"Great Under Massive Pressure" ... it's appropriate because in the NFL ... you only have to win one game and that game is the Super Bowl.
As for your slide, it was hard to watch your body language as your anguish was similar to watching Aaron Rodgers those many years ago. All the Viking Nation asks is that you never forget exactly how you felt for every moment, up to that 32nd selection of 2014, in every day of your career. Wear that as your badge of honor. We can only hope that you can join both Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as your day to day focus will be to prove that Houston should of selected you as the first selection of the 2014 draft.
Allow me to help you on your way as you begin your NFL career. Mr. Bridgewater is his own man. There has never been a quarterback like Theodore "Teddy" Bridgewater in the NFL ... and there will never be another. It is now paramount that you distinguish yourself. To do so, you need to differentiate yourself. Although you are new to this Minnesota Vikings franchise, the eyes and ears of this league are not. In fact they are now 53 years old ... and still no Super Bowl Championship ... just one tarnished NFL championship subjugated to Super Bowl IV.
Randall Cunningham won an NFL MVP award in 1998. That award should have been presented to Randy Moss as the prime key for the NFL record in points scored. Randall had one great year with this franchise ... unfortunately it was at the end of his career. Hall of Famer Warren Moon fell to us well beyond his prime ... maybe as part of a flawed cast of characters. Fran Tarkenton had three (3) bad days that are better left to history. Joe Kapp ... the warrior tossing wobbled passes ... got beat up on the worlds greatest stage ... and he never got that second chance being dealt away into obscurity. Gus Frerrotte ... Kapp's mirror image ... again beyond his prime ... was beaten into obscurity ... as he never got his chance to complete his season. Which brings me down to two: Daunte Culpepper and your immediate predecessor Christian Ponder.
Daunte put up some impressive numbers as our #11 pick in the first round of 1999. For an entire year he led the scout team and played just a down or two his entire rookie year. Dennis Green was so impressed with him that he got rid of our starter and backups to clear the way for Daunte's sophomore campaign which as it turns out was lights out. This eventually led up to a head to head match with the "Greatest Show on Turf" or the eventual Super Bowl Champions. What a year of additional experience might have meant to both Daunte Culpepper and this franchise ... something we'll never know. At first, Daunte became a student of the game learning under Cris Carter and evolving with Randy Moss but that all changed ... as all at once ... Daunte seemed to know it all. On the field, it became obvious that there was no need to master the many aspects of the game ... the result being a stoppable uni-dimensional attack. In Daunte's words, "All you have to do is chuck it deep to Moss". Imagine Joe Montana only relying solely upon Jerry Rice virtually ignoring Bill Walsh's West Coast offense, but that's exactly what Daunte's ego accomplished. In time, Daunte's folly became way too dependent upon Moss's impact ... to the detriment of this franchise. Daunte the player became stronger-willed than the coach and it destroyed us. In time, a new scheme was employed to shut down Moss, or limit his effectiveness, and there wasn't the preparation or the will necessary to counter the Moss strangle hold. Like it or not ... for all purposes ... your career will be compared step for step with Daunte Culpepper ... as the entire league has begun the search for the keys or flaws that will lead to your eventual demise. Your comparison will be because Daunte had so much potential where his character flaws, combined with ego, and abilities, were all allowed to overwhelm his growth ... until it was eventually all taken away.
Just like that first day when you were told that we are all born to die ... so to, will be the arrival of the end of your career. The way you have to approach it is, "If you blink ... it will all be over". Tomorrow you'll be 30. The next day you'll be dead. Get the picture. What you didn't learn yesterday will kill you tomorrow. Daunte never got that. Master what you can not do well ... taking the hard road ... and in time ... there will be no way to stop you. There once was an athlete that took control of a game to the teams detriment. Although it was only the first game of a long season his coach remarked, "It (the season) was almost over ... can't you see that?" Those simple words became a turning point for that athlete in that his approach changed understanding the preciousness of the commodity (time ... and not to waist the opportunity with ego). So to will this message be (Yoda!).
To help you on your way you'll need to answer a key question. Am I my brothers keeper? Let me help you out with that question ... Yes! You are your brother keeper.
So, if the season were to start tomorrow and Matt Cassel, as this teams starter, was to lose the opener in St. Louis ... whose fault would that be? You guessed it, the reason for that loss lies firmly at the feet of Mr. Theodore "Teddy" Bridgewater because you failed to prepare Matt to win that game. Your skills and development were not evident enough to displace him as the starter to help this franchise win. That's the only way Joe Montana would see it whereas a loser would see it just about any other way. Did you foolishly accept the excuses prepared for you by accepting a secondary role on this team and who's fault is that? Tell me ... what happened on opening day September 17th 1961? Did we see the culmination of an excuse or did we see the start of an 18 year Hall of Fame career? What might have happened at the old Metropolitan Stadium on September 2, 1979 if Joe Montana had started that game? That day transformed a sub franchise into a dynasty. What happened on September 10, 1989. Some rookie 1st round draft pick by the name of Troy Aikman began a new Dallas Cowboys dynasty and a Hall of Fame career. Let me be the first to tell you that Teddy Bridgewater is going to have to burn down a concrete world and nothing should be allowed to stand in your way to prevent you from torching the world in front of you. There are no words of either remorse or reconciliation that can change this fact. You need to be prepared to eat your own guts and then ask for seconds. There is no other way ... this is the NFL. It's time to wake up and be counted. Leave the, "Make Nice" for the mommies. You'll have plenty of time to rest on your laurels and sleep when your dead. You need to look no further than your fellow NFL compatriots which include the inaugural seasons of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino. The organization can hand the start to someone else but Teddy Bridgewater will never accept it. You just don't jostle nitroglycerine in your kitchen expecting great home interiors. The world has one view ... Norv Turner and company just might have another.
