Colts' Hasselbeck, Bucs' Koetter go back 20 years
Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who turned 40 in September, has been playing long enough that he has ties that go back more than 20 years, like the fact that his first offensive coordinator at Boston College was current Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
"He was a really, really good football coach, a great quarterbacks coach, and I feel really lucky that in college I had such good coaching," said Hasselbeck, who has played well this season, throwing for five touchdowns and two interceptions filling in for the injured Andrew Luck.
Hasselbeck is 3-0 as starter, including a win against Atlanta last week, and he said he owes Koetter a small part of him getting into the NFL in the first place, putting in a good word with the Packers, who drafted him in the sixth round in 1998.
"I guess Dirk had put in a helpful assessment of me when really no one else in the world thought I could make it at the next level," he said. "Thanks to Dirk and Andy Reid for seeing something that I didn't even see myself, for helping me get to the NFL. I learned a lot from him."
Koetter's relationship with Hasselbeck was nearly short-lived, as head coach Tom Coughlin left shortly after hiring Koetter to go to the Jaguars, but Koetter was kept on by new coach Dan Henning.
"He got hired by Tom Coughlin, and I believe Tom Coughlin left the next day or something like that," Hasselbeck said. "My first meeting, I was a freshman, I met with Dirk and he was like 'I don't know what the future holds, but I watched you throw today and here's my honest assessment.' He gave me a great, honest (opinion.)"
Hasselbeck has a long history with Bucs coach Lovie Smith -- they've faced each other nine times, including two Bears playoff wins for Smith. Hasselbeck had his second career touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Bucs in 2000 and beat Smith twice when he was the Rams' defensive coordinator. Smith's last playoff win came in 2010 with the Bears, overcoming a three-touchdown, 258-yard game from Hasselbeck when he was with Seattle.
"He has a lot of good football under his belt," Smith said Monday. "(We're) not really looking at him as a backup, if he is that."