The Life Cycle of the Bearded Phoenix: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Life Cycle of the Bearded Phoenix: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan “Fitzmagic” mania took the NFL world by storm early in the season. The many faces and forms of Ryan Fitzpatrick have never been better. Fitzpatrick is a smart man–he attend Harvard University, but who could ever forget his impersonation of MMA superstar Conor McGregor at the post-game press conference?

It’s rare to see a QB in the NFL with such massive amounts of impressive facial hair as well. Have you ever taken a closer look at the NFL career of Ryan Fitzpatrick?

The career of Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of the most unique in all of football. His career is that of a mythical phoenix. In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a bird that grows large and beautiful into adulthood only to literally die in a burst of flames. The phoenix is then born again from the ashes of its predecessor only to mature and then die again in a combustion of fire. Let me explain:

Ryan Fitzpatrick Conor McGregor
source: USA Today

Entering the NFL:

Ryan Fitzpatrick was a long-shot to make an NFL roster but as a smart guy–he scored nearly a perfect score on the NFL’s wonderlic test in just nine minutes–with a rocket arm, he had a chance. Fitzpatrick, from Gilbert, Arizona, was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 7th Round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He played in his first NFL game coming off the bench to replace an injured Jamie Martin and led the Rams from a 24-3 deficit to a 33-27 overtime win.

Fitzpatrick was named NFC Player of the Week for his accomplishments. The legend of “Fitzmagic,” the phoenix, was born. As a microcosm for his career, Fitzpatrick would quickly burn out. His come-from-behind win would earn him three more starts–making him the first Harvard QB to ever start a game in the NFL–but he could not find the same success he found in his debut. Fitzpatrick would eventually be traded to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2007 and signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2009.

The Buffalo Bills era:

After an 0-2 start, the Buffalo Bills decided to give Fitzpatrick the start in the 3rd game of the season. Fitzmagic was born, leading the Bills to a 49-31 comeback win over his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals. He threw for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick had matured into full-on “Fitzmagic.” He would go on to throw at least 1 touchdown pass in 13 straight games. However, “Fitzmagic” would soon burn out and be reborn from the ashes as “Fitztragic.” In 2011, “Fitztragic” led the NFL with 23 interceptions.

It wouldn’t take long though, soon the phoenix QB would bloom into his mature form. In his 4th season with the Bills, Ryan Fitzpatrick would burn bright as “Fitzmagic” once again throwing for 3400 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012. With his contract expiring and his coach fired, Ryan Fitzpatrick was released by the Bills following the 2012 season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Tennessee Titans

The Titans & Texans era:

The Tennessee Titans signed reborn-form Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal in 2013. If you’re a starting QB in the NFL and your team signs Fitzpatrick, it’s a bad omen for your health. Once again, Fitzpatrick entered a game due to an injury to the starting QB–Jake Locker of the Titans this time paying the price. Fitzpatrick would lead the Titans to a 38-13 win over the New York Jets.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, the young phoenix, didn’t stay long in Tennessee though only lasting one season after starting 9 games with 2,454 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. In 2014, the division rival Houston Texans would sign Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal. Base-form Ryan Fitzpatrick is just an average QB. He would eventually be relegated to the role of backup.

However, starting QB Ryan Mallett would be injured, and Fitzpatrick would once again get a chance to face his former team, the Tennessee Titans. In yet another revenge game, Ryan Fitzpatrick began to glow red hot and his fire inextinguishable.

He would torch the Titans to the tune of 45-21 with 358 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his accomplishments. Fitzmagic would flame out after breaking his leg the next week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick New York Jets

The New York Jets era:

With the quick life cycle in Houston, Fitztragic quickly grew into Fitzmagic once again. In 2015, the Texans traded Fitzpatrick to the New York Jets. The New York Jets had a young starting QB in place, Geno Smith, but you know the story by now.

The phoenix would find a way onto the field. Geno Smith would have his jaw broken in a locker room fight during the preseason by a teammate. (You cannot make this stuff up). During the 2015 season, Fitzmagic was burn brighter than ever. He threw for over 3900 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. It was his best year as a professional.

Upon the completion of the 2015 season, the Jets honored their red-hot QB with a contract extension in 2016. However, the damage was done. It would be another season that would go down in flames. Ryan Fitztragic’s QBR dropped 20 points from 2015 to 2016, as he threw for 2700 yards, only 12 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.

The Jets terminated his contract following the 2016 season. At age 33, would this be the end of the phoenix, Ryan Fitzpatrick?

Ryan Fitzmagic Tampa Bay Bucs

The Tampa Bay Bucs era:

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Ryan Fitzpatrick signs after a flame-out year to a team with a young, upcoming QB already in place as the starting QB. In 2017, the Tampa Bay Bucs signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to serve as Jameis Winston’s backup. Early in the season, Jameis Winston would suffer a shoulder injury in a game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryan Fitzpatrick would lead a comeback effort that would fall just short at 38-33. He threw for 290 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in only 2 quarters of playing time. Winston would come back though. However, he wouldn’t last long, getting injured again and again throughout the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick would emerge from the ashes in spot-start duties throughout the 2017 season throwing for 1100 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.

During the offseason, Jameis Winston would be suspended for 3 games for sexually assaulting an Uber driver (once again, you can’t make this stuff up). The Tampa Bay Bucs would decide to keep Ryan Fitzpatrick with a short extension. At age 35, could the phoenix catch fire one last time? For his 3 games playing with house money, Ryan Fitzpatrick would be underdogs against former playoff teams in each game.

