Why Connor Cook Can Become the NFL's Best Story of the Year
Elias Trejo – Jan 4, 2017
Where were you when Connor Cook started his first NFL game? That's a question that we would all love to be asked 10 years down the road as Cook is in the twilight of his NFL career. Cook has an opportunity to write the first chapter of an amazing story this weekend against the Texans. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first ever start during the playoff game. This weekend Cook has the opportunity to forever alter the future of the NFL.
You see, Cook’s situation is unique, but it's not the first time something like this has ever happened. All you have to do is look at this season and the Dallas Cowboys for an example. They lost their All-Pro quarterback, Tony Romo, for the season and then they lost their backup quarterback, Kellen Moore. In came Dak Prescott, a rookie that was picked 135th overall in the fourth round, and now he was in charge of America’s team. The Cowboys lost their first game of the year with Prescott as quarterback and it looked like the season was over.
Fast forward 16 weeks later and the Cowboys finished 13-3 and with the best record in the NFC. They are getting a first round bye and are the favorites to make it out of the NFC and into the Super Bowl. This was after all hope was lost and after losing their first game with the back up's back up.
The only team that had a better record than the Cowboys this year was the New England Patriots, who had a similar story. I'm not sure if you have heard of Tom Brady or not, but he also benefited from an injury to his team’s starting quarterback. Brady was able to take advantage of that opportunity and the NFL will never be the same again.
Brady is now considered to be one of the best of all time, if not the best of all time. Brady and Prescott aren't the first backups to have an opportunity come up and turn it into something special and they won't be the last. We can name past guys like Jim Plunkett, Jeff Hostetler, Terry Bradshaw, and Roger Staubach, who took over their teams after not being the starters and they turned it into something special. It's up to Cook this week to try and make it on this list.
At this point we don't know what's going to happen, but we know what Cook did in his brief appearance against the Denver Broncos. He didn't look great, but he showed some flashes of good ability and then he showed his flaws. There is no doubt that he faces a daunting challenge as he will start against the number one defense in the NFL. The good news for Cook is that his team around him is good enough to help him pull out the victory. The bad news for Cook is that he did not take any practice snaps with the first team all year and he was never active until Carr went down with an injury.
So yes, the odds are completely against Cook and the Oakland Raiders to win this weekend. Nobody expects the Raiders to win and they have an excuse not to win. They lost their MVP candidate at quarterback and then they lost their backup quarterback. It would be hard to script a better opportunity for Cook than the one he has this week. He will have complete control of the direction his story will go towards this weekend.
The question is, will this be the start of a great story that nobody expected or is this going to be what everyone expects it to be? The great stories are made when the unexpected happens. Rocky movies wouldn't be great if he just whooped everyone's ass in the first round. Bambi wouldn't be a great story if his mom wouldn't have gotten shot early on. To be honest, I don't remember how that story ends, but you get the point.
Regardless of how Bambi ended, Cook has the opportunity to start something special this weekend. He could have us asking in 10 years, "Where were you when Conor Cook started his first playoff game?"
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