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Tarvaris Jackson Is Stronger Than Anyone Realizes

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was a story today in the St. Paul Pioneer Press today about Tarvaris Jackson, and the struggles that he's gone through over the course of the 2008 season.  In this case, the struggles in question have absolutely nothing to do with him losing his job as the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.

Well, I take that back. . .maybe they do.  A little bit.  But you'd never hear #7 admit that.

You're not going to see anything about this story on ESPN.  You're not going to read about it in the pages of Sports Illustrated.  You sure as hell won't see anything about it from any other alleged football news sources.  I'd almost be willing to guarantee that, too.  And the reason for that is simple. . .it's because these places already have pre-formed and pre-conceived notions about Tarvaris Jackson, and they've managed to brainwash a lot of people (particularly fans of Minnesota Viking opponents and/or their rivals) into buying their garbage.  Many of them refuse to acknowledge the growth he's shown over the past few games, and a story like this would serve to do nothing more than get in the way of perpetuating the crap that they've been spreading for the last couple of seasons.

Tarvaris Jackson and his girlfriend (I believe. . .the story doesn't detail their relationship or even use her actual name) brought a son into the world 15 months ago, and named him Tarvaris, though pretty much everybody refers to the smaller Tarvaris as T.J.  T.J.'s mother has lupus, which is a form of arthritis perpetuated by the body's immune system.  According to Sean Jensen's article:

Because T.J.'s mother has lupus, her pregnancy was considered "high risk." Babies born to mothers with lupus sometimes can have a slow heart rate, and T.J. needed a pacemaker implant in May. After T.J. got an infection, the pacemaker was replaced in October.

Then, during a visit at Thanksgiving, T.J. spent a few days at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital because he got sick.

Holy.  Crap.

Now, I'm not a parent myself, so I can't definitively say for sure. . .but for those of you out there that are parents, imagine what sort of things would be in your mind if you took your child in for a doctor's visit and they said, "Yes, your infant needs to have a pacemaker installed."  I'm not sure if I'd be able to function at all, let alone go out and function as the starting quarterback for an NFL football team.  But T-Jack the elder went ahead and gave it a go anyway, with mixed results (as we all saw).

"It did hinder Tarvaris," Sasanque Jackson said. "Tarvaris is a very private person, and he's the type of person that if something is bothering him, you wouldn't see it.

"I think it had a lot to do with his performance," she said. "It probably wasn't totally that, but it had something to do with it. That's his child. If your child hurts, you're going to hurt."

But now, T.J. has been given a clean bill of health, and is now (according to the article) raising the sort of hell that a child his age should be raising around the house.  He even took his first unassisted steps during the second half of the Vikings game against Detroit a couple of weeks ago. . .ironically, the same game that might have seen his father take his first steps towards claiming the Vikings' starting quarterback job for the long-term rather than the short-term.

Amazing. . .daddy's baby boy gets a clean bill of health, and now Tarvaris Jackson is playing like someone that knows he belongs in the position he's in.  You don't suppose those two things are connected, do you?

But, like I said. . .the likelihood that anyone outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul acknowledges this is somewhere between slim and none, and I believe I just saw slim walk through the exit.  No, it's much easier for the talking heads on TV and radio and for fans of opposing teams to just dismiss Tarvaris Jackson with any number of excuses, all the while pretending that their team's quarterback is somehow the second coming of Montana or Unitas or Aikman or Marino.

Memo for everyone. . .if you're an NFC North team, you don't have a quarterback on your roster that's definitively better than Tarvaris Jackson.  Not Detroit, not Chicago, not even Green Bay.  (And save me the Aaron Rodgers stuff. . .that guy's the "leader" of a team that went 13-3 last year and currently sits at 5-10).  And after hearing about this, there sure as hell isn't a quarterback on any other roster in this division that has more mental toughness than the guy that will line up behind center for Minnesota this weekend.

Tarvaris Jackson's family is in Minneapolis this weekend. . .and when little T.J. sees his daddy walk through the door sometime on Sunday night, I'm afraid that he's going to have to be told that daddy is going to be busy next weekend, too.