Desmond Howard

Desmond Kevin Howard (born May 15, 1970) is a former National Football League (NFL) player. Howard was known mostly as a return specialist but also played wide receiver. He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN.

He played football for the University of Michigan from 1989 to 1991 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1991. He played professional football in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins (1992–1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995), Green Bay Packers (1996, 1999), Oakland Raiders (1997–1998) and Detroit Lions (1999–2002). Howard was voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI and is the first and currently the only special teams player to win the award. His team beat the New England Patriots in that game. Howard was ranked the ninth greatest return specialist in NFL history by NFL Network's NFL Top 10 return aces. On July 16, 2011, Howard was inducted into the 2011 class of the College Football Hall of Fame.[1][2]

Desmond Howard
refer to caption
Howard in Austin, Texas in 2008
No. 21, 80, 81, 82, 18
Position:Wide receiver
Return specialist
Personal information
Born:May 15, 1970 (age 48)
Cleveland, Ohio
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:188 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school:Cleveland (OH) St. Joseph
NFL Draft:1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total return yards:10,855
Receiving yards:1,597
Total touchdowns:17
Player stats at
Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard conducting post-game coverage for College GameDay

High school career

Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio and earned All-American and All-Ohio honors as a tailback during his senior season at St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, Ohio, scoring 18 touchdowns with a record-breaking 5,392 rushing yards, as well as 10 interceptions on defense. He earned three varsity letters each in track and football, as well as one in basketball.

College career

During his college career at the University of Michigan, Howard set or tied five NCAA and 12 Michigan records. He also led the Big Ten Conference in scoring with 138 points during the 1991 season on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award, earning first-team All-American honors. Howard captured 85 percent of the first-place votes in balloting for the Heisman, the largest margin in history at that time. Howard also earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 1992. In 2011, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame[1] and he was honored as the inaugural Michigan Football Legend, a program honoring former players equivalent to a retired jersey number. Each Michigan player to wear Howard's No. 21 jersey was to wear a patch recognizing Howard, and dress at a locker bearing a plaque with his name and time of tenure at Michigan.[3]

Howard had come to Michigan as a tailback and initially struggled for playing time. He met with Michigan counselor Greg Harden, who helped him to build his confidence and achieve success on and off the field.[4] Howard told 60 Minutes in 2014: "If Greg Harden wasn’t at the University of Michigan…I don’t win the Heisman." [5]

On December 12, 2014, the Big Ten Network included Howard on "The Mount Rushmore of Michigan Football", as chosen by online fan voting. Howard was joined in the honor by Charles Woodson, Tom Harmon, and Anthony Carter.

On November 28, 2015, Howard had his #21 officially retired along with Gerald Ford (48), Tom Harmon (98), Ron Kramer (87), Bennie Osterbaan (47) and Albert, Alvin and Whitey Wistert (11) at a ceremony before the Michigan game against Ohio State.[6] Howard commented afterward, "Any time you have your name mentioned along with Gerald Ford, you've done something right."

The Heisman pose

During the 1991 season, after he became a Heisman contender, Howard decided that he would do "something special" during the Michigan-Ohio State game "as a little shout-out to the people back in Ohio". After scoring in the game, in the end zone he wanted to do a backflip but, Howard later said, "chickened out"; instead he imitated the pose of the football player on the Heisman trophy, immediately receiving much media attention. Comparing his act to Muhammad Ali's taunting of opponents, Steve Rushin observed that although Howard's pose did not closely resemble that of the statue, "that looks more like the Heisman Trophy of our imagination than the Heisman trophy itself ... thousands of people must have instantly picked up some object and tried to do the same thing". Howard later said that "all of a sudden, everyone was doing it"; many have imitated the act, including fellow athletes, celebrities, and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.[7]

Professional career

After college, Howard was selected by the Washington Redskins in the first round, fourth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft. The pick was considered a luxury for the Redskins, who had just won Super Bowl XXVI and had receivers Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders on the roster. The Redskins, worried that the Green Bay Packers were going to draft Howard in the fifth spot, leapfrogged above them by dealing their two first-round picks - 6th and 28th - and their third-round choice (84th) to the Cincinnati Bengals for their first-round pick (4th) and their third-round pick (58th).[8] Howard was the highest Redskins draft pick since they took Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor with the third pick in 1964.[8] Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs remarked of Howard "This guy doesn't have any flaws. We're excited."[9]

Howard's performance as a receiver was secondary to his skills as a punt and kick off returner throughout his 11-year career. Though he recorded 92 receptions in his first four seasons, he excelled as a punt and kickoff returner throughout his career. Thus is known as a specialist.

