Friday, June 4, 2010

To Play, But Not To Play

There is no finer job in the world, really, than being a backup quarterback.

You go in either when the regular quarterback is injured or ineffective.

People are rooting for you.

If you stink, it’s because you’re a backup and can’t be expected to do what the starter does.

If you’re good, a star is born.

Don Trull was a professional backup quarterback. He played for six years with the Houston Oilers and the Boston Patriots, and every year he was on a card his bio read something like, “Don is being groomed for the number one signal-caller’s job.” He never did get the number one signal-caller’s job — anywhere — but he managed to stay a step ahead of Jacky Lee, who was always being groomed for Trull’s job.

Trull was better than Charlie Napper, who had the best job of all — he was the Packers’ taxi-squad quarterback for what seems like the better part of a decade — but probably not as good as Jack Concannon. The last I saw of Trull was on a set of Canadian Football League stickers, where presumably he gave the Edmonton Eskimos a fine backup who will one day be the number-one quarterback, and one of the top-notch passers in their league.
-- From the original Football with 1 Stick Gum, 1999

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