NFL Playoffs: Backup(s) but never surrender

By Sterling Pingree

This weekend is an unprecedented one in the history of the NFL playoffs. It’s not unprecedented because a backup quarterback is starting. It isn’t unprecedented because a third stringer is starting. It’s not even unprecedented because a backup quarterback, who three weeks ago was a starting quarterback is starting a game. What is unique about this Wild Card weekend is the fact that all three of these things are happening in just two games in the AFC!

We’ve seen backup quarterbacks do some incredible things. Patriots’ fans know this from recent experience. Jimmy Garoppolo won two games this season and when he went down. third stringer Jacoby Brissett beat the playoff bound Texans 27-0. Both of these accomplishments are nice, but this is the playoffs, what about the playoffs?

Tom Brady filled in for Drew Bledsoe and won the Super Bowl true, but he had a full season to prepare for the playoffs. Jeff Hostetler won Super Bowl XXV after only starting two regular season games for the New York Giants that year. Who could forget Frank Reich’s epic comeback that brought the Buffalo Bills from a 35-3 deficit in the Wild Card round vs Houston in 1993. What about when Lance Harbor got his leg broken and James Van Der Beek came to the rescue, overthrew the head coach and won the district championship? Or when Jason Street was paralyzed in the first episode of Friday Night Lights and Matt Saracen took the Dillon Panthers to state! (I understand those last two are from movies and television, but I was on a roll, just like ones these backups could be on this weekend!)

This postseason could be the year of the backup passer, I mean Dak Prescott started from the bottom now we’re here? One can’t help but think that new Dallas backup Tony Romo could play a role in one of these games?

There is always drama in the playoffs; what seems impossible or improbable becomes the norm. One story line like Connor Cook making his first career start, (in a playoff game nonetheless) in place of an MVP candidate can become the next quarterback controversy with a single road playoff win. Things can change so quickly that I’m glad we have a week do digest what we witness on the weekends. So fire up the grills, head to the Anchor Deli at your local Tradewinds Markets and fill those crock pots with something delicious from W.A. Bean & Sons because: ready or not, the playoffs are here.


Sterling Head Shot 2Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.