Let’s play a little game. I’m going to give you a list of 32 sports names. (That’s a clue in itself.) Your job is to discover what they do for a living. Okay? Here we go:
Cardale Jones, T. J. Yates, Jacoby Brissett, Christian Hackenberg, Dustin Vaughn, Jeff Driskel, Kevin Hogan, Zach Mettenberger, Brandon Weeden, Stephen Morris, Brandon Allen, Alex Tan-ney, Paxton Lynch, Tyler Bray, Mike Bercovici, Connor Cook, Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Chase Daniel, Nate Sudfeld, Matt Barkley, Jake Rudock, Joe Callahan, Taylor Heinicke, Matt Schaub, Joe Webb, Garrett Grayson, Ryan Griffin, Zac Dysert, Sean Mannion, Christian Pon-der, Trevone Boykin.
[Insert Jeopardy! theme music here.] Pens down.
Are they the members of USA Team Handball? No, that’s too obscure. The last 32 NBA players to commit 20 turnovers in a half? That’s too notorious.
Actually, the above named athletes are NFL quarterbacks. Really? Where is Rodgers; where is Luck; where is Brady?
Nope. No big names here. These are the 2017 THIRD string quarterbacks, as announced this week on their respective team depth charts.
This fraternity of NFL players is an odd amalgamation of veteran NFL quarterbacks and young up-and-comers. At QB3 you are either on your way up, or on your way out.
For the NFL General Manager filling the QB3 position is like owning a used car lot. They try to warehouse the best vehicle for the cheapest cost, hoping all along they never have to drive it.
For the player, only two outcomes exist for you: You remain a team’s last resort, or you become their savior. How’s that for ego-stress.
Regardless, an NFL third string quarterback may be the best job in the world.
While the starting QB gets pounded by 380 pound defensive tackles, at QB3 you get to remain safely on the sidelines, charting plays, surrounded by all of your big buddies, who aren’t going to let anything bad happen to you.
Oh sure, you have to practice. Most of the repetitions, however, go to the starting quarterback. If he is feeling under the weather, then the No. 2 quarterback moves up, not you!
Okay, you don’t get the monster salary. But the pay is not bad. Even if you have only a reserve / futures contract, you still get paid the NFL minimum salary of $450,000.
You still get the girls. People still buy you drinks. And when football is over, it still looks pretty cool on a résumé.
Can I get a clarinet fanfare, please?
The NFL Free Agency signing period began yesterday. Third string quarterbacks will be a hot commodity. Many QB3’s will change teams this week.
I can relate to the NFL third string quarterback. I was third string in college — but not a quarter-back. It is a small, yet important distinction. Instead of $450,000, I get to write sports for the fast-est growing small town daily newspaper in America, ending in the letter “R”.
Ironically, that still looks cool on a résumé.