July 23, 2024

The haters owe C.J. Stroud an apology; not that he cares what they think

C.J. Stroud is off to a red-hot start in the NFL, proving doubters wrong and making his case for Rookie of the Year - Land-Grant Holy Land

The former Buckeye’s skeptics need to own up to their errors as he puts up unprecedented numbers in his debut campaign.

There were a lot of detractors on the internet when it was revealed that former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud will sign a professional contract with the Houston Texans. It’s always the worst on the internet, to be clear. It doesn’t take long to locate someone trash-talking an athlete; armchair critics are present everywhere, even at LGHL.

However, they didn’t start talking about Stroud when his name was called second in the 2023 NFL Draft; instead, they seemed to be particularly loud when it came to him. It did nothing more than inflame the critics who had been hammering away at him for months prior to his announcement as a 2022 Heisman Trophy finalist (though this certainly helped feed the flames).

Commentators and chat-board trolls alike shared their opinions on whether or not Stroud was overvalued. Though many believed he had potential, he would never be able to match the great quarterbacks with lengthy and illustrious careers. They asserted that he would quickly burn out and be forgotten in a few seasons, as is the fate of any Ohio State quarterback.

I would fight family and friends who said he was decent but not great, and that the reason he looked better than he actually was was because of the talented people surrounding him. As though he wasn’t supporting his teammates as well.

My personal favorite saying is, “We will never hear about him again when he goes to the NFL.” It’s so amusing that I almost wrote it up and framed it. (A Reddit user from Michigan deserves credit for this one).

The talk was nothing new by the time of the 2023 NFL Draft. Only the fuel was changed.

Now that Stroud performed in Week 9, perhaps the rumors have stopped permanently. To be honest, I don’t want to hear from Stroud’s detractors unless they are using the microphone to express regret.

Because Stroud is breaking records at the NFL level after just eight games. He had a historic game on Sunday, maybe the best a rookie quarterback has ever had, as the Texans defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After completing 30 of 42 passes, Stroud tied the record for the most single-game touchdowns by a rookie with five and broke the NFL record for the most passing yards by a rookie with 470 yards through the air.

With just six seconds remaining in the game, he skillfully led his team to a thrilling victory with a 75-yard drive that culminated in a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tank Dell.

The performance earned him the fourth-best single-game passing rating of any NFL quarterback this season.

Additionally, having thrown only one interception all season, Stroud is now tied with Patrick Mahomes for most career touchdowns (14) before throwing your second interception.

(As an added fun aside, his leading receiver on Sunday was another former Buckeye—Noah Brown).

Despite what the haters on the outside said, many Buckeye fans have long known Stroud was special. Now, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

Stroud, who is putting up astonishing numbers, is the heavy frontrunner to win this year’s NFL Rookie of the Year Award. In addition to his 14 touchdowns, and a single interception, he’s thrown 2,270 yards through his first eight games.

Much to the chagrin of the Michigan fan on Reddit, we are in fact, still hearing about him. I’d venture to guess we’re just getting started putting respect on his name.

And so, I’d like the haters to apologize to C.J. Stroud. Not that he cares what you think. But it’s time to admit you were wrong and that Stroud was worth all the hype he got and then some. Because—if the first half of his rookie season is any indication—it looks like he’s going to be a household name for many years to come.

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