Billy Joe Tolliver played quarterback like Steve Martin's "Wild and Crazy Guy" on Saturday Night Live would have. Tolliver went for throws no one else dared. He often seemed oblivious to the fact he possessed a journeyman's arm. If there was a crack, a chance at a comeback, Tolliver never hesitated.
If Ryan Leaf had Billy Joe Tolliver's guts, he would be headed for Canton.
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"I'm playing to win," Tolliver says now, the inexplicable superstar swagger still in his voice. "Down 10 points in the fourth quarter I'm not afraid to try and squeeze the ball in there for a touchdown. If it gets intercepted, at least I fired all the bullets in my gun.
"I was never a big stat guy. Who cares if you lose by 17 or 10' You still lost. I want to take the chance to win. I might end up looking bad. But at least I fired all the bullets in my gun. I took my shot."
You can hear Tolliver's excitement over the fiber-optic phone line. This is a guy who gets pumped just thinking about taking chances. It's why he remains such a huge fan favorite in Louisiana despite the fact his career NFL quarterback numbers (59 touchdowns to 64 interceptions) are pedestrian at best. Five years after he threw his last pass for the New Orleans Saints, Tolliver talks all-guts football on his own radio show.
Recklessness has been very, very good to him.
Except when it comes to Tolliver's new chosen passion: golf.
It turns out being a quarterback willing to butt heads with linebackers does not easily translate to staring down a twisted, wicked par 4.
"I've found my game management on the football field shows up in my course management on the golf course," Tolliver says. "And that's not always a good thing."
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