Colt McCoy lined up about 7 yards from his dad, Brad. This was inside the Texas locker room underneath the Rose Bowl bleachers, the Longhorns quarterback missing the biggest game of his career, about to attempt the most important throw of his life.
Colt had the ball and was going to pass it to his dad as a slew of doctors and trainers watched closely. How many times had these two thrown a football back and forth, from their yard in little Tuscola, Texas, to the practice fields of Jim Ned High School, where the dad was the coach and the son was the star?
“Millions,” Colt said. “Millions of times.”
Colt had just lied to the Texas doctors and said that he was capable of returning to the BCS title game against Alabama. A hit by the Tide’s Marcell Dareus, on the fifth play of the game, had sent him to this locker room. He wanted back out there. So he tried to sound convincing despite the fact his arm felt “like a noodle.”
So Colt gripped the ball, stared at his dad and thought, “It’s just a simple throw.” He threw. The ball went soft and wide. Everyone grimaced. “Give it to me again,” Colt demanded. Brad got the ball and gave it back to his son. The next throw was the same, bouncing harmlessly away. “Give it to me again,” Colt said, again. Brad did.
It was the same. It was over. Colt couldn’t throw it 7 yards to his own father. “My arm was dead,” he said. The dad hugged his son. The son broke down and cried.
“There’s no pain on my body,” Colt said later. “If I was a free safety, I’d go out there and make a tackle. I [just] have no strength to throw a football.”