Dan Fouts

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Dan Fouts
No. 14
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1951-06-10) June 10, 1951 (age 62)
Place of birth: San Francisco, California
Career information
College: Oregon
NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 3 / Pick: 64
Debuted in 1973 for the San Diego Chargers
Last played in 1987 for the San Diego Chargers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT 254–242
Yards 43,040
QB Rating 80.2
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Daniel Francis Fouts (born June 10, 1951) is a retired Hall of Fame American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). Fouts played his entire professional career with the San Diego Chargers from 1973 through 1987. He was one of the most prolific passing quarterbacks during the 1970s and 1980s, but the Chargers were unable to make it to the Super Bowl during his fifteen-year career. He led the NFL in passing yards four straight years from 1979 to 1982, and became the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He is currently a color analyst for NFL games on CBS television and Dial Global radio. Dan is the son of Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer Bob Fouts.1

High school and college career

Fouts went to Marin Catholic High School, which is located just north of San Francisco in Kentfield, California for his two first years of High School, and was starting for the varsity team by his sophomore year. He decided to transfer to St. Ignatius College Preparatory (San Francisco, CA) for his final two years of high school.

Fouts was somewhat of an unknown when he accepted the scholarship offer from the University of Oregon. Things were quite different after the All-Pac-8 quarterback's career where he set 19 school records, including those for career passing yardage (5,995) and total offense (5,871).23 He was inducted into the University of Oregon Hall of Fame in 1992.4

  • 1970: 188/361 for 2,390 yards with 16 TD vs 24 INT.
  • 1971: 123/247 for 1,564 yards with 9 TD vs 11 INT.
  • 1972: 171/348 for 2,041 yards with 12 TD vs 19 INT.

Pro football career

Drafted in the third round in 1973, Fouts helped lead the Chargers to the playoffs from 1979 to 1982 and twice to the AFC title game (1980 and 1981). He led the league four times in passing yards; ending his career with over 40,000, the third player to surpass that landmark. Fouts was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

Fouts was a 6-time Pro Bowl selection (1979-1983 & 1985) and compiled passer ratings over 90.0 for a 3-year stretch (1981–83). Fouts threw for over 4,000 yards for three consecutive seasons (1979–81), led the NFL in passing yards in four consecutive seasons(1979–1982) and six times eclipsed the 20-touchdown mark with a career high 33 in 1981. His career high of 4,802 passing yards during the 1981 season was an NFL record at the time.

Fouts set NFL season passing yardage records in three consecutive seasons from 1979 to 1981 with totals of 4,082, 4,715, and 4,802 yards. He broke Joe Namath's record of 4,007 set in 1967, and Dan Marino broke Fouts' record in 1984 with 5,084 yards.56 The Chargers in 1979 were the first AFC Western Division champion to run more passing plays (541) then rushing (481).7 In 1982, a season shortened to 9 games because of a strike, Fouts averaged 320 yards passing per game, an NFL record that stood until Drew Brees averaged 342.3 in 2011.89 Highlights that season included back-to-back victories against the 1981 Super Bowl teams San Francisco (41-37) and Cincinnati (50-34) in which Fouts threw for over 400 yards in each game to lead the Chargers to shootout victories.10 That season, he was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player by Pro Football Writers Association and Newspaper Enterprise Association. He finished second in the Associated Press poll behind Mark Moseley, the only kicker to ever win the award.11

Fouts garnered All-Pro selections in both 1979 and 1982, while also being named 2nd Team All-Pro in 1980 and 1985. In addition Fouts was also named 2nd Team All-AFC in 1981 and 1983. However, Fouts and the Chargers lost both AFC Championship Games in which they played.

Fouts's first few years in the league were inauspicious, but with the arrival of head coach Don Coryell in 1978 the Chargers' fortunes turned. Yet it was actually two years earlier, with the arrival of Bill Walsh as the Charger's offensive coordinator, that the seeds of success were planted. Under Coryell, the Chargers were known as Air Coryell for the deep passing game and the involvement of the tight end as a key receiver. This required a tough, intelligent quarterback with a strong arm. Fouts fit the bill.

