This week’s Average Joe is Billy Joe Tolliver.
Billy Joe Tolliver who was named after his Uncle Joe and Aunt Billie, most likely good ole boys from Texas. A remarkable athlete who threw 14 no-hitters in high school, clearly chose the wrong career as an NFL quarterback. He seemingly was involved with more trades and terrible quarterbacks than he had career touchdowns (59). Tolliver once compared himself to Betty Crocker after a five interception performance in college by claiming even Crocker burns a cake now and then. No, she does not burn her cakes that badly Billy Joe.
The young atheltic firearm from Texas known as “Shotgun” threw 14 no-hitters in his high school career with a 92mph heater. Stop right there, how could baseball take a back seat to football??? I don’t even think I threw that many in Bases Loaded for Nintendo! Education was not a strong suit because despite this and his 15 point 17 rebound basketball average he chose to pursue football at Texas Tech, which proved to be devastating to the NFL and seven of its franchises he blessed. He came on the scene fast tossing 437 yards and 5 touchdowns barely into his second year. What he did not know is David Klinger put up way guadier stats in college and was only slightly better in the NFL than Spergon Wynn. He left Texas Tech with 16 school records leading to induction into the school Hall of Fame in 2002, quicker than Average Joe Bam Morris and Byron Hanspard most likely because he hated drugs and liked to abide by rules.
Tolliver was born into the NFL by the San Diego Chargers when they traded a third, fourth, and seventh round draft pick to jump into the second round to select him. I guess they did not want the next quarterback taken to be their signal caller of the future, Duke’s Anthony Dilweg. Tolliver found himself starting halfway through his rookie season when he beat out an injured and washed up Mark Malone and household gunslinger David Archer for the starting job. His all pro Average Joe year went to the tune of five touchdowns, eight interceptions, and 57.9 qb rating. The next season was even worse for San Diego as he lost his job to Mark Vlasic and John Friesz and won it back again. Holy hell, was it that bad in the early 90’s to find a quarterback? His 16 TD 16 INT performance was not enough for Chargers GM Bobby Bethard to keep him, trading him to the Atlanta Falcons when he lost the back up spot to Bob Gagliano. Wow, Charlie Batch was 20 years too late or he may be speaking at Canton in five years wearing a yellow blazer.
Tollivers most memorable football moment came in relief of injured Jim Miller when he found Michael Haynes on a 44 yard Hail Mary to beat the Washington Redkins. What you need to know is between these two quarterbacks, who could not hit Bibi Jones if they were Rob Gronkowski, the Falcons decide that third string quarterback Brett Farve was expendable and traded him to the Green Bay Packers. Even the Cleveland Indians trading Brandon Phillips to the Reds think that was an epic fail! Well Tolliver repaid the trust by throwing for just over 1200 yards with 8 touchdowns and 10 picks over the next two seasons. His next stop on the carousel was Houston to join the Houston Oilers beating out Bucky Richardson and Cody ‘the Commander’ Carlson. I am sick to my stomach just mentioning these excuses for quarterbacks. Apparently Billy Joe’s ceiling for passing yards in a year was 1300 as he notched 1287 yards six TD’s and seven interceptions. I know I was younger then, but these fields must have been 400 yards long and first downs must have been 40 yards because Trent Dilfer somehow managed 2300 yards in 11 games with the Cleveland Browns in 2005, leaving the only possible explanation to be found in a tabloid magazine next to the alien sighting at Bayside High School article.
Billy Joe did what any average quarterback would do at this point: chase a one million dollar contract to the CFL. By the way I am pretty sure this is still the going rate for their contracts 18 years later. He went all Jeff Garcia and produced a 3700 yard season with 16 TD’s, just enough to fool a few NFL teams into employment for the next few years. He suffered a torn MCL and instead of sitting out and losing his job to Danny Wuerfel, he took a page out of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit’s book and declared himself good to go after treating himself with WD40. No wonder that was his last go round and soon was out of the NFL.
But no worries, the athletic guru spends a lot of time on the golf course, winning three separate American Century Celebrity Golf Championship’s. Man, it looks like Tony Romo will never win- even on the golf course as long as Tolliver is around. So how in the world does BJ Tolliver pass up two sports that he seemingly could have mastered, only to have such an average career? Must have been the desire to have his own character in Tecmo Super Bowl.
Memo to the Steelers and Bears, be thankful you don’t look down your bench and see Tolliver in uniform or have to snag him from the unemployment lines. Things could be worse, you could be the Cleveland Browns and play the last 14 years with average joe backups as your starters.
This was written by Tim Couch superfan Tom Hamm.