Former Ram Skelton Wins Starting Job, Beats $65M Man Kolb



John Skelton, former Fordham Ram, was recently named the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals on opening day. (Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

For the first time in National Football League (NFL) history, a former Fordham Ram has been named the opening day starting quarterback. John Skelton, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’09, beat out former Philadelphia Eagle Kevin Kolb for the position of Arizona Cardinals starter on Aug. 31, according to the Associated Press.

The decision had not been made lightly. Arizona traded Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick for Kolb just a year ago, and shortly thereafter signed him to a $65 million contract. For obvious reasons, it seems any tie would surely have gone to the player in whom the club had invested so much.

In his final year at Fordham, Skelton posted new school records in completions (284), passing yards (3,708) and completion percentage (64.4).  He led the National Collegiate Athletics Association Football Championship Subdivision in passing yards per game (337.09) and was just shy of the lead in total offense (348.18). Skelton even broke former Ram quarterback and current head coach Joe Moorhead’s (FCRH ’96) single-game passing mark of 413 yards, throwing for 420 against Cornell in October of the same year.

While the quarterback’s pro-level stats aren’t quite as eye-popping, Skelton did complete 151 of 275 pass attempts for 1,931 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he was responsible for leading the Cardinals to a 6-2 record over their final eight games last season. The .750 win percentage in relief of a concussed Kolb came without having received the practice time and team dedication usually given to a franchise quarterback.

In the NFL, there are only 32 opportunities to win such a position as has been won by John Skelton. In very few situations does the less experienced player break through, in even fewer against a multimillion dollar investment. The starting quarterback job for the Arizona Cardinals is now Skelton’s to lose.