Maybe no one else noticed it at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday afternoon, but there was a notable absence at the Homecoming football game. From my seat up where noses bleed and air is thin (section 205, row 33), I saw (with my binoculars) many of ASU's past quarterbacks.
Jake Plummer was there, Andrew Walter was there, as were many others. The one guy that I noticed that was not in attendance was Rudy Carpenter. As he is currently a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, he was even in town because they played the Cardinals. Apparently, it wasn't that important for him.
He started for the Sun Devils for four years and was the starter for the ten win 2007 team. He was a three-time All PAC-10 honorable mention. He beat U of A three times. He ranks number one all-time at ASU for pass completions. He ranks number two all-time in passing yards, attempts, and touchdowns, behind only Andrew Walter. He was one of ASU's most successful quarterbacks ever.
He should have been there for the game, but the truth is, I can't really blame him.
Throughout his career at Arizona State, he was surrounded by controversy. He may likely be always known for the 2006 QB mess that Dirk Koetter created when he named Sam Keller the starter and then reneged two days later.
Even after that, he was never quite good enough, despite the great career. He was not very social outside of his team, he talked a lot of crap, and was at time really good, but never great or elite. Even when he led the 2007 to an 8-0 start, fans weren't satisfied at his play.
He was a starter for four years and he was good. Yet for some reason he was vilified. I can't think of another situation where a guy starts for four years, is successful, and is not adored. Andrew Walter is adored and didn't really have any more success in winning and he is still one of the most popular QBs in team history. Rudy? Not so much.
It's a shame. Homecoming should be a time to celebrate. He was the quarterback from ASU's one really good season in recent history. He should have been there at the game. Would he have been booed? I hope not, but it was certainly possible. Here's to hoping that whatever wounds there are left between Carpenter, ASU and its fans can heal because in the end he belongs here.