Why everyone loves the back-up QB
It's simple really - if you haven't made any mistakes on the field, then you are perfect. And everyone loves perfection.

For decades now, but more so in the last couple of years since internet bulletin boards and sports talk radio shows arrived on the scene, discussion over the starting quarterback has been rife. Whereas some teams have out-and-out QB battles (Cleveland 2003), others, like the Bucs, have to rely on mischief-makers to create dissention amongst the ranks.

Remember 1990 and 1991 when Vinny and Chris Chandler were battling for the No.1 spot? The team was divided, the fans were divided, and coach Richard Williamson ended up having to cut Chandler in mid-season to avoid a riot taking place at One Buc Place.

No such worries now as for the past three seasons, the Bucs have simply installed Brad Johnson behind center and watched solidity at the QB position for the first time in two decades. But still people post bulletins and call the likes of Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles asking why No.14 is out there.

Unbelievable - and some of these people even want Chris Simms to replace Brad for this season. Thankfully Jon Gruden and his coaching staff know a little more about professional football than these muppets who sometimes make me wonder how they managed to dial the number or log-on to the internet. Brad is No.1 and will remain there all season.

But the back-up job is another matter. Simms or Griese? Griese or Simms? The way I look at the situation is pretty simple - if Brad gets hurt, who would you want to take over the role for the rest of that game or potentially one or two more afterwards? In 2002, it was a choice between Shaun "Popgun arm" King and Rob "The Human Sack Machine" Johnson. Gruden hated Johnson but he had to play him because he knew he wouldn't lose the Bucs the game. King would have done and did so on Monday Night football against Pittsburgh.

So this is why you take Griese over Simms. He has been a starter in Denver and Miami and knows what it takes to play in this league. You will never win a SuperBowl with Brian Griese, but on limited playing time as a back-up, he won't cost you any games either. Chris Simms crapped his pants every big game at Texas and can't phone his Dad during games in Tampa. No.3 - yes, No.2 - please no!

September 2004