I have written a few articles indicating that I was unhappy with the play of Matt Cassel. I hooped and hollered about inserting Brodie Croyle in as the starting quarterback. To me, Matt Cassel wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t smart enough, he wasn’t Super Bowl caliber. And all the while I received feedback that disagreed with my analysis. Readers have contributed commentary in an attempted to inform me of the value of Matt Cassel, as well as the potential of Matt Cassel. I will even go as far as to quote a gentleman who commented on an article that I had written called “True Grit.”
“Jeff in VA” stated, “As for obtaining a super bowl caliber QB, I think we have one. Matt Cassel is just as good as Jake Delhomme, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Chris Chandler, Stan Humphries, Neil O’Donnell, Jeff Hostetler, Boomer Esiason, Jim McMahon, David Woodley, Vince Ferragamo, Mark Rypien, Kerry Collins, Matt Hasselback and Rex Grossman, all QB’s who made it to the Super Bowl. I know only a few of these won, but they made it there – with a chance to win.”
“I think what you really want is a Hall Of Fame quarterback and in my opinion, those are few and far between and the stars have to line up for that to happen. There are approximately 30 QBs in the HOF. That’s less than one per team average and the Chiefs have had one already (three if you count Montana and Moon). Let’s assume there is one future HOF QB in each draft (who really knows which one it is), you have to have a need for QB and be in position to draft him (stars lined up), if he’s in the first round. Beyond the first round, you have to get lucky (ie Tom Brady). If not for Tom Brady, Matt Cassel would probably get some MVP votes this year (knock on wood, season isn’t over). We can do it with Matt; we just need a few more parts. I don’t think Brodie will be here next year. Just my opinion.”
This comment was among many to the articles that I have written involving Matt Cassel; but it was the one that struck me the hardest.
This comment forced me to re-evaluate my position on Matt Cassel. I examined the list he the reader had posted and I began to ask myself who is Stan Humphries? I knew who he was, but did I really know who this man was? Was this the same Stan Humphries from Northeast Louisiana University (now called the University of Louisiana at Monroe)? The same Stan Humphries who was a 6th round draft choice by the Washington Redskins in the 1988 NFL draft? This Stan Humphries person was a mop. And although this Stan Humphries led the 1994 San Diego Chargers to their first and only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, Matt Cassel is still a much better quarterback and he is destined to win an NFL championship. I won’t even go into a statistical comparison between Humphries and Cassel. However, I will touch on the subject lightly by mentioning the fact that Cassel owns a 66-34 touchdown to interception ratio in contrast to Humphries’ 89-84 ratio. Cassel does not turn the ball over which is critical in winning ball games.
Cassel underwent an emergency appendectomy on December 8, 2010. It was unclear at the time whether he would be available for the following game against the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs ended up starting backup quarterback Brodie Croyle and lost the game 31-0, improving Croyle’s streak of nine consecutive losses as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The following week Cassel made his heroic return. And during that game Cassel took hits to his abdomen, his head, and his legs and he still led the Chiefs to a week 15 victory over the St. Louis Rams 27-13, in St. Louis. More importantly, this was a game in which the Rams needed to win in order to secure a spot in the 2010 NFL playoffs, so this was no easy task to complete. I was so impressed with Cassel’s performance. You couldn’t help but respect his attitude and toughness. He performed graciously at a time when the Chiefs’ organization needed him most; at a time when the Chiefs were on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs. Notwithstanding, the Chiefs were in a heated race to finish the season atop the AFC West division. After all, the organization hasn’t won the AFC West in seven years, and furthermore they haven’t been to the playoffs in four years. Therefore, the need for Cassel to finish the season as the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs was huge. Cassel’s comeback has to go down in NFL history as one of the greatest cases of courage the league has ever seen.
In the end, the Chiefs went on to win the AFC West title in convincing fashion.
The most recent quarterback to have an appendectomy and return one week later was Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers who, as a result of the surgery, missed the opening game of the 2006 season. The surgery was done on September 3, 2006. His return a week later in week 2 resulted in a sub-par performance as he threw two interceptions with no touchdowns in a 9-0 loss to Jacksonville. Both quarterbacks displayed exceptional bravery and heart. Matt Cassel is truly a Trojan man, and not just a USC Trojan. He has proved to me that he can lead, and that he can be a general on the football field.
Matthew Brennan Cassel was born on May 17, 1982 in Northridge, California. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 7th round in the 2005 NFL draft. He played college football at the University of Southern California. It has been said that Matt Cassel is the only quarterback in NFL history to start an NFL game at quarterback without ever starting a game at quarterback in college. Unfortunately, Cassel was a backup to Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart during his time at USC, thus he never got much playing time. Unbeknownst to many, Carson Palmer was the best man at Matt Cassel’s marriage to long-time girlfriend Lauren Killian in February of 2007.
Since Cassel’s audition during the New England Patriots 2008-09 season, he has developed into a definite Pro-Bowl candidate. He’s only 28 years old, he’s not battered and bruised from an active college career, he hasn’t suffered any major injuries during his football career, and he is the general of a developing team that he can finally call his own. He’s no longer in the shadows of the Palmers, Leinarts, and Bradys of the world. Alas, he has a place to call home. Although this home is not located under a tree on the University of Southern California’s campus, nor is it located in the company of the bright and colorful foliage that is so prevalent during the fall seasons of New England. It is located on the humid banks of the Missouri River, eating barbecue, and listening to the sounds of jazz music.
I am contrite for speaking with minimal confidence about Matt Cassel, yet I feel honored to have him as the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. Now bring on the New York Jets! Playoffs here we come! CHIEFS WILL !