COLT McCOY...A TRAGIC AND UPLIFTING STORY

By mark rogers
January 10, 2010

I was on the sidelines of Colt McCoy's first game of his junior season at Jim Ned.
I was in the press box at the end of that season when the Indians were defeated in the state championship game.

I was present at the first game, a handful of other games and one pep rally during the regular season of Colt's record-setting senior year.
I was in the middle of the celebration huddle when Colt broke the Texas HS Class 2A passing record.
I was sitting on the floor underneath the basket at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin when Colt and the Indians basketball team lost to Kountze in the State Championship game.

I was in Austin at DKR Memorial Stadium to watch Colt McCoy in his first start as a Texas Longhorn (they crushed North Texas).
I watched from the field as Colt marched down the tunnel at the Cotton Bowl to prepare for his first start against Oklahoma.

I was at the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game in what would end up being Colt's last full game played as a Texas Longhorn.
And I was at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

I watched Colt warm-up and prepare for the biggest game of his life.

I watched him go to mid-field as the team captain...the winningest college QB in the history of the sport.

I watched him as he began to take control of the Championship game.

I felt the building and volatile energy of the Texas faithful in attendance as the first few minutes unfolded before us.

And then I watched as it all came crashing down around him.

Five years preparing for this moment. No. Not five years. 23 years preparing for this moment.

The pinnacle. The biggest and most prestigious stage you could ever hope to play on as a college football player.

He came from practically nothing. From Class 2A. Amidst ridicule and doubt. Attempting to fill the great Vince Young's shoes.

No one believed in him except himself and his family. But he did what no one thought possible.

He left the University of Texas as the greatest QB in the school's long and illustrious history...period...case closed...no argument.

Five plays into what was to assure him a spot in the Hall of College Football Demigods. Higher and more prestigious than the Hall of Fame. Where only a few men have ever been invited to go: Archie Griffin, Doak Walker, Red Grange, Herschel Walker, Glenn Davis, the Gipper...

Five plays into the game that would earn Colt a spot in the 1st or 2nd round of the NFL Draft.
Five plays into a game that would end with the Longhorns' fifth national championship.
Five plays into a game that would end with Mack Brown hoisting a crystal football over his head and spitting burnt orange confetti from his mouth.
Five plays into a game Colt McCoy has dreamed of since he was old enough to dream...

It was over.

Just like that.

All over.

His career at Texas. His dream of performing heroics on The Stage. His goal of leading his team to a national championship. The buzz and electricity that had generated in the thousands upon thousands of Texas' fans in and around the stadium. The hopes of an entire nation of Longhorn supporters and Colt McCoy well-wishers.

One hit.

I can't think of a more sickening, upsetting and confusing way for a player's career to come to a screeching halt.

It was surreal. No one wearing burnt orange at the Rose Bowl verbally announced their thoughts...but everyone in that stadium...everyone...deep down...knew the game was over.

Even with 3 minutes left down just 3 points with true freshman Garrett Gilbert settling into a rhythm. It was too little too late against a juggernaut that might have been overcome had Colt been leading the charge.

He tried to throw a pass in the locker room at half time. He tried to get back on the field. But it wasn't meant to be.

Texas lost. Colt's career as a Longhorn ended as abruptly and viciously as anyone could have ever predicted. And Colt will never get to know what might have happened had he played in that game.

But I'll tell you why I'm such a big Colt McCoy fan...

It's not his catchy name.
It's not his absurd completion percentage or his 132 touchdowns accounted for.
It's not his career rating of 155.0
It's not his win total...45...the most EVER.
It's not his arm.
It's not his legs.
It's not his smarts.
It's not that he's from Tuscola.

I'm such a Colt McCoy fan because of who he is as a person and the perspective he has on life.

And it was all summed up with Lisa Salters on the sideline immediately following the game.
Colt could have said a number of things into that microphone.

He could have said that Texas would have won had he not gotten hurt, he could have said how mad he was at the situation or just turned and walked away.

I find it inspiring that he even came back onto the field after he was taken out for good. It must have been awfully tempting (would have been for me anyway) to stay in the locker room and curl up in a heap of misery and self-pity.

But that's not what he did. Colt took a moment to compose himself and told the reporter and the millions of people watching that sometimes things just happen. That he's taken that hit a thousand times before. That he was disappointed and would have given anything to play...but those are the breaks.

I tell you what...at that moment and even right now, I could care less how many touchdowns Colt threw or ran for, how many games he won, how close he was to winning two Heisman trophies or a national championship.

But I do care about one thing...that if I ever have a son, I want him to be EXACTLY like Colt McCoy the person. Not the football player. The human being.

I wrote an article five years ago about my prediction for Colt's career at Texas. I said that if given the chance, he would write his name into the UT record books.

I was proud of Colt then and the fact he was from West Texas.

I could not be more proud of Colt now...for what he accomplished and for how he handled his successes. But more importantly...how he handled his defeats.

More was revealed of Colt's character in that first quarter injury than what would have been revealed had Colt hoisted the crystal trophy after the game.

And if we all could stop and take a lesson from Colt McCoy and gain a little perspective on things...that would mean more to us than a win.

Easy to say things like that when you lose, and I'm not saying there are such things as moral victories. This goes beyond that...not even the same ballpark.

I've witnessed first-hand Colt McCoy performing in a lot of sporting events over the years. I've seen him do some pretty remarkable things with my own eyes and on TV.

But I have never been more proud of Colt McCoy then I was on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.

Thanks Colt. You'll be missed on the field as a Longhorn.

But we'll never forget what you taught us or how you performed on the sideline of the biggest game of your life.

Comments

This site does not necessarily agree with comments posted below.

Bryan Adkins on January 10, 2010 5:14 PM

Hey Mark -- been a long, long time. Nice site. But, Colt McCoy better than Vince Young as a college quarterback? I'm a big UT fan, and while Colt certainly had a very impressive career, for me, it will be virtually impossible for anyone to ever top what VY did. Beating the 'invincible' USC Trojans, who had won 34 straight games, in California, with Leinart and Bush and Carroll? Carrying the team on his back and willing them to victory with 467 total yards by himself? It just doesn't get any better than that for me. Best college football game ever, in my opinion.

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