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Brian Griese




Brock Purdy has taken the NFL by storm. After being selected with the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, all the former "Mr. Irrelevant" has done is win, bringing his squad to back-to-back NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl appearance. But he is not alone in his quest to be the best in the business. Buttressed with a slew of excellent coaches, it's no wonder that he so often comes into games prepared. Arguably the leader of those assistant coaches is Brian Griese who has a story of his own.


Early Life


Brian Griese was born on March 18, 1975 in Miami, Florida while his father, Bob, led one of the best teams in the league, the Dolphins. The family stayed in Miami long after Bob's career ended and Brian enjoyed a fine athletic career at nearby Christopher Columbus High School, starring in basketball, golf and football. Upon his graduation in 1993, he turned down offers from Purdue, his father's alma mater, and Kentucky and accepted a football scholarship offer to the University of Michigan.


Due to redshirting and being buried on the depth chart, Brian Griese didn't play his first two years in Ann Arbor. By 1995, he began a two-year battle for the starting spot with redshirt freshman Scott Dreisbach. He took over for Dreisbach in the fifth game of the 1995 season. By the end of the year, he had beaten second-ranked, undefeated Ohio State 31-23 with running back Tshimanga Biakabutuka's 313 yards on the ground leading the way.



The following year was more of a battle for Griese as he was relegated to the bench for much of the season. But by halftime of the Wolverine's annual clash with Ohio State, Michigan found itself down by nine. And thus, Griese was summoned. His subsequent 68-yard touchdown strike to Tai Streets gave Michigan a hard earned 13-9 victory.



It looked like he would have a clear path to the starting spot as a senior in 1997 until he nearly threw it all away by getting drunk and throwing a chair threw a bar window on spring night. After a brief suspension, he was reinstated as the Wolverine's starter when his legal issue was resolved.


His return could not have come at a better time as the Wolverines were ready to dominate their schedule. Michigan tore through their schedule with a look of determination in their eyes that they hadn't had in years. By the end of the year, cornerback Charles Woodson had earned the Heisman Trophy and Michigan had beaten both Ohio State and Washington State in the Rose Bowl to claim the national championship, having enjoyed an undefeated season. With his college eligibility over, Brian Griese's time at the University of Michigan had come to a close in a blaze of glory. But his football life was far from over.


The NFL


After a stellar career at Michigan, Brian Griese was drafted in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. The defending Super Bowl champs were loaded talent and had franchise icon John Elway returning for one last season. Buried on the depth cahrt, Griese hardly played at all that year, soaking in knowledge and watching from the sidelines as the Broncos won their second straight Super Bowl in his hometown of Miami.


Brian Griese's first start in the NFL occurred in 1999's opening week against his father's old team. But despite Griese's best attempts (60% completion, 270 yards and three touchdowns), the Broncos defense fell apart against Dan Marino, giving up 38 points in the 17-point loss. Griese's struggles continued for the rest of the month, losing the next three games while never scoring more than 13 points.



Finally, in the season's fifth week, Brian Griese at last led his team to victory in the NFL, beating Oakland 16-13. while completing 58.62% of his passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. He finished his first year as a starter winning four and losing nine while completing 57.7% of his passes for 3,032 yards and 14 touchdown passes against 14 interceptions.


He grew from his mistakes in a hurry, throwing for over 300 yards and accounting or three touchdowns in a 41-36 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Rams in the 2000 kickoff. Inspired by his courageous performance against one of the greatest offenses in league history, Brian Griese had his best year ever as a pro, leading the league with a 102.9 rating while completing 64.3% of his passes for 2,688 yards and 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions.


Despite missing five games due to a separated shoulder, he earned his only Pro Bowl invitation that year as his team fought its way to the playoffs. But the injury proved to be too much for Brian as he was forced to watch from the sidelines as his team lost to the Ravens in the Wild Card Round.


Determined to continue to prove his value, Brian Griese posted a 16-12 record over the next two years, completing more than 60% of his passes in both years as the Broncos full-time starter. In 2003, Griese returned home to Miami, at once signing with the Dolphins and fulfilling a childhood dream. The dream was short-lived as he won just three games in five starts while throwing just five touchdown passes against six interceptions.


The following year, Griese traveled four hours northwest to Tampa where he would find a bit of a career revival. Although he won just four games in 10 starts in 2004, he threw a career high 20 touchdown passes while completing an eye popping 69.3% of his passes. He won more in 2005, winning five and losing just once, but only threw seven touchdown passes against seven interceptions.


In 2006, he was Rex Grossman's backup in Chicago as the Bears bulldozed their way to the Super Bowl. Once again, all roads seemed to lead to Miami for Brian Griese as his team made its way to the Super Bowl city. Only this time, his Super Bowl experience was vastly different as the Bears lost to the Colts amid a backdrop of heavy rain.


Like many Super Bowl losers before them, the 2007 Chicago Bears struggled through a gamut of injuries to a 7-9 finish. In the midst of their struggles lay a quarterback carousel as both Rex Grossman and Brian Griese succumbed to injuries. Still, Griese thrived in the turmoil, splitting his six starts while completing 61.5% of his passes for 1,803 yards. But despite his best efforts, by the end of the year, Grossman had reclaimed the starting spot as Griese ended it with a separated shoulder.


Brian Griese returned to Tampa in 2008 where he won three and lost twice in five games while completing nearly 60% of his passes for 1,073 yards and tossing five touchdowns against seven interceptions. He retired after the season.


After his playing days were over, Brian Griese immediately jumped into television, working for ESPN covering college football and the NFL from 2009 to 2022 when he was hired as the 49ers quarterbacks coach. In his first year as a coach, he was faced with a litany of injuries that could have forced the team to its knees, but it didn't. Instead, Griese and the 49ers continued to play the hand that they had been dealt and eventually found their franchise quarterback in Brock Purdy at season's end. Now, the sky is the limit for the coach and his precocious pupil.



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