Monday, October 27, 2014

The real (Colt) McCoy

Every once in a while, there's a feel-good story in sports that has nothing to do with Derek Jeter. Enter Colt McCoy, currently the QB of the Washington Redskins.

Given McCoy's background, one would think the Skins would have been the last place he'd wind up.
Though actually born in New Mexico, McCoy was a big-time Dallas Cowboys fan before his baby teeth had even fallen out. He went to and played at a Texas high school not far from Big D. Then on to the University of Texas where he became quite the star -- a four year starter.

But the NFL draft being the strange creature it is -- McCoy wound up going to the Cleveland Browns as only a third round pick. There, he found himself a third string QB with no chance of playing -- until injuries hit the guys in front of him. Playing on a bad team, his success there was a mixed bag. Ironically, he found himself backing up QB Brandon Weedon in his last year in Cleveland. I'll get back to that.

Eventually, the Browns shipped McCoy to the San Fran 49ers, another team where he had little chance of any playing time. Then the Niners traded him to Washington for a couple low draft picks. In the NFL, this is hanging on by the skin of one's teeth. McCoy was basically a forgotten man in DC as well.

But then strange things started happening with the Redskins. Heisman winning and super-hyped QB Robert Griffin III out of Baylor didn't play particularly well and, most importantly, couldn't stay healthy. He's still recovering from his latest injury. The Skins looked to #2, Kirk Cousins out of Michigan State. After a decent start, Cousins quickly crashed and burned with godawful play. So he was benched. The only guy left was Colt McCoy.

Though having had precious few "reps" in practice, McCoy's first game starting for the Skins would be against the Dallas Cowboys, in Dallas, on Monday Night Football. Going in, Da Boys had the best record in all of the NFL, featured the league's best running back in Demarco Murray, and the Redskins were 9 1/2 point underdogs. Jerry Jones, the cheerleaders, and a throng of over 80,000 yee-hah folks were waiting. No pressure.

Yet McCoy not only kept his cool -- he played great. In a suite high above the playing field, his mom and dad, life-long Dallas yee-hahers themselves, had switched loyalties. Their boy was playing for the once-hated Skins, so they rooted for them. It seems awkward for a mom and pop to abandon a decades old allegiance cuz one of their kinfolk has taken up with the other side.(Would a McCoy have rooted for another McCoy, after he'd joined the Hatfields?). Unknown. But stranger things have happened. See politics leading up to an election.

Nevertheless, after shaking off some of the initial rust, Colt McCoy was quite impressive against the Cowboys. He completed 80% of his passes, scrambled when necessarily for crucial first downs, and led his team to a win in overtime. All the analysts, experts, and pundits had it wrong. The Redskins were in for a beat-down, they said.

What became ironic during the game was when Dallas QB Tony Romo went out with an injury on an innocent enough looking play. His back-up? One Brandon Weedon. The guy Colt McCoy used to back-up during their Cleveland days. Small world.

But on this night, the same guy that was a Cowboy fan at age 5, played prep and college ball in Texas, and whose dream job was likely being the Dallas QB himself -- found himself playing for their arch-rival -- and a heavy underdog at that.

Yet when it was all over, the Redskins had scalped the Cowboys. Jerry Jones is not happy. 80,000 yee-haws have to go home, sober up, and break out the cold cream to wash off their Cowboy faces. The cheerleaders? They're probably still shaking their pom-poms and dancing somewhere, because they don't know any better. Nice to look at, but dumber than bricks.

Regardless, hats off to the real McCoy. Colt finally got a chance to play where he always wanted to, and wound up hog tieing the Cowboys in front of a national TV audience.

To boot, he's an all-around good guy. Active in his church, helping old folks around their yards and visiting nursing homes in his spare time, involved with meals on wheels, and donates a bunch of time and money helping out youth programs.

How can you NOT root for a dude like Colt McCoy?

Move over, former #2 in the pinstripes. Though Colt McCoy likely won't wind up in the Hall of Fame, you're not the only feel good story in sports these days.......

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