Teddy Bridgewater Didn’t Stay Retired for Long

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Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played his final NFL game last weekend as the Detroit Lions orchestrated the largest meltdown in the history of the NFC Championship.

The veteran passer announced in December that 2023 would be his final season, and he wasn’t kidding.

Teddy Bridgewater Didn’t Stay Retired for Long

What he didn’t immediately announce six weeks ago were plans for the next chapter. And those came into view on Friday, thanks to a tweet from ESPN’s Jordan Reid. Bridgewater will become the head coach at his old high school.

Stay Retired
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Reid tweeted, “Retires and immediately becomes the head coach at his alma mater. One of the easiest guys to root for. Congrats, Teddy!”

SI.com’s Andy Villamarzo reported, “Many believed that would be down in South Florida, where he first established himself as a future NFL star. Now, those beliefs have turned into reality as Bridgewater has been reportedly named the new head football coach at Miami Northwestern High School, his alma mater, per The Portal 305.”

So, straight from the pros in the NFC Championship to his old stomping grounds in about five days, not a bad story for the former Viking. Almost fairytale-ish.

Bridgewater didn’t throw a single pass in 2023, filling QB2 duty for Detroit starter Jared Goff, an iron man per durability this season. But the Lions would’ve been in safe hands had Bridgewater been called upon, classified as one of the NFL’s top QB2s. All told in Bridewater’s starting career, teams were 33-32 (.507) on his watch.

The Vikings Use a Lot
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The Miami Dolphins were Bridgewater’s previous employer, as the ex-Viking served as Tua Tagovailoa’s backup in 2022. This was Bridgewater’s career resume:

  • Minnesota Vikings (2014–2017)
  • New York Jets (2018)
  • New Orleans Saints (2018–2019)
  • Carolina Panthers (2020)
  • Denver Broncos (2021)
  • Miami Dolphins (2022)
  • Detroit Lions (2023-present)

Minnesota chose Bridgewater in Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft as the then-long-term plan for the quarterback of the future. Bridgewater took over during his maiden voyage season and immediately looked the part. A season later, combined with Mike Zimmer’s flourishing defense, Minnesota won the NFC North in 2015, and life was good. But the summer of 2016 was a different story. Bridgewater suffered a horrifying knee injury right before the start of the regular season, then-GM Rick Spielman traded a 1st-Round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford, and Bridgewater’s career was forever changed. So was Vikings history.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Since leaving the Vikings after the freak injury in 2016-2017, teams led by Bridgewater were 16-21 (.432). Scaled to a 17-game season, Bridgewater tossed 20 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions per year. In the past, those numbers would’ve been productive — like 20 years ago — but teams have learned that Bridgewater was best suited for QB2 assignments.

Bridgewater was arguably in prime form during a couple of spots in his career. First, in 2015, he earned Pro Bowl honors in just his second campaign, guiding the Vikings to that 2015 playoff appearance that was eventually marred by a missed 27-yard game-winning field goal against the Seattle Seahawks. When he landed with the Saints, Drew Brees was hurt for multiple games in 2019 — and the Saints were undefeated to the tune of 5-0 with Bridgewater in charge. That was the second peak of his ten-season career.

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Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is shown walking off the field after he was tackled in the end zone for a safety. Sunday, October 9, 2022 Jets Vs Dolphins. © Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

In the postseason, with Bridgewater’s career complete — assuming he doesn’t come out of retirement — his only playoff start occurred in the aforementioned 2015 season when Minnesota lost to the Seattle Seahawks.

But Miami Northwestern should be in good hands, perhaps gloved hands.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.