In Todd They Trust
The plan sounded easy, no? Find an anonymous backup quarterback and create a blog caricature, a player on the very periphery of the NFL -- so removed that someone might believe it really could be him. It started less than two years ago as a gaff, a harmless way for two law school students at George Washington University to kill time.
"We picked someone for the sole purpose of that he'll probably never play," said Raul Flores, who along with Faris Ghareeb co-manages the blog Todd Collins: Diary of an NFL Quarterback (located at http:/
Be still, son; no one expected Toddball.
But now T.C. has become the toast of D.C., guiding the Redskins past the Bears and winning the NFC's offensive player of the week award. He starts tomorrow at the Meadowlands against the New York Giants, 10 years and two days since he last started for the Buffalo Bills, which makes him, what, a spry 36?
It will set the NFL record for longest gap between starts since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It's a feat equivalent to Clark Gable winning best actor. In 2008. The Redskins don't merely go to the bench for their backup quarterbacks; they go on Jurassic digs.
And yet, since Jason Campbell went down with a dislocated kneecap and sprained medial collateral ligament, it's all Todd, all the time. TV. Radio. T.C. is everywhere. Everyone from the congregation genuinely believes Collins can keep Washington's flickering playoff hopes alive, presumably making them all Todd-squadders.
Which has made things good and bad for the bloggers.
On one hand, a Web site hardly anyone visited received 1,200 hits after last week's stirring win. Flores and Ghareeb, who did his undergrad at Michigan, where Collins played college, and who grew up a Buffalo fan ("That's why we chose Todd," Flores explained) is now updating the site routinely.
A Madden NFL 2008 simulation of the game posted on the site this week has the Redskins beating New York, 45-44, with Collins throwing like crazy and ending his post with: "Well, I've studied the defense, drank a few piña coladas, burned some incense, listened to the Grateful Dead, eaten the entire 5-5-5 from Dominos and made myself a better QB in the process. Therefore, it's time I take off. Be sure to check out my live in-game updates from the sidelines this Sunday . . . "
Blog Todd is portrayed as some carefree goof who lounges around, gets paid for doing nothing and once wound up on the Missed Connections thread of Craigslist. The blog kids posted a picture of a gorgeous woman in a hot tub and inquired, as the bather, about a sexy man she saw in Green Bay with a Redskins hat and jacket who was on the sideline with a clipboard and pad.
No, Mark Brunell did not respond. Neither did Collins, whose wife, Andrea, is due any day with the couple's second child. They're family men -- not GW kids who aced the LSAT.
"But we did get some actual e-mails from other guys, saying they're not him but they'd like to meet her," Flores said. "We figured it was innocent fun, you know. You got to remember: When we started this thing no one had any idea what his personality was like."