A tale of two quarterbacks

History can be a compelling subject, especially when it happens in the sunny present tense instead of the cobweb-shrouded past tense.

Granted, yesterday already is past history but give me a mulligan on this one.

When Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston squared off Sunday in Tampa, it was a historic first season-opening meeting ever of two rookie quarterbacks who went 1-2 in the draft.

OK, I realize that one game is a small sample serving. But perhaps the wrong guy went No. 1.

Mariotta was resplendent, throwing more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) in a 42-14 blowout of the Bucs. He was as accurate as William Tell with a rifle scope, going 13 of 16 for 209 yards. Poise and leadership oozed from his uniform.

Winston, on the other hand, looked like what the temp agency sends you when you request a hack. He would have been more productive picking scabs off wayward turtles in Guam. Confusion spilled from his face.

He threw a pick-6 on his first attempt of the game and exhibited all the ball security of a guy wearing oven mitts by uncorking two interceptions and two fumbles (both of which he recovered). His decision-making is more up in the air than a trapeze act.

Quarterbacks taken high in the draft are no lock for Canton. Which brings us back to my favorite subject of history.

History has shown us that one of these two quarterbacks will be a star and the other a bust.

Sunday was only the opening chapter but the script was pregnant with foreshadowing.

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