“I never imagined even playing in the NFL. It seemed like a pipe dream.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
You would cerebrate that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills for a decade-plus the way Fitz and the fans recall. Four division titles? Five playoff berths? Two AFC Championship appearances? One Super Bowl appearance. One Super Bowl triumph. That’s the way the fans treat him in Western New York. That is the way he regards Western New York. Who ignites a love affair between a player and a region? Buffalo has a long list of former Bills and Sabres who make Western New York their home post football career. Many famous and many not so notorious.
“I’m very proud of the fact I went to Harvard and I loved my four years there.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Other people have been under the impression that he was just another one in that long list of quarterbacks during the GREAT DROUGHT who had his time to fail. The list he is sandwiched in with goes back to Todd Collins, Alex Van Pelt, Rob Johnson, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton and many more. (I did not want to get in to the real diminutive details with a Jeff Tuel or Thad Lewis reference.)
“I’m just trying to be the best version of me that I can be.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
That person who celebrates every little success as being the glass over-flowing as opposed to half empty or half full would have a defensive rebuttal. The short stretches of Doug Flutie, Tyrod Taylor, and Drew Bledsoe attracted some attention in the football world.
“If the play-caller has confidence in you, you can feel it on the headset. You can feel it by the way he’s calling plays.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick initially took over in Buffalo for Trent Edwards due to an injury. He then was named starter, not because of the injury. Trent Edwards was just not good. Captain Check-Down with the hopes of a field goal is not the recipe for success. It certainly is not exciting for the fans.
“Zero. I’ve lost zero confidence in Fitz.” – Chan Gailey
Fitz was an aggressive Gunslinger, a breath of fresh air. He played with swagger as if he had the arm of Brett Favre. (He certainly did not.) Fitz carried himself as if he had the legs of Michael Vick. (He certainly did not.) He also acted like a general out there, as if he had the success of Peyton Manning. (Again… He certainly did not.)
“I’ve been called worse than a Harvard kid.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitz had many memorable hot streaks with several teams. He was a quarterback out of Harvard, selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft, who captured the hearts of hopeful Buffalo Bills fans. He did everything he could to win games. His limited physical talent and lack of talent around him did little to aid his statistics at One Bills Drive. He spent four seasons in Buffalo. That was his longest stint with any team in his career. That list is plenty. (Nine teams.)
“The biggest thing in this game – to last – is to have belief in yourself. Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Terrell Owens proclaimed Fitz was his favorite quarterback to catch from in his career. They connected for a 98-yard touchdown pass, which became a record for both the team and the players involved… Not too shabby. He made brilliant plays at times. At other times, he attempted passes as if he had the arm of Josh Allen. That usually ended up with the ball going the other way. When he was hot, your team could win some games with him behind center. Just saying…
“Football is something so ingrained in me, something I love doing, and definitely something I want to do.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Eventually, his welcome ran out at each of his stops. Usually, after he started several games, the interception machine would kick in. Once other teams focused on him as a consistent starter, and the opposing teams prepared for him, the wins became harder to come by. The Bills only won six, four, six and six games in Fitzpatrick’s four seasons in Bill Country. Many highlights were created with Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson on those losing teams during that stretch.
“It’s not an easy game.” – Ryan Fitzpatrick
Now, Fitz does not even get to be mentioned in the same breath as Hall Of Famer Thurman Thomas. On that note, should the Bills sign Fitz for one day so he can retire a Buffalo Bill? We are not talking WALL of Fame here. Simply a transaction so he retires part of the Bills Mafia. After all, Buffalo is where he got his chance to become a starter and was paid with a contract extension as such.
Thank You Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Things we know about Ryan Fitzpatrick this week:
Fitz passed for 223 touchdowns in his career, which is the record by an Ivy School graduate.
What do Ryan Fitzpatrick, Peyton Manning, and Dan Marino have in common? They all had four 400-plus yard passing games in a season. Very Nice.
FITZMAGIC peaked when he tossed six touchdowns in one game while with the Tennessee Titans.
Fitz racked up a career-high 31 touchdown passes in a season with the New Jersey Jets.