By Andrew Phelps
Dear Theodore Teddy Hero Icewater Legend Bridgewater,
Allow me to begin with a thank you, a school-wide, city-wide, fan base-wide, nationwide, appreciation for the past three years. I might be out on a limb here, but this University has been witness to quite a few program changing quarterbacks, and Teddy, you exemplify the greatest qualities from each of them. You have the agility, selflessness, toughness and accuracy of Stefan LeFors, the arm strength of Chris Redman, the pocket presence of Brian Brohm, the big game and clutch performances of Jeff Brohm and Browning Nagle, the aura of Johnny Unitas, and hopefully his future and potential. You will be remembered as the program saver, the quiet and unheralded leader who bridged Louisville football from the worst of times to the best of times. Teddy, you will be simply known as the best.
Because of your accomplishments, and your contributions to our school, our city and our team, I write this letter offering some simple advice. The time of year has arrived for you to make a decision regarding your future at the University of Louisville and whether to forego your fourth season of eligibility. As a fan, a selfish supporter of the University, I would welcome you back to the Cardinal sideline with open arms. However, as a Cardinal enthusiast and realistic diehard, it is time for you to move on and seize an opportunity available to only the tiniest fraction of people in this world. Your entire life, your persistent dedication, unwavering work ethic and selfless attitude has led you to this point, you have been a professional your entire life and it is finally time to be rewarded financially for it.
The first Super Bowl was held in 1967. If I am doing my math correctly, in the modern era of professional football there have only been 46 number one overall draft picks and you have the chance to join that most exclusive fraternity. In that same span, only 32 Universities and Colleges can lay claim to a number one overall selection and 20 of those 46 picks have been quarterbacks. Teddy, you have unfathomable opportunity before you, for yourself, for this University and most importantly for your family.
The NFL instituted a new wage scale for rookies recently, but the average salary of the last six number one draft picks is $45 million. The Last three have an average salary of $22 million. Your education is complete and you have the potential to secure your family's financial future for generations to come. We have watched you make the best decisions on the football field, your friends, coaches, family, mentors and peers have observed you choose correctly throughout your life, and it is now time to choose wisely once again. The risk of returning to UofL far outweighs the option to capture this moment before you.
The last three years have been an absolute honor and filled with enjoyment watching you personify everything it means to be a Louisville Cardinal. You have earned what is coming to you, and no one can take this accomplishment away from you. I only ask this of you, continue to love this University, continue to support it, acknowledge it and embrace it, and feel no regret when you make the decision to enter the NFL draft. We have hours of "Teddy being Teddy" moments to keep us company for decades to come, and rest assured all of us will follow your professional career with sincere admiration. You are the best quarterback Louisville has ever known, you will always be a Cardinal and thank you for the last three years. We wish you all the best.
Andrew Phelps, UofL fans everywhere, the University, the City and the future.
All Hail UofL!!