The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Mark Schremmer

November 13, 2012

Former NFL QB Frerotte to lead Bombers against Monett

Redskins Pro Bowler remembered for bizarre celebration

All it takes is one moment to overshadow a productive career.

One ball in between the legs of Bill Buckner during the World Series makes everyone forget that he was an All-Star who finished his career with 2,714 hits and a .289 batting average.

One missed 47-yard field goal by Scott Norwood tarnishes a career in which he passed O.J. Simpson to become the Buffalo Bills’ all-time leading scorer.

Former Emporia State and Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Leon Lett is remembered more for his fumble in the Super Bowl and his mishap that cost Dallas a game on Thanksgiving against the Dolphins than his two trips to the Pro Bowl.

Kicker Bill Gramatica is better known for injuring his knee celebrating a game-winning field goal than he is for making 16-of-20 field goals in his rookie season.

John Burroughs High School coach Gus Frerotte, whose Bombers will be in Monett on Saturday for a Missouri Class 3 semifinal game against the Cubs, is plagued by his own infamous moment.

Frerotte overcame being a seventh-round draft pick to start 93 NFL games at quarterback, pass for 21,291 career yards and play in the 1997 Pro Bowl.

But when you Google the former Redskins quarterback’s name, one of the first returns is a video of Frerotte headbutting a padded cement wall in celebration of a touchdown run.

Frerotte sprained his neck on the play and was taken to the hospital. The ESPN Sunday Night Football game against the New York Giants ended in a 7-7 tie.

You can find the mishap on such Internet lists as “Most Memorable Sports Blunders” and “Most Hilarious Celebration Fails in Sports.”

Such infamous notoriety probably isn’t fair, especially in the case of Frerotte. Instead of being remembered for a few seconds of poor judgment, fans should recall the 5,480 yards he threw for the University of Tulsa or for being able to unseat first-round pick Heath Shuler to have a productive NFL career.

It turns out, he also is a pretty good high school coach.

After spending two seasons coaching the quarterbacks at John Burroughs in St. Louis, Frerotte has led the Bombers to a 12-0 record in his first year as head coach.

John Burroughs is led by its running game with Ohio State recruit Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for 1,715 yards on only 161 carries. However, Frerotte also has directed an efficient passing game with 1,383 yards and 19 touchdowns with only two interceptions from two quarterbacks combined.

But not even a state championship will allow Frerotte to escape that moment. I’m sure by now he’s used to it and maybe he can even laugh at the momentary brain lapse when ESPN shows the old footage.

Still, when you go out and root for the Monett Cubs on Saturday, try to remember Frerotte for his career instead of the 10 seconds of film. Just like Buckner, Norwood, Lett and Gramatica, his legacy is more than one embarrassing moment.

 

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Mark Schremmer