Fouts was not a mobile quarterback and the deep passing game led to many hits. Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, a Chargers assistant coach in 1976, said "Dan Fouts had a cool, steel-like nerve and courage ... He took a lot of beatings, a lot of pounding, but continued to play, hurt or otherwise. He played more physical football than anybody on his team, including the linebackers".12 Rarely using the shotgun, Fouts would drop back from center and look for one of a bevy of great receivers. Wide receiver Charlie Joiner and tight end Kellen Winslow were the most famous, both now in the Hall of Fame, but John Jefferson and Wes Chandler, among others, were also key. Fouts's passing enabled Winslow to lead the NFL in receptions twice (1980,1981), while Winslow (1982) and Lionel James (1985) led the AFC in receptions on another 2 combined occasions.13 James, in fact, set the NFL record (since broken) in 1985 for receiving yards by a running back at 1,027.14 Jefferson became the first receiver to have 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. Both Jefferson (1980) and Chandler (1982) led the NFL in receiving yards.15 Chandler's 129 yards receiving per game average in 1982 is still a league record.16 Both Jefferson (1978, 1980) and Chandler (1982) led the NFL in receiving TDs. In 1980, Winslow, Jefferson and Joiner became the first trio on the same team to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season. When he retired after 1986, Joiner was the NFL's all-time leader in receptions with 750.17

Pass protection was also critical for such an offense. The Chargers had an excellent offensive line which protected Fouts well, and included 4 time Pro Bowler Ed White, 5 time Pro Bowler Russ Washington, 3 time Pro Bowler Doug Wilkerson, Billy Shields and Don Macek. The Chargers led the league in passing yards an NFL record 6 consecutive years from 1978–1983 and again in 1985 under Fouts.18 They also led the league in total yards in offense 1980-1983 and 1985.

Despite going to the playoffs from 1979 through 1982 and playing in 2 AFC Championship Games, the Chargers never went to the Super Bowl under Fouts (although they went 7 years after his retirement). Usually this is attributed to poor defense and their unwillingness to run the ball. In Fouts's prime the defense was not as stellar, but the running game became far better with the addition of Chuck Muncie, traded from New Orleans in 1980, and the drafting of James Brooks from Auburn in 1981. It is believed the defense had little opportunity to improve as the offense often scored quickly, leaving the defense to spend far too much time on the field. It also hurt that Fred Dean, an All-Pro sack specialist, was traded away to the San Francisco 49ers in 1981 in a contract dispute,19 and Dean would win UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year (while playing in only 11 games) that year en route to a Super Bowl victory and help the 49ers to another Super Bowl title three years later. Dean would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame.20

"I can't say how much it affected us, because we did make it to the AFC championship game," said Chargers' All-Pro defensive lineman Gary "Big Hands" Johnson of the loss of Dean. "But I could say if we had more pass rush from the corner, it might've been different."21 U-T San Diego in 2013 called the trade "perhaps the biggest blunder in franchise history."22

Overall, the Chargers achieved three wins against four losses in the playoffs under Fouts, who threw for over 300 yards in all but two of those games. One of their more notable wins was the 1982 playoff game known in NFL Lore as The Epic in Miami, where Fouts led his team to a 41-38 victory by completing 33 of 53 passes for a franchise record 433 yards and 3 touchdowns on the hot and humid day. His completions, attempts, and yards in the game were all NFL postseason records at the time. The following week in the AFC championship game in Cincinnati, there was a 92 °F drop in temperature compared to the previous week in Miami,23 and the Chargers lost 27-7 in what is known as the Freezer Bowl.

The following season, he threw for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 31-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC divisional playoff round. Fouts playoff career ended in the AFC Championship game against Miami, where he threw 5 interceptions to only one touchdown pass. Fouts went on to play for four other season with the Chargers, retiring in the year 1987 after 15 years with them. He ended his career as the Chargers all time leader in passing yard and touchdowns with 43,040 and 254 respectively.

Honors

Fouts finished his 15 NFL seasons with 3,297 of 5,604 completions for 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns, with 242 interceptions. He also rushed for 476 yards and 13 touchdowns

Dan Fouts is one of only nine quarterbacks in NFL history who have achieved two consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons. The others are Steve Bartkowski, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Jeff Garcia, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees,and Y.A. Tittle. He was also the third quarterback in NFL history to pass for 40,000 yards, after fellow Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton, and the first quarterback ever to throw for over 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

Fouts' jersey number, 14, is one of only three numbers retired by the San Diego Chargers (the others being Lance Alworth's 19 and Junior Seau's 55).

In 1989, Fouts was also inducted by the San Diego Hall of Champions into the Breitbard Hall of Fame honoring San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing surface.24

In 1999, he was ranked number 92 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

In 1992, he was inducted into the University of Oregon and State of Oregon Sports Halls of Fame.

