Bryan Hoyer, the backup quarterback for Tom Brady on the New England Patriots. Right back to where he started, this is his entire story in the NFL. All of the ups and downs. The good, the bad and the ugly. But more so, this is about the unlucky. His luck was never all that good. But to understand his story lets take you back to College. In 2005, he got accepted to MSU (Michigan State University) and at only 20, was already trying out for the team (The Spartans). He would get better every year, with his Junior year as his best. In 2009, Brian Hoyer entered the NFL Draft as a 23 year old and was ranked 9th place among the Quarterbacks heading into the draft, and got invited to the draft combine. He was a projected 6th or 7th round pick. However, he went undrafted. Before he could cry and be devastated about not being drafted, he was immediately offered a 1 year contract by the New England Patriots. The Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady was out with a knee injury in the 2008 NFL Season, leaving backup Matt Cassell as the starter. Cassell performed well, and ended up heading to the Kansas City Chiefs as the starter for the 2009 NFL Season. The Patriots were desperately looking for a new backup, they had already signed 3 other quarterbacks before signing Brian Hoyer after the NFL Draft. Brian Hoyer was given a chance to prove himself in the Pre-Season. Brian Hoyer performed well, finishing the preseason 29–of–44 for 354 yards, including one touchdown, with a 98.1 passer rating. This resulted in the New England Patriots releasing the 3 other quarterbacks and making Brian Hoyer the only backup for Brady. He came in a few games in the 2009 season, during blowouts at the end of games. Including playing the entire second half of a game they went on to win 59-0 which resulted in the record for most points scored in their history. In 2010, the New England Patriots re-signed Hoyer to a 3-year deal, signing him through the 2010, 2011 and 2012 NFL seasons. With the New England Patriots realizing his talent, as a better NFL backup and a potential future NFL starter. In 2010, Brian Hoyer went through the same routine. He played well in the pre-season, watched from the bench throughout the regular season, including coming in every once in a while to finish out a game. In 2011, the New England Patriots drafted Ryan Mallet in the NFL Draft. But however, after another proven pre-season, Hoyer retained his backup spot over Mallet. Hoyer knew his time on the Patriots was limited, and was looking into the future of potentially becoming a starting quarterback for another team. In 2011, he remained on the bench, watching the New England Patriots have a 13-3 season, win the AFC Championship and play in Super Bowl 46, where they lost to the New York Giants by a score of 21-17. On August 31, 2012, the New England Patriots finally released Brian Hoyer after the pre-season, leaving Ryan Mallet as their only backup for Brady. Brian Hoyer began seeking a new job, despite not finding one until November 20, 2012 where he was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had gotten injured, and then their backup Byron Leftwich got injured as well, both injured within a week of each other. Leaving third string Charlie Batch as their only available quarterback. So they signed the highest ranked quarterback in the free agency, Brian Hoyer. It was initially planned that if Batch doesn’t do well, Hoyer will start. But Batch did well enough and once one of the other quarterbacks returned, Hoyer was released. Hoyer never took a snap with the Steelers before being released less than a month after being signed. After being released on December 8, the Arizona Cardinals took the opportunity to claim him off of waivers on December 10. He replaced Ryan Lindley as the starter for the last two weeks of the season. Where he performed decently, and after being cut on May 12, 2013, he was immediately jumped on in the free agency. 4 days after the release on May 16, he was signed by the Browns to a 2 year contract. After the pre-season, he was announced as the third string quarterback, behind backup Jason Campbell and starter Brandon Weeden. But after Brandon Weeden got injured at week 2, they skipped over backup Jason Campbell and went with Brian Hoyer. Hoyer performed well through week 3 and week 4, and head coach Rob Chudzinski said he is considering giving Brian Hoyer the starting spot for the rest of the season. But that went out the window when he unfortunately tore his ACL during week 5 in a Thursday Night game against the Bills. Brian Hoyer was announced to be injured for the rest of the season, stating his return would be somewhere around the 2014 spring training. After the 2013 season, The Browns released both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. Brian Hoyer stated that he was confident he would get the starting job, no matter who they draft in the 2014 NFL Draft. In the draft the Browns surprisingly selected heismann trophy winner Johnny Manziel 22nd overall, despite Teddy Bridgewater being still available, who ended up going 32nd to the Minnesota Vikings. After that, the Browns had three quarterbacks in Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel and third string undrafted quarterback Connor Shaw. Newly hired head coach Mike Pettine announced that the starting job wouldn’t just be handed to Johnny Manziel, and that he would have to earn it. Manziel didn’t earn it in fact, Brian Hoyer ended up getting the job after the pre-season. Leaving Manziel as the backup. There was a lot of high hopes for the Cleveland Browns in 2014. Brian Hoyer performed astonishingly through the first six weeks of the season. They were 3-2 and had their bye week already. Many critics considered the Browns as a 5-0 team, with their two losses coming as last second scores. Brian Hoyer didn’t have anything to pout about however, with his week 5 win against the Tennessee Titans as his best game. Despite trailing 28-3 at halftime, Hoyer brought them back and ended up with the win by a point, 29-28. In that game Hoyer threw for 292 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Over the first six weeks he had thrown 7 touchdowns to only 1 interception. Being ranked as one of the top performing quarterbacks in the league statistic-wise. The first 10 