Tough Ending for Teddy B.
When the Detroit Lions eventually succumbed to an ugly fate on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, it was the end of their season and a career for Teddy Bridgewater. After being a first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s difficult to process how unfortunate his career ultimately went.
Tough Ending for Teddy B.
Minnesota had long been in a situation of transition when it came to their starting signal caller. The hope in taking Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd overall pick was that he could provide stability at the most critical position in sports. He had arm talent coming out of Louisville and also possessed mobility that many Vikings players had not previously embodied.
Playing just 29 games (starting 28) before the catastrophic knee injury nearly ended his career, Bridgewater only had one full season to establish himself as the unquestioned starter. Minnesota won the NFC North division that season, going 11-5, and Bridgewater was a Pro Bowl selection during his first full season as a starter.
Missing the entire 2016 season and playing in just one more game for the Vikings before heading to New Orleans, the Bridgewater time in Minnesota was over before it started. It was a tough pill to swallow, mostly because fans rallied around the former Louisville quarterback. He had an infectious smile, and his “Teddy Two Gloves” moniker was one so many fans adored. He had little children singing songs for him and adults hoping he could lead the franchise to the promised land.
From the time he went to New Orleans through his eventual retirement with the Detroit Lions, no stopping point gave him a chance to settle in. Drew Brees wasn’t ever taking a back seat with the Saints, so Teddy rode the bench. He signed on as a bridge quarterback with the Carolina Panthers, but they were so awful that his 4-11 record was never going to be indicative of his true talent level. Starting again the next season in Denver, a 7-7 record was decent considering what that team had to work with, but again, it wasn’t a place he would succeed.
After a couple of years of being the guy again, a 30-year-old Bridgewater opted to hold the clipboard. He helped prepare Tua Tagovailoa for a year in Miami and got plenty of action throughout the season. Moving on to Detroit this past year, it was another situation where he would prepare; this time, it was for Jared Goff. The Lions had aspirations of turning around their fortunes, and the former Vikings quarterback got to see his old team go down twice. It was unfortunate that Dan Campbell didn’t get him into the game during either of those contests, and he certainly could have started Week 18.
Either way, like the Lions’ ultimate playoff exit, Bridgewater’s career ended with a whimper. Things had trended so positively for his first few seasons, and then that day on the practice field changed things forever. It was unfortunate then, and it’s unfortunate now. Across 10 years, he made more than $64 million, leaving the sport with a relatively good bill of health intact. It’s a positive that he’s doing this on his own terms and that the sport isn’t kicking him to the curb, but it will always be a question of “what if?”
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.