But I promise you. The rabbit hole goes way deeper on Dobbs’ achievement, which is right up there with the most impressive standalone victories in NFL history. To the point where it all sounds made-up.
Felt it was necessary to distinguish between “not believable” as opposed to “unbelievable” in the headline. At least for me, usually when I say something is “unbelievable”, it’s more like, “Wow I can’t believe this good stroke of fortune I’ve had!”
“Not believable” is like, “I do not believe for a second that is true.” And that’s how I feel about Joshua Dobbs and whatever on earth just happened on Sunday afternoon. Some of the stats are silly, such as Dobbs leading the NFL in QBR so far for Week 9:
To give you an idea of how nomadic Dobbs’ existence has been, he was traded to Arizona from Cleveland as recently as August 24. Then, he had to learn the Cardinals’ playbook on the fly and become the starter on a roster that was set up to tank.
Beyond the mere football part of it, check out this quote from Dobbs on his living situation:
Joshua Dobbs stuff didn't even get to Arizona till last week, and now he just won't a game for the Vikings pic.twitter.com/NeN0t1EqeC
Dude had unpacked his home in Arizona for a single week before he found out he was unceremoniously benched, and would be traded to another team — his fifth different team in less than a calendar year. Brutal.
Good for Joshua Dobbs. It was odd/insulting for Arizona to bench him without a healthy Kyler Murray ready to step in — and validated today with the Cardinals’ 27-0 loss. Miami got penalized for “tanking.” Are Arizona’s actions really much better?
…And likened his learning of Minnesota’s intricate, well-coached Kevin O’Connell offense to grasping a new foreign language on the fly, per Fox Sports’ Greg Auman:
“It’d be like if you were taking AP Spanish all year, and you showed up Wednesday and someone told you you had an AP French exam on Sunday…You’ve got to execute, and somebody’s going to talk to you in Spanish and translate it to French.”
But not only did Dobbs not know his teammates’ names. Or the language of the offense he was running on a professional football field against a pretty-good Atlanta Falcons defense. He’d clearly never met any media members prior to his postgame presser.
OK but seriously. The Vikings were doing their best to prepare Hall all week as the starter, giving him all the first-team practice reps. Right before Dobbs was thrust into action, he was working out cadences in real time with center Garrett Bradbury.
Just insane. Dobbs never took a snap from Bradbury or threw to the Vikings receivers till today. KOC was translating plays to him.
And just to give you a greater understanding of just how unacquainted Dobbs was with his fellow Vikings, there are some more anecdotes here.
Unbelievable. Josh Dobbs said that Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell was essentially translating calls and mapping out plays mid-huddle, as the play clock was ticking down. KOC called Dobbs’ ability to handle it all one of the most impressive things he’d seen in his career.
Josh Dobbs was in the huddle, saying words that he didn't know what they meant. Then being quickly told what that meant, route/concept wise, as the play clock wound down. Then took the snap, processed the defense, and completed passes – in the NFL.
I just can’t emphasize enough how ridiculous all this sounds. You’d be laughed out of a room if you pitched this as a Hollywood screenplay or made Dobbs’ NFL career a miniseries.
Gotta think Minnesota will roll with Dobbs as the starter going forward. No need to thrust a fifth-round rookie in Hall into a situation where an NFC playoff berth is a legitimate possibility. Not many teams who’ve started 0-3 and gone to the postseason spring to mind, if any. The 2023 Minnesota Vikings are on their way to accomplishing that if Dobbs can steer the ship well enough.
Good on Dobbs for staying ready. When he’s gotten his opportunities to play in the NFL, Dobbs has been in dumpster fire offenses for his entire career. In Minnesota, he has an offensive-minded, excellent play-calling head coach in Kevin O’Connell, a stout o-line, and a good skill position group that will soon get back the sport’s best wide receiver in Justin Jefferson.
It’s all coming up roses for Joshua Dobbs, who’s had to grind for every inch of ground he’s gained. The fact that he’s persisted and continued to play football despite being a legit rocket scientist is awesome in and of itself. Now he has the chance to lead a team to the playoffs?
Again, pretty much all of this is legitimately not believable.