weeks resulted in a 6-3 start. Their best 9 game start since their previous franchise started 7-2 in 1994. Their new franchise’s best start was 2007 at 7-4, which the Browns were at one point during 2014. However in 2007, they ended 10-6. Unlucky enough to miss the playoffs with that record. Following the 6-3 2014 start, Brian Hoyer struggled. losing three of the next 4, jeopardizing their playoff hopes at a 7-6 record. In the week 14 loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts, Hoyer had his worst game yet. Throwing only 14 completions in 31 pass attempts for 140 yards, 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He was heavily booed off the field, and fans and critics began debating weather they should bench him in favor of Johnny Manziel. Unfortunately for Hoyer, head coach Mike Pettine did make that decision. Many critics disliked the decision, considering that an inexperienced rookie starting for a playoff contending team towards the end of the season is not a good idea. That Hoyer recovering is a better chance than Manziel playing very well. Manziel did have a decent game in week 15, but ended up losing a very close game causing them to drop to 7-7, on a 3 game losing streak and losing 4 out of 5. Week 16 for Manziel was all over the place, and he got injured towards the end. Hoyer came in and played well, but they still lost, dropping to 7-8 on the year, ending their playoff hopes. Mike Pettine announced despite Manziel’s injury, Hoyer would still stay benched, this time in favor of third string Connor Shaw. Who played about average in a week 17 loss, ending their season on a 5 game losing streak, losing 6 of 7 after a 6-3, and 7-4 start. The Browns along with the 49ers are among the teams who went through end of season collapses. Unlike the 49ers, this resulted in the Browns not re-signing their starting quarterback Hoyer, cutting him. Brian Hoyer was big in the 2015 free agency, finding a job with the Houston Texans. The Texans starting quarterback the previous season was at one point Hoyer’s former teammate on the Patriots, Ryan Mallet. Who Hoyer played at one point in 2014 and lost by a landslide. It was announced the former teammates would be competing for the starting position against each other. Brian Hoyer won the starting job after the pre-season. But while trailing 27-9 in the 4th quarter of the first game of the season, he was benched in favor of Ryan Mallet. Mallet remained the starter until getting injured during week 5, where Hoyer came back in. Hoyer started the rest of the season, improving as time went on, he remained the starter despite Mallet returning. Hoyer was very quickly announced as ‘definitely the starter’ for their home playoff game agains the Kansas City Chiefs, who were on a 10 game winning streak, ending the season 11-5 after beginning 1-5. Despite the Chiefs being favorites, you can never bet against a home playoff team. However, the biggest game of Hoyer’s life was not exactly how he imagined, he threw 4 interceptions in the first half, and was being shutout. He was benched in favor of Ryan Mallet for the second half. The Chiefs went on to win 30-0 in a shutout. After the embarrassing performance by Hoyer and the Texans, he was released from the Texans in April 2016. 2 weeks later he signed a 1 year deal with the Chicago Bears. After an injury to starting quarterback Jay Cutler in week 2, Brian Hoyer came in. In 4 straight games he unexpectedly threw over 300 yards. In week 3 he threw for 317, in week 4 he threw 302, and in week 5 he threw a career high 397 yards. This was the most yards a bears quarterback threw since 1999 when Jim Miller threw for 422 yards. He also is now the second Bears quarterback to throw 300+ yards in a single game, franchise record shared with Josh McCown. Later, Hoyer became the first to throw for over 300 yards in four straight games when he threw for 302 yards in week 6. But then, a few weeks later, he broke his left arm putting him on injured reserve once again in his career. He was not re-signed in the offseason and was instead signed a 2-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers. Hoyer had started the first six games of the season. Through the first 5 games he completed about 59% of his passes, getting 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. About average. They were 0-5, but did way better than an 0-5 team would indicate initially. Weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5 they had only lost by a combined 11 points. Week 6 made it losing 5 straight games by a combined 13 points, ridiculously low. But that was because of how the team performed, not Hoyer. Hoyer performed poorly in week 6, only completing 4 passes in 11 attempts, for only 34 yards. He was benched in the second half in favor of CJ Beathard. Beathard brought them back and almost won the game, losing by only 2 points. After the game had ended, Beathard was named the 49ers starter. He ended up getting them their first win. But at the trade deadline when the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer was released. Garoppolo eventually started the last 5 games of the season, which all resulted in wins, ending their season 6-10. Garoppolo moved to 8-0 as a starting quarterback in his career. Jimmy Garoppolo was originally acquired from the Patriots, the same team who traded quarterback Jacoby Brissett earlier in the season. The Garoppolo trade had left them with no backup. They started getting criticized around the media after the trade. But later on in the week, they signed Hoyer back to have a backup for their 40 year old, 5 time super bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady. The arguable greatest quarterback of all time. Hoyer sat on the bench for the rest of that season, watching his team once again get to the Super Bowl and lose. It was against the Philadelphia Eagles, only losing 41-33 in the 52nd big game. In 2018 he remained on the New England Patriots as Tom Brady’s only backup. He played in the pre-season, and watched his team from the bench in the regular season. He is now watching his team enter their 8th straight AFC Championship game, which will take place on Sunday. Hoyer is now 33 years old, it is unknown if he will ever be starter for a team again before retiring.
And that is the legend of Brian Hoyer.