by Wyatt Vaughn, Senior, Holy Cross
This week’s Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club Luncheon, held every Tuesday at Rock-N-Bowl, on Carrollton Avenue, featured former Saints and Ole Miss quarterback John Fourcade. In front of a weekly audience of regular football fanatics and students of the game, and focusing on the State of the Saints, Fourcade sounded just as shocked as the rest of the Who Dat Nation when addressing Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Especially critical of the defensive backfield, Fourcade called out Marshon Lattimore, 2017’s defensive rookie of the year, being toasted by Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans. In his own words, “Lattimore, and Crawley got toasted,” referencing 2nd string cornerback Ken Crawley. Although concerned about the Saints, he voiced a lot of hope for the squad, reminding the audience that the team did start off 0-2 last season before going 11-3 in the final 14 games. Shifting from the Saints, he entertained questions from the audience, including one about his opinion on the new penalty rules in the NFL. On landing on the quarterback with your full body weight, Fourcade, the former Shaw-Ole Miss and NFL QB, predicted that teams will lose games because of these new rules.
Following the luncheon, I sat down with Mr. Fourcade and talked about the past, present, and future state of the game. When asked about his college career and why he chose Ole Miss, he was clear that a big part of the decision was because of the playing time. He noted that LSU and Alabama both told him that he would not play until his Junior year in college. Although a tough decision because of how much he liked and respected Alabama Coach Bear Bryant, he felt the right choice for himself was to commit to Ole Miss, where he ended up breaking Archie Manning’s all-time passing record.
Moving on from college into his coaching career we talked about what it was like coaching star quarterback Kordell Stewart at John Ehret High School, who also later went on to play in the NFL. When asked about his favorite memory of coaching the young star, his immediate answer was, “beating John Curtis,” something that rarely happens in High School football to this day. Unable to throw a 3-yard hitch at the beginning of the season, Fourcade saw Stewart come into his own during the season and use his legs to defeat the Patriots.
On his football career, which boasts a long resume of playing, coaching, and broadcasting, Fourcade happily reflected on the level of competition in the NFL, saying he “really loved that aspect, even though getting hit wasn’t that great”. The long term effects of the game, and ongoing surgeries, were evident in this slow and careful movements associated with even getting on and off the stage, or sitting down and rising.
As for coaching, he referred back to the competition aspect, saying that you are trying to outsmart the other coach. He reflected that he didn’t like looking back at old film knowing there was a call he should have made that he didn’t, preventing his team from winning the game. When addressing the broadcasting side, he admitted that it was great, acknowledging that “you don’t get beat up.” When asked about the current social problems in the NFL right now, his answer was short and sweet, stating that “politics should stay out of sports.” Considering that he was one of the best players to play in the NFL during the time when the players were on strike, he has a unique perspective on this topic. When pressed about problems pertaining to CTE and the concussion protocol in the NFL, he said that when you sign up for football you know you might get a concussion, not sounding worried about it at all. He bluntly stated that, “you can get a concussion playing soccer.” This attitude intrigued me, in light of the injuries that clearly still affect Mr. Fourcade, as well as the predominance of his answers related to getting hit.
We closed our conversation with questions pertaining to the other football leagues, such as the Canadian Football League. In his view, the CFL will be around for a long time, and should be played in the spring, being more like a development league. To finish the interview I asked about the possibility of an expansion team in Europe for the NFL. He was not too keen on this, as he said he would put a team in Canada before going to Europe. He said that it could be sustainable, but didn’t see it as necessary, as it could be done much easier in the United States.