Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/28/13
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will start Super Bowl XLVII next Sunday. With just seven days remaining until Super Bowl XLVII, I thought I’d take some time to reflect. The 2012 NFL season has been the breakthrough year for the “Read-Option” offense. It began in 2010 with Tim Tebow when he was a Denver Bronco. It continued in 2011 with Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. This year, rookies Robert Griffith III, and Russell Wilson have taken this philosophy to new heights. The most successful quarterback to run this type of offense so far is San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers signal caller will start next week’s big game. When Alex Smith was injured some 10 weeks ago, Kaepernick was called upon and the offense was adjusted for his abilities. For years many have said the option was a college offense only and would never work in the National Football League. This new bread of quarterback has changed that sentiment and defenses have been scrambling to adjust accordingly. Before Kaepernick, Wilson, Tebow, RG3, and Newton, many so-called “option-quarterbacks” have tried to make it in the NFL. Some of them were forced to play other positions, some didn’t succeed at all. Here is a look at some previous quarterbacks who could have lived their NFL dreams had the read-option came into existence earlier: 1. Eric Crouch   The former Nebraska stand-out was the university’s all-time leading passer when his college career was said and done. But it was not enough to convince the NFL scouts. He was brought into the league as a wide receiver and later moved to safety, his NFL career was short lived. He did play QB in the CFL and the UFL before consistent knee injuries sidelined him for good. If the the league had adapted the read-option back in 2o02, his career could have been much brighter. 2. Pat White   This West Virginia alumnus played two seasons the NFL before being cut, and never to heard from again. The most production the Miami Dolphins were able to get out of him was through the “Wildcat” offense. Perhaps the read-option could have prolonged this athlete’s career. 3. Brad Smith   The former Missouri Wildcat has been able to make career for himself in the National Football League. Except he has been playing wide receiver instead of quarterback. Sure he is one of the players that made the wildcat a successful package, but his dream was to throw ball instead of running it. Considering he consistently threw for 2,000 yards while rushing for 1,000 yards each year in college, the read-option could have made Brad Smith a pro bowler. 4. Antwaan Randle-El   This Chicagoland native took the cards he was dealt coming out of college and turned it into a solid NFL career. He has made numerous playoff appearances and was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers who won Super Bowl XL. An all-american quarterback at Indiana University, Randle-El’s 5-foot 10-inch frame would be his undoing heading into the 2002 NFL Draft. He did get to throw the ball a few times in his career, and he is considered the originator of the wildcat offense. But the read-option could have made him an even bigger prospect coming out of college. 5. Scott Frost   The man who wore No.7 before Eric Crouch had quite the Nebraska career himself. But his lack of passing statistics earned him a brief NFL career as a defensive back. The read-option could have changed all of that. 6. Chance Harridge   Considered a rarity among service academy quarterbacks, Harridge had a decent enough arm and the athletic ability to play in the National Football League. He ultimately decided to forgo the NFL and serve his country. While I commend his decision, I can’t help but wonder what his decision would have been had the read-option been instituted at that point in time. These guys may have never had their chance the spotlight, but I’d like to think they paved the way for today’s option style quarterbacks.        
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