Ryan Fitzpatrick NFL Network

As fantasy football owners sat around in draft rooms looking to build the perfect team to make a run to the championship, almost everyone would have laughed if you drafted Ryan Fitzpatrick to be your starting quarterback. The jokes would have been relentless. Now, the jokes would be on them.

Fitzpatrick, the former seventh-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft from Harvard, is now on his seventh NFL team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter just so happens to be the top-rated quarterback in the league after Week 2.

The secret? A beard rub with Bucs offensive lineman Evan Smith before each game.

Ok, that might not be true. There is no correlation between the now-famous beard shake and Tampa Bay starting the season 2-0 with wins over the New Orleans Saints and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, but it sure looks pretty amazing.

Honestly, does it get much better and stranger and creative all at the same time than two guys dapping it up with their long beards before a football game? Probably not.

FitzMagic, as social media dubbed him as, has taken the league by storm through two weeks, completing 48 of 61 passes (78.6 percent) for 819 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. He hasn’t been sacked all year, either, and has a rushing touchdown to add to his top-tier passing numbers.

The NFL journeyman was supposed to be a filler replacement for Jameis Winston, who was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. In all likelihood, it looks like Winston will be riding the bench for a lot longer than many expected.


The 6-foot-2 Fitzpatrick is enjoying the ride, too. Just look at what he wore to the postgame press conference after the 27-21 victory over the Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

Is FitzMagic for real this season or is it just a flash in the pan? Who knows? The NFL is a funny league sometimes. But two things are certain: Fitzpatrick has a ridiculously solid beard game and the beard shake could be the secret weapon Tampa Bay never knew it needed.


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With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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