Sometimes in sports, whether we realize it or not, history tends to repeat itself in both things barely perceptive and unbelievably important. This happened on Sunday, September 7th, 2008, when an entire region of the United States stopped due to a scream of pain from their MVP quarterback, Tom Brady.
Since his first career start in 2001, Brady had compiled a record of 101-27 (including playoffs) with three Super Bowl wins, one of which came in his first year as a starter. In Week 2 of the 2001 season, then Patriots QB, Drew Bledsoe, suffered a collapsed lung, leaving backup Brady to take charge of the seemingly collapsing team.
Seven years later, when Brady suffered a torn ACL and partially torn MCL in the 2008 Kickoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, backup Matt Cassel was thrusted into the starting spot of a Patriots team with the highest expectations in the league. One thing the Patriots were thought to have lacked was depth at their quarterback position.
The Patriots offense seemed trapped in their own endzone during that Week One matchup, until Cassel threw a 50-yard bomb to Patriots WR Randy Moss. The offense came alive and went on to win 17-10.
There's still a lot to be seen about quarterback Matt Cassel. In college, he was a backup at USC, and stayed that way his entire college career. Due to Tom Brady's 111-game consecutive start streak, Cassel never saw the field as the Patriots QB. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has been in this position before, but with an offense built around the team's "Golden Boy" quarterback, will Cassel be able to step in and do the impossible?
It's been said that football's most important position is quarterback, while the second most important being the backup.
In an interview previous to Super Bowl XLII, Cassel revealed that he wears his helmet every minute of every game.
"What I do is I listen to the playcall [through a helmet headset]. Then I say the call aloud as if I was in the huddle. When I watch the play, I go through the mental reps. That way if I'm called on, it won't feel like the first time I'm in the huddle."
Cassel, as called by many, is the ultimate backup to the ultimate quarterback. But whether the Patriots, as a team, can rebound from an injury that many feel will drive them into the ground, is yet to be seen.