Fitzpatrick: Harvard education has 'been a bonus'
Fitzpatrick sports an impressive passer rating of 91.1 for winless Buffalo, having taken over for opening-day starter Trent Edwards in Week 3 and connecting on 105 of 176 passes for 1,200 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. While his career passer rating of 72.2 is far from impressive, having bounced around from the Rams to the Bengals before landing with the Bills, it's better than 49ers passer Alex Smith (70.2), who was selected No. 1 overall in the same draft that produced Fitzpatrick.
Perhaps there is a stigma against players from the Ivy League, as Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Harvard with a degree in economics.
"I never really felt it," Fitzpatrick said Wednesday at Halas Hall via conference call. "Maybe in the draft. Coming out, there were questions about my passion for football and if my other interests would distract me. In that sense, I thought it was interesting that being a guy from Harvard was something that was going to be used against you, but I haven't felt that at all. I think, if anything, it's been a bonus, an advantage for me just in terms of the intelligence and people being able to depend on me."
While he may be the ninth-highest rated QB in the league right now, just in case this football business doesn't work out, most of his lesser-educated teammates probably believe he'll just move on and be a rocket scientist one day.
"Yeah, I think so, and I let them believe that," Fitzpatrick joked. "I'm usually the guy that they come to to end some of the silly arguments."
What do the likes of Charlie Frye, Andrew Walter, David Greene, Stefan LeFors, Dan Orlovsky and Adrian McPherson have in common? Aside from being totally forgettable signal callers? They were all drafted ahead of Fitzpatrick in '06.
Gailey: 'A lot of fans up there' across the border
Coming off two straight losses at home and then a bye in Week 8, Lovie Smith and Co. travel Sunday to Toronto for a date with Buffalo at the Rogers Centre.
This will be the Bills' third year playing a game in Canada, and they're 0-2 across the border thus far, so it doesn't feel like much of a "home" game yet for coach Chan Gailey.
"Not quite," said Gailey. "I think part of our responsibility is to try to make it that home atmosphere, and we haven't done our part to energize the fans. We haven't been good enough to get them excited, and that's what we're trying to do. We have a lot of Bills fans in Canada and in the Toronto metropolitan area, but they're just not very excited about it. Now, I think it could be very much like a home game and make it a loud place for opposing teams to come into to play, but we just haven't done our part yet. That's a part of our responsibility, is to get that done."
Usually the Bills don't play in Toronto until after the CFL season is complete, which is not the situation this year and could help drum up more interest, but Gailey believes the product he's putting on the field is the main culprit for their luke-warm welcome.
"If we were a better football team and winning," Gailey said, "I think it would be very much like a home game because I think there's a lot of fans up there."
Bears fans are everywhere and tend to travel well, and early reports out of Toronto suggest that tickets to Sunday's game are selling on the secondary market for three times what they generally go for at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.
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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
Conference Call: Fitzpatrick, Gailey
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