SUBURBIA, NJ – Since the beginning of this site I have somehow been given the designation of Replacement Matt, basically because I shared a (lack of) hairstyle with the two original Matts and was foolish enough to be willing to wear a blue monkey suit when one of them wasn’t around. I was never quite fond of the title being my name isn’t Matt and it seemed a bit demeaning. But no more, today I will own the name and place myself amongst the cannon of GREAT REPLACEMENTS In HISTORY.
First off, no list of great replacements can ever be complete without the king of all replacements…
Lou Gehrig. Yes, everyone knows the legend of Wally Pipp, who was in a slump at first base for the Bronx Bombers and was replaced with the Iron Horse. Gehrig went on to occupy the slot for 2,130 consecutive games until a disease named AFTER HIM finally placed him on the sidelines. I can only hope my slotting in for our friend DJ Eberle will not lead to such a feat.
We can’t get into a post about replacements without the greatest replacements of them all, of course…
THE REPLACEMENTS. The Paul Westerberg-led Minneapolis band started out punk then developed their own sound that served as the blueprint for nearly every indy-rock act that followed for the next three decades. Creators of such legendary records Let It Be and Tim their sound will live on past the staying power of whoever they were actually replacing on that fateful day they claimed their moniker. Better chance of me living up to the Iron Horse than these guys I’d say.
QB’s Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler and Nick Foles: These three are tied as replacement quarterbacks who carried their respective teams to the Lombardi Trophy. Williams replaced Joe Theisman and became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl paving the way for countless greats who followed breaking a true color barrier steeped in the old man NFL’s racism – that still permeates to this day. (I will be quite surprised if the Giants draft Dwayne Haskins – ahem)… Hostetler stepped in admirably for the fallen Phil Simms and added a mobility Phil lacked in leading the G-Men to the ‘91 Super Bowl. His performance was overshadowed by the defense and of course the infamous wide right kick of Scott Norwood… And lastly, Foles brought home the prize to the city of Philthydelphia with a grace that the injured Carson Wentz will probably never replicate.
But hold the phone before you hang up. You can’t do an article about replacements without mentioning a couple of misses:
NFL Replacement Scabs: Players that fouled the league during the 1987 strike. A shameful low for a league drowning in shamefulness.
The Replacement in the much-maligned stat Wins Above Replacement. Who is this guy and how did they figure out why he’s so damn average? What team does he actually play for? Maybe Ben Whitney, resident analytics nerd can explain?
The Film The Replacements starring Keanu Reeves. I made it through about ten minutes. Spoiler Alert: It was no ET. However, it did star Keanu; the star of the real movie Kathryn Bigelow won her Oscar for: Point Break, a classic still to this day.
Which category does this replacement fall into? You be the judge and chime in with your own notorious replacements below
And, of course come back for Buddy Diaz tomorrow, Different Matt’s Replacement.