Following greatness is hard to pull off in any sport. Just ask Steve Young, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who had the honor or rather, the task, of following "The Great One" Joe Montana after his departure in the early 1990's.
In present times though, not much has changed in the NFL. Great quarterbacks are still lobbing deep balls to the most fantastic of wide receivers, and head coaches are still ranging in all shapes and sizes as they try to bring their team closer to the big game.
Yes, all of that is still present in the modern game, but something that seems to go unnoticed nowadays is the fact that many quarterbacks are making a name for themselves after following prolific stars.
In case you are still dumbfounded as to whom I am writing about, let me put you out of your misery. Aaron Rodgers. Ah yes, the Green Bay Packers quarterback who has taken a delight in following the former Packers savior Brett Favre, and all the while has done it with a smile and a sense of moral decency along the way.
For the spectators out there like you and I, watching Aaron Rodgers just seems almost well... so easy. It's simple. He suits up, he laughs, he smiles, and he just plays football. Pressure or not, the big games are more of a challenge rather than a hurdle, and when the going gets tough, Rodgers' confidence doesn't suffer.
Okay, so enough about Aaron Rodgers. Let's get down to what this article is really about: Matt Leinart.
It's official, Kurt Warner has retired, the torch has been passed and in the meantime, newly stated head coach Ken Whisenhunt is back for another handful of seasons to try to the lead the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl win.
What about the Cardinal players though? Looking at them on paper, they are an impressive mob. Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin headline the stage, but there is one name that is being criticized and picked apart like a three-day-old dead zebra left in the middle of the Sahara desert.
His name is Matt Leinart, and he has the bountiful duty of promising Arizona fans a winning record in 2010, and more importantly, following in Kurt Warner's footsteps and producing record-breaking numbers. It's a hard mission at best, but one that Matt isn't taking lightly.
Unlike Aaron Rodgers, Matt Leniart has experience. He's started in games before, and hasn't looked too shabby. With a decent amount of yardage piled on last season at 435, Matt's performance was decent for a backup.
But is that really anything to base his future on? Well of course it is. Matt has tasted the sweet taste of victory, and now he simply wants more. And if you ask me, that is alright by my standards.
Yet, there is still some doubt in the air. Some people are still bringing up the old and worn out statement of "He'll never be no Kurt Warner." Being a Packer fan myself, I am all too familiar with those words.
Still, I can't help but give Leinart some credit. He has the right attitude, a great arm, and to cap it all off, two great wide receivers who can carry some of the burden next season.
One thing is for sure though: Matt Leinart's chances are just as positive as Aaron Rodgers' were nearly two seasons ago. Just go out there and play football Matt, forget the doubters, and forget the hate, winning is all that matters.
The era of the young quarterback is upon us, and I welcome it. Let's hope Matt can become yet another member of the young and talented guys, that fulfill our needs each and every week.