Search

Matt Cassel

Feb. 04, 2008
Feb. 04, 2008

Table of Contents
Feb. 4, 2008

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
SUPER BOWL XLII PREVIEW
  • When the underdog Giants meet the unbeaten Patriots in Arizona on Sunday, history will hinge on a brawny battle between New York's pass rush and New England's protection. Can the league's most fearsome defensive front knock Tom Brady off his game? NFL perfection hangs in the balance

  • Undrafted out of college, dumped by the Chargers and given away by the Dolphins, Wes Welker has been the Patriots' sure thing

  • Born in Britain, nurtured in Nigeria and baptized for football in Alabama, Osi Umenyiora is ready to rock the Patriots' world

  • Dr. Z breaks down a play from the Week 17 Giants-Pats game that reveals how New England hits the hot receiver in the face of heavy pressure

PRO BASKETBALL
TENNIS
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
GENE UPSHAW
Departments

Matt Cassel

He threw only five passes this year, but Tom Brady's understudy is always a play away from being the leading man

As told to Joe Lemire

PATRIOTSSECOND-STRING QB

This is an article from the Feb. 4, 2008 issue

On being a backup,which he also was at USC before the Pats drafted him in 2005


There's stress. You never know when you're going to get on the field. But Ihaven't suffered many bumps and bruises. And the advantage of a rested arm isthat it's ready to rock and roll.

On his sidelineheadgear


My friends ask, 'Why wear your helmet? You're not going in.' What I do islisten to the play call [through a helmet headset]. Then I say the call aloudas if I were in the huddle. When I watch the play, I go through the mentalreps. This way if I'm called on, it won't feel like the first time I'm in thehuddle.

On the Pats'starter, whom he used to call Mr. Brady


I stopped calling him that midway through my rookie year—he became TB or Tom.He's mentored me. On football operational stuff, on my demeanor, on how torespond in the huddle.

On his mom,Barbara, a TV set designer who won a 2007 Emmy for Tony Bennett: An AmericanClassic


We look up to her. She and my dad [Greg, a TV writer] had four children, andshe worked from 5:30 a.m. until seven at night, never complaining. She stilldoes it. It's a lesson: When there's work, you've got to go do it. Noshortcuts.

On USC's Pro Dayin 2005


I didn't get to go to the combine, and I only threw 33 passes in college. Butwhen I threw well on Pro Day it sparked interest in me. People realized I'dplayed behind two Heisman winners in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. That daycatapulted me into getting drafted.

Playing in theSuper Bowl


It's everyone's dream, and it's been mine since I was nine in Pop Warner. MaybeI'll get in the game. I'd love to say, "I'm going to Disney World!"

PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY