Dan Orlovsky: Former Detroit Lions Quarterback on Path to Immortality

James Van Etten@jbvanettenContributor IDecember 1, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28: Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Detroit Lions looks for a receiver against the Green Bay Packers on December 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. he Packers defeated the Lions 31-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky is on his way to NFL immortality this year if he plays his cards right, or wrong, depending upon your perspective.

It was nearly three years ago the Green Bay Packers were enjoying another Lions visit to Lambeau Field, as Detroit was losing yet again in Wisconsin 21-31.

That wintry day, Orlovsky took his final offensive snap for the Lions; fittingly, an interception by Nick Collins, which finalized the historically worst season in NFL history; 16 losses and zero victories.

Packer fans offered their guests a Bronx cheer reminiscent of the applauds showered upon Great Britain’s Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards who leaped onto the international sports scene with his less-than-spectacular ski-jumping talents in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Detroit's last place season was not all on Dan, though, as he was the starting quarterback for only half of the flawless season amassing 1,616 yards passing on 255 attempts; a 56 percent completion rate and a quarterback rating of 72.6. It was and still is his most productive NFL season, until now.

Yes, the UConn star will now get his second chance at stardom as he leads the Indianapolis Colts into battle this weekend.

After toting the clipboard in Houston for the past two years and watching his Texans tally 15 victories in two seasons, which must have felt like a Super Bowl run, the Colts came calling this year with the deathblow injury to their future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning.


Yet Dan still wore the backwards ballcap because the Colts pulled future Just for Men spokesman Kerry Collins out of mothballs and kept The Dutch Boy, Curtis Painter, ahead of Orlovsky on the depth chart.

A career-ending concussion to Collins and Painter’s failure to brush the broad side of the barn has opened the door for Orlovsky to reprise his role as Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass with his new team.

Indianapolis is a perfect 0-11 this season; the polar opposite of Herman Boone’s legendary team, and it will be up to Orlovsky to break the futility that will make him a Trivial Pursuit gem.

If the Colts continue their “Commitment to Excellence,” it would make Orlovsky the only NFL quarterback with a combined record of 0-32 in two separate winless seasons and the cherry on top; he’d do it with two different teams!

How likely is this scenario? As likely as Tin Cup putting another ball in the drink on the 18th hole en route to his “immortal 12.”

The Colts remaining schedule is daunting and a victory could be as difficult to find as an honest politician.

The Colts go to New England and Baltimore; can we go ahead and chalk those up as loses? Then they’ll host the Titans and Texans which could be their best shot at a win with Orlovsky looking for redemption against his former mates.

The season ends in Jacksonville which should give us an emotionally charged effort by the Jags as the contest could mark the end of NFL football in northern Florida.


The Jaguars were sold this week to businessman Shahid Khan for just south of “one billion dollars” and the plans for Mayflower moving trucks backing up to EverBank Field is imminent.

If the Colts do head to Florida carrying a 0-15 mark, ownership in Detroit would not be any happier.

Misery loves company and rest assured the Detroit Lions would like nothing more than to share the winless moniker with another NFL franchise.

The Cristal bottles would be popping at the Ford compound like a ’72 Dolphins party and this time William Clay Ford Sr. and Jr. could thank Orlovsky for his efforts, rather than curse him.

In Orlovsky’s seven-year NFL career, he has yet to throw a touchdown in a victorious regular season game. Better yet, he has yet to play a snap in a winning effort.

I think Orlovsky deserves much better and I will be rooting for him to succeed this Sunday, but what will happen if Dan finds Reggie Wayne in the end zone? Better yet, what will happen if the Colts stumble and earn their first victory?

It would assuredly cause a logistics nightmare as Dan would be rushed back to his hometown of Shelton, Connecticut for a ticker-tape parade that would feature the freshly christened winning NFL quarterback perched upon a Prudential sponsored float, tossing Wiffle Ball equipment to the onlookers. (Both corporations are headquartered in Shelton.)


Would the fans of Indianapolis have the same euphoria and break out their Red Solo Cups for the first Colts victory of the season? One can argue they would prefer to continue the one-year downward spiral and secure the highly-coveted No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Teams are salivating over the opportunity to put Andrew Luck in their jersey and whether the Colts would choose to use the pick on Luck, or trade the opportunity for a bounty of picks, the value is unquestioned.

Peyton Manning is still considered a deity in some NFL circles, but his neck injury that is similar to the one that ended Dan Marino’s career, has now ended his consecutive start streak. It’s possible the all-world quarterback is now mortal.

Achilles, as legend has it, was the closest thing to immortal. His goddess mother, Thetis is said to have dipped her son in the River Styx to make him invulnerable, but left him exposed by holding him by the back of his leg during the process.

I for one hope that at some point in the remaining five games, the metaphoric arrow finds Dan Orlovsky’s heel and he can avoid the unenviable NFL immortality no player should burden.