Howard played one season with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995, having been selected in the 1995 NFL expansion draft with the 55th pick. He had 26 receptions and one touchdown, with 10 kick returns.

His most notable professional season was in 1996 for the Green Bay Packers. He led the NFL in punt returns (58), punt return yards (875), punt return average (15.1), and punt return touchdowns (3), while gaining 460 kickoff return yards and catching 13 passes for 95 yards. His 875 punt return yards were an NFL record, easily surpassing the old record of 692 yards set by Fulton Walker in 1985. During the 1996 NFL postseason, Howard had a punt return for a touchdown in a game between the Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers reached Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots.

The Packers led 27–14 at halftime, but Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe led his team on a short drive that ended with Curtis Martin's 18-yard touchdown run to pull the Patriots within six late in the third quarter. With new life, the Patriots boomed the ensuing kickoff to the one-yard line, but Howard effectively shattered the Patriots' hopes for a comeback with a 99-yard kickoff return for a Packers touchdown. His return and the Packers' subsequent two-point conversion closed out the scoring of the game, and the Packers eventually won 35-21. Bill Parcells, the Patriots' head coach, commented after the game: "We had a lot of momentum, and our defense was playing better. But [Howard] made the big play. That return was the game right there. He's been great all year, and he was great again today." Howard totaled a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards and 154 kickoff return yards with one touchdown; his 244 all-purpose yards also tied a Super Bowl record. His performance won him the Super Bowl MVP award, making Howard the only player to ever win the award based solely on a special teams performance.

Howard became a free agent after the season and signed with the Oakland Raiders. He led the NFL in kickoff returns (61) and kickoff return yards (1,381). Howard spent the 1998 football season with the Raiders before re-joining the Packers in 1999.

In the middle of the 1999 season, Howard was cut by the Packers after subpar performance and multiple injuries.[10] He was signed by the Detroit Lions four days later, where he spent the rest of his career until his retirement after the 2002 season. In a special homecoming, he scored a special teams touchdown in his Lions debut. In February 2001, he made his first and only Pro Bowl appearance as the NFC's kick returner.

Desmond Howard Lance Armstrong College Gameday
Desmond Howard (left) on the set of ESPN's College GameDay in Austin, Texas

In his 11 NFL seasons, Howard caught 123 passes for 1,597 yards, rushed for 68 yards, returned 244 punts for 2,895 yards, and gained 7,595 yards returning 359 kickoffs. He also scored 16 touchdowns (7 receiving, 8 punt returns, 1 kickoff return). Overall, Howard gained 12,155 all-purpose yards in his professional career.

NFL statistics

Receiving statistics[11]

Season Team Games Receiving Fumbles
G GS Rec Yds Avg Long TD 1st Fmb Fmb lost
1992 WSH 16 1 3 20 6.7 8 0 1 0 0
1993 WSH 16 5 23 286 12.4 27 0 17 0 0
1994 WSH 16 15 40 727 18.2 81 5 33 0 0
1995 JAX 13 6 26 276 10.6 24 1 15 0 0
1996 GB 16 0 13 95 7.3 12 0 4 1 0
1997 OAK 15 0 4 30 7.5 9 0 0 0 0
1998 OAK 15 1 2 16 8.0 10 0 2 0 0
2000 DET 15 0 2 14 7.0 10 0 0 0 0
2001 DET 14 1 10 133 13.3 36 1 5 0 0
Career 136 27 123 1,597 13.0 81 7 77 1 0

Returning statistics[11]

Year Team G PR PR yds PR TD FC Long PR KR KR yds KR TD Long KR
1992 WSH 16 6 84 1 3 55 22 462 0 42
1993 WSH 16 4 25 0 0 13 21 405 0 33
1995 JAX 13 24 246 0 8 40 10 178 0 24
1996 GB 16 58 875 3 16 92 22 460 0 40
1997 OAK 15 27 210 0 20 31 61 1,318 0 45
1998 OAK 15 45 541 2 13 75 49 1,040 0 42
1999 GB 8 12 93 0 7 20 19 364 0 31
1999 DET 5 6 115 1 3 68 15 298 1 35
2000 DET 15 31 457 1 24 95 57 1,401 0 70
2001 DET 14 22 201 0 19 34 57 1,446 0 91
2002 DET 7 9 48 0 5 14 26 587 0 70
Career 140 244 2,895 8 118 95 359 7,959 1 91

Broadcasting career

Howard currently works for ESPN as a college football analyst. He appears as an in-studio personality and, in 2005, began traveling with Rece Davis, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit to marquee matchup sites during the season for the pre-game show ESPN College Gameday.

