If you haven't kept up on this NFL season, what we're about to say is going to seem very funny: It's time to start seriously considering the possibility of Alex Smith winning a Super Bowl. Not as some sage backup for Andrew Luck on the Los Angeles Jaguars in 2016, or as the offensive coordinator for the 2032 London Topmen, but as the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. In 2011!
Ty Hildenbrandt and Dan Rubenstein return to the Grantland Network to wrap college football's third week, review their favorite Road Test Weekend memories, and attempt to figure out screwy conference realignment storylines.
Ty also briefly exhales after an impressive Notre Dame win and discusses his experience at the Temple-Penn State "game" in Philadelphia (his obsession with minimally-armed QBs continues). And finally, your Week 3 Reverbs (listener reaction voicemails) are unleashed onto the world.
His name was Dayle Tate, he was from Springfield, Va., and he looked like this:
This picture (photocopied from my decaying edition of the Penn State football media guide) was taken in 1979, which accounts for both the plaid sport coat and the Larry Wilcox coiffure. Heading into that season, Tate was the de facto starting quarterback for the Nittany Lions, who came six inches and an Alabama linebacker from winning a national championship the year before. Dayle Tate was a god-fearing young man who dreamed of becoming a preacher, and it was through him that I had my first intimate experience with the allure of the backup quarterback.
If you’ve ever sat through a press conference with Bill Belichick or Andy Reid doing their “these are not the droids you’re looking for” riff, or watched Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley call a game like a guy who had been lost for two days and refused to ask for directions, you’d be forgiven for thinking NFL coaches are a pretty stubborn bunch.
For all his bluster and confidence, though, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan seems to have a more open approach.
There have already been a few whispers of quarterback controversies in Seattle (Tarvaris Jackson vs. Charlie Whitehurst), Minnesota (Christian Ponder vs. Donovan McNabb, at least according to Ponder), and Miami (Chad Henne vs. whomever the Dolphins are trying to acquire on any given day). But the most mystifying is the one taking place in the Rockies, between Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, for the chance to be the Denver Broncos' QB1.