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Harrington

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I, as you all know, have been a fan of the Oregon Ducks since I was a child when they were going 2-9 in the early 80s. and losing to Pacific University in Stockton, which soon after gave up their football program. So I suppose I am biased about Joey Harrington’s post-mortem on his failed career as an NFL quarterback, but it’s really rather powerful. Now, there are reasons to suspect Harrington would not have been a successful NFL quarterback in an average situation since his accuracy was not that great. But the Lions of the early 2000s was not an average situation, it was an utterly disastrous one. With arguably the worst GM in NFL history, one Matt Millen, who only kept his job because William Clay Ford thought he was a good Christian, despite drafting 3 consecutive wide receivers in the first round after Harrington, of which one turned out to be of NFL quality, it’s hardly surprising that Harrington failed. On top of that, Harrington simply did not fit the toxic masculinity of NFL culture that thankfully coaches like the great Pete Carroll are trying to kill. Certainly lame coaches like Steve Marucci sure weren’t going to find places for a piano-playing QB like Harrington. Despite his probable deficiencies that were to prevent him from fulfilling what any team would hope from a top 5 pick, Harrington was done no favors and in fact there’s almost no way he could have succeeded barring being a Hall of Fame QB like Payton Manning. And given the NFL’s culture of throwing rookie QBs to the wolves, how many potentially great QBs have been destroyed by the combination of bad teams, bad coaching, and bad culture. David Carr is another prime example here. Of course I worry about the greatest player ever to wear an Oregon uniform, one Marcus Mariota, who has had a quite fine rookie season except for being destroyed every time he drops back because the Tennessee offensive line is so atrocious. Given the many problems of the modern NFL, I worry that Mariota is the next Harrington, although he is far more skilled and already more proven on the NFL level. The NFL is a broken system in many ways and even outside of Harrington’s own weaknesses as a player, quarterbacks like him are given little chance to succeed because they go to broken franchises with loser coaches, worthless GMs, bad owners, and poor offensive lines. That combo could break Troy Aikman or Terry Bradshaw if they end up on the wrong teams, not to mention Joey Harrington and David Carr.

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