He is also currently the color commentator for Detroit Lions pre-season games on the Detroit Lions Television Network. He called games for the NFL on Fox for one season with ESPN colleague Carter Blackburn.

NCAA Football 06

On May 6, 2005, EA Sports announced that Howard would be the cover athlete for its latest installment in the NCAA Football video game series, NCAA Football 06. The announcement was a departure for the series, which has traditionally featured college athletes who went to the NFL the previous year on its covers. He was chosen to highlight the new feature "Race for the Heisman," and his cover picture showed him striking his famous Heisman pose while at the University of Michigan.

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Detroit Free Press, "Howard savors big moment", Page 3C, July 17, 2011
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Tom Brady's Guru", by Eric Adelson, January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "60 Minutes Sports" (Interview). YouTube.
  6. ^
  7. ^ 2016 Heisman Trophy Presentation (Television). ESPN. December 10, 2016.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "Desmond Howard Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 23, 2014.

External links

1991 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1991 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen as All-Big Ten Conference players for the 1991 college football season. The only organization that has been found to have selected an All-Big Ten team in 1991 was the Associated Press (AP), based on voting by the media.The AP's All-Big Ten team was led by Michigan receiver Desmond Howard who was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Iowa defensive end Leroy Smith and Wisconsin cornerback Troy Vincent who were named the Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year. Howard led the conference with 985 receiving yards, 21 touchdowns from scrimmage, and 19 receiving touchdowns. Howard also won multiple national player of the year awards, winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.The 1991 Michigan Wolverines football team were undefeated in conference play and won the conference football championship. In addition to Desmond Howard, Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac led the conference with a 161.7 passing efficiency rating and 25 passing touchdowns, and was selected as the first-team All-Big Ten quarterback for three consecutive years, receiving the honor in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Six other Michigan players received first-team honors from the AP, including running back Ricky Powers (1,197 rushing yards), offensive linemen Matt Elliott and Greg Skrepenak, defensive lineman Mike Evans, linebacker Erick Anderson, and kicker J. D. Carlson. Skrepenak was recognized as the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, and Michigan head coach Gary Moeller was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.The 1991 Iowa Hawkeyes football team under head coach Hayden Fry finished in second place in the conference with a 10–1–1 record, but placed only two players on the AP's all-conference first team. The Iowa honorees were center Mike Devlin and defensive lineman Leroy Smith. Smith was also named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year and the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Iowa quarterback Matt Rodgers was also selected by the AP as the second-team quarterback.The 1991 Ohio State Buckeyes football team under head coach John Cooper had four players named to the AP's all-conference first team. The Ohio State honorees were defensive linemen Alonzo Spellman and Jason Simmons, linebacker Steve Tovar, and offensive tackle Alan Kline.Indiana running back Vaughn Dunbar led the conference with 1,805 rushing yards and was selected as a first-team running back by the AP. Purdue tailback Corey Rogers was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

1991 College Football All-America Team

The 1991 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and publications that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1991. It is an honor given annually to the best American college football players at their respective positions.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes five selectors as "official" for the 1991 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); (2) the Associated Press (AP); (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA); (4) the United Press International (UPI); and (5) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF). Other notable selectors included Football News, Scripps Howard (SH), The Sporting News (TSN), and the Newspaper Enterprise Association in conjunction with World Almanac.

Nine players were unanimously selected by all five official selectors. They are: running back Vaughn Dunbar of Indiana; wide receiver Desmond Howard of Michigan; center Jay Leeuwenburg of Colorado; tackle Greg Skrepenak of Michigan; defensive ends Santana Dotson of Baylor and Steve Emtman of Washington; linebacker Robert Jones of East Carolina; defensive back Terrell Buckley of Florida State; and punter Mark Bounds of Texas Tech. Desmond Howard also won the 1991 Heisman Trophy.

