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The Rypien Legacy

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

At the risk of sounding like a bad Speech class final, Merriam-Webster’s applicable definition of legacy is thus: “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past“. So with that in mind, I took a moment to think back over Brett Rypien’s career, and try to predict what his legacy will be in the Boise State program going forward.

There’s big games and final scores and epic comebacks, but past seasons in memory are more emotions and storylines than hard numbers and bowl games. Thus, my opinion of Brett’s legacy mostly ignores the stats and record books (even the TuStats, shocker!). Legacy for me comes down to the themes you remember most.

Continuing in the theme of “bad communications final”, here’s a terrible PowerPoint bullet points slide of what is, in my opinion, Brett Rypien’s legacy.

  • Stepped out of the Shadow
  • Shaken Up, not Shook Down
  • Driven by Competition


This will likely be a contentious opinion, so brace yourself for my hot take: Brett was the QB that finally extricated himself from the long shadow of Kellen Moore. He didn’t win a NY6 game, he doesn’t quite have that massive “signature win”, and he may be benefiting from the simple passage of enough time, but he eventually stood alone as his own QB.

Early on there were comparisons and questions and statistical analyses galore, as there have been for every QB since 2012, but as Brett played and matured, he finally reached a point where pundits (and basement bloggers) talked about him on his own merits, not in a comparative sense. He’s done more than enough to clearly be one of the top Boise State quarterbacks of all time.

To be sure, there will still be career retrospectives and statistical comparisons and ranking lists that will argue his relative value compared to our lord and savior KELLEN (blessed be his name), but we’re looking for the next great QB to follow Brett, not the next Kellen Moore. He established his own era in Bronco Football, separate from the great one, and in doing so gave a gift to every quarterback who will come after him.


Based purely on my own observation, it is my opinion that Brett is as resilient a QB as we’d had at Boise State. Unlike others I could name (coughZABRANSKYcough), he didn’t seem to get rattled so much as to be thrown entirely off his game. One or two outliers aside (this last season vs SDSU, I know, too soon) he would get shaken up, but not shook down; shrugging off big hits and bad plays to come back for the next play or series or game ready to rock.

Subjective though it may be, my observations of his resiliency always gave me hope, even in bad games. Not unlike the Great One, I was always expecting a smart play or a miracle deep pass to get us out of a tough spot, not constantly anticipating an untimely interception or dumb keeper. He definitely had his bad moments, but never to the point of losing hope or just believing a game was over early.

Brett’s ability to not get rattled has bailed out a couple slow starts to the season by running backs and O-lines. Lesser QB’s might have gotten happy feet or stuck in their own head, but he’s balled out through thick and thin. The final results weren’t 50-3, but I’d take our last 4 seasons over UCF’s any day of the week.


It’s easy to look back at the last four years of Rypien and forget the coaching changes, tough games, injuries, and replacements. Despite all the changes, Rypien seemed to do best when pushed, driven by the competition. Instead of wilting in the face of pressure, he stood up to it and pushed back.

In a position known for prima donnas who desire the spotlight, Brett stayed humble through initially being named a backup, taking over for an injured starter, and then having to watch a transfer QB take over when he was hurt and not himself. He always came back strong, never shied from a quarterback competition with the latest hot recruits and transfers, and really seemed to shine brightest when he was pushed by the guy behind him.

Even just looking around the Mountain West (and that Power 5 indie school in Utah) gives us plenty of examples of quarterbacks that can’t shrug off the slight of not starting, or being replaced or injured. It really speaks volumes of Brett’s character and resolve that he’s come back stronger every season, whether or not we as fans think he ever took that “next step”.


My biased fan perspective is all I have to go on, but I think these three things will be Brett Rypien’s legacy to to the quarterbacks and teams and fans that come after him. He stepped out of the shadow of Kellen Moore, was shaken up but not shook down, and was driven by competition. As spoiled by greatness as we may be here at Boise State, we can hardly ask for much more from a quarterback.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing.” Here at OBNUG, we’ve written plenty about Brett Rypien, whether or not it’s worth reading notwithstanding.

Now that you’ve heard my take, what’s the Rypien Legacy from your viewpoint?