Nathan Peterman defines ‘grace under pressure’

Photo of QB Nathan Peterman from buffalonews.com.

After being thoroughly and to some extent irrationally excoriated by fans after a disastrous NFL debut against the Chargers last season, Nathan Peterman remains a viable candidate to become the starting quarterback on opening day against the Baltimore Ravens. Let that sink in for a minute.

There’s arguably never been such a visceral reaction by Bills fans to a player over the entire history of the team’s existence. And that says a lot, because regarding this team, I’ve seen it all – and most of it ‘ain’t’ pretty.

WGR’s Sal Capaccio wrote an interesting article about “smart and resilient” Nathan Peterman that got me thinking (oh no) about how off the rails some Bills fans are about the notion of Peterman being on the team, let alone the possibility of him winning the starting job when the regular season opens.

Why does Nathan Peterman trigger such violent reactions from a sizable number of otherwise rational Bills fans?

Photo of QB Nathan Peterman from espn.com.au.

I get that Peterman’s disastrous debut against the Chargers was eye-bleeding bad. However, anyone old enough to remember Gary Marangi would tell you, it’s been worse. Much worse.

Stat-mongers: feast your eyes on these stats. As we know all too well, even stats don’t tell the entire tale of how bad Marangi was as a QB.

Here’s why Nathan Peterman is no ‘Gary Marangi’.

Photo of Bills QB Gary Marangi from patch.com.

Marangi never got better. He was a horrible quarterback throughout his short but painful three-year career NFL with the Bills during the mid-1970s. If one put aside their negative bias about Peterman and watch how he played against the Colts in the snow game last season, you could see a guy who used disaster to motivate himself.

Seriously, think about it for a minute. How many people could withstand the brutal reaction people had after Peterman’s debacle against the Chargers? His response (as pointed out by McDermott) to his failures in that game were the definition of ‘grace under pressure’.

Peterman swallowed the vitriol like a champion and vowed to rise up from the ashes of his short NFL career. After watching his game against the Colts – before he was knocked out of the game with a concussion –  you could see a young man who already figured out how to use negativity as a motivator for success.

Why do I think Nathan Peterman might surprise a lot of people?

It’s rare to see someone in the public eye recover after being trashed the way Peterman was trashed. A man of lesser internal fortitude would completely cave under the pressure. Even his fierce competitor for the job, AJ McCarron, referred to Peterman as “an angel”.

OK, so we don’t need an angel at quarterback, I get it.

However, taking a peek under the hood at Peterman’s intangibles, I’d say some folks may have to rethink their vile reaction to the guy. I’ve read it elsewhere and agree with those who make solid comparisons between Peterman and Frank Reich.

31 Jan 1993: Quarterback Frank Reich of the Buffalo Bills looks to pass the ball during Super Bowl XXVII against the Dallas Cowboys at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys won the game, 52-17. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport

Both possess a high degree of self-confidence buttressed by their faith. Frank Reich flourished in his role as a back-up to Jim Kelly, and Peterman could fill the same role if given a chance. Frankly, I expect to see more pressure on AJ McCarron in training camp because he has the most on the line.

Both Peterman and Reich are not defined by what they did or continue to do on the field. Their faith allows them to be free of the judgment of others. This rock solid foundation allows them to show uncommon grace under pressure. This puts them at a competitive advantage because they have disciplined minds.

Frank Reich in the comeback game provided a perfect example of grace under pressure. He carried a team in college (Maryland) and the NFL on his back for historic comeback victories.

Coincidence? I think not.

If Nathan Peterman succeeds or fails in the NFL, it won’t be because the pressure was too much. He gets it in a way most his age do not. He frequently mentions to reporters he has the best job in the world – getting paid to perform a sport he loves.

I would argue Peterman has the least amount of pressure going into training camp this week regarding the quarterback battle. No one expects him to succeed.

But if Peterman does succeed and wins the starting job, are those reviled by him willing to reconsider their position?

