There are NFL teams whose backup quarterbacks are never mentioned or acknowledged, although it’s not always because the starter is dominant. The Atlanta Falcons were a great example of this: Matt Ryan was never hurt and never bad enough to lose his job, so for years Chris Redman, Dominique Davis, and Sean Renfree sat behind him in obscurity. Matt Schaub was in that same group until Ryan missed a game due to an ankle injury on Oct. 27, 2019, and the lesser Matt had to start. With his fourth-quarter appearance on Sunday, Chad Henne has escaped this dead zone. People will remember, for possibly up to seven days, that he is the Kansas City Chiefs’ backup, and is still in the NFL.
Like a Guy not yet ready to be Remembered, Henne—the 2008 draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, the man once benched for a hot young upstart named Blake Bortles—provided proof of life on Sunday against the Denver Broncos:
With Henne’s highlight, teams everywhere were put on notice, that notice being, Kansas City is required to have a backup quarterback just in case, and in the event that Patrick Mahomes doesn’t really need to be out on a snow-covered field in the fourth quarter because his team’s leading by so much, watch out. They beat Denver, 43-16.
Henne’s rushing touchdown was his first since December 2, 2012, in a 34-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Boy, what a memorable game. Really, who could forget? It was a true battle of wits between Mike Mularkey and Chan Gailey. The Jaguars had Henne, Cecil Shorts, and, uh, Josh Scobee. The Bills’ starting quarterback was none other than Ryan Fitzpatrick, who lost his job just last week. Everything is connected.
While Henne’s appearance does not yet put him at the same level as former Kansas City luminaries such as Tyler Palko or Tyler Thigpen, who knows what lies ahead for him. Perhaps one day Mahomes will have a minor equipment issue and have to sit out a play, allowing Henne back in to hand off the ball to a running back or possibly throw a crisp pass for four—nay, even five—yards. This is just the start of great things for the 35-year-old, and hey, if there’s hope for him, maybe there’s still hope for other QBs on active rosters who you mistakenly thought called it a wrap a couple of seasons ago. Maybe this will inspire Colt McCoy, A.J. McCarron, or Blake Bortles to one day run down their own moments of glory.