The old adage of the backup quarterback being the most popular guy in town doesn’t really apply in Houston right now, and rightfully so as starter T.J. Yates is doing everything the coaches, players and fans could hope for.
Yates started the season as the backup's backup and, due to a rash of injuries, has found himself as the starter on a team that has promise and hope of going all the way to the Super Bowl.
Yates has responded well to the unfortunate circumstances that propelled him into the starting lineup, and if all goes well for the Texans, backup Jake Delhomme won’t touch the field until the team is running on to celebrate its Super Bowl win.
However, that does not mean Delhomme is not playing a huge part in the Texans’ success as they move forward with their rookie at the helm.
Delhomme has rightfully earned the reputation around the NFL for his professionalism and willingness to mentor younger quarterbacks to aid in their progression. Unlike guys like Brett Favre who selfishly hold down the guy behind them, Delhomme knows it was veterans that gave him the tools to find success in the NFL, and in return he is willing to bring the next guy along.
Coming up through the New Orleans Saints organization, Delhomme was mentored by guys like Billy Joe Tolliver and Jeff Blake and, upon his arrival in Carolina, had a chance to learn from Rodney Peete.
These guys helped him, and you better believe that he is ready to do the same for Yates.
His willingness to do whatever it takes to help the Houston Texans be as successful as they can possibly be, even if it means being on the sidelines helping Yates, is the reason the organization signed him instead of trying to lure Favre out of retirement or making a play for Donovan McNabb.
Delhomme has Super Bowl experience and will be a valuable asset for a team that has very little playoff experience on its roster.
In 2003, his first year in Carolina, he led the Panthers to the Super Bowl (coincidentally enough, in Houston’s Reliant Stadium) and provided fans with one of the most exciting Super Bowl performances in NFL history, taking the lead from Tom Brady’s Patriots in the final minute.
If not for a John Kasay kickoff that went out of bounds, giving Brady the ball on the 40-yard line, the Panthers probably win that game, which was won by the Patriots on a last-second Adam Vinatieri field goal, and Delhomme goes home as Super Bowl MVP.
Delhomme has also played in multiple NFC Championship Games, including one in Arizona that he would like to forget.
His playoff experiences, both good and bad, will be valuable to the Texans, who have never been in the playoffs, much less competed for a Super Bowl.
With Yates playing smart football and Delhomme backing him up with support from the sidelines, the Texans have a legitimate shot at contending for all the marbles this season.