If I had told you in April of 2021 that Stetson Bennett, fresh off back-to-back national championships, would be selected in the 4th round of the NFL Draft you likely would have said I was nuts. Actually, I would say you were nuts if you didn’t say I was nuts for unleashing that sort of fever dream nonsense.
That was then. This is now.
No doubt about it, he's got that dawg in him.@StetsonIV @GeorgiaFootball pic.twitter.com/8mhNZkF9dJ— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) April 29, 2023
I’m not sure where the eventual Stetson Bennett Disney movie begins. I assume on a rec league field in Pierce County or in a front yard with a precocious eight year old Mailman confidently declaring that he’s going to one day be the quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs. But if we’re not going to end it with him coming off the bench in relief of his new teammate Matt Stafford to lead the Rams to a Super Bowl victory, today would be a fine cutoff point. Because it’s truly a moment of improbable victory in a career marked by improbable victories.
Let’s be clear: “Stetson Bennett, plucky underdog” is a character who ceased to exist some time ago. When precisely that occurred is up for debate. It might have been in 2020 when he came off the bench in relief of Dwan Mathis to throw two touchdown passes against Arkansas. But that seems a bit premature. More likely it was in 2021 when he threw for 2862 yards and 29 touchdowns, sent JT Daniels to the bench (and eventually West Virginia) and eventually outdueled Bryce Young, hoisting a national title trophy afterward.
But that aw shucks glad to be here guy was definitely replaced by an actual elite college quarterback sometime prior to the senior season in which he threw for 4127 yards, completed 68.3% of his passes, was a Heisman Trophy finalist, and became the first Bulldog quarterback to win back-to-back national championships.
Spare me the caveats about Georgia’s elite defense, and about the stable of offensive weapons, and the impenetrable wall of linemen in front of him. You think C.J. Stroud would have looked that good without the receivers he had? Are we laboring under the impression that Bryce Young didn’t get some extra possessions courtesy of the Crimson Tide defense? The truth, as much as his detractors haatttteeeee to admit it is that Bennett is an exceptional athlete, he’s got uncanny awareness, a plus arm, and pro level timing and touch in the passing game. He can also do this:
Literally every criticism you can level at the Mailman is blunted by the fact that he’s been immensely effective on the football field. When it counts and where it counts, the Mailman has delivered.
So maybe the Stetson Bennett story ends today, with him boarding a flight to L.A. to chase his NFL dream. Maybe it ends when he takes the podium in Canton. But no matter what, it’s not an underdog story. It’s the story of a champion. Go get ‘em, Stet. And…