"You have bled with Wallace, now bleed with me." - Robert the Bruce, Braveheart
Seahawks fans have historically provided REAMS of evidence for the notion that "the most popular player on a team is the back-up quarterback." As a kid, I remember a constant drumbeat among Twelves that short, small-handed, inconsistent Dave Krieg needed to be replaced. Revisionist history aside, Matt Hasselbeck heard plenty of boos from the Seahawks Stadium crowd in 2001 and near the end of his Seattle career. The people that screamed from the mountaintops for Trent Dilfer to start gave way to those howling for Seneca Wallace and then Charlie Whitehurst to replace Hasselbeck.
If the two best QBs in franchise history got treated like that, it shouldn't be a surprise that Tarvaris Jackson is getting treated like absolute garbage by legions of Seahawks fans right now. I can't really pretend to understand why at this point.
The simple truth is that Tarvaris Jackson, barring injury or absolute implosion, will be Seattle's starting quarterback the rest of this season and most (if not all) of next season. Pete Carroll will not want to start his prized rookie QB unless he absolutely has to, which means the T-Jack era will probably last two full seasons. Particularly after last Sunday's performance, there is NO reason to think that Charlie Whitehurst is a better option than Jackson at QB. So why is Tarvaris still treated with such disdain by so many fans?
Shouldn't we embrace this kid? Isn't this a classic underdog story? This is a guy who didn't even play major college football, who survived four years of being jerked around by Brad Childress, and is by all accounts a leader in the Seahawks locker room. He's displayed toughness on the field, absorbing brutal punishment and showing his mettle by diving for the end zone to score the decisive touchdown against Arizona two weeks ago. He's never been involved in anything nefarious off-the-field, and looks to be about as close to a model citizen as you'd find in the NFL. So why do so many fans boo him and chant for him to be replaced by a mediocrity like Charlie Whitehurst?
When we acquired Jackson, I said that I'd consider him a success if he matched or exceeded the performance of Jon Kitna in 1999. At the quarter-pole of the season, he's doing just that: Kitna's 1999 QB rating was 77.7, while Jackson's through four games is 80.0. Hell, Jackson is so far outperforming every Matt Hasselbeck season since 2007. He isn't the QB of the future, but as he showed us last week he can be the QB who keeps us competitive until The Savior arrives (particularly if he is given decent pass protection).
I'm still flummoxed with the hostility directed at the man- Matt Hasselbeck isn't walking back into that locker room. For the rest of this season, our choices are Jackson, Whitehurst or Josh Portis, and there is no rational basis to think that either of our other two QBs would magically outperform Tarvaris. So why is the first impulse of so many fans to childishly boo him rather than support him?
We knew what we were getting with Tarvaris Jackson, and now it looks like he might just be able to pull off what he was hired to achieve: provide Seattle with a competent, cheap QB to bridge the gap between Matt Hasselbeck and the Glorious Franchise Quarterback we will draft next Spring.
So why the fuck are so many fans still shitting all over him?