As for your predecessor Christian Ponder, his history is well documented in all the attached documentation. The excuses that crippled him began the moment he became a Viking ... as he had no proper training camp ... and on, and on, and on. Don't disregard either Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder as they most certainly are the best back up quarterbacks in the league. Ponder is brilliant and Cassel learned his craft under two guys that you might know: Bill Belichick & Tom Brady. When Cassel plays ... both these mutants are clearly standing right beside him. In the future, one of these guys may end up being the Terry Hanratty (on stage last night representing Super Bowl IX) to your Terry Bradshaw but neither have either your skill or ultimate potential. To be direct, it will be impossible to squelch Cassel and his career path however, Cassel will never conflict with yours as both you and he will be linked for all time. Even if Teddy Bridgewater takes that first 2014 snap under center... Matt Cassel will actually be the starter. Whether you know it or not, the success of your 2014 season, and you career for that matter, will be directly attributable to Matt Cassel, regardless of outcome. Your success is his success and visa versa. Every day you will find that you not only will have to push the performance of these guys on the field, you'll have to pump every last ounce of information and philosophy that you can from these guys that you can get. Don't assume that you know why Matt did either this or that ... make him explain every firing nerve ending to you. Leave no stone unturned as you'll learn the game from just about every source that they put around you.
Ponder was crippled by the excuse which isn't my assessment ... it is clear to see. That regime and philosophy is now gone from this franchise. The future goes something like the following. I refuse to allow that to happen to me or anyone ever again. As for me ... "My name is - Theodore "Teddy" Bridgewater - AKA GUMP. I am here to win this franchises first Super Bowl Championship ... not tomorrow, not today, but yesterday. Draft order is irrelevant as Mr. Rodgers can attest. As Randy Moss once said ... "I'm here to tear it up (The League)". I like the sound of that assessment. As expected, my career will be filled with both ups and downs and it is my hope that this franchise has the courage to endure both my substandard days along with any success that might come my way. My only question is, "Will I have the courage and the wherewithal to achieve in this league and will this franchise join me in this endeavor. It is my plan to be this franchises 2014 opening day starter just as it was for Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. If I fail in this attempt then I have clearly failed to prepare not only myself but both Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder to perform at a high level to be successful for this franchise. No one shall make excuses for me, my team, or my coaches, or this franchise. I'm not asking for any handout and I want nothing given to me that I haven't earned. I'm not here to force anyone's hand based upon any past performance, draft order, contract dollars or whatever. To be successful the world must be in harmony and all decisions must make perfect sense. I'm here solely to begin my career as a Minnesota Viking, to represent this franchise the best way that I know, by humbly becoming the servant to those for which they have chosen to surround me. Every man has a boss and someone to answer to ... I am no different. As a leader I must be the answer for every aspect of this organization. If he fails ... from the man with the bucket to the man on top ... then I have failed. I'm not hear to step on anyone's toes. I'm hear to lead this organization and achieve my destiny. I refuse to allow anyone including myself to be subservient to anyone or anything as that has never been positive to the game that I love. It is my duty to serve at the behest of this franchise. In short ... I am a man, and I intend to act that way. The rest is for the world to decide.
Please keep in mind that if anyone in this organization assumes any subservient role or accepts anything other than excellence to achieve as the highest attainable levels then they have accepted defeat. Although I expect to beaten by my NFL peers, and humbled from time to time, I refuse to capitulate 1 inch of my precious career to anyone or anything without the fight within every fiber in my body. In short, I refuse to fail any aspect of this franchise and I intend to lead this franchise, side by side with my mates, to achieve its ultimate goal. That is my mindset ... anything less is tantamount to stealing from every member of this organization.
It all starts with ... "Mr. Bridgewater ... we'd like to bring you along slowly ...". Your response might go something like this, "I'm almost dead! You better trade me." Sounds strange but imagine yourself standing on the field in Gettysburg, PA on July 3, 1863. If you approach every day like that day then there will be nothing but success in your future.
Sorry coach Zimmer and Norv Turner. Did the bad gods upset your schedule? Come on ... you know it was coming. You have to be careful what you ask for as you just might get it. Don't like it. Too bad! Deal with it!
Joe Willy guaranteed a victory. That victory came deep within every fiber and nerve firing within his body. It wasn't born from an excuse or some fancy talk about sitting in the back seat.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: May 10, 2014