Editor’s babble: This might be one of the most interesting QB battles coming up at training camp in many years. Looking forward to checking them all out at camp very soon. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

12 Replies to “Nathan Peterman defines ‘grace under pressure’”

  1. I don’t think Peterman is anywhere near as bad as his horrific half last year. I also don’t think he’s anything worth getting excited about either. If he’s going to play a significant portion of your season, you’re probably not going to have a very good season.

  2. Agreed, Joma. It’s another situation where the truth is likely “somewhere in the middle”. My point is there seems to be a massive OVER reaction to Peterman on the part of a sizable number of fans. I find it quite amusing, tbh.

    Peterman may never be a high caliber starting quarterback, but I think he could become a solid backup. Thanks for reading and your commentary!

    Take care,

    Robyn

  3. As a reference point, Roethlisberger also threw 5 interceptions in a game last year, so even the best of them have bad games.

  4. To be fair, Peterman didn’t throw 5 in a game…he threw 5 in one half! Chances are he wouldn’t have thrown another 5 in the second half, but he probably wasn’t done either if his opportunity hadn’t been taken away.

  5. Good morning…

    I can’t stand when I read on other blogs fans calling him trash or garbage.I’ve always said Peterman could be a starter, spot starter ot a career back-up. He has the tools and the mental make-up to have a long NFL career. If Todd Collins could hang around 10+ years I can certainly see Peterman doing the same…

    That Chargers game was brutal all around as the O-line got man handled and embarrassed. To me the game goes into the books as another in the long line of west coast disasters.

  6. Hi Goose!

    No doubt… Bills and Sabres have both had many difficult west coast trips over the years. I think the Chargers game was also a disaster because Peterman was thrown in and he’s a TIMING based QB.

    OL and receivers were used to Tyrod hanging on the ball and running around and were ill prepared for a QB to come in who gets the ball out as fast as Tom Brady does. The timing was completely off and Peterman paid the price.

    Peterman clearly improved in the Colts game before he was concussed.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Robyn

  7. Thanks for the article Robyn. I don’t think all five of those interceptions were Peterman’s fault to being with. When you hear the Chargers DE’s say “he didn’t even block me,” referring to RT Jordan Mills, it makes you wonder if Mills was upset that Tyrod got benched and was purposely letting the Chargers D-line have their way against Peterman.

    Peterman has some good qualities, but it’s too early too tell how his career will turn out. I like that the Bills are having a three way QB competition, so may the best QB win, whomever it may be.

  8. In some sad news, I don’t know how many read Bills Daily on line but it is stopping after 20 years of service. I enjoyed it as I used it as a go to for quick information and enjoyed the Tony Bogyo articles… A special thanks to Steve Saslow for devoting so much time and effort into Bills Daily.

    • I saw that last week Goose. I always enjoyed Tony’s weekly predictions. It’s a shame, as another good site is gone, just like RF365.com. Oh well, glad we have Bills Mafia, which has been the best site I’ve been on. Glad Robyn & co are not super-restrictive like the one’s on TwoBillsDrive, or as Joma put it, TwoBitDive.

  9. Thanks Robyn –

    I’m on the record stating favoritism for Nate….quick trigger, athletic (more mobile than people think) and very tough. Nate is smart enough to see that with this years Bills defense he just needs to manage the game with short to mid-range balls to Benjamin, Clay and O’Leary. Yes, O’Leary as someone needs to see this kid as a receiver first, blocker second.

    Don’t even get me started about Nate’s start versus the Chargers as 3 of the 5 picks in the first half were, in fact, not on him!

    • I agree Nick about those three INT’s not being Peterman’s fault. Between DiMarco having butterfingers and Mills leaving Peterman hung out to dry, it’s no wonder why Peterman struggled in that game.

  10. Bummer about Bills Daily. I didn’t read Bogyo nearly as much as I should have, but I really should have read him regularly as he usually aligned very closely with my thoughts on the team. Hope he catches on somewhere else…maybe even here!