There are a plethora of people who played a hand in the demise of one of football’s most popular enigmas; however, none bear more blame than Young himself. The QB allowed the naysayers and detractors to derail his flourishing career, to the point where Young has become nothing more than a caricature of a professional quarterback.
The former All-American has no credibility in the game he once ran. Oddly enough some of the main culprits who rode alongside VY on his drive to destruction have managed to walk away unscathed (Jeff Fisher).
When you journey back to that January night, it is almost unfathomable that just six years later the man who orchestrated one of the most melodic football symphonies of all-time is not in the league. Then one recounts his last two seasons in the NFL, and that shocking realization that he is not in the league is replaced by relief that this forced sabbatical might bring about a better and more disciplined player.
The National Championship game, much like Young’s college football career, was an improbable victory. VY stepped on the University of Texas’ campus unequipped to play the quarterback position, and it showed in the Longhorns play calling.
Most, if not all of VY’s plays resembled a certain “let’s just see what happens” philosophy. It appeared as if the play came into the huddle as “let’s see what happens on two… on two!”
The quarterback's valor was evident during his first year, even when Young was still learning how to play the position. The slender QB managed to be efficient, and even dominant, at times during his redshirt year. However, there were other times when he looked lost and unprepared.
In his final two seasons at Texas the Longhorns went 24-1 with Young at the helm. The sporadic play of VY’s redshirt year at Texas was met with consistent greatness during his third season, which culminated with a championship.
We as fans were captivated by Young’s improvisational skills and his propensity for the dramatic in big moments. After all it was VY who took the bull by the horns and scored two touchdowns in just four minutes to secure the University of Texas' first National title since 1970.
The quarterback’s greatness is best illustrated when compared to his contemporaries. Young completed more passes (30 to 29) than the 2004 Heisman trophy winner, Matt Leinart. Then proceeded to out rush (200 yards to 82 yards) and outscore (three touchdowns to one) the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush. After such a performance NFL success seemed imminent.
The Tennessee Titans drafted the prolific quarterback third overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and he did not disappoint, on the field that is. Four fourth quarter comebacks and five game winning drives in 13 starts as a rookie would endear any player to their head coach, unless your head coach is Jeff Fisher and unless your head coach is a Trojan for life.
When Young was drafted several news outlets reported Titans owner Bud Adams overruled head coach Jeff Fisher, who wanted Matt
Leinart, and selected Young. Whether Fisher wanted Young or not is inconsequential, as is how much of an impact then offensive coordinator Norm Chow played on Young during his rookie season. The bottom line is, Young won and no one can deny that, at one point the quarterback was 26-13 as starter. .
The problem arose when the wins stopped and the public spats with head coach Jeff Fisher began. VY’s success had given birth to a new group of expectations, that his stagnated development and sporadic play could not deliver on. 26-13 turned into 4-4 and ultimately cost Young his job.
Adversity has a way of separating genuine support from adulation, which Young learned firsthand when Titans owner Bud Adams went public with his pending release. The support Young thought he had accumulated through the years proved to be nothing more than the owner’s childlike adulation for Young.
Lost among the ever so bright glow of success at Texas was Young’s development as a quarterback. The QB progressed from inadequate signal caller who threw for 1,155 yards and six touchdowns in his first year, to a poised stoic champion, who passed for 3,036 yards to go along with 26 touchdowns in year three.
That metamorphoses was expected from Young, and it never came. There were a litany of reasons why the QB failed, but none absolve VY of the ultimate blame. Yet, you cannot tell VY he is not the baddest to do it. The oblivious are always entertaining and the former Longhorn leader’s behavior in his final days as a Titan and release from the lowly Buffalo Bills is a testament to that fact.
Long gone is the former majestic chain mover who catapulted to superstardom through hard work and resilience. Standing before us is a slightly talented quarterback whose impact is felt in words and not in play.
There is a sliver of hope that Young will return to the magnificent player who once displayed effortless greatness, but before the quarterback can possibly return to that player he must first accept and rid himself of the current player he has become.