Chad Pennington : biography
James Chadwick "Chad" Pennington (born June 26, 1976) is a retired American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for eleven years. He is currently a color analyst for NFL telecasts on Fox. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the first round, as the eighteenth overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft.
He played college football at Marshall University. Pennington has won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award twice, in 2006 and 2008. In 2008, he finished second in MVP voting to Peyton Manning. Pennington is the NFL’s all-time leader in career completion percentage at 66.0%, among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 pass attempts.
2000 NFL Draft
Pennington was the first quarterback drafted in the 2000 NFL Draft. ESPN created a film about the 2000 NFL draft (notably the 6 quarterbacks drafted ahead of Tom Brady including Pennington).
New York Jets
After making only three appearances during his first two seasons, Chad emerged as the Jets’ starting quarterback after filling in for Vinny Testaverde, during the fifth game of the 2002 season. Pennington helped reverse the Jets’ fortunes by leading the 1-4 team to an eventual 9-7 record and an AFC East division championship. Despite playing less than a full season, Pennington managed to throw for 3,120 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions, with his 104.2 quarterback rating during the 2002 season, setting a team record. Pennington led the Jets to a first round 41-0 decision over the Indianapolis Colts in that season’s playoffs.
After their 2002 performance, Pennington and the Jets were given lofty expectations entering the 2003 pre-season; however, in the fourth pre-season game against the New York Giants, Pennington endured a fracture-dislocation on his left (non-throwing) hand after suffering a hit from linebacker Brandon Short. The injury forced him to miss the first six games of the season. Due to the severity of the injury, and a rushed rehab process, Pennington’s wrist would never be the same, and his once outstanding play-fake became thoroughly ordinary. Without their starting QB, the Jets began the season 1-4. Despite his return, the Jets were only able to win five more games to finish 6-10.
Into the 2004 season, the Jets signed Pennington to a team-record contract for seven years and $64.2 million, which seemed to pay immediate dividends, as Pennington was able to lead the Jets to a 5-0 record. However, during a Week 9 game against the Buffalo Bills, Pennington injured his rotator cuff and was forced to miss three games. Second string QB Quincy Carter was 2-1 in Pennington’s absence. After returning to action with a rout of the Houston Texans, Pennington struggled the rest of the season and there was speculation that Pennington’s shoulder was not fully healed. Even after a scuffle with the New York media and losses to New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams, the Jets managed to earn a wild card berth with a 10-6 record. Pennington then led Jets to a first-round, 20-17 overtime win against the AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers, as he went 23-33, for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Pennington then faced the 15-1 Steelers at Pittsburgh. Despite the Jets’ offensive struggles and facing a 10-0 deficit, the Jets defense and special teams rallied to score 17 unanswered points. However, Pennington and the Jets would see their season end with kicker Doug Brien missing two potential game-winning field goals. The Steelers would go on to win in overtime, the third overtime in a row for the Jets.
Pennington feuded with the local New York media throughout the season. During a news conference on 20 December 2004, Pennington scolded the assembled media, telling them it was ‘not (their) right’ but a ‘privilege’ of theirs to be able to cover the Jets, ‘to be around a bunch of professional athletes every day and do your job’.
Pennington underwent surgery on his right shoulder in Birmingham, Alabama on February 4, 2005. It was later revealed that he had suffered a substantial tear in the right rotator cuff, as well as a large bone spur on that shoulder. A dismal performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in September and a lackluster one against the Miami Dolphins the following week led to speculation that the shoulder had yet to fully heal, but both Pennington and Jets coach Herman Edwards denied this, citing a lack of pre-season practice and Pennington’s less-than-full grasp of new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger’s plays. On September 25, 2005, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pennington once again suffered injury, although he re-entered the game later and almost led the Jets to victory despite not throwing well. However, tests later showed another tear in his rotator cuff.