Quick! We need more buildup to the NFL Draft! The top prospects do not have enough pressure on them. Will they bust or become perennial Pro Bowlers? Matt Sussman and Tuffy examine both sides of each coin, writing articles from the year 2011 “looking back” on the top 2007 draft picks. Just another reason to own a flux capacitor.
Brady Quinn The Star
MIAMI – The Miami Kid has struck again.
This time, Brady Quinn has struck the jackpot, signing a new 7-year, $225 million contract. As always, the NFL players’ contract numbers are more statement than fact; Quinn will never see the last years of that deal. However, the statement is clear: Brady Quinn is the brightest star on South Beach until further notice.
When Quinn arrived in Miami after free falling to the ninth pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, he was already a polished quarterback on the field and in the media room. He knew how to flash a smile and an audible with the same genial ease. His All-American looks and Fighting Irish pedigree made him a cinch to be a familiar face before his first pro snap.
However, he was a surprisingly difficult sell in south Florida. His pale complexion and bravado defined a cocky kid not from around Miami. His initial holdout, though ended after one day of camp, did not win any instant affection.
For most fans, though, the first pass of the first preseason game was a more powerful conversion tool than Touchdown Jesus Himself. He wheeled out of the pocket, skipped past two defenders, and visibly shook his head at the second man. He then launched a Titan III from the Florida coast, 45 yards on the run, to Chris Chambers as he strode past his defender for the end zone. Miami’s fans rose as one with the pass and erupted as it touched down.
The replay of the head shake dominated the game coverage and followed Quinn into post-game conference. With charm and modesty that marked his Notre Dame tenure, he downplayed the incident as misinterpreted and that he would never embarrass a fellow warrior on the field. “I’m not the most important person out there,” he shrugged. “I’m just a kid right now.”
The Miami Kid was born.
As he tore through the preseason competition, Brady Quinn quickly split America down a fault line. Those who couldn’t stand his slick persona stood on one side; south Florida and nearly every woman in America stood slack-jawed on the other. Peyton Manning was supplanted as America’s Sunday Spokesman almost instantly.
Quinn didn’t walk on water all season, unless one counts his slick moves across the nightclubs of Miami. Still, he put in a very impressive showing for first-year coach Cam Cameron, ending at a 9-7 record, just missing out on the playoffs. Quinn especially shone on Monday Night and Sunday Night, rising to the occasion for the national cameras.
His first Pro Bowl appearance after the 2008 season followed a 10-6 season and completing nearly as many passes as rumors of celebrity indiscretions. Still, a young prince is allowed his dalliances if he succeeds in the postseason, which he failed to do, putting in his first poor performance under the spotlight against the Broncos.
Unlike his corporate predecessor, Quinn wouldn’t let the hothouse flower label stick for long. In 2009′s preseason, Quinn let slip (quite accidentally, certainly) that he looked forward to playing in a virtual home game in Super Bowl XLIV that February. Quinn’s Super Bowl guarantee hung over him all season, possibly leading to the increase in interceptions as he tried to force his team to victory. A 9-7 record allowed Miami to sneak in this time.
From there, the Miami Kid began writing the best chapters of his epic tale. With no home field advantage along the way, Brady Quinn rode a hot hand and a steely determination to his promised destination, providing Miami with its first Super Bowl appearance in Quinn’s lifetime. His Super Bowl MVP heroics cemented a legend. Fans finally leaving Dolphin Stadium half-jokingly argued about where to put the Brady Quinn statue and what pose to put it in.
With 2010′s bitter AFC Championship Game loss to an aging Tom Brady and New England still lingering, Quinn reloads with a promising running game and a new commitment to success. He has supposedly cut back on his endorsements, though his smiling bronze face still seems to be ubiquitous on Sundays. His focus, never really in question, seems sharper than ever.
The Miami Kid will strike again this fall.
Now read Matt Sussman’s “Brady Quinn The Bust.”