Let’s Cheer for the Old-Timer
by Amy Lignor
We all constantly hear about players in the NFL who are young, strong, right out of college, ready to take on the world and follow in the footsteps of Montana, Bradshaw, etc., and earn their way into the Hall of Fame one day. But what you rarely hear about is an old-timer (frightening that 40 is considered old anywhere in the world), coming back out on the field and beating the living daylights out of their opponent. But this week, that is exactly what happened, and he deserves the praise.
Andrew Luck is still called by experts to be one of the best, if not the best, QB in the NFL – he apparently just needs better receivers and better players to stand in front of him so he’s not constantly hitting the turf. But the Colts did not come out swinging this year. In fact, their season has started off a bit wary. Then, however, things turned around. They needed to. Rivals they would have to meet in the post-season, unless something truly off-kilter occurs, include the Broncos and the Patriots – neither of which seem to be struggling. The turning point came when Luck went off the field and a new brand of “luck” came on. Thursday night, yet again, this QB came out on the field in Luck’s place to make sure that another game was put in the Colt’s win column. And this was not easy, especially when you add on the fact that the poor QB was suffering illness and still managed to get the job done.
Matt Hasselbeck is a QB who was originally drafted in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He’s had a life in football, gosh knows. But in 2015, he had the weight of having to stand in for Andrew Luck for two games that were going to be played only five days apart – one last Sunday, one Thursday night. He also suffered a bacterial infection, was on IV’s, and not only stood up during the Thursday night game, which everyone thought would be impossible, but was able to show that at his age, with his illness, he could still win. The Colts even looked surprised when they did not have to deal with any losses while Matt was behind center.
Oldest QB in football, the man came out and beat Jacksonville. Then, after being in hospitals and only practicing once, on Thursday he knocked out the Titans. Ending with a QB rating of 104.7, fantasy football players looked at him in a whole new way. But perhaps there was an angel on his shoulder on Thursday, and not just because of his health. Older players gave the performance of their careers with Hasselbeck on the field: Frank Gore ran for 98-yards, scoring one TD, his best performance as a Colt. Andre Johnson scored two TD’s, also his finest performance as a Colt. The Colts are now 3-2 sitting atop the AFC South, a place they are used to sitting, and it is ALL because of this 40-year-old’s grit.
There was a tear-filled interview after the game. Hasselbeck was drained completely – 76 passes in the past two weeks with no interceptions, and his teammates were offering him hugs and slaps on the back, thanking him for being the absolute best QB in the biz for them.
There is one thing, though, that no one has mentioned. It’s always stated that Andrew Luck would be the best if he had more receivers and people in front of him to make sure he doesn’t end up buried in the turf. Remember that? But…Hasselbeck seemed to do just fine, even with all the horrible health extras he was suffering. Has anyone asked yet why he could do it but Luck has issues? And what happens if Luck comes back and loses? Perhaps there’s a situation in there that needs to be addressed. For now, let’s just cheer the “old-timer” who proved that you can win football games with skill, determination, and pure intelligence.