Back It Up: Selflessness Key for Valley QBs

Arizona Sports News online

A college and professional athlete’s window is small and each grain of sand sifting through the hour-glass tends to move faster when you’re a backup quarterback. 

Arizona State’s Mike Bercovici and the Arizona Cardinals’ Drew Stanton have sacrificed their personal football agendas, yet proven to be integral parts in the successes of their respective teams. 

Unlike nearly every other position which rotates through by the series or even each play, Bercovici and Stanton spend more game days wearing a hat than a helmet. They carry clipboards, not footballs.  They shout encouragement instead of audibles.

Each one’s journey shows fortitude, trust and a belief in themselves and their abilities.

Stanton has gone so far as to completely embrace the role of Carson Palmer’s backup, picking the brain of Rams’ veteran backup Shaun Hill and other peers on staying sharp in preparation when your next game snap could be next week or next year.

“To be able to play and do all that stuff, I felt like I was prepared each and every week. It’s a testament to him and that’s what I told him,” Stanton said about Hill after his relief appearance win last weekend against the Rams. “I said, ‘I’m not here without your help.’ That’s what I’ve always tried to do. Being a backup in this league, learning that, is pay that forward to some of the young guys that I’ve come across.”

What’s the definition of selfless?

Willingly helping Palmer in the 2013 off-season with reads and assignments in Bruce Arians’ intricate offense knowing full-well the keys to the car were Carson’s once camp started.

As Stanton begins to write his own script in the 8-1 Cardinals’ lore this weekend, Sun Devil Nation can thank Bercovici for their number six playoff rankings and for their identity as the late-charging darlings of many national media members who believe a final four bid is destined if Sparky continues to fork opponents.

Like Stanton, “Berco” has waited his turn and will likely take the reigns next fall when Taylor Kelly’s successful run in maroon and gold comes to an end.

The junior from LA could have been like so many others–hitting the road instead of the playbook when Graham tabbed Kelly the starter before the 2012 season. 

But transferring was never an option.

Bercovici summed up his roller coaster ride moments after the infamous “JaelMary” win over USC not far from where he grew up.

“I used to dream, ‘What is going to satisfy me more than anything in the world?’ When I envisioned it I had a [pitch] fork on my helmet.”

We before me.

The majority of athletes say it.

The minority actually do it.

It’s a group Bercovici and Stanton thrive to be classified with.

Lucky us.

Next Reads