Mobile Tour: Honoring Legends - Purdue Cradle of Quarterbacks

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It is fitting that the Big Ten's trophy for best quarterback is named after not one but two Purdue quarterbacks. The Griese-Brees (sounds like something that I learned in my meteorology class) Trophy will be awarded to the best quarterback in the Big Ten each year. If this trophy knows anything about Purdue's history (it probably doesn't, it's inanimate after all), it may want to consider taking up residence West Lafayette.

Purdue has become the Cradle of Quarterbacks. With a tradition of developing talent and creating passer friendly offenses, the Boilermakers are now nationally recognized for a tradition of aerial expertise.

As recent as last year, Purdue honored this "Cradle" throughout the season. Let's take a look at this time-tested line-up of field generals and precision passers:

Drew Brees, 1997-2000: The first memories I have of cheering for Purdue revolve around the man, the myth, the legend that is Drew Brees. I could dedicate an entire week of blogging to Brees (Believe me, it was tempting). Where do I start? He was a two-time Heisman finalist, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Academic All-American and led the Boilermakers to their first Rose Bowl in more than 30 years. Perhaps more impressive than anything is that he has been a great ambassador and representative of Purdue in every walk of life. He's proud to be a Boilermaker and we're proud to call him a Boilermaker.

Scott Campbell, 1980-83: The Hershey, Pennsylvania-native had a sweet (my sense of humor infuriates even me) career at Purdue. Campbell graduated as the second all-time passing leader at Purdue trailing only Mark Herrmann (we'll get to him later). Campbell went on to play six years at the NFL level. 

Gary Danielson, 1970-72: You may or may not recognize the name but you may recognize his voice. After a very successful collegiate and 11-year NFL career, Danielson moved into the television booth where he has become a staple for big-time college football broadcasts.

Len Dawson, 1954-56: The first of Purdue's three Super Bowl quarterback champions (Brees, Griese). If the Super Bowl ring doesn't convince you Dawson knows how to win the big one, perhaps his 7-1-1 record against Purdue's top rivals Indiana, Notre Dame and Illinois will.

Bob DeMoss, 1945-48: The father of the Cradle. DeMoss was the first great passer at Purdue. While his numbers may not stand the test of time, his legacy certainly does. After an extremely successful playing career at Purdue, DeMoss went on to coach many other great Purdue signal-callers, such as Dale Samuels, Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Mike Phipps and Gary Danielson.

Jim Everett, 1981-85: The Boilermaker that other teams loved to hate. Everett (figuratively) kicked in the door at the Hoosier Dome Dedication Game in Indianapolis. Behind their fearless leader, the Boilermakers defeated the heavily favored Notre Dame Irish in his first career start. He accomplished something no other Purdue quarterback has ever done by defeating Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan in the same season. Everett was selected third overall in the NFL draft and had a successful professional career leading the Los Angeles Rams to the playoffs three times.

Bob Griese, 1964-66: Bob Griese is the quarterback that my dad grew up with and thus, I feel as though I grew up with. The Evansville, Indiana-native led the Boilermakers to their first ever Rose Bowl appearance and victory. His athletics resume is quite lengthy. He was truly a Jack-of-all-trades. Griese kicked, punted, played quarterback, went 12-1 as a baseball starting pitcher and was a guard on the basketball team briefly. Oh and then by the way, he led the 1972 Miami Dolphins to the only undefeated season in the history of the NFL.

Mark Herrmann, 1977-80: Herrmann practically turned the record books into an autobiography in his time at Purdue. The Carmel, Indiana-native was named a unanimous All-American and Big Ten Most Valuable Player in 1980. Herrmann became the first quarterback to ever throw for 8,000 yards. He would go on to have an 11-season NFL career.

Kyle Orton, 2001-2004: Want to put Kyle Orton's Purdue career in perspective? He started in four consecutive bowl games. Only 12 quarterbacks in the history of college football accomplished that before him. 12, that's not a type-o. You want tough? How about this - Orton played with a broken thumb, sprained toe and cracked rib in the Capital One Bowl. Come on Denver, who needs the Golden Boy when you have the Gold and Black Boy?

Curtis Painter, 2005-2008: If Curtis Painter's middle name isn't gunslinger, it should be. Painter could whip the ball around the field with the best of them. Painter set a Purdue record with 546 passing yards in a 2007 Motor City Bowl 51-48 victory. He ranks second at Purdue in career completions and passing yards. I'll give you a hint who he trails, it rhymes with Brew Drees. Oh and he's responsible for my favorite Purdue rushing TD of all-time. Somebody let the state of Illinois know he has the ball!

Mike Phipps, 1967-69: The Notre Dame Leprechaun has nightmares about this guy. Phipps defeated the Fighting Irish three straight years when they were ranked No. 1, No. 2 and No. 9 nationally. He subsequently led the Boilermakers to a No. 1 ranking and finished second in Heisman voting. Following his senior year, he was named a Rhodes Scholar but instead went on to play for 12 years in the NFL.

Dale Samuels, 1950-52: Dale Samuels may be best remembered for ending Notre Dame's 39-game unbeaten streak. Samuels would go on to become the first Purdue passer to ever throw for 1,000 yards in a season and led the Boilermakers to a co-Big Ten Championship his senior year. Samuels was a lifelong Boiler as he served the university for over a quarter century in various administrative positions.

Until next time...Ever Grateful, Ever True. Boiler Up, Hammer Down and Hail Purdue. 

Don't forget to stop by the #B1G bus at Memorial Mall from 10:30 - 2:30 today.

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