Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Free Todd Bouman

With the NFL season nearly upon us, I've been moved to address an ongoing injustice that has gone unnoticed within the league for over a decade now. Of course, I'm speaking of the unjust oppression a once-in-a lifetime talent like Todd Bouman. Never before has a QB so charismatic, so gutsy and so utterly talented been forced to watch from the sidelines as lesser QBs played, nay, floundered where he would most assuredly have thrived.

Though he grew up in tiny Ruthton, Minnesota, Bouman's physical gifts were apparent from an early age as he was excelled in football, basketball and track & field, earning All-State honors in all three sports. Yet, in what would become a running theme, Bouman's prodigious talent was ignored and he was forced to accept a scholarship to tiny St. Cloud State. Not surprisingly, Bouman dominated the competition in college and caught the eyes of a scout for the Minnesota Vikings (who has since disappeared...entirely). Given a chance, which is all he's ever asked for, Bouman lit up the Vikings' training camp and made the squad. However, Bouman's joy at making the team would be short lived as he quickly realized that the politics that kept him from receiving major college scholarship offers were still in play in the NFL. Still, strong in spirit, Bouman continued to work each day to prove his worth to the Minnesota organization and was finally given an opportunity when Daunte Culpepper went down with an injury late in the 2001 season.

Like the true warrior he is, Bouman seized the moment and piloted the Vikings to a number of victories while also earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after lighting up the helpless Tennessee Titans defense for 384 yards (on 21-31 passing) and 4 TDs. Finally, after years of struggling and fighting the old boy network of the NFL, Bouman had proven himself. Certainly, no one would deny his talents now. On the contrary, fearing that the abilities of Bouman would make their entire organization look foolish, the Vikings quickly shipped him off to New Orleans where he would be forced to back up yet another inferior quarterback, Aaron Brooks.

This would be the beginning of a never ending cycle for Bouman. He would completely and totally annihilate defenses whenever given the opportunity, only to quickly be exiled by his own organization for fear of their incompetence being discovered. Bouman would be released by the Saints and bounce from team to team over the next few years, each time encountering coaching staffs that were frightened by his immense talents and unwillingness to subjugate his abilities lest he intimidate his fellow QBs and embarrass the receivers who couldn't hold on to his rocket propelled throws.

As time has gone on, things have only gotten worse, no longer were teams willing to keep Bouman on as a backup. After all, as a backup Bouman was but one snap away from taking the field and revolutionizing the game. Now, teams were employing him as a 3rd string QB, hopeful that the steady paycheck and dreams of finally taking his rightful place in the pantheon of great NFL passers would somehow keep Bouman from leaving for the CFL, where he surely would become the greatest passer in CFL history.

Finally, this preseason Bouman was making his move, refusing to let politics keep him down. He lead the Jacksonville Jaguars' backups to TD after TD while amassing an otherwordly 107.5 passser rating. Of course, Jack Del Rio being a long time member of the NFL hierarchy knew that he couldn't afford to have Bouman breathing down the neck of David Garrard, so he cut him while retaining the services of the underwhelmingly average Cleo Lemon. Bouman wasn't surprised, he knows the NFL's game and has vowed to continue to try and change the game from within.

Bouman recently signed with the Ravens where he'll sit behind dramatically inferior passers like Joe Flacco and Troy Smith all the while knowing that he could, no would, be the best QB in Baltimore since Johnny U, if he'd only get the chance. Will he ever be given the opportunity to shine like the bright, shining star he is? I wouldn't count on it my friends. The NFL is a dark, seedy world. A world that will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo that's kept this man down for years and years.

Yeah, the NFL is back but its not what we, the fans, deserve. Not as long as Todd Bouman's wearing a baseball cap and standing on the sidelines.

12 comments:

Zoltan said...

So how do you feel about Todd Bouman? Also, do you ever watch college football?

rob said...

sorry, dude - editorial decision.

rob said...

i didn't mean to make you go away, mark. sheesh.

Mark said...

It's quite alright Rob. I was out playing basketball. I cede to your sense of political correctness and take no offense. And anyway, I'm not the one who's going to have to answe to Todd Bouman.

Also, how did you make my response to Zoltan go away. You're one magical little man.

rob said...

i thought you did that. i blame teejay.

Mark said...

When in doubt...blame TJ. That's what I always say.

TJ said...

Yep.

Zoltan said...

It's all my fault. I'm often unintentionally abrasive. For the record, Todd Bouman won a few fantasy football games for me when he was a Viking and I bear him no grudge.

TJ said...

Free Hat (McCullough)

Geoff said...

I don't really know what the story over here is with Squirrely Rob's Book Burnin' and Witch Hunt...but I'm pretty sure I don't like it.

TJ said...

Much like Sarah Palin, rob would like to remove a lot of books in his library.

rob said...

miami's getting 21 points from florida? zoinks.