Moments after Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets, I want to believe that Neil O'Donnell had a moment of joy, knowing he was no longer in the bottom two for worst quarterbacks to ever play for the team. Then he called up Browning Nagle, and the two went out for a celebratory dinner.
Now Mark Sanchez and Tebow will engage in a quarterback controversy that will no doubt spill off the field into their personal lives, too. Like can't you imagine Tebow "accidentally" leaving his phone open on his desk during the quarterback meeting flashing a photo of him and Kate Upton. And hey, I applaud such action. All is fair in love, war and quarterback controversies. Sanchez will respond by posing in GQ. Oh wait, he always does that.
But how will this play out? Will it be like an NFL's version of "The Hunger Games"? Well, we just need to look back in history at some of the greatest quarterback controversies of all time.
First, a few honorable mentions:
Vince Ferragamo/Pat Haden: Ferragamo led the L.A. Rams to their first and only Super Bowl, but Haden got his job back to start the 1980 season. Still wasn't as bad as trading Jaws in 1977 because of Haden.
Joe Gilliam and Terry Bradshaw: Bradshaw actually started the team's first Super Bowl season on the bench.
Phil Simms/Jeff Hostetler: The Giants had to chose between two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.
Doug Williams/Jay Schroeder: This battle was so contentious, Williams refused to leave Super Bowl XXII, even though he was injured and the game was well in hand.
Tebow/Kyle Orton: This is worth mentioning because fans bought a billboard.
Trent Dilfer/Casey Weldon: The two got into a fist fight on the golf course.
And without further ado ...
Roger Staubach and Clint Longley
Staubach actually was challenged twice during his Hall-of-Fame career, first by Craig Morton (who was eventually sent out to Denver) and then by Longley, who had come to save the day when Staubach was injured against the Redskins on Thanksgiving in 1974. But Longley's career with the Cowboys ended in disgrace when he got into a fight with Staubach on the practice field. Staubach's superiority on the field translated into fisticuffs, too, as he humbled the young quarterback by sending him packing -- literally (Longley ended his career with San Diego).
Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe
Brady was the story of 2001, but some fans forget he was injured in the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers, and it was Bledsoe (who lost his job earlier in the season) who would lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl berth. Coach Bill Belichick stuck with his young quarterback for the Super Bowl, and he would go on to orchestrate one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson
You've heard of quarterbacks losing their job to injury, but how many guys can say they lost their job because the coach was resting him for the playoffs? That's what happened to Flutie, who was rested in the final game of the 1999 season, and watched as Johnson started the team's playoff game in Tennessee. And it would have taken a miracle for that not to work, and oh wait, that's what happened. Flutie eventually won out in 2000, but neither him nor Johnson was long for Buffalo after.
Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers
There wasn't much of a controversy when Favre was at the top of his game. But once he retired, the Packers moved on. Favre didn't, and when he wanted to come out of retirement (which seemed like only 10 minutes later than his initial decision), he was stunned the Packers wanted to go with Rodgers. Favre went on to be traded to the Jets (wait a minute) and eventually played his final two seasons with Minnesota. Rodgers went on to be the best quarterback in the NFL.
Drew Brees and Philip Rivers
This one was more than two quarterbacks competing. Brees was coach Marty Schottenheimer's guy. Rivers was general manager A.J. Smith's guy. With the Chargers out of playoff contention in Week 17 of 2005, Schottenheimer refused to play Rivers against the Broncos. Brees tore his labrum after being driven into the ground by Gerard Warren and the injury was used as an excuse for Smith to let Brees walk away as a free agent, ending the controversy.
Well, except for Miami fans. Remember, the Dolphins likely would have signed Brees if he didn't have that perceived bum shoulder.
Steve Young and Joe Montana
Former 49ers teammate Charles Haley didn't paint a pretty picture of the bitterness between the two competitors. (Try to figure out who Haley sided with judging by this chapter of his autobiography: "Why Steve Young couldn't carry Joe Montana's jock.") Young just wanted a chance to compete but couldn't do it with Montana around (which is understandable on both sides). Young eventually replaced the injured Montana and kept the job even when Montana returned in 1992 (although Montana played in one game against the Lions in the season finale). But it was Young's gig, and the following season Montana was traded to Kansas City.