Sam Bradford’s NFL career to this point has been nothing short of eventful.
Drafted first overall by the St. Louis Rams in 2010, Bradford started his career off in a big way: Winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year while leading the Rams to a winner-take-all game versus the Seattle Seahawks for a playoff berth.
This followed a stellar career at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a three-year starter, tossing 88 touchdowns to only 16 interceptions for over 8,400 yards and a completion percentage of 67.6. This was completed with a Heisman Trophy in 2008.
This stellar career was also met with some difficulty as a common thread would enter the fold: Injuries.
Bradford would be hit with an injury bug during college that has still followed him through his NFL career. This has created the common storyline and reputation for him that although injury prone, when on the field, he puts up good numbers.
College: We already showcased his college accolades, but we also have to acknowledge his injury downfalls. While in college, Bradford missed a total of 13 weeks in 2009 with two separate shoulder injuries. This would cause a concern among NFL scouts who doubted whether he could stay healthy throughout an entire season.
Rams: Going back to his rookie year, not only did he put up good numbers (18 TD’s, 3,512 yards, 60 percent completion rate), but he played every game which seemed to be a good sign for the franchise. The next year and the two subsequent seasons after, the injury bug made it’s way back into the fold. In 2011, he was limited to 10 games after suffering a high ankle sprain. In 2013, he tore his ACL in week 7, missing the rest of the season. In 2014, his final year as a Ram, he missed the entire season after re-injuring his ACL in week three of the preseason.
Eagles: After his final two injury plagued years with the Rams, he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Although he played 14 games and put up pretty good numbers (19 TD’s, 3,725 yards, 65 percent completion rate), he still suffered head and shoulder injuries that would sideline him for two important games that had playoff implications for the team.
Enter the 2016 season. Bradford enters camp in the best shape of his life, primed and ready to lead the new look Eagles back to the playoffs and to play in every game. However, when the Eagles drafted Quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft (a pick in which they traded up to get), Bradford questioned his job security and his intuitions were right.
A blessing in disguise: A week before the regular season was set to begin, Bradford was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for two first round picks in next year’s draft. Although this looked like a low- blow from the Eagles, it was actually a blessing that came from the same injury bug that has plagued Bradford so far in his short career.
Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings young franchise Quarterback goes down in preseason practice with an ACL injury, and now the Vikings need a legitimate starting QB to anchor an already playoff ready team.
Enter Sam Bradford.
Injury, the same thing that has hampered Bradford’s football career is the same thing that has resurrected it. With Bridgewater’s injury, Bradford was granted the thing he needed the most, a change of scenery and he has made the most of it.
Through the first six weeks of this NFL season, Bradford has played the best football of his career, leading the Vikings to a 5-0 record looking flawless while doing it. So far, he has tossed six touchdowns with zero interceptions, throwing for 990 yards and completing 70 percent of his pass attempts. The Vikings, because of their top ranked defense the re-emergence of Bradford, are the best team in football and show no signs of slowing down.
Sam Bradford’s NFL career should be made into a movie, it would make for a great plot and story arc. The ultimate story of ups and downs, but most importantly, the best example of irony you will ever see.
Hopefully, he can just stay healthy.
Do you think Sam Bradford will play every game this season? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3