Alex Smith is calling it a career after 16 years in the NFL with the 49ers, Chiefs, and Washington Football Team.
After leading the University of Utah to an undefeated season, highlighted by a BCS busting win in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, Alex Smith was the 1st overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft; becoming one half of an answer to the trivia question "Which college/university is the only one to produce the #1 pick in the NFL and NBA draft in the same calendar year?" with Andrew Bogut.
Of course, as the reigning Comeback Player of the Year, most articles today are going to be about how inspirational Alex Smith's comeback after a devastating injury that nearly cost him his right leg. There's no denying that. The E60 piece is a must-watch. I still can't believe he actually pulled it off and played professional football again. The dude's leg looked like a half-eaten chicken wing. What Alex was able to accomplish on the football field this season after what happened to him in November of 2018 is remarkable. His leadership and "game managing" helped WFT go from 2-7 to the playoffs. I wish he was able to play in the Football Team's playoff game.
But before becoming the Joe Theismann for millennial/Gen Z football fans, Alex Smith was one hell of a quarterback.
Along with John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Donovan McNabb, and fellow class of 05er, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith is one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 35,000 passing and 2,500 rushing yards. In the seven career playoff starts, Smith threw 14 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
It really was the tale of two careers for Alex. In today's era where we see teams give up on 1st rounders after only a year or two, he's the last of a dying breed. From 2005-2010 Alex Smith looked like a total bust, completing less than 60% of his passes while throwing more INTs than TDs and sporting a 19-31 record as a starter.
From 2011-2020 once he had consistent coaching (the 49ers had three different offensive coordinators Alex's first three seasons), Smith went 80-36-1 with 148 TD and only 86 interceptions (never reaching double-digit interceptions in a single season). In his career, Alex Smith lead teams went 99-67-1. With 199 career touchdown passes and 99 wins, I truly wish he was able to sprinkle in one more of each before hanging up his cleats for good.
There were rumors Urban Meyer wanted to bring Alex to Jacksonville to mentor Trevor Lawerence this season.
Now that his career is officially over, I think it's safe to say Alex had some all-time lousy luck. First, he went to an awful situation in San Fransisco and had to deal with the Rodgers comparisons like it's his fault the 49ers made the wrong decision. Then once the 9ers got good, Kyle Williams cost him and the rest of the 2011 squad a spot in the Super Bowl. The following year, Alex was playing the best football of his career when he got hurt and lost his job to Kaepernick. I still think the 49ers win that Super Bowl with Alex Smith, but it's easy to forget how electric Kap was when he first broke onto the scene.
Next, he gets shipped to Kansas City in 2013 and helps turn the Chiefs around after one of the darkest seasons they ever experienced. Then in the playoffs, his team lost a game where he threw 4 TD and held a 28 point lead in the 2nd half.
In 2016 the Chiefs lost to the Steelers at home after having a game-tying two-point conversion taken off the board following a questionable holding call. His final game (2017 Wild Card round) with the Chiefs saw Kansas City blow a 21-3 lead to the Tennessee Titans where Marcus Mariota threw a fucking touchdown to himself before they eventually went forward with Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
There's no denying picking Mahomes over Alex Smith was the right move for the Chiefs going forward, but I always felt bad for Alex for the situations he ended up in since his style of play wasn't as sexy. He had his best season in 2017 and got shipped to Washington with their God-awful field, and of course, we all know what happened there.
In 16 starts over three seasons with the Football Team, Alex went 11-5. He was a winner wherever he went and beloved by his teammates. The 2011 Saints-49ers Divisional Round game is still one of my favorite games of all-time; craziest final fourish minutes ever. If the 49ers end up winning the Super Bowl that season his touchdown run and game-winning pass are elevated even higher in NFL lore.
Congrats on a great career, Alex. I loved watching you play but am sooo happy you're calling it before what's left of your leg got destroyed even worse. *Switches back to third person POV* It looks like if he ever wants to coach, Andy Reid's got a spot for him.
It's fucking crazy that a RUNNING BACK from Smith's 2005 49er draft class is still technically active. Frank Gore needs to sign with the Patriots this year to complete his tour of the AFC East.