While recapping the Bills historic comeback in ’93 against the Oilers, Terry Cudmore was thinking about the career of long-time back up, Frank Reich. Terry asked:
“Would you rather be Frank Reich, who only started 20 games over his 13-year NFL career, or a perennial starting quarterback in the NFL who never really achieved anything of note? For example, let’s say Tony Romo.”
To be fair, some additional caveats were added.
- Coaching/commentating careers don’t count.
- Forget the monetary component – 2 years as a starting QB could mean the entire career earnings of a long-time back up.
Well, the Turf jumped in to offer their takes. Here’s where everyone landed.
Terry Cudmore – Frank Reich
Romo was good (he made four Pro Bowls) and made a ton of money (and still is doing that), but he also never sniffed the MVP and was 2-4 in the playoffs (and never made it past the Divisional Round).
I keep thinking I’d rather be the guy who is immortalized with those two comeback games. Any time any team goes down big in a college or NFL game, Frank Reich is mentioned on that broadcast. If Tony Romo was not a broadcaster right now, would you ever think about him? What about Alex Smith or Philip Rivers after they retire?
Count me in for choosing the guy whose name and legacy will be difficult to erase.
Justin Colombo – Frank Reich
I would 100% be Frank Reich. For the sole reason that in his career he’s known for doing a few weird things both for (the 1992 Bills) and against (1984 Hurricanes) good teams. Like, I’m a weird folk hero to a select group of degenerates? I’ll take that over being a mildly remembered football player.
Kevin Morin – Frank Reich
I would be Frank Reich, no question. My name coming up constantly while a team is on the verge of an epic comeback? I’m in. That, to me, is better than being known as never having done anything great.
Joe Danbusky – Kind of Romo?
Hmmm, I’m not sure which way I’d go. I’d love the noteworthiness associated with my name a la Reich, but as a competitor, I don’t know how I’d handle having such a lengthy career with so little playing time. My competitive drive might get the better of me and I think it’d be hard for me to be on the sidelines the majority of the time.
Ryan Neely – Tony Romo
I’d pick Romo. Adored by a fan base. Much more clutch than people outside of Dallas give him credit for. Someone whose story is a true underdog story (From undrafted to holding multiple offensives records for “America’s Team.”), played through broken backs, punctured lungs and all sorts of crazy injuries, and one whose passion for the game came through on the field and now we get to see in the booth. I know I sound like I’m being paid to write his biography, but I always liked him as a player and I was sad he rarely had a supporting cast around him to help him get to the super bowl.
Christian Heilman – Frank Reich
I’d take Reich, on that same Bills team, with Kelly injured longer, but in a different time and space than when that 90s cowboys team existed
Andrew Mark Wilhelm – Frank Reich
In this example Reich. But I think it’s entirely dependent on teams and situations.
Like, I’d rather be Nick Foles the backup over Nick Foles the starter.
Paul Radassao – Tony Romo
Probably Romoesqe career. Would make a of money as a starter, possibly experience Pro Bowl type stuff, and loved by a city.
Mike Mahany – Ummmm….
I get the caveats but I guess it depends on what drives you; are you about the game or are you about long term wealth and success? As a starting quarterback on a major market team like “america’s team”, you’ll have universal name recognition by everyone inside and outside of the game. As a player with not many starts but a tenured history (who turned into a successful coach but we’re not considering in this), you may never be a “household name” but you’ll have the respect of everyone in the game and who cares about the game… or anyone from Maryland or upstate New York
(Prodding from Justin Colombo follows)
I was hoping you wouldn’t notice my non-answer…. I pick Reich
Ryan MacPherson – Frank Reich
I think I’ll go with Reich – you get remembered for your greatest moments, whereas career starters that never got anywhere are noted for their failures. Reich has two all-time great sports moments and Romo is considered a choke artist that botched basic plays to cost his team deep playoff runs. Life is friendlier in the moment to the starter like Romo but history looks more favorably on guys like Reich. By all accounts, he exceeded expectations and will forever be remembered by the fans in the cities where he played.
The Final Tally – Reich – 7, Romo – 3
Well, you’ve heard our takes – what do you think? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.
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