A Tiger's Perspective: Reflecting on Chase Daniel's Career at Missouri

Peter FleischerSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2009

Many experts say numbers and statistics don’t lie. They can’t. How could a stat, which means the same thing that it meant 50 years ago, be deceptive?

But even if a number is “telling the truth,” that doesn’t mean it isn’t taken out of context. A player can put up big numbers for a lot of reasons other than the player’s talent.

This is the argument pessimistic Missouri Tiger fans take when attacking quarterback Chase Daniel, who ended his college career in winning fashion on Dec. 29, 2008, against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl.

Daniel, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2007, ended up throwing four more interceptions in his senior campaign than in his junior year, and losing two more games, so many mark his last year with a asterisk of bitterness.

Daniel, who is known to be confident if not cocky, and a bit of a loudmouthed player, was even hearing boos by the end of his tenure at Missouri.

He had always been the face of the program during his three years as a starter, but when the play did not support the attention he was receiving, the going got tough for Daniel.

But is that really justified? Fans in Columbia and nationwide can claim Chase is nothing but a chubby, arrogant, system signal-caller who benefited from Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman (let’s be honest, I could throw a couple of TDs to those two).

But when it comes to the end of his career, how dare Tiger fans complain about Daniel’s production and leadership?

Under his knack for making plays and decision-making, Missouri won 37 games in four years, as he accounted for 13,256 yards and 109 touchdowns, and helped tutor young freshman Blaine Gabbert, who is poised to take the reins next season as Missouri’s quarterback.

Yes, this season was disappointing for Mizzou, after national title hopes were squashed thanks to two blowouts, two upset losses, and a few too many turnovers, but here is one statistic that does NOT lie or deceive:

Missouri has won at least 10 games and each of its bowl games in the last two seasons. Only USC and Texas (if they beat Ohio State) can claim the same. Not Oklahoma, Florida, Ohio State, or LSU can boast that accomplishment.

Want something else that doesn’t lie? Courage and respect. And Chase has displayed both of them during his senior campaign.

He has bravely admitted when he hasn’t played up to par, publicly apologizing numerous times to Tiger Nation. He openly shared his disgust for his struggles and was not shy about telling us how bad he felt after a bitter loss.

That type of display of respect shows his affection for Tiger fans, an emotion they would be wise to reciprocate.

Fans call Chase’s mentor, Brad Smith, the ultimate Missouri Tiger, yet he won 12 fewer games, accounted for 43 fewer touchdowns, and was known to be quiet and anti-social.

When will Missouri fans appreciate the great times they were given under Daniel? Hopefully sooner than later.

He deserves the same kind of respect and love that he gave Tiger fans during his four spectacular years in Columbia.