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Life can unceremoniously intercept your dreams, and as often as your faith steels you and reminds you that things happen for a reason, sometimes it is difficult for you to understand the reason.
There isn’t anything the boy who grew up in a tiny Texas town idolizing Steve Young and Joe Montana wouldn’t do to call a team his own for longer than a fleeting moment and lead a group of players hellbent on following him and fighting for him and winning with him.
Colt McCoy had all that at the University of Texas, all the way to the national championship game his senior year, when the cruel football gods decided to pinch a nerve in his throwing shoulder on the first drive and cost him a once-in-a-lifetime chance to beat Alabama, and he had it for parts of his first two NFL seasons in Cleveland until the club drafted Brandon Weeden.
Too many times after that, across the next eight seasons, opportunity would knock from time to time, and as loud as it was knocking when Alex Smith suffered his life-threatening broken leg in 2018, it stopped knocking two weeks later on a Monday night in Philadelphia when McCoy broke his right fibula.
But on this December Sunday in Seattle, here comes Colt McCoy, charging over Heartbreak Hill, a fiercely loyal army of New York Giants following him.
And Brad McCoy, the father who coached the son at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola, Texas, pop. 714 at the time, is speaking to all Giants fans when he says:
“Just know that if there’s a way that he can make the Giants win, he will do everything in his power to be the guy that can go out and manage the game and play at the level he needs to play, get the ball to the right places and read the coverages and be a smart guy and try not to make mistakes.
“And do everything he can to make New York and the Giants organization proud that he’s there.”
He’s there for his fourth start since 2014, when a neck injury against the Giants sabotaged him, because Daniel Jones is hamstrung. Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden coached McCoy in Washington from 2014-19.
“The players will play their ass off for him,” Gruden told The Post. “There’s not anybody in the roster and in the locker room that won’t like Colt. He gets along with everybody from any walk of life. I just hope that he can stay in there and do what I know he can do.”
Brad McCoy was in Palm Beach watching on television the night Colt’s career nearly broke.
“I just got a quick text from him,” Brad McCoy said.
“Broke my tibia.
“That’s all he said, and I knew how disappointed he had to be. I was sick to my stomach as a dad. His [two younger] brothers were actually there, they had flown out to the game. I was thankful that they were there, they got to go down and kinda be with him a little bit in the training room, which I was grateful for.”
Understand that Colt McCoy, so selfless, so much about his school or his team, is one of the most beloved people in the NFL.
“It was devastating, obviously, because I know that he had waited for this opportunity for a while,” Gruden recalled. “I was sad for him, too, but I was also devastated for our team. You want him to succeed, you want him, once he got the opportunity, you’re just hoping for him to take it and run with it ’cause I really have a strong belief that he’s an excellent quarterback. He just hasn’t had the opportunity really that others have been given.”
Brad McCoy never feared that there wouldn’t be another opportunity some day, even when he and Colt learned that multiple surgeries would be necessary.
“The discouragement came when they told him he was gonna have to do it again, whatever happened in the first one didn’t end up right, so we’re gonna have to re-break this and do it again,” Brad McCoy said.
Colt is 6-foot-1 and lacks a cannon, but he compensates with his maniacal preparation and uncanny anticipation. Quan Cosby caught the 26-yard TD that beat Ohio State in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl after McCoy gave him a signal with his eyes to run a slant.
“There’s so many times he let go of the ball before I turned around because he was two steps ahead of the defense,” Cosby told The Post.
Colt has rare intangibles. “I just think his competitive spirit,” Gruden said. “He wants every play to be perfect. Sometimes if it’s not there, he forces the issue, I think everybody can feel his competitive nature and his desire to win, and that rubs off on people. Every play he’s got great energy, he’s got great focus, great attention to detail and just wants to win and people just kinda gravitate towards that.”
Brad McCoy: “Colt figured out early in life that for him to be good, he had to make the people around him good. That was really his first realization as a 10-year-old, as a seventh-grader the first time he put on football pads, he wanted to be good, he had dreams of playing in college and the NFL like a lot of kids do. But one thing he realized I think really fast was he couldn’t do that by himself. … I really think that’s what endears his teammates, his coaches around the league … they know that his focus is on them really more than it’s on him.”
Colt McCoy is 34 years old, and for this one precious Sunday, the New York Football Giants are his team. And an excited father will be watching from home.
“When you look at the respect he has around the league with players and coaches because of the character guy that he is and how hard he works,” Brad McCoy said, “I think it’s a shining banner for him in the career that he’s had with how much people love him.”
Colt hero, win or lose.