Notre Dame football: Brady Quinn and the NFL-What went wrong?

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn against LSU in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 3, 2007. LSU won 41 - 14. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn against LSU in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 3, 2007. LSU won 41 - 14. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

Brady Quinn was a failure in the NFL. It’s worth taking a look where the Notre Dame great went wrong with his professional career.

Notre Dame sends a lot of quarterbacks to the NFL and plenty of them are great players. You know their names, Joe Montana and Joe Theismann top the list. Of course, there’s also a long list of failures. Jimmy Clausen and Deshone Kizer are a couple of modern examples.

One quarterback who shockingly didn’t work out in the NFL was Brady Quinn. A Heisman Trophy finalist with Notre Dame, and owner of most of the storied program’s quarterback records, Quinn was known as the ‘Golden Boy.’ He had everything you expect a quarterback to have.

It’s easy to say, “The Browns drafted him, that was his first issue in the NFL.”

While it’s true that Cleveland has been a disaster for quarterbacks, and really everyone else who has come through their door down to Bill Belichick, it is also true that Quinn wanted to go to Cleveland. He grew up a Browns fan and understood what it meant to succeed there, so he understood the challenges he’d face before he arrived.

That being said, how the Browns approached Quinn put immense pressure on him from the start. Instead of taking Quinn third overall, like everyone expected, they took Joe Thomas. This led the the Brady Quinn slide, which ended up with him going 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns. Now, obviously, Joe Thomas was an excellent pick but it still put pressure on Quinn to prove he wasn’t all hype.

Notre Dame Brady Quinn
(Photo by Richard Schultz/Getty Images) /

Unfortunately, he didn’t get the opportunity to in Cleveland. Brady Quinn rode the bench for his first two seasons with the Browns. This was in-part to let him adjust to the speed of the NFL, and in part due to Derek Anderson playing much better than expected. Then, an injury in 2008 derailed his first shot to be a NFL starter.

By his third season, Eric Mangini was the coach and Quinn got his shot.

Except, it really wasn’t a legitimate shot. He only started nine games in 2009. Mangini never truly trusted him, and would often pull a quick string on Quinn. Against the Ravens Mangini pulled Quinn after an interception, despite also being 6 for 8 in passing attempts.

Notre Dame Brady Quinn
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Quinn wasn’t Mangini’s guy at quarterback. They didn’t trust each other, and when a quarterback and coach don’t trust one another all else is lost. His time in Cleveland would come to an end after the 2009 season.

Quinn was traded to the Broncos but ended up being buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. He never played there.

In 2012, Quinn got a chance to start again, this time in Kansas City. Over the course of 10 games, he threw two touchdowns and eight interceptions. It was a disaster, and despite bouncing around for a couple more years, Brady Quinn would never throw another pass in the NFL.

Notre Dame Brady Quinn
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) /

How did things get this bad for Brady Quinn? Were expectations too high? Was there too much pressure? Was it uneven coaching and a lack of trust in Cleveland that derailed him? Was Quinn simply not good enough to succeed in the NFL?

There was no talent or trust around Brady Quinn in Cleveland, and because of this, he was doomed from the start. Still, he could have reinvented his NFL career in another city. He was given a legitimate shot at the Broncos job and won the starting quarterback job with the Chiefs. So, how come neither of those teams worked out for Quinn?

While in Denver, Quinn was highly critical of Tim Tebow’s GQ appearance. He said, “I’ll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates.”

It came across as jealous, and a bit immature.

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It’s also indicative of where Brady Quinn’s NFL career went wrong. He wasn’t mature enough to handle the pressure and the trials of being an NFL quarterback. Quinn wasn’t given a good base to build on when he entered the NFL, and he was unable to do it for himself. Add in a turnover issue, brought on by struggling to read NFL defense, and you have an idea of where Brady Quinn’s NFL career went wrong.