The football story of TV star Phil Robertson can’t exactly be qualified as “breaking news” or “Redskins news,” but in a parallel universe, there’s a chance it might have been the latter.
For anyone that enjoys the guilty pleasure of watching the Robertsons on A&E’s Duck Dynasty, you may be aware that family patriarch and Duck Commander found Phil Robertson was at one time a first-class collegiate quarterback.
In a story covered by ESPN, Sports Illustrated et al, Robertson kept future Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw on the bench at Louisiana Tech before ultimately forsaking his football talent and following his true love of duck hunting.
As history shows, Bradshaw won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers while Robertson invented the industry standard on duck calls and landed a top-notch reality TV show.
Once considered to have one of the strongest arms in college football, Robertson drew NFL interest even after leaving the Bulldogs early for the comfort of his duck blind.
According to his recollection, one of those interested teams was the Washington Redskins.
The connection was made via then-Redskins, former La. Tech running back Bob Brunet, who spent eight seasons in Washington.
In 1972, Robertson invented the duck call that would launch his multi-million dollar company, but remained conversant with Brunet, who pushed for Robertson to sign for a preferred walk-on spot and $60,000.
By 1974, aging veteran Sonny Jurgensen was the entrenched starter, but Allen was looking for the next franchise quarterback. His options? Robertson or Joe Theismann, who Brunet allegedly described as “a big hot dog.”
“What [Brunet] said was, ‘Oh, we’ve got this real hot dog here, but you can beat him out easy…You’re not gonna beat Jurgensen out–Sonny Jurgensen–but this hot dog, no problem, to be the backup.’
“Well I said, ‘Who is he?’ And he said, ‘Joe Theismann…You got it hands down, no problem.'”
As history will show, Robertson stuck with ducks and made a fortune, while Theismann led the Redskins to their first-ever Super Bowl victory.
In a parallel universe, who knows what may have been? Robertson accepts the deal, beats out the hot dog and leads the Washington Redskins to multiple titles.
Or, perhaps Robertson would have acclimated poorly to the Washington metropolitan area and quit with the opening weeks of duck season that fall. Either way, the NFL got Bradshaw, the Redskins got Theismann and millions of duck hunters have gotten the Duck Commander duck call.
Everyone ends up happy. Except for the ducks.