Jon Gruden can predict the future. Or, at least he did with Case Keenum.
Keenum was one of the best players in program history at Houston. Signed by Art Briles and playing mostly under Kevin Sumlin, Keenum was a two-time Conference USA MVP and threw for a school-record 19,217 yards and 155 touchdowns.
Of course, just as all-district quarterbacks are a dime a dozen at the major college level, so, too, are all-conference players trying to enter the NFL. Especially 6-foot-1 quarterbacks with less than stellar arm strength. So Keenum went undrafted.
As the 2012 draft process approached, it wasn’t a secret that Keenum likely would not hear his name called. Still, his career as a Cougar afforded him a certain level of respect greater than your typical undrafted player. Like appearing on Gruden’s “QB Camp” ESPN series.
Still, Gruden clearly believed in Keenum and imparted him with some advice that proved prophetic.
— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) January 15, 2018
Keenum did go undrafted, but caught on as a free agent with the Houston Texans. He didn’t play in 2012, but started eight games in ’13 — and lost every one of them. Keenum was waived by the Texans before the 2014 season to make room for former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett — now a backup with the Ravens — and signed with the Rams. St. Louis waived him midseason; he returned to Houston and started two games that season.
The 2015 season saw him return to the Rams — six starts — and stay with the team through its move to Los Angeles, where he started nine games in 2016. But the Rams had taken Jared Goff No. 1 overall in the 2016 draft, and he overtook Keenum midway through the ’16 campaign. It was time to move again.
Teddy Bridgewater was still in the recovery process from his horrific knee injury, so the Vikings signed him as a 1-year stop gap to backup Sam Bradford before Bridgewater could compete for the job again. But then Bradford got hurt in Week 2 and it was Keenum’s turn again.
And that brings us to Sunday. You’ve seen this a million times by now.
— Scott Kegley (@ScottKegley) January 15, 2018
Keenum will play Sunday for the right to be the first quarterback in NFL history to start a Super Bowl in his home stadium.
I would say those odds are impossible, but the impossible turns players into heroes all the time in football. That’s what makes this sport so great.