ESPN talked to Phil, his family, and a few of his old college teammates, and it turns out that Robertson is the guy who kept Terry Bradshaw on the bench for a year in college.
He was actually offered a chance to play for the Washington Redskins after his junior year of college.
Instead, he not only rejected the offer from the Redskins, he also passed on his final year of NCAA eligibility, and quit football altogether to concentrate on his true passion: duck hunting.
As it turns out, he probably made the right move. Now, he's a millionaire and one of the most well-known outdoorsmen in the country.
One of the most telling quotes is from legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant. Former Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Butch Williams tells the story:
"I remember he was quite a good quarterback. He had a great arm. The thing I remember about him is we went over and played Alabama. Bear Bryant was the coach, and of course Alabama beat us that day (34-0 in 1966). But I remember the next day in the paper Bryant said, “That young man over there on the Tech sideline, that quarterback, he has one heck of an arm. He’s a great prospect. He’s one of the best prospects I’ve seen.” And Bear Bryant’s quarterback was “Snake” Stabler."
Those are bold words, particularly if they were true. If so, it could have theoretically changed the football landscape forever.
Robertson says that Bradshaw had a slightly stronger arm, but a slower delivery:
"I had the arm. The ability was there. Bradshaw probably had me a little more on distance. I was about a 65-yard man. … I remember at some point, Bradshaw and I would get out there and he would throw like 70-plus. As far as delivery, you could study the films, his delivery or mine, but my delivery was quicker than his (Bradshaw’s). … I didn’t come back too far. It was all from about the ear, from there forward."
Is it revisionist history? Or was Robertson really that great?
By the numbers, he had a rather pedestrian 43% completion percentage on 179 for 411 passing, and had only 12 TDs against 34 INT.
Then again, it was a completely different era. When Bradshaw saw the field during that same period, he was a paltry 112 for 220 (51%) with 3 TD and 13 INT. It's possible that Louisiana Tech was just a really bad football team at the time (they were, going 8-20 over that period) and it's possible that NO quarterback would have been able to put up good numbers on that team.
Either way, it's always interesting to hear about non-sports celebrities and their roots in sports. If anything, it might make me want to watch "Duck Dynasty" a little more often if it starred a former NFL QB.