Fouts was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility.

In 2009, he was picked by the fans as the "Greatest Charger Of All Time" for the Chargers 50th anniversary year.

In 2010, he received the Davey O'Brien Legends Award during Colt McCoy's award ceremony.

After pro football

In 1988 through 1993, Fouts started his career as an analyst on NFL on CBS. He worked with variety of play-by-play announcers including Dick Stockton, James Brown, Verne Lundquist, Brad Nessler, Jim Nantz, Jack Buck, and Tim Ryan.

Fouts's post-NFL career included a well-received commentator role on ABC's Monday Night Football, alongside famed MNF anchor Al Michaels and comedian Dennis Miller. He also served as a college football analyst alongside Brent Musburger and Keith Jackson (after Fouts's MNF departure). He was also a sports anchor for KPIX-TV in his hometown of San Francisco from 1994-1997.

In 1998 Fouts made his big-screen debut, portraying himself in the football comedy "The Waterboy," starring Adam Sandler. Fouts and Musburger appeared late in the film as ABC Sports' broadcast team for the fictitious New Year's Day "Bourbon Bowl" game.

After Jackson's retirement from ABC in 2006, Fouts became a play-by-play announcer, adding his own commentary on the game at times since he was a former player and analyst. His broadcast partner for 2006 and 2007 was Tim Brantcitation needed now that Jackson has opted to permanently retire. (Jackson previously said he was going to retire after the 1998 college football season, but elected to stay on to call Pac-10 games for ABC, including the annual Rose Bowl).

On February 11, 2008, ESPN announced they weren't re-signing Fouts or his partner Tim Brantcitation needed.

It was reported in USA Today on August 20, 2008 that Fouts was returned to CBS for NFL games2526 with a variety of play-by-play announcers including Don Criqui, Ian Eagle, and Dick Enberg.

In 2009, he was moved to partner with Dick Enberg as the #3 broadcasting team for the NFL on CBS.27 Following Enberg's retirement after the 2009 season, Fouts presently teams with Ian Eagle. He has also called NFL games for Dial Global radio. Since 2012, he is been the play-by-play voice for Chargers preseason games carried on CBS stations throughout Southern California, alongside fellow Charger alum Billy Ray Smith.

Fouts also did color commentary for the football video game NFL GameDay 2004. He partnered with long-time announcer Dick Enberg.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bob Fouts - KSFO/49ers Photograph - Circa 1958
  2. ^ Oregon Hall of Fame
  3. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Oregon Hall of Fame Inductees
  5. ^ Coffin, Phil (December 28, 2011). "Dan Fouts, the Man Before Brees and Marino". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Brees blows into record book". ESPN.com. December 27, 2011. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ Elderkin, Phil (September 16, 1980). "Chargers, in passing, write a book". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ NFL Single-Season Passing Yards per Game Leaders | Pro-Football-Reference.com
  9. ^ Cacciola, Scott (December 13, 2011). "The NFL's Mount Passmore". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Dan Fouts: Game Logs
  11. ^ Martin, Cameron (January 5, 2013). "An M.V.P. Award for One of a Dying Breed". New York Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. 
  12. ^ Jaworski, Ron (2010). The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays. Random House. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-345-51795-1. 
  13. ^ NFL.com History
  14. ^ Neville, David (March 31, 2003). "Little Big Man". chargers.com. San Diego Chargers. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ NFL.com History
  16. ^ NFL Single-Season Receiving Yards per Game Leaders | Pro-Football-Reference.com
  17. ^ http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=107
  18. ^ NFL.com History
  19. ^ "San Diego trades DE Fred Dean to San Francisco for a 2nd-round pick in '83". CNN. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  20. ^ http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=261
  21. ^ Thomas, Jim. 2008. Fred Dean: Situational pass-rusher made most of his opportunities. Canton Repository, July 28 (accessed October 19, 2008).
  22. ^ Krasovic, Tom (June 5, 2013). "Chargers had a Fearsome Foursome, too". U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on January 27, 2014. 
  23. ^ http://www.inhistoric.com/2010/1/11/1245534/today-in-sports-history-january
  24. ^ http://www.sdhoc.com/awards/hall-of-fame/football/dan-fouts/
  25. ^ Hiestand, Michael (August 19, 2008). "Fouts, Sapp deepen CBS' analyst bench". USA Today. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  26. ^ CBS Sports TV Team - CBSSports.com
  27. ^ CBS Sports to air two NFL preseason games this weekend - CBSSports.com

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