The Vince Young Paradox

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For Hire

After more than a season away from the NFL, Vince Young is looking to make a comeback. He’s reportedly planning to work out at Texas’ Pro Day this Spring as a last chance effort to convince league scouts that he’s worth going out on a limb for.

His football story is such a head-scratcher that it deserves its own section and edition on this list of paradoxes. What now? You’re unfamiliar with this one? Ah yes the VY Paradox, as it were, is one that follows the definition of a paradox to the letter: s statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.

Could Vince Young, a quarterback with a 62-percent winning percentage, a 31-19 record, and a dual-threat capability shed his history of toxic sideline energy, and off-field instability?

I think the answer is partly an objective yes– Young could seemingly join a team and fit well in some capacity either as back up or a system quarterback– and partly an overly optimistic one.

Young was undoubtedly a dazzling talent in college, and an exciting rookie in the NFL, but too much has transpired since that on-top-of-Mt.-Everest day in Southern California. This soon-to-be-30-year-old QB a year removed from the NFL is going to have a tough time.

There is a tendency, in the online media, to make a timeline of career events when it comes to athletes suffering roller coaster lives. With that being said, let’s indulge and take another look at how we even got to this point. C’mon, you know you’re reading this while pretending to actually work. What’re a few more Youtube videos?

January 2006– The 2006 National Championship was the peak of Vince Young’s popularity. We start with this, because up until that 2005-2006 college season Vince Young wasn’t a national name. The year prior Texas beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl, a game in which VY accounted for 4 touchdowns, earning him the nation’s attention. In the 2006 title game Vince Young led the Longhorns to a victory over the reigning champs Trojans.

April 2006  – February 2007

Vince Young was selected third overall by the Tennessee Titans in April of that same year. Young could have landed in either Houston or New Orleans, but Mario Williams and Reggies Bush were drafted one-two ahead of him. It could have had something to do with him scoring a six…teen on the Wonderlic test, which was highly scrutinized. Nonetheless, Young immediately took to Nashville and thrived as a rookie, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year by season’s end.

“Can’t nobody tell me nothing right now,” Vince Young.


Vince Young remained the starter through his first two seasons in the NFL, despite dropping numbers in his sophomore campaign. In the first game of the 2008 season, Young injured his knee. Coach Jeff Fisher elected to stick with Kerry Collins, Young’s backup, for essentially the next two seasons (Young did win his role back in the ’09 campaign after six games and led Tennessee to an 8-8 season) Couple this ego-breaker with the death of his close friend/mentor/father-figure in July of 2009 and it highlights the pinnacle of his mentally taxing year. Oh yeah, there was the whole disappearing thing in 2008 after fans turned into boo-birds.

This video pretty much covers the torment that were those years.

February 2011-

Young was the starter in September of 2010, but he chugged the Titans to a 4-5 record. In week 11 of that season, Young injured his right flexor, however he felt able to reenter the game but Fisher elected to keep him out. Young did a lot of throwing of things that weren’t footballs. He threw a tantrum and he threw his shoulder pads into the crowd as he left the field, had an altercation with Coach Fisher in the locker room, and stormed out.Fisher then declared that Rusty Smith would become the Titans’ starting quarterback.

Copyright laws have me held up on finding any actual videos of this, but I’ll post this one here so you can listen to smooth, melancholy tunes. I think they support the emotions of the time. 


From here Vince bounced between the Dream (Nightmare) Team in Philly and then the Buffalo Bills for a few (four) fun months near Niagra. He bombed both his chances, though he threw for decent numbers in a couple of garbage games late in the season with the Eagles.

He also did a few things like that during these years.

Vince didn't wear these shades of blue and white for long. He was cut before the season even began. Photo courtesy of Associate Press.

Vince didn’t wear these shades of blue and white for long. He was cut before the season even began. Photo courtesy of Associated Press.

December 2012-

Things got really low for the unemployed Vince Young. So low, in fact, that he took to Twitter for his job search. His financial troubles also came into public awareness around this time.



And here we are. Just when we though Young was all but down and out, the former Texas standout, one-time Titans dream and the subsequent journey-man bust, wants back in. And he wants to do it starting in the place that started it all.

He’s announced that he will participate in Texas’ Pro Day, which is good for him considering the Longhorns didn’t field a particularly phenomenal prospect outside of Marquise Goodwin.  Maybe Young gets a little notice.

He may be hitting his 30’s, but Young seems like he’s dedicated and and remorseful. (Also, humble?) Whether or not that matters for this case study of a literary element, a  troubled soul that is part myth, part daytime-soap-opera is something we’ll have to wait and watch and find out.


I originally planned to include this in the timeline.

October 2009-

Houston rapper Z-ro releases the single “Vince Young” on his album Cocaine.

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