1991 Gator Bowl (January)

The 1991 Gator Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1991. The Big Ten Conference co-champion Michigan Wolverines defeated the Ole Miss Rebels of the Southeastern Conference, 35–3. For sponsorship reasons, the game was officially known as the Mazda Gator Bowl.This game was the last SEC-Big Ten matchup in the Gator Bowl for twenty years; the bowl entered into an exclusive contract featuring the conferences beginning with the 2011 Gator Bowl.

1991 Michigan Wolverines football team

The 1991 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team's head coach was Gary Moeller. The Wolverines played their home games at Michigan Stadium. The team was undefeated in the Big Ten Conference and was led by Heisman Trophy-winner Desmond Howard, Butkus Award-winner Erick Anderson and national statistical champion Elvis Grbac. The team won the fourth of five consecutive Big Ten championships. The team lost to national champion Washington Huskies in the 1992 Rose Bowl.

1991 NCAA Division I-A football season

The 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with a split champion for the second consecutive season. Both the Miami Hurricanes and the Washington Huskies finished the season undefeated (12-0) and with the top ranking in a nationally recognized poll. Under the conference-bowl selection alignments of the time, the Hurricanes and Huskies could not meet in a decisive title game because A) Washington was slotted into the Rose Bowl as the Pac-10 champions and B) the other spot in the Rose Bowl was automatically given to the Big 10 champions, in this case Michigan. The Rose Bowl's selection terms also thwarted potential title matchups of undefeated teams in 1994 and 1997; since the 1998 BCS realignment, several Pac-10 and Big 10 teams have been able to play in a BCS title game instead of being forced to play a non-title contender in the Rose Bowl; these include the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2002, 2006 and 2007, the USC Trojans in 2004 and 2005 and the Oregon Ducks in 2010.

The Hurricanes closed the 1991 season with a 22-0 shutout over #11 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, but their season was defined by a dramatic November victory over then-#1 ranked and perennial rival Florida State. That game ended with the FSU place kicker missing a field goal, wide right, which would become a theme in the Miami-FSU rivalry; this game later took on the moniker "Wide Right I." Nebraska lost to both national champions in 1991 and finished at 9-2-1, ranked fifteenth in the AP poll.

The Washington Huskies posted a 15-point victory at #9 Nebraska in September, a 7-point win at #7 California in October, and consecutive Pac-10 and Rose Bowl championships. Washington defended its Rose Bowl title with a 20-point victory in the 1992 Rose Bowl over #4 Michigan, the Big Ten champions with Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard. The Wolverines scored a late touchdown to very slightly close the final gap to 34-14, and finished at 10-2, ranked sixth in both polls.

The Florida Gators captured their first official SEC title in school history (they had previously won the 1984 SEC title, but it was later vacated) in dominating fashion. Alabama finished second in the SEC in 1991 with an 11-1 record, but were annihilated 35-0 by the Gators, led by head coach Steve Spurrier. Florida's luck ran out in the Sugar Bowl, as #18 Notre Dame powered their way to a 39-28 win.

1992 Washington Redskins season

The 1992 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 61st season in the National Football League. This season began with the team trying to win their second Super Bowl in a row, following Super Bowl XXVI.

The Redskins finished with a record of nine wins and seven losses, but still made the 1992–93 NFL playoffs. Nonetheless, a lean period for the Redskins was to follow; they were not to make the postseason again until the 1999 season and have since never seriously contended for another Super Bowl despite five more playoff appearances.

This season would be Joe Gibbs' final season coaching the Washington Redskins until he returned in the 2004 season. Gibbs was the most successful coach in Redskins history, leading the team to three Super Bowl victories (1982, 1987, 1991), and eight playoff berths in eleven seasons (1981-1992).

1995 Jacksonville Jaguars season

The 1995 Jacksonville Jaguars season was the team's first year in the National Football League.

1996 Green Bay Packers season

The 1996 Green Bay Packers season was their 78th season overall and their 76th in the National Football League, which culminated with the franchise winning its third Super Bowl and league-record 12th NFL Championship. The Packers posted a league-best 13–3 regular season won-loss record, going 8–0 at home and 5–3 on the road. It was the first time since 1962 that the club went undefeated at home. Additionally, the Packers had the NFL's highest-scoring offense (456) and allowed the fewest points on defense (210). Green Bay was the first team to accomplish both feats in the same season since the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. They finished the season with the number one ranked offense, defense, and special teams. They also set a then NFL record for the fewest touchdowns allowed in a 16-game season, with 19. The Packers also allowed the fewest yards in the NFL and set a record for punt return yardage. Brett Favre won his second straight MVP award while also throwing for a career-high and league leading 39 touchdown passes.

