With 3:44 left in the biggest game of his life, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, took his first snap in Super Bowl 48. His Seattle Seahawks were clinging to a 43-8 lead, and Jackson needed to milk enough clock to assure that the 5-time MVP award winner, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, couldn't mount a historic comeback in the final minutes.
Nervously, he took a snap and handed the ball to Turbin up the middle for 3 yards. On the next play, Jackson keyed in on Turbin again, gifting him the ball, but he was stone-walled for no gain. On third down, Jackson went to his patented jump pass to try to catch the Broncos off balance, targeting Turbin a third time, but falling incomplete. With the clock stopped, fourth down, the game on the line, and the ball in his hands, Jackson once more handed the ball off to Turbin for 2 yards, and a turn over on downs.
And it was the proudest 1:45 of his entire life.
With Tarvaris Jackson's Super Bowl victory as sort-of quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, he joins the pantheon of other one-time winning Super Bowl quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Ken Stabler, Trent Dilfer, Brett Favre, Joe Theismann, Len Dawson, and others. His name is cemented in the history books with some of the greats, and he knows that's something no one can take away from him.
For Tarvaris, it's been a long ride. After being selected 64th overall, in the second round, by the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, Jackson was groomed early for such high-pressure instances. He was expected to take over the starting and franchise quarterback position for the Vikings in time, and was eventually thrust into the position by late 2006, his rookie year. Despite showing an awful 0-2 record, and a 58% completion percentage, Jackson was gifted the starting position again in 2007, where he went 8-4 as a starter. By 2008, the pressure was on Jackson, but with his refined jump pass he'd perfected for several years and his continued low completion percentage, he felt he was ready to be nondescript again.
Alas, his potential never materialized in Minnesota. He ended up playing the back up to Brett Favre for two seasons, and eventually left Minnesota to join Seattle for a single stint in 2011, the Bills in 2012, and back to Seattle for their Super Bowl winning year. But his time in Minnesota taught him a valuable lesson about where his talents and skills could be best used; as a primary back up to a better quarterback.
Jackson put those skills to work in Seattle this past year, eventually appearing in four games for the Seahawks, increasing his completion percentage through limited use to 77%, and offering a bevy of emotional support and quips throughout the season, most likely. Did he win any football games? No, not exactly. But the only time the Seahawks have ever won a Super Bowl was when they had Tarvaris Jackson on the roster, and that counts for something.
People may look at Tarvaris Jackson's 2013 stat line, or his on-field performance when it did occur, and scoff at "this" quarterback winning a Super Bowl ring. But he deserves it just as much as Russell Wilson did, or Richard Sherman, or Pete Carroll. Tarvaris Jackson is a Seahawk, and a Super Bowl winner, and no one can take that away from him.