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Playing Armchair Quarterback, While the Real Athletes Sit Out

October 3, 2015 8:23 AM | Columns

By Roger Currie

Robert Marve - Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Recently-retired Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Robert Marve (16) looks down field in play against the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, August 14, 2015. (JEFF MILLER / FOR CHRISD.CA)

Since I was about 12, I have nurtured a secret fantasy life. It saw me quarterback the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to their four Grey Cup titles when Bud Grant was the coach. And oh yes, in the off season I acted in movies. Well why not?

Especially this season though, I have developed a much better appreciation of just hard it is to be successful as a quarterback, and that the chances of getting hurt are enormous. Of the nine professional teams in Canada, only Bo Levi Mitchell in Calgary and the ageless Henry Burris in Ottawa have managed to start and finish every game.

In Toronto, the great Ricky Ray has been out so long with shoulder problems that he can’t even crack the line-up now that he’s healthy, because Trevor Harris is doing so well as his replacement. I won’t even talk about Winnipeg and Saskatchewan in 2015, because it would take too long.

How about the NFL? Are they any better at protecting their high-priced help at quarterback? Hardly. In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers is out for several weeks, as are Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. It’s providing great opportunities for the young guys behind them, but how long might they last?

Both leagues have brought in rules that are supposed to protect the guy who helps to sell tickets by moving the ball to the end zone. You can’t hit them too high, or too low, and if you hit them late, it will cost you 15 yards. This year in the CFL, the “zebras” seem to be getting more time on camera than anyone, but still the quarterbacks are being knocked out of the line-up.

By the way, it turned out I was too slow to play quarterback, but I did help win a high school championship as a defensive lineman, and none of the opposing quarterbacks were hurt that season when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.