In the postseason, the Packers defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round and the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. Green Bay beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI to win their third Super Bowl and twelfth NFL Championship.In 2007, the 1996 Packers were ranked as the 16th greatest Super Bowl champions on the NFL Network's documentary series America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions. The 1996 Packers were ranked 6th-greatest Super Bowl team of all-time by a similar panel done by ESPN and released in 2007. As of 2019, the Packers are the only team since the implementation of the salary cap to score the most points and allow the fewest in the regular season.

1996 NFL season

The 1996 NFL season was the 77th regular season of the National Football League and the season was marked by notable controversies from beginning to end. The season ended with Super Bowl XXXI when the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35–21 at the Louisiana Superdome.

Boca Raton Bowl

The Boca Raton Bowl is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sanctioned Division I college football bowl game played in Boca Raton, Florida at FAU Stadium, which is located on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. The game was first held in 2014. Since 2017, it has been sponsored by the New York-based beverage company Cheribundi Tart Cherry and officially known as the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl The sporting goods company Marmot was a previous title sponsor in 2015.

Casey Weldon

William Casey Weldon (born February 3, 1969) is a former professional American football player. Weldon is best known for being the quarterback for Florida State in the late-1980s and early-1990s. During his senior season in 1991, Weldon finished runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting to Desmond Howard of Michigan. He also played in the National Football League, World League and for the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the XFL.

Elvis Grbac

Elvis M. Grbac (; born August 13, 1970) is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL). During his career he was a starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Baltimore Ravens. In college, at the University of Michigan, he was the 1992 NCAA Division I passing efficiency leader, and a three time efficiency leader in the Big Ten Conference, the 1992 Sammy Baugh Trophy winner, and the quarterback for 1991 Heisman Trophy award winner Desmond Howard. Drafted by the 49ers in 1993, and serving in his rookie year as the backup to Steve Young, he went on to play seven more seasons, starting 70 of the 106 games he played for San Francisco (1993–96), Kansas City (1997–2000) and Baltimore (2001).

During his career, Grbac was on one Super Bowl-winning team with the 49ers over the San Diego Chargers, and won one AFC West title in 1997 while quarterbacking the Chiefs. He still holds six all-time records with the Chiefs, including: Most touchdown passes in consecutive games (15), lowest percentage, passes had intercepted (3.04), and most yards gained in a single game (504).

List of ESPNU personalities

This is a list of several past and present personalities on the ESPNU network.

List of ESPN College Football broadcast teams

The ESPN College Football Broadcast Teams are listed in the table below, including games broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, and ESPN Radio.

Note: All ESPN games are also simulcast on WatchESPN.

Broadcast pairings for college football are weekly and are subject to change.

List of National Football League annual punt return yards leaders

This is a list of National Football League punt returners who have led the regular season in punt return yards each year. The record for punt return yards in a season is currently held by Desmond Howard of the Green Bay Packers who had 875 yards in 1996.

Michigan Wolverines football

The Michigan Wolverines football program represents the University of Michigan in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) level. Michigan has the most all-time wins in college football history. The team is known for its distinctive winged helmet, its fight song, its record-breaking attendance figures at Michigan Stadium, and its many rivalries, particularly its annual, regular-season-ending game against Ohio State, once voted as ESPN's best sports rivalry.Michigan began competing in intercollegiate football in 1879. The Wolverines joined the Big Ten Conference at its inception in 1896, and other than a hiatus from 1907 to 1916, have been members since. Michigan has won or shared 42 league titles, and, since the inception of the AP Poll in 1936, has finished in the top 10 a total of 38 times. The Wolverines claim 11 national championships, most recently that of the 1997 squad voted atop the final AP Poll.

