“The Amish Rifle,” “Fitzmagic,” “Fitzception’,’ Ryan Fitzpatrick is a man of many names, garnered over his fifteen year NFL career. Considered one of the smartest people to play the game, having graduated from Harvard, and scoring a 48/50 on the wonderlic test, which is a test used to measure cognitive ability and problem solving aptitude. He had the third highest score ever from an NFL player and finished said test in only nine minutes, which is a record. This storied career has spanned eight teams, with his most significant stints taking place in Buffalo, New York and Miami, though he still managed to leave his mark on many of the other places he has played.
He was playing arguably the best football he has ever played this season through the first four games for Miami, but news broke this week that he had been benched in a surprise move by coach Brian Flores. Fitzpatrick was surprised, stating that “ I was shocked by it, it definitely caught me off guard,” and that, “Is this it, was that my last game as an NFL player in terms of being the starter …”. To anyone who follows the career of Fitzy, the thought of him being yanked off the starting job like this, and possibly never starting again is such a sad thought, he’s had some of the most amazing displays throughout his career, which Ithink is a Hall of Fame worthy one. A lot of people will probably not share this sentiment with me, after all, his starting record of 58-86-1 certainly doesn’t scream Hall of Fame. I think though, that we need to look deeper than Super Bowls, playoff wins, total win/loss and look to the person, the individual achievements that someone like Fitzpatrick has left on the game.
Fitzpatrick’s stats are up there with Hall of Fame, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. Granted, the game has changed since many of these quarterbacks have played, but I think his stats deserve a mention and recognition. Fitzpatrick has thrown for over 34,000 yards, thrown for 220 touchdowns, and has a career completion percentage of 60.67 percent While not as impactful on the ground he rushed for 2,607 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per carry, while scoring 21 touchdowns over his career. Compare his stats to the likes of Troy Aikman, who played a comparable number of games but won 3 Super Bowls and was a multi-time pro bowler. Granted, as I have said, the game was a lot different than it is now, but I also have to say Troy Aikmann played for one of the greatest dynasties, while Fitzpatrick has mainly been dealt around to horrible teams usually tanking for his replacement the year after.
You can argue Aikman was a leader, proof of which is the multiple championships, but I’d also argue Fitzpatrick is a leader, We have seen and heard time and time again cases of his leadership on display. We have seen press conferences with his teammates where they heap praise and just all around enjoy being teammates, which is such a crucial part of the game. Even the man who has recently come to replace him couldn’t stop from complimenting and respecting his leadership. Tua Tagovailoa said of Fitzpatrick, “Everyone knows Fitz has done an amazing job … It’s like a father and son thing.” I don’t think you’ll ever find a Qb pair like Fitz and Tua, where one is so willing, regardless of how hurt he may feel, to just continue the day to day, teaching Tua the ropes and setting him up to be even better than Fitz himself.
Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Fitzmagic, but if we never get to see him start under center again, I really hope we can see him in the hallowed halls of Canton someday in the future.