Childhood, Early Life & Career
Tarvaris D'Andre Jackson was born on April 21, 1983, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., to Sasanque Jackson Scott.
After graduating from the 'Sidney Lanier High School' of Montgomery in 2001, Jackson joined the 'University of Arkansas.'
He was interested in football since his early days. As a freshman, Jackson played three games for the 'Arkansas Razorbacks.' He was given a medical redshirt by the end of the season, as he suffered an injury.
Jackson recorded three completed passes for 53 yards and one interception, apart from rushing 14 yards on seven carries during his 2001 season. For his 8 games in 2002, he completed 14 of 39 passes for 143 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He also rushed -16 yards in 14 carries.
In 2003, Jackson moved to the 'Alabama State University,' where his remarkable performance helped him become the captain of the 'Alabama State' team and a member of the “second-team” ‘All-SWAC,’ when he was a senior in 2005. He led the 'Alabama State Hornets' to the 'Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Eastern Division’ title and qualified for the 'SWAC Championship Game.' As a junior in 2004, Jackson won the ‘SWAC Championship MVP.’
While Jackson was playing for ‘Alabama,’ scouts from the 'Minnesota Vikings' were keeping track of his performances. They were impressed with his game in the 'East-West Shrine Game' and his workout at the scouting combine.
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Jackson was the last one to be picked (64th overall) in the second round of the 2006 ‘NFL Draft.’ It was an early selection, as he was supposed to be selected in the later rounds. It came as a surprise to many, including Jackson himself, because pre-draft publications did not even include him in the top 10 eligible quarterbacks, and he was the fifth quarterback and the first ‘Division I-AA’ player to be selected.
On July 26, 2006, he officially signed a 4-year deal with the 'Vikings.' He played with them from 2006 to 2010. In his first season, Jackson's passer rating was 106.1, and he was the 15th overall quarterback performer. In his draft class, he was second only to Jay Cutler.
He also made the record of an average of 11.3 yards in rushing, the only ‘Viking’ after Brad Johnson to average more than 3.3 in the category. ‘ESPN’ analyst Mike Tirico referred to him as a right-handed Michael Vick, the popular former ‘NFL ‘quarterback.
With Jackson's pre-season performance, it was clear that he would beat the second and third-string quarterbacks, Mike McMahon and J. T. O'Sullivan, respectively, on the depth chart. Brooks Bollinger replaced both of them, making Jackson compete against him for the second spot.
In September 2006, Jackson was sent for limited practice after he had a minor knee surgery. He returned for his first ‘NFL’ game with the ‘Vikings,’ against the 'Chicago Bears.' He was benched for throwing 4 interceptions. However, when backup quarterback Brooks Bollinger got injured, Jackson joined the game and completed 3 of 4 passes before the clock ran out.
The 'Vikings' underperformed in the game against the 'New York Jets' and lost the game by 26–7. Jackson went in during the late third quarter. The audience jeered at the team's quarterback, Johnson, by chanting, "We want Jackson!," as Johnson had performed poorly in the entire season.
Jackson received a standing ovation as he went out on the field. He made a career landmark in the game by completing his first touchdown pass to Mewelde Moore.
Jackson became the starting quarterback for the 'Vikings' at the end of his first season. Despite finishing 8–4 as a starter, he failed to live up to the team's expectations in his following season.
His 9 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and 159 yards per game gave the 'Vikings' their second-worst passing offense in the ‘NFL.’ He had to miss 3 games because of a series of injuries, including a strained groin, concussion, and a fractured index finger.
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The 'Vikings' could not qualify for the playoffs. Later in the season, his opponents mostly played defensively to stop Peterson (the running back) and challenge Jackson to beat them in the passing game.
In the season's final game, against the 'Denver Broncos,' Jackson led to a tie. Unfortunately, in the overtime, he fumbled on the second play, causing the 'Vikings' to lose the game.
For the rest of the season, Jackson was not in form. His lack of experience was reflected in his ill-judged interceptions, jump passes, and turnovers in several games. Even though he had a crucial role in his team’s five-game winning streak in November, his return as a starter in the 2008 season was highly doubted.
After the debacle of the 2007 season, several analysts believed that the 'Vikings' needed a better quarterback to become one of the top contenders in the ‘NFL.’ However, head coach Brad Childress decided to retain Jackson as the starting quarterback and hired Gus Frerotte as his backup.
Jackson showed a drastic improvement not only in his game but also in handling situations which he could not in the previous season. He also grasped the team's offensive system better.
To showcase Jackson's improvement to the media, the head coach organized a 'Coaching 101' clinic and played a compilation tape of his games in front of reporters. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, too, promoted his improvement.