The flames would burn bright though. In week 1, against the New Orleans Saints, Ryan Fitzpatrick would be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for passing for 417 yards, 4 touchdowns, and also rushing for another touchdown. The legend of Ryan Fitzmagic was reborn yet again. NFL fans around the world were engulfed in Fitzmagic mania.

He would repeat this performance again the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles throwing for 402 yards and 4 touchdowns improving the Bucs’ record to 2-0. The entire country was feeling the heat from the phoenix. The following week, Fitzmagic would play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime on nationally televised Monday Night Football.

After a rocky start, Ryan Fitzmagic would led the comeback charge nearly upsetting the Steelers 30-27. Fitzmagic became the first player in NFL history to throw for 400+ yards in three straight games as he racked up 411 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in primetime. The beard got fire, and it burned him. The following week Jameis Winston would replace Fitztragic at halftime in a 48-10 blowout loss.

Will we ever see the phoenix rise from the ashes again?

Ryan Fitzpatrick is now 35 years old. Father Time catches up with us all, even creatures from Greek mythology. For now, as fans of the bearded one, we can only hope. Rise from the ashes, Ryan. We need more Fitzmagic.


The life cycle of the bearded phoenix, Ryan Fitzpatrick:
Ryan Fitzpatrick > Ryan Fitzmagic > Ryan Fitztragic > Ryan Fitzpatrick

Joshua Haskins
Nashville native. Titans and Vols fan from birth. Average working dad by day, fisherman by weekend. BA in Marketing & MBA in Management from Tennessee Tech University.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out of luck this summer as they were entirely restricted from attending any professional or semi-pro live games. Watching on television or live stream wasn’t much better. Most of the MLB season was cancelled including the pre-season, the much anticipated Iowa Field of Dreams game, Puerto Rico series, London Series and All...

IPL: Mumbai Indians Lose Season Opener

Mumbai Indians lost an Indian Premier League (IPL) opener for the 8th successive year following a 5-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings. Having lost the first game of the season in the last 7 years, Mumbai might have thought this was their time, as they were on a 5-game winning run against CSK. However, ex Mumbai Indians player Ambati Rayudu and South African superstars Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi ensured that it didn’t...

When Did Formula One Begin?

If you ask virtually anyone the world over a simple question – “What is Formula One” they will probably get the answer correct.  It’s a car race!  Even though that might be a very simple reply (a better answer would be it’s the highest class of international single-seater auto-racing!) there is another question that will probably stump them.  That question is “When did Formula One begin?”. In order to answer the question properly we need...

Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars

After nearly two months of play in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, one more team, either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Dallas Stars will have their bubble burst as the other emerges as the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals champions. The Stars won two games against the Lightning in the regular season, each in overtime (4-3 on December 19; 3-2 on January 27) The Lightning representing the Eastern Conference made it to the...

The Cleveland Browns Are Looking Up

The Cleveland Browns have a team that had a ton of questions this year. They came into the game against the Bengals unsure of how they were going to get their offense going. While the Bengals aren't at all a good defense, it's still hard to play those divisional games and win. The AFC North is known for brutally cold weather that makes it nearly impossible to stay sharp, yet they were sharp offensively....

The Case For Rocky Marciano

You wouldn't think, not even for a second, that you would have to defend a world champion boxer who retired with an unblemished record of 49-0 (43 KO's), but if it's Rocky Marciano we're talking about then yep, he needs to be defended. It's ridiculous, but true. Marciano seems to have as many naysayers as he does fans. "He was too small", "He never fought anybody in their prime", "He'd get killed today"; etc....

Fantasy Basketball: The Best Draft Pick Techniques You Should Know

Image Source Fantasy Basketball gives everyone the anticipation that keeps you up at night just to draft the ultimate fantasy basketball line-up. Your ultimate goal is to dominate any opponent all season. Sadly, not everyone has the skills and experience to win. Remember that if you are considering joining a fantasy basketball league, you need to consider some factors. Successful players and experts choose more than their favorite team or a player's value. Even if you...

2020 NBA Western Conference Finals: A Victor Emerges

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will meet for the second time in the NBA Western Conference Finals. The Lakers managed to breeze through Portland and Houston in the first two rounds, while Denver has proven themselves to be true underdogs, coming back from a 3-1 deficit against Utah and the L.A. Clippers. Will the Lakers blow past the Nuggets, or will Denver pull off another unimaginable moment in the playoffs?   Point Guard:...

Why Did the Clippers Fail in the NBA Playoffs?

Lets make one thing clear; the Nuggets won that series because they were a better team than the Clippers. They outplayed the Clippers in the NBA playoffs, plain and simple. Yes the Clippers did underperform, it was due to the Nuggets were elite. They were one of the hottest teams in the bubble and they've gotten it done. Jamal Murray has developed into an elite scorer, the Joker has kept up his elite play, and...

Leinster VS Ulster: Pro 14 Champions Final 2020

The annual Pro 14 tournament was wrapped up as the final whistle blew at The Aviva Stadium in Dublin this past weekend. Leinster reigned in as the Pro 14 Champions 2020 against an enthusiastic Ulster team, winning 27-5, to become the first side ever to win three consecutive Pro 14 titles. The Dublin side held their remarkable reputation as the most successful provincial Irish rugby sides following their victory on Saturday, and have once again...

Social Connect


Trending Now

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x