Happy 44th Birthday Gus Frerotte


In the world of social media hashtags, #TBT — Throwback Thursday — ended up winning out over #FBF — Flashback Friday. Maybe it’s a Coke vs. Pepsi type thing, although #FBF is probably more akin to RC Cola, but whatever. It happened. I don’t have the answer for why it did. Let’s just roll with it and not split hairs.

Allow that to serve as my flimsy excuse for a late-July, late-Friday afternoon post about Gus Frerotte, so just go with it.

Yes, that Gus Frerotte.

From afar Frerotte is the very definition of unremarkable, average, journeyman, fringe NFL starting quarterback. If you went into the season with Gus Frerotte as your starting quarterback, well, at least you had a live body standing under center. So that’s … something. Hey look, in 1995 he led the NFL in yards-per-completion, at least according to Pro-Football-Reference.

Even better? He holds the all-time record for most passing yards in a playoff game (251!) at FedEx Field(*).

Frerotte carved out a 15-year, seven-team career starting in 1994 and running all the way to 2008, meaning there are digital versions of Frerotte in the Madden series spanning from the Sega Genesis/SNES days all the way through PlayStation 3/XBox 360.

Frerotte’s all-time record as a starter with stints in Washington, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis and Denver stands at 45-47-1 — of course there’s a tie.

All this is mostly irrelevant. Frerotte is remembered, if at all, for one moment — the lowlight when he headbutted the padding at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium during a Sunday Night game against the Giants in 1997 which sent him to the hospital at halftime with a sprained neck. (His replacement? Super Bowl XXV hero Jeff Hostelter!) Fittingly, this was the aforementioned tie on Frerotte’s resume.

So I guess the question here before we wrap up is this: if you beat the odds and make it to the NFL — or any pro sports league — would you rather play for a couple of years and fade away into total obscurity? Or would you rather be remembered for a blunder, i.e. Frerotte or Leon Lett or the late Garo Yepremian?

As we ponder that, we think of you Gus Frerotte and the fun you gave us and the ESPN SportsCenter anchors at the time.

Happy 44th Birthday. An Internet Dumbest Sports Injury list wouldn’t be the same without you.

[Feature Image via Getty Images]

(*) Note: there have only been two playoff games at FedEx Field since it opened in 1997.