Jackson was fortunate enough to become a starter throughout his career, and he was a part of a team that won the Super Bowl. In April, Jackson was involved in a tragic accident that took his life.
Tarvaris Jackson’s path to becoming an NFL quarterback
Jackson was a native of Montgomery, Alabama, where he starred in high school. He started his college career playing at the University of Arkansas and played three games during his freshman year but ended up suffering a season-ending injury. In 2003 he transferred to Alabama State and led the team to an 8-5 record, a Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division title, and a berth to the SWAC Championship game. During the 2003 season, he threw for 2,342 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions and rushed for 444 yards with five touchdowns.
As a junior, Jackson won the SWAC Championship MVP and led the team to 10 wins. Jackson started in 11 games that season and threw for 2,556 yards, 20 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also ran for 215 yards with three touchdowns. Jackson continued to put up impressive numbers during his time at Alabama State. Going into his senior year, he was named team captain and was a second-team All-SWAC selection. That year he threw for 2,655 yards, 25 touchdowns, and five interceptions. There was one NFL team that kept a close eye on Jackson during his senior year, and that was the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings liked Jackson and decided to select him with the last pick in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft. Many people thought that Jackson would go in the later rounds, but the Vikings traded two third-round picks to get to the second-round pick in which they chose Jackson. He was the first Alabama State quarterback drafted since 1992. In his rookie season, Jackson struggled and did not receive much playing time. Jackson was named the starter in his second season and finished with an 8-4 record. He threw for nine touchdowns and had 12 interceptions. The Vikings had the second-worst passing offense in the league.
Struggling to find his way in the league but ends up winning a Super Bowl
Jackson spent his first five seasons with the Vikings and never lived up to the expectations. After the 2007 season in which he was named the starter, he returned to being a backup quarterback. After the 2010 season, Jackson became an unrestricted free agent. He then signed a two-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks, and he was announced the starting quarterback not too long after.
Jackson started in 14 games during the 2011 season and finished with a 7-7 record. He threw for 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Going into the offseason, the Seahawks were looking for a quarterback. The team drafted Russell Wilson in the 2012 NFL draft, and he competed with Jackson for the starting quarterback position. Jackson ended up being traded to the Buffalo Bills in August of 2012, and he was the third-string quarterback and did not play in any games that season.
Jackson returned to the Seahawks, where he finished his last three seasons. During the 2013 season, the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl, and Jackson made an appearance in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks went on to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8.
Tarvaris Jackson’s tragic car accident that killed him
After his playing career finished, he took a graduate assistant role at Alabama State in 2018. A year later, he was named the quarterback’s coach for Tennessee State. On April 12, 2020, Jackson was involved in a single-car crash in Alabama that took his life. Reports said that Jackson was driving when he drifted off the road, struck a tree, and flipped. He was driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone, and he was wearing a seatbelt. Jackson was 36 when he died.
His death came as a shock to many of his former teammates, coaches, family, and friends. Though he did not have much success in the league, he was a great teammate and developed close relationships with many people.