Interestingly, Childress stuck to his decision of retaining Jackson as the starter even after the 'Vikings' lost games against the 'Green Bay Packers' and the 'Indianapolis Colts.' Jackson's 64.8 passer rating ranked him 26th in the ‘NFL.’ However, after a coaches' meeting, Childress altered his decision and benched Jackson for the rest of the year.
He got a significant opportunity to prove himself in a game against ‘Detroit’ in the 14th week. Jackson replaced an injured Gus Frerotte in the entire second half. With Jackson completing an 11-yard strike to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, the 'Vikings' won the game.
The following week, Jackson had to replace Frerotte as the starting quarterback in the game against the 'Arizona Cardinals.' His performance in the game was arguably the best in his career. His 4 touchdown passes and no interceptions earned him the 'NFC Offensive Player of the Week' honor and the 'FedEx Air Player of the Week' award.
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Unfortunately, his good performance could not save the 'Vikings' from losing the game against the 'Atlanta Falcons' in the 16th week. The following week, when the 'Vikings' were in a win-and-in situation against the 'New York Giants’, Jackson overcame an interception in the end zone when he led his team on a touchdown drive. He led the game-winning field goal drive, and the 'Vikings' defeated the 'Giants,' earning the ‘NFC North’ title.
For the 2009 season, Jackson was paired with Sage Rosenfels, who was drafted by the 'Houston Texans.' They, however, had split duties in the early part of the camp. Initially, Jackson was supposed to be the second quarterback for the first pre-season game and play as the starter in the second pre-season game against the 'Kansas City Chiefs.'
The decision was anticipated when the 'Green Bay Packers' quarterback Brett Favre, signed with the 'Vikings.' It was reported that Jackson, Rosenfels, and the 2008 third-stringer John David Booty would compete for two roster spots and the primary backup job. It was also reported that the 'Vikings' might trade Jackson.
Jackson made his position stronger with an excellent performance in the game against the 'Kansas City Chiefs' and finally entered the active roster of the 'Vikings.' He was selected as the primary backup to Favre.
On April 19, 2010, the 'Vikings' re-signed Jackson as a restricted free agent and Favre's backup for the following season. They also granted him a year-long tender worth $1.176 million.
Jackson backed up an injured Favre in the game against the 'New England Patriots,' in the eighth week, which the 'Vikings' lost. He again replaced an injured Favre in a game against the 'Buffalo Bills' in the 13th week (the ‘Vikings’ won). He did the same on December 13, against the 'New York Giants.' He suffered a turf toe injury in the game, which led him to miss the rest of the season.
On March 3, 2011, the 'Vikings' declined to draft Jackson for the 2011 season, and according to the league rules, he became an unrestricted free agent.
On July 29, 2011, Jackson signed a 2-year contract with the 'Seattle Seahawks' and joined the team as their starting quarterback. He reunited with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and wide receiver Sidney Rice from the 'Vikings.'
He was named the offensive team captain. In spite of delivering a below-average performance as compared to the other quarterbacks in the league, Jackson recorded the best year of his career till then, with 3,091 yards passing, 14 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
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During the off-season, he competed with former 'Green Bay Packers' quarterback Matt Flynn and ‘Wisconsin’ quarterback Russell Wilson for the 2012 starting quarterback position.
On August 26, 2012, Jackson signed a contract with the 'Buffalo Bills,' as the third-string quarterback for the season. However, he did not play any game in the season.
The 'Bills' re-signed him on February 15, 2013, with a 1-year contract worth $2.25 million. The team released him on June 10, 2013. It was reported that Jackson could re-sign with the 'Seattle Seahawks' for the 2013 season, and he did so on June 13, 2013.
He competed against quarterback Brady Quinn to get the backup quarterback position behind starter Russell Wilson. However, the 'Seahawks' released Quinn and signed Jackson as the official backup quarterback to Wilson.
Jackson played in place of Wilson during the 'Super Bowl XLVIII' against the 'Denver Broncos' and became the first backup quarterback to play in a 'Super Bowl' in 13 years. He brought the 'Seahawks' their first 'Super Bowl' title, defeating the 'Broncos.'
The 'Seahawks' re-signed Jackson for the following season and entered the 'Super Bowl XLIX.' However, the team could not win the championships and lost to the 'New England Patriots' with a score of 28–24.
The 'Seahawks' released Jackson, and he became an unrestricted free agent following the 2015 season.
Jackson retired from ‘NFL’ after 2015. In 2018, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at 'Alabama State.' He became the quarterbacks' coach for 'Tennessee State' the following year.