From the Surf to the Turf: Anthony Gordon’s Road to the NFL

 

 

By Angela Greco

a_greco511@yahoo.com

 

Former starting quarterback Anthony Gordon has recently signed a futures contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, and those who witnessed his outstanding freshman campaign at City College were not all that surprised either.

His success can be traced to his record-breaking days at Terra Nova High School in his native surf town of Pacifica, where he first discovered the ease and camaraderie of playing quarterback.

 

His success can also be traced to the fact that he excelled at baseball, his first love. He was even drafted by the New York Mets in 2015, an opportunity he passed up in order to follow his passion for football.

Then freshman quarterback Anthony Gordon receives the “Most Outstanding Offensive Player” award in the State Championship victory game against Saddleback College. San Francisco, CA. Dec. 12, 2015. Photo by Eric Sun.

His athleticism seems to run in his family like a genetic trait; the twilight of his childhood spent admiring the perseverance and success of his Uncle Greg, his role model, who held an eminent pitching career in the major league scene.

 

Head Coach Jim Collins said, “Everyone wants to point at a variety of reasons why.” Collins had first-hand knowledge of Gordon’s stellar level of talent from coaching him during the 2015 season when they earned their record seventh CCCAA title. “The reality is he’s just a very talented guy who instinctively has a great feel for the game.”

 

Offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Dan Hayes recalled watching Gordon play during that memorable season. “He was just amazingly accurate for every kind of throw,” he reflected. “He’s special. I wasn’t at all surprised.”

 

Hayes also coached Gordon’s father, Ryan, in the mid 1990s, who also excelled at quarterback. Because Gordon had fond memories of being raised around his dad’s teammates and was respectfully familiar with the coaching staff, it made his choice to pursue football with the Rams fairly easy.

 

“They kinda turned me into the player I am today,” Gordon acknowledged. “A lot of it is talent and your own dedication, but they’ve provided a platform and an opportunity for me to pursue ultimately what I wanted to do, which was play Pac-12 football.”

 

Looking at Gordon’s past, Collins said he “had a really good foundation with great instinct. His natural accuracy and quick delivery kinda blew up the ranks. Just the kind of things you can’t coach. You can talk about it, you can preach it, you can maybe get better at it. But you kinda have it or you don’t.”

Hayes echoed a similar sentiment. Along with his level of talent, Gordon demonstrated an unteachable attribute, crucial to quarterbacking – his ability to stay relaxed and in control.

 

“I don’t have coaching drills for that,” Hayes said. “You can talk about it, which we do, but it’s a quality that is just God-given and he’s got it.”

 

Within one impressive year with the Rams, Gordon had proved his worth, helping the team claim the state championship while snagging offensive player of the game.

Against Saddleback College in the 2015 State Championship game, then freshman quarterback Anthony Gordon grips the pigskin and scans the field. San Francisco, CA. Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo by Eric Sun)

Teammate and friend Robert Taylor said, “I don’t think we’d have had that championship if it wasn’t for him. He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever played with.”

 

Gordon and Taylor’s friendship on and off the field continued when they attended Washington State together. Gordon’s decision to join the team proved to be the best move. Collins noted that former Cougars head coach Mike Leach may have just been the best coach at the time to harness Gordon’s strengths.

 

In just one season in Leach’s Air Raid offense, Gordon rewrote Pac-12 record books, setting single-season records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, and total offense.

 

During a turbulent 2020, Gordon signed a free-agent deal with the Seattle Seahawks but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was not able to absorb any play time and parted ways with the team.

 

Taking it all in stride, Gordon humbly reflected on his experience. “I got to spend time with Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson in Seattle, and then I got the chance to work with Coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Two really good coaching quarterback combinations in a row, so [in this new contract] I’ll be sure to soak up as much information as I can.”

 

Gordon has humbly continued riding his wave of opportunity. “My plan was to play as long as I could until someone told me, ‘look, you just aren’t good enough anymore.’” 2021 appears to be perfect conditions for catching the big one.

 

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