If McCarron Goes “3 for 3” as a Starting QB, It Still May Not be the Top Record for a College QB
By: Larry Burton
No college quarterback has ever won a national championship year three years in a row. Yet if AJ McCarron reaches that goal, it still may not be the most impressive feat accomplished by a college quarterback.
In my opinion, the most impressive record that may never be broken is that of the best quarterback the world may know the least about, Chuck Ealey of the Toledo Rockets during the years of 1969 through 1971. In fact, if you examine Chuck’s career there is an even more impressive record. He was undefeated as a starting quarterback in high school as well as college, where he started for three years in a time where freshmen couldn’t play.
Not only did Chuck Ealey lead his team to three undefeated seasons, he guided them to three straight Tangerine Bowls (Now the Capital One Bowl in Orlando) and was the MVP in all three bowls. All this during a time when a young black man had almost no chance of playing QB in what was almost an all white division one college football.
I had the opportunity to interview Chuck a few years back when it looked like Greg McElroy had a legitimate shot to go undefeated as a starting high school and college quarterback. McElroy could have joined a very small, very elite group of athletes. I wondered what advice Chuck would offer McElroy.
“Keep focused on one play at a time. Don’t get caught up in the information about the situation. The only thing that matters is the game you are in and the next play.” Ealey said. “The best advice somebody gave me was to remember you don’t have to put all that weight on your own shoulders, you have to remember that you have a whole team full of players that can carry most of that for you. You have to trust them to do their jobs just like they trust you to do yours.” Was his finishing thought.
I’m sure that’s the same advice that he would give to McCarron. Maybe that and to look at the big picture. A college football career is short, so is a professional career in regard to your total lifetime. Chuck went on to win as a professional, but in Canada, as no NFL team wanted a black quarterback at that time. They said he could never win in the pros and he responded by quieting them in his first year in the CFL, guiding his team to the Grey Cup Championship.
This was a man with so many amazing accomplishments, I asked him what he considered his greatest feat.
“My three adult married children graduating from their university as the legacy of their grandmother who had only a eighth grade education.” he said without hesitation. “I had a great time with football, but my education made me what I am today. That was the greatest thing I got from football.” he concluded. (Chuck made himself a great living as a very successful financial planner and is a beloved figure in Canada, helping many charities)
While winning every game as a college quarterback while being the MVP in each of those seasons is impressive, some may argue that McCarron’s three championship rings trump that. There are strong arguments that could be for either case.
Whether or not you agree that Ealey’s record of three undefeated seasons and three MVP awards in a major bowl is a more impressive record than if McCarron should go three for three in national championships, one thing I do know after interviewing both men, each of them would rather have championships than individual records.
And that’s why it isn’t important which record is the best, because both records prove that these men are unique champions in their own right.
(Authors note: I urge everyone to learn more about this amazing man and help undo the mistake of Chuck Ealey not being in the College Football Hall of Fame by going to this site: Inuct Chuck)
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter