OK Chiefs Fan, youíve been asking for it, youíve been demanding it. Now you have it.
Brodie Croyle is the Chiefs starting quarterback for the rest of the 2007 season, or as long as the teamís leaky pass protection allows him to remain in a vertical position.
For the better part of the last 20 years, or since the failure of 1983 first-round choice Todd Blackledge to establish himself as a successful NFL quarterback, Iíve heard Chiefs Fan lament the organizationís inability to draft and develop its own quarterback. A long list of veteran quarterbacks have passed through the position with the Chiefs over the last 20 years. Heck, the same could be said for the entire 48-season history of the franchise.
How about this: the Texans-Chiefs have never drafted and developed a successful NFL quarterback. Never. In that nearly half-century only Len Dawson and Trent Green really made the job their own. Dawson was the franchiseís starter for the better part of 14 seasons, led them to three American Football League championships, a Super Bowl title and a place in the Hall of Fame. He started 158 games. Green opened 88 games over his six seasons with the team. Both came to the team from other teams and in Dawsonís case, another league.
At various times coaches tried to make draft choices like Pete Beathard (1st-round/1964), Mike Livingston (2nd/1968), Steve Fuller (1st/1979) and Blackledge the next Dawson. None of them ever stuck. Livingston had the best chance, starting 74 games in the mid to late 1970s. His problem was the team was falling apart at the same time. Fuller started 31 games, Blackledge opened 25 and Beathard ended up starting just two games.
Now, another young colt holds the job, a third-round pick in just his second professional season.
I wonder Chiefs Fan if this might fall under the category of the old saying: ďbe careful what you wish for, because you might get it.Ē
Chiefs Fan are you prepared to be patient? Are you ready to watch your young, inexperienced passer through some balls that make you wonder if he has even a clue? Chiefs Fan are you sure you are ready to see your developmental quarterback scramble away from pressure and cough up the football with a fumble?
Make no mistake, unless Croyle is different than just about every other quarterback that has come down the NFL pike, those moments are ahead and they will be plentiful.
With the possible exception of Dan Marino and his Hall of Fame career in Miami, every quarterback worth anything in this league has gone through tough times before establishing himself. Itís a rite of passage; the old heat creates the nerves of steel that every successful quarterback must possess to endure the ups and downs of the position.
Chiefs Fan you havenít had to put up with that for a long time. Blackledge came to the team in the year of the quarterback, one of six drafted in the first round. He was the leader of a national championship team at Penn State. He was a big, strong, smart and earnest young man, who had almost all of the intangibles that scouts and coaches are looking for in their starting quarterback.
He failed miserably. In those 25 starts, the Chiefs were 13-12. In 40 games with the Chiefs, Blackledge threw 26 touchdown passes against 32 interceptions. He fumbled 19 times. Thatís 40 games and 51 turnovers.
Chiefs Fan, thatís what happens with young quarterbacks.
I know itís been awhile.
Are you ready?