Dear Vince, look in the mirror to find the guy to blame

by Gary Shelton on July 3, 2017 · 2 comments

in general

Dear Vince,

How are you? I hope the lucrative career in cooking chicken necks finds you well.

I'm sorry about the tardiness of this letter. But I've been busy rolling on the floor laughing ever since I read your comments the other day. It was like watching Blazing Saddles all over again. Maybe Animal House. Anyway, I'm rolling around giggling, and the dogs think I'm crazy and they keep jumping on me. What joy you have brought to my humble abode.

So let's get this straight. You still think you should be in the NFL? Oh, Vinny. You aren't in the NFL for the same reason that Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus

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Russell and Brady Quinn aren't in the NFL any more. In fact, when Ryan calls JaMarcus these days, what they laugh about is you. You were such a bomb you should have been dropped over hostile countries.

Now, Vinny, I have to tell you. I'm not just some random critic. I was at the Rose Bowl on the night you had your personal highlight show against Southern California, the night you made us all feel young.

I have to tell you, Vince. You were amazing. I've never seen a quarterback play like that. You never made a wrong call. When you should have run, you ran. When you should have thrown, you threw. You made a talented Southern Cal team look like little electric football players, all running in a circle and bumping into things. I've often said that I've never seen a college quarterback play a more complete game.

You have to remember how good that USC team was. It had back-to-back Heisman winners in Reggie Bush (who had to give his back) and Matt Leinart (who should have). It won 34 straight games. Broadcasters were calling it the second-best offense in 50 years.

You took over the game, Vinny. You ran for 200 yards. You completed 30 of 40 passes for 267 more. You scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-down play with 19 seconds to go. You were Vinny the Kid, and you could do no wrong.

But you know what, Vinny? Ryan Leaf had a great Rose Bowl, too (331 yards in 1998). JaMarcus Russell had a great Sugar Bowl (332 yards in 2007). Johnny Manziel had a great Cotton Bowl, with 287 yards passing and 229 rushing. Bowl games were made for the resumes of college quarterbacks.

Those guys? They're all frying chicken necks, too.

Vince, let's be honest. As an NFL quarterback, you just weren't very good. You acted like a star, and you spent a lot of money on silly things, but in six years, your quarterback rating failed to break 70 three times. Your completeion percentage was 57.9. You threw for more than 2500 yards only once.

Yet, you want to scoff at Ryan Fitzgerald, as if it's a personal insult that he's still in the league while you are not. Well, Fitzgerald isn't a great quarterback, either, unless you need a Rubik's Cube solved, but his career quarterback rating is five points higher than yours. There is a stability to Fitzgerald. Teams trust him more than they trusted you.

The truth of it? I bet that Leaf still looks at the league and thinks he's better than some quarterbacks there. And Russell and Manziel and Akili Smith and the rest of them.

What's that? Yeah, you started off okay. You were rookie of the year. You made two Pro Bowls.

Again, others have been there. Heck, Josh Freeman was the cat's meow for a while. But if you don't grow up, the league will throw you out. That's old news.

As for Fitzpatrick, he ranks higher than you in completion percentage, yards per season and touchdowns per season. Young says he doesn’t know how Fitzpatrick is getting paid when he leads the league in interceptions. But Young had more interceptions than touchdowns.

Sadly, there is this: Young was a big of a nutbar. He had a Chucky Chez habit ($6,000 a shot). He spent $300,000 on a birthday party. He mentioned suicide several times to a therapist. He dropped $15,000 for a meal at the Cheesecake Factory. He clashed with coach Jeff Fisher. He blew $26 million.

Even now, Vince, you don't seem to get it. You ripped into ex-coach Jeff Fisher, an easy  target given his record. But let's don't pretend that Fisher didn't want to win, or that he didn't want you to succeed. But as long as you want everyone singing Happy Birthday to you, you weren't going to grow up.

In the end, the Titans didn't want you. Neither did the Eagles, Bills, Packers or Browns. There is an old line that before rescuing a maiden, a knight should check to see how many dragons live in the backyard. That was you, Vince. Quarterbacks, even high-drafted once, only get so many shots.

It's a sad thing, Vince, when you look at the TV and rip the quarterbacks you see when there is a worse one in the mirror.

So good luck. And watch those necks, okay? They can burn.

Hey, we'll always have Pasadena, right?


The old guy.

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