Kevin Kolb: He Might Be Better Than You Think
How do you know that Kevin Kolb can’t get the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl?
I’m not even going to go back all that far to refute uneducated biases against Kolb. Not one example in this little rant occurs prior to 2000.
A common knock on Kolb is his pedigree. The kid went to the University of Houston, which doesn’t exactly scream, “Big time football.” I can see where people are coming from, but I don’t think a weak argument like that holds much water.
Those who clamor about where Kolb went to school must have forgot where Ben Roethlisberger went to school. After he attended Miami of Ohio he went on to win two Super Bowls. He didn’t go to “The U.” Nope. He went to Miami, add parentheses, Ohio.
And for the record, his two Super Bowls are two more than the Eagles organization has in its entire history.
Oh, but Big Ben doesn’t count in your mind. He walked into a perfect situation with an experienced head coach.
How do you account for Joe Flacco?
He went to Delaware, which is a Division I-AA program. I’m not getting into the technical FBS names so please spare me the hate mail.
After tossing around the pigskin for the Blue Hens he led the Baltimore Ravens to the AFC Championship following a 5-11 season and working with rookie head coach John Harbaugh.
What about Steve McNair?
He helped the Tennessee Titans get to the Super Bowl following his days at Alcorn State.
Maybe you don’t think he is good enough because it is a gut feeling you have. How can some relatively unknown quarterback guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl? Don’t Super Bowl quarterbacks have to be highly touted coming out of college?
Not so much.
Do you need to be reminded of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Kurt Warner who went undrafted?
Or how about future Hall of Famer Tom Brady? He wasn’t drafted until the sixth round of the 2000 draft. What did your gut tell you about Brady? I’d be shocked if most casual football fans even knew Brady was in the NFL in 2000. His one completion for three yards in 2000 didn’t exactly have people beating down the gates to see Brady make his debut.
Were you high on Trent Dilfer before he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXXV? Did you have a great gut feeling about Brad Johnson before he won Super Bowl XXXVII?
Did you know for a fact that Jake Delhomme couldn’t go to a Super Bowl? He actually fit the double whammy of attending small school Louisiana-Lafayette and not passing the “gut test.”
Perhaps pedigree or your feeling about a player doesn’t matter. Maybe you just don’t like the idea of a quarterback with little to no experience guiding a team to the playoffs let alone a Super Bowl. One has to assume that all first-year starters will struggle in the NFL. With that thought process it would be ludicrous for the Eagles to put Kolb under center.
In looking at recent history alone I can take some names already mentioned and add others to prove that thought process illogical.
Let’s go back to the 1999 season.
The St. Louis Rams signed Trent Green to a lucrative four-year $16.5 million contract. In a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Trent Green floundered around after Rodney Harrison delivered a blow to Green’s knees.
Just like that Green’s season was over, St. Louis head coach Dick Vermeil was in tears and Warner found himself in the starting spotlight.
It wasn’t exactly a dream scenario, but before anyone knew it Warner was on his way to winning the MVP and Super Bowl XXIV.
Okay, okay. That’s gotta be like a one-in-a-million shot. Things like that don’t…
I forgot that two seasons later about Tom Brady was thrust into the starting role for the New England Patriots.
For some reason Drew Bledsoe thought he could tip-toe his way out of bounds in the NFL. Mo Lewis reminded Bledsoe that wasn’t such a good idea. He hit the Pats quarterback so hard that Bledsoe suffered internal injuries and lost two liters of blood.
The Pats lost that game and found themselves in an 0-2 hole to start the season. To exacerbate the situation a first-year starter went under center, and had to square off against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in week three.
It was a sure-fire loss. Or so we thought.
Tommy boy went out there and beat Manning before eventually winning Super Bowl XXXVI.
So maybe I’m getting a little carried away, right?
Well then how do you account for the fact that Ben Roethlisberger went 14-1 in his rookie season and then won Super Bowl XL the next year?
So I keep bringing up Brady, Warner and Roethlisberger.
No problem. There are other examples of young quarterbacks that experienced success immediately.
How many people out there gave Matt Ryan a shot in hell?
In 2007 the Falcons went 4-12 and had to fight through the entire Mike Vick debacle.
Riding in a white stallion was some kid from Boston College that was sure to fall flat on his face upon dismount.
Funny thing is he guided the Falcons to an 11-5 record, won the NFC South, and took his team to the playoffs. I know he missed the playoffs this year, but he actually helped the Falcons secure back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history.
You already know what Flacco did in guiding his team to the AFC Championship, but what about Mark Sanchez?
Here was a kid that basically excelled in holding clipboards at USC. Suddenly he was thrust into the starting role, played games in frigid conditions for the first time in his career and yet somehow found a way to help the Jets make it to the AFC Championship.
Look, I get where some Eagles fans are coming from.
In 1986 they saw Ron Jaworski, the only quarterback who led their team to a Super Bowl, run out of town by Buddy Ryan.
Following the departure of “The Polish Rifle” Eagles fans watched 14 quarterbacks start games before McNabb, the next Super Bowl quarterback, arrived in town.
The list of futile quarterbacks included: Randall Cunningham, Matt Cavanaugh, Scot Tinsley, Guido Merkins, Jim MacMahon, Jeff Kemp, Brad Goebel, Bubby Brister, Ken O’Brien, Rodney Peete, Ty Detmer, Bobby Hoying, Koy Detmer, and Doug Pederson.
Some names make you smile, others make you cringe, and some make you say, “Who?”
The thought of seeing McNabb leave town should scare Eagle fans. But it should not prevent you from welcoming the next slew of quarterbacks who will try to achieve what McNabb and Jaworski did.
Who knows? Maybe we won’t have to suffer through another 14 quarterbacks. Maybe Kolb is the next one to lead us to the Promised Land. If recent history is any indication he just may be.
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