Curtis Painter: Why Peyton Manning's Backup Has the Best Job in Sports

Eitan KatzAnalyst IISeptember 7, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 26: Curtis Painter #7 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Curtis Painter has the greatest job in sports—he gets paid to do nothing.

The backup quarterback of iron-man Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Painter hasn't played a meaningful snap his entire career.

Unless, of course, you count the time that he relieved Manning in 2009 with a potential "perfect" regular season hanging in the balance. The Colts had a 14-0 record heading into a matchup with the hanging-by-a-thread 7-7 New York Jets.

You can all remember what happened next. With the Colts clinging to a five-point lead, Painter got strip-sacked and Jets defensive lineman Marques Douglas scooped up the ball, ran into the end zone, and Indy's perfect season vanished into thin air.

The following week, after the Colts had secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Painter got another chance to prove his worth. This time, however, he was the starter.

The result?

Indianapolis got crushed by the Buffalo Bills, 30-7, behind Painter's horrifying performance. The rookie quarterback threw for 39 yards (4-17 passing), with no touchdowns, one interception and another lost fumble.

Since those two games in 2009, Painter hasn't played a single snap in an NFL regular season game. His career numbers are a joke—quarterback rating of 9.8, 8-for-28 passing, 83 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions, two lost fumbles—and so is his job.

The thing about Painter is that there was always that slim, slim chance that Manning could be out for a game, and then he would be there to save the day.

However, with Manning finally succumbing to a neck injury, and most likely missing Week 1, the Colts went out and signed another quarterback to start!

The only possible way for Painter to play is if every single quarterback in the NFL goes down with an injury. This stiff doesn't have to do anything! He comes back to training camp year after year, stinks up the joint, and yet he continues to get paid.

When he was drafted out of Purdue in 2009, Painter was given a four-year, $1.481 million deal, including a $91k signing bonus. Little did he know that he was going to be able to sit back, relax, and watch the stacks pile up while he played like a pee-wee quarterback for four weeks a year in the preseason.

I can't imagine a better situation.

Painter finally got the chance to shine when Manning was declared "doubtful" for Week 1. Instead, Colts owner Jim Irsay went ahead and snatched up veteran quarterback Kerry Collins with what is essentially a one-year, $4 million deal. Painter is scheduled to make $1.465 million in the last two years of his contract in 2011 and 2012.

Look at that number again: $1.465 million.

The Indianapolis Colts are paying him to never play, no matter the situation. He has little to no talent, is totally unproven, and has zero trade value. In essence, he is a dead weight.

You know what else he is?

He's the guy with the best job in sports.