absurd. The Eagles need what the Panthers or Giants have—a reliable 250 pound workhouse to help shore up their short yardage game.

So don’t put it all on McNabb’s back. It’s true that the quarterback gets the most scrutiny. But let’s remember that football is the ultimate team game. And, though McNabb’s last drive wasn’t stellar, the ball still hit Kevin Curtis in the hands of that pivotal fourth down play.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL 2008: Crazy

As 2008 draws to a close and 2009 brings us the beginning of the playoff season, we should look back on what makes us love football so much.

The great thing about the NFL season is that, no matter what you think you know, you really know nothing.  When the NFL schedule was released in spring 2007, everyone thought the Cowboys would be Superbowl champs.

Crazy.

Everyone thought the Dolphins and Falcons would be battling for the number one pick.

Crazy.

Many thought that Tom Brady would help lead the Patriots deep into the playoffs and that the Eagles were getting ready to say goodbye to the Donnovan McNabb era.

Brady Goes Down

Brady Goes Down

Crazy.

Early in the season, many thought that the Redskins were a great team and that Jason Campbell was emerging as an elite quarterback.  Many thought that the Buffalo Bills had finally become contenders in the AFC East.

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought that the hard-nosed Tampa Bay Buccaneers would lose all of their games in December, including a match-up against the lowly Raiders, thus ending their playoff hopes?  Who would’ve thought that in the same game–in the fourth quarter no less–that running back Carnell Williams would tear up his knee yet again after a year long rehab?

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought that we would’ve seen a team like the Patriots come so close to immortality in February and just ten months later, see the Detroit Lions get inducted into the Hall of Shame?

Lions go 0-16

Lions go 0-16

Crazy.

Who could have forseen that this time a year ago, Michael Vick began his prison sentence.  Just one year later, his Falcons have a franchise quarterback, a coach of the year candidate, and a playoff birth?

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought that Drew Brees could throw for over 5,000 yards (coming 16 yards shy of the passing record) and 34 touchdowns and not even be in serious contention for the MVP award?

Crazy.

Who would’ve thought than the Patriots could go 11-5 and miss the playoffs, while the 8-8 Chargers host the 12-4 Colts and the 9-7 Cardinals host the 11-5 Falcons this weekend?

Crazy.

This has been a season of surprises and jaw dropping moments.  As Don Cheadle (below) once said, the “crazy” is why we love it.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Curious Case of Romo’s Favreness

Farewell Favre

Farewell Favre

Jets fan for a day, suicidal by night! One of the many playoff scenarios involved the AFC East. After watching my beloved Pats dispose of the Bills in windy Buffalo, I had the distasteful chore of having to root for the Jets vs. Miami. I wanted neither team to win this game praying for a McNabb miracle tie. Then I heard Brett Favre’s pregame speech to his offense which went something like; “Alright guys, let’s get back to playing the football when we won 5 in a row. No matter how this goes, win or lose, we gotta put our best effort forth and that’s all we can do. Love you guys”. Followed by half his team running back in the tunnel and tucking their balls in their purses. Then Favre mailed it in after his first TD celebration. The guy showed no emotion or grit, while his offense forced me to smash my head into the wall just hard enough to cause blurriness and borderline consciousness. I figured if I had to be a Jets fan, then I had to boo and throw snow balls like the rest of the Zoo Yorkers. One pick, two pick and then pick number three sealed the fate of Mangini and the Pats. Like any New Yorker, I left the game early and found myself watching continuous commercials for Marley & Me. That’s what Brett Favre can do to an afternoon and to the hopes of an 11-5 New England team.

Romo, the new "old" Favre

Romo, the new "old" Favre

Now to the new “old” Favre, Mr. Romo. Tony Romo has become about as clutch as my friend Danny’s attempt to hit on women after 6 hours of drinking. Danny speaks in a German-like tongue, juggles his drinks and falls on the floor. Now that’s Tony Romo in a playoff like atmosphere. He’s the new Brett Favre of our generation. A gun slinger who can fool you 67% of the time but when he needs to seal the deal under pressure, ends up throwing an INT. Going back to my friend Danny, when he needs to seal the deal, he calls the girl a sexy little biatch and falls flat on his face. The female usually runs in the other direction but takes his phone and throws it in the women’s bathroom toilet. It’s crazy the similarities here. Philadelphia trounced the dramatic Cowboys into the ground thanks to Romolicious pulling his best Favre impersonation. 183 yds and 1 Int, Pro Bowl numbers in a win or go home game. All I ask is that Wade Philips now gets fired for his useless, awful attempt at coaching. TO certainly won’t beshedding any tears for his QB anymore. And you better believe Jessica Simpson rids herself of Romo after watching him collapse. After Sunday, Tony’s going to need a new girl and a cell phone. I got a feeling that thing is flushed down the toilet like the hopes and dreams of Cowboy fans everywhere.

Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.

RaginRondo

December 29, 2008 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments