In sports talk radio, there is a running joke about the "Matts."
The Matts are a gaggle of NFL starting (or recently starting) quarterbacks who coincidentally all fall somewhere between, like, tenth and 45th among quarterbacks in terms of their perception around the league. It's a huge chunk of the tier that ranges anywhere from "just good enough to fool you into thinking they can win a Super Bowl" to "just horrible enough to get you fired." (Somewhere, Gary Kubiak nods.)
Also coincidentally, most of these quarterbacks have the first name "Matt."
Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel, Matt Moore, Matt Leinart, Matt Flynn. And yes, Matt Schaub.
I bring up the Fraternal Order of Matts for a reason, and it's because I'm fairly certain that the Oakland Raiders think that they've traded for one of the actually-somewhat-decent Matts, like Ryan or Stafford, not one who did this last season...
(By the way, on the Fraternal Order of Matts -- I like to think that they all gather somewhere in the offseason, somewhere that truly embodies the essence of the Matt Tier of NFL quarterbacks. Des Moines, Iowa, has that feel, maybe Toledo. Instead of golf and strip clubs, they play cribbage with Brady Bunch reruns playing in the background and get heaped up on Capri Sun. This is also where they induct new members. Last year, Matt McGloin had to eat a whole bar of marshmallow Fluff for his hazing. I've thought about this way too much.)
It started with the introductory press conference, where Schaub got a hero's welcome and his future bosses gushed effusively about what a stud he's been these past few years (casually ignoring the fact that he concluded one of the most disastrous seasons of the past decade just months prior to this).
Just a few days ago, future Hall of Famer and no Schaub teammate Charles Woodson had the following things to say about Schaub:
"I think every man on the team is counting on him being the guy," Woodson said during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "You know, you bring him over from Houston, and it's been duly noted about the struggles that he had last year. But you can't discount the year that he had before last year so we're looking at last year as being an anomaly and that not being the true Matt Schaub."
Right. Because quarterbacks who are average their whole career and suddenly have a catastrophically terrible year at age 32 typically revert back to their average self the following season. Especially when trying to do it in an environment and culture like Oakland's.
Solid philosophy, Chuck. Then there's the Raiders marketing strategy, which appears to definitely be centered around Schaub, possibly in some sort of quasi-terrorist, stoned-pirate motif, with awkwardly worded phrases that appear to be cobbled together by a fourth-grader.
I posted this picture on my Twitter timeline late Tuesday evening, and the retweets and responses flowed like cheap wine outside the Oakland Coliseum.
Definitely, got a few that thought Schaub looked stoned (which has, frankly, been a meme his entire
life NFL career):
— Steve (@LandOfSteve) July 16, 2014
@SeanCablinasian I feel like he should be in one of those new Jack In The Box commercials catering to stoners.
— Nate Owens (@NathanWOwens) July 16, 2014
I got several that implied some sort of terrorist or Middle Eastern message:
@SeanCablinasian Taliban marketing flyer
— Matt Davis (@mbdtx) July 16, 2014
@SeanCablinasian I suddenly have the urge to watch Argo
— Matty B. (@MattyPoo2004) July 16, 2014
Got a few that thought this could double as a Schaub mugshot (Isn't getting arrested part of the Raiders' new employee orientation?):
— Michael McCain (@MMcCainTCU) July 16, 2014
And then just the usual barrage of quips, jokes and dumbfounded amazement at how an NFL team could actually use Matt Schaub as a selling point to buy season tickets:
— Timothy Bradley (@NotTheTimmyB) July 16, 2014
@SeanCablinasian Schaub with a tactical error in thinking the same dead eye stare that works in Victoria's Secret catalogs would work here.
— Michaelinho (@mikeinparma) July 16, 2014
@SeanCablinasian If that's not a wrasslin' poster, I don't know what is.
— Blair Burnside (@blairburnside) July 16, 2014
@SeanCablinasian I have no words
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 16, 2014
@SeanCablinasian When did they sign Vlade Divac?
— Nicole Redo (@boozeleprechaun) July 16, 2014
My personal favorite...
@SeanCablinasian that's the face of a man who wears flip flops to a pick up basketball game at la fitness to keep expectations low...
— Gonzalo Zaragoza (@gonzo_agg09) July 16, 2014
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Finally, in the sea of delusion, we board our ship in this port, the one where Dennis Allen feels that Schaub finally allows them to stand proudly in the arms race that is the AFC West:
"It's pretty obvious that we feel good about Matt Schaub as our starting quarterback," Allen said at the time. "We have a quarterback now that's on par with the quarterbacks in this division."
The other quarterbacks in the Raiders' division? Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith.