The Tale of Teddy Two Gloves

 
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Another Backup QB We Should All Root For

It’s kind of backwards when you think about it… Players wear gloves for grip. Running backs, receivers, and skill positions use them to possess the football. But a quarterback? The guy releasing it? Strange.

Teddy Bridgewater is one of many backup QB stories developing this season in the NFL. Before we get to the gloves – and one of my favorite nicknames in sports – let me tell you about the underdog journey of the man they call Teddy Two Gloves.

Teddy grew up in the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Liberty City, Florida, just outside Miami. His father was rarely around, and his mother Rose was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. A few accounts say that Teddy quit school and football to get a job as a teenager and support his mother.

“I wanted to be there for her. I would stop playing ball, I would stop going to school. If I had to work, I would get a job and just be the man of the house.” – Teddy Bridgewater

Rose wouldn’t let him give up his future so easily, and Teddy eventually shined as the quarterback at Miami Northwestern. He was the No. 6 rated QB prospect in the class of 2010, and after accepting an offer at Louisville, he took over the starting job in his fourth game and never looked back.

Three remarkable seasons, each better than the one before, and the Big East Player of the Year Award landed Teddy a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. He was accurate, smart, mobile, and a great leader. There was just one problem…

He wears two gloves?

NFL scouts were hesitant about why, and what it meant for his development in throwing the ball down the field. Bridgewater feared those hesitations and said it was just something he had gotten used to. However, in an effort to oblige NFL scouts, he went Teddy No-Gloves at his pro day and stunk up the joint.

That April, Teddy slid all the way to the Vikings with the 32nd pick, and when Minnesota called, he had one condition: “You best believe I'm wearing my gloves.” (ESPN)

Editor’s Note: The two quarterbacks drafted ahead of Bridgewater in 2014 were Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.

Teddy didn’t wow you with numbers in his first two seasons in Minnesota, but his teammates loved him, and he won football games. In fact, Teddy Bridgewater’s win percentage as a starting quarterback is better than all of these other recent NFL starters: Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Kirk Cousins, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and yes, even Drew Brees. Only seven NFL starting quarterbacks (21.8% of the league) have a better win percentage than Teddy.

In his third season, the unthinkable happened. At 23 years old, Teddy shredded his knee in the final preseason practice of 2016. He tore every last inch of ligament and cartilage from a dislocation that many feared would result in an amputation. Miraculously, it didn’t. Even more miraculously, Teddy returned to football.

That was three years ago. The Vikings found Case Keenum, then Kirk Cousins. Teddy went to the Jets, but they drafted Sam Darnold. He’d quickly become another forgotten man in the quarterback carousel; 32 jobs and new talent every year. But before the 2019 season, the Saints signed him to back-up Drew Brees, and it paid off.

New Orleans just went 3-0 with another underdog under center, and Teddy Two Gloves might’ve earned himself a long, successful career after all. This is one backup quarterback we should all root for.

 
Jeff YoderOctober2019