You may recall (or, then again, maybe not) that I penned a column last year basically claiming that we had all seen the last of one Chad Pennington. Well, never one to shy away from being 100 percent incorrect, I stand by that story. However, it has come to my attention that Pennington is back in the NFL – still with the Jets – and actually playing pretty darn well. This was difficult for me to believe, especially considering that the last time I saw him, his right arm was dangling from his right shoulder, joined only by a piece of dental floss lent to him by Michael Strahan. So, in order to get to the bottom of this story, I had to go to the source. Not the hip-hop magazine The Source – they had never heard of Pennington, but gave him two-and-a-half mics based on the information I provided – but Pennington himself. He was kind enough to sit down for a fake interview…
Me: Chad! Get the heck in here, you big lug!
Chad: Hey, thanks for having me.
Me: Chad, let’s get down to business here, because I have a lot of things to do later. How does it feel to prove all the critics wrong, especially that racist Rush Limbaugh?
Chad: Ummm, wait – I think it was Donovan McNabb who was criticized by Rush Limbaugh. And that happened like, three or four years ago.
Me: Interesting. So nothing that he said about you being an overrated black quarterback bothered you?
Chad: I’m white.
Me: See, Rush Limbaugh would make a mistake like that. He’s a drug addict, ya’ know. But what about all the non-racist critics, who claimed that you would never throw a football again?
Chad: Well, to be honest, I don’t blame them. There was a point last season, and even earlier this year, when I questioned how effective I could be throwing the football after this latest injury. But I just worked hard to get through it, and here I am.
Me: Chad, speaking of injuries, it says here that you have had…38 surgeries in the past, ummm, week. Is that correct?
Chad: No, that is inaccurate. And also impossible.
Me: I’m sorry – I read that wrong. My assistant is an idiot, and has messy handwriting. I knew it didn’t sound right when I said it. Okay, how many weeks did it take to have all those surgeries?
Chad: Well, I haven’t had 38 surgeries, first of all. I broke my wrist a few years ago, and had surgery on that, and I’ve had two shoulder operations over the past two years. That’s really it.
Me: Is it your dream one day to have a surgery named after you, like Tommy John? Like, wouldn’t it be cool, in a few years or so, to see on the ESPN ticker, “Joe Montana Jr. to have Chad Pennington surgery, will miss remainder of season?”
Chad: I would say that my goals are more football-related, and have very little to do with having surgeries named after me. Besides, Tommy John surgery was a medical breakthrough – all of mine were pretty standard.
Me: Do you blame the Jets for bringing you back too early from shoulder problems last year, and thus jeopardizing your entire career? I would be pissed, personally.
Chad: Not at all. It was my idea to come back – I felt ready to go. It just didn’t work out.
Me: Who is a better coach - Eric Mangini or Herm Edwards?
Chad: I can’t really compare the two. They both have strong qualities, and are both great coaches. Right now, I’m on board with Coach Mangini, but I think Herm is doing a great job in Kansas City.
Me: Ummm, you were supposed to laugh at that last question – not answer it. It was a joke. Okay, try this one instead: Who is a better coach – Herm Edwards or a cardboard cutout of Richard Nixon?
Chad: Herm Edwards, definitely.
Me: Did they remove your sense of humor by accident during your latest surgery?
Chad: Not that I’m aware of. Maybe you just aren’t as funny as you think you are.
Me: Touché. Let’s move on. Minus the Jacksonville game from a couple of weeks ago, you have played excellent football this season. Many people have even said that you look like the “old Chad Pennington.” What does that mean? And if there is an “old” you, then how old are you now? Are you 50 years old? 60?
Chad: I am 30 years old. I think when people refer to the “old” me, they’re just referring to how I played in the past when I was healthy. And that’s the key to my “resurgence,” or whatever you want to call it. I’m healthy. I feel great, and that’s the reason why I’m playing well.
Me: When the Jets “locked up” Patrick Ramsey in the offseason, did you view that as a threat to your standing within the organization, or did you immediately remind yourself that this is Patrick Ramsey we’re talking about, and continue to finish your beer?
Chad: I didn’t think anything of it, to be honest. The Jets made an organizational move, and they have every right to do so. They couldn’t wait on me, and just bank on the fact that I’d be 100 percent come September. Besides, Patrick is a real good quarterback.
Me: Ha, ha! See, you do have a sense of humor!
Me: Chad, do you know that two weeks ago, you were my starting fantasy quarterback? Yeah, seriously! Not that I’d ever start you regularly, but Peyton Manning had a bye. I had originally drafted Chris Simms as my backup, but then he went and ruptured his insides, so I picked you up off the waiver wire. You got me 23 points! I dropped you the next day.
Chad: Wow…I’m honored, I think.
Me: Chad, much ado has been made of your lack of arm strength. Some were even upset that, during the closing moments of your game against the Patriots in Week 2, you weren’t replaced for a quarterback that could throw a “Hail Mary” pass more than 15 yards. How does it feel that your career choice involved throwing a football for a living, but your biggest weakness is throwing a football?
Chad: I think too much has been made of it. For one thing, my arm is stronger than people realize. I mean, I did throw to Randy Moss in college. And besides, throwing the deep ball is barely a fraction of the responsibilities a quarterback has, and I think I handle my other duties pretty well.
Me: Who is Randy Moss?
Chad: Are you serious?
Me: No. That was also a joke. You’re killing me here, Chad. Talk about Eric Mangini, the man who attended the “Bill Belichick School of Coaching,” and then transferred to the “Bill Parcells School of Eating.”
Chad: Eric Mangini, if he’s not already, is going to be a great coach. He’s learning along with the rest of us, but he’s given this team an identity, and a toughness. He’s great for the Jets, and for the NFL.
Me: Rank these man boobs in order: Mangini, Parcells, Phil Mickelson.
Chad: I’d prefer not to.
Me: Chad, I know you’re the kind of guy who loves to speak his mind, and make bold predictions. Make a prediction for the Jets this year – Super Bowl winner, or Super Bowl runner-up?
Chad: Whoa, that’s getting way ahead of things. I’ll say, if I can stay healthy, and our team continues to learn this system, we’ll be very competitive.
Me: Wow, are you sure you want to say that? I smell some controversy a-brewing…
Chad: What…why? What did you write down?
Me: I wrote, “Pennington blasts Mangini’s man boobs, guarantees extreme competitiveness.”
Me: Thanks for stopping by, Chad. You are definitely not as black and overrated as some people claim.
Chad: Thanks. That means a lot.