From 1900 to 1989, Michigan was led by a series of nine head coaches, each of whom has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame either as a player or as a coach. Fielding H. Yost became Michigan's head coach in 1901 and guided his "Point-a-Minute" squads to a streak of 56 games without a defeat, spanning from his arrival until the season finale in 1905, including a victory in the 1902 Rose Bowl, the first college football bowl game ever played. Fritz Crisler brought his winged helmet from Princeton University in 1938 and led the 1947 Wolverines to a national title and Michigan's second Rose Bowl win. Bo Schembechler coached the team for 21 seasons (1969–1989) in which he won 13 Big Ten titles and 194 games, a program record. The first decade of his tenure was underscored by a fierce competition with his former mentor, Woody Hayes, whose Ohio State Buckeyes squared off against Schembechler's Wolverines in a stretch of the Michigan–Ohio State rivalry dubbed the "Ten-Year War".

Following Schembechler's retirement, the program was coached by two of his former assistants, Gary Moeller and then Lloyd Carr, who maintained the program's overall success over the next 18 years. However, the program's fortunes declined under the next two coaches, Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke, who were both fired after relatively short tenures. Following Hoke's dismissal, Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh on December 30, 2014. Harbaugh is a former quarterback of the team, having played for Michigan between 1982 and 1986 under Schembechler.

The Michigan Wolverines have featured 82 players that have garnered consensus selection to the College Football All-America Team. Three Wolverines have won the Heisman Trophy: Tom Harmon in 1940, Desmond Howard in 1991, and Charles Woodson in 1997. Gerald Ford, who later became the 38th President of the United States, started at center and was voted most valuable player by his teammates on the 1934 team.

Michigan Wolverines football statistical leaders

The lists of Michigan Wolverines football statistical leaders identify individual statistical leaders of the Michigan Wolverines football program in various offensive categories, including passing, rushing, and receptions. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season and career leaders in yardage, number (receptions, rushes or passes), and touchdowns. Statistics accumulated after transferring from or before transferring to Michigan are not included here.

The Michigan Wolverines football program is a college football team that represents the University of Michigan in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Big Ten Conference.

Passing leaders. Michigan's career leader in passing yardage is Chad Henne with 9,715 passing yards from 2004 to 2007. Henne also holds the career records in completions (828) and touchdown passes (87). John Navarre holds the records for passing yards in a single season (3,331), set during the 2003 season. Devin Gardner holds the record for passing yards in a single game (503) against Indiana in 2013. Tom Brady holds the school's record for most completions in a game, having completed 34 passes against Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl.

Rushing leaders. Michigan's career leader in rushing yards is Mike Hart with 5,040 rushing yards from 2004 to 2007. Hart also holds the career record with 1,050 carries. Tim Biakabutuka holds the single-season record with 1,818 rushing yards during the 1995 season. Ron Johnson holds the single-game record with 347 rushing yards in a game against Wisconsin during the 1967 season. Willie Heston, who played on Fielding H. Yost's "Point-a-Minute" teams from 1901 to 1904, holds the career record for rushing touchdowns with 72. Albert Herrnstein holds the records for most rushing touchdowns in a season (26) and in a single game (7), having set those records for the 1902 team.

Receiving leaders. Michigan receiving records are dominated by Braylon Edwards who played for Michigan from 2001 to 2004. When Edwards finished, he held the records for most career receiving yards (3,541), receptions (252), and touchdowns (39). In 2004, Edwards also set the single-season records for receiving yards (1,330) and receptions (97). However, in 2013 his single-season record for receiving yards was surpassed by Jeremy Gallon, who finished the season with 1,373 yards. Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard holds the single season record with 19 touchdown catches during the 1991 season. Michigan's single-game records are held by Jeremy Gallon (369 receiving yards, Indiana, October 19, 2013), Marquise Walker (15 receptions twice, Ohio State, November 24, 2001 and Washington, September 8, 2001), and Derrick Alexander (4 touchdown receptions, Minnesota, October 24, 1992).Historical caveats. Although Michigan began competing in intercollegiate football in 1879, the school's official statistical database only tracks offensive statistics since 1949. The tracking of defensive statistics dates back to an even shorter period of time.

Because the official database commences in 1949, many statistical achievements are overlooked in these lists. For example, Dick Rifenburg's career receiving statistics are not included in the official database despite the fact that his 16 career and eight single-season touchdowns were recognized as school records until 1980.Where pre-1949 records are available from reliable sources, they have been included below with yellow shading. Because there is no complete database of pre-1949 records, such records are incomplete and may not be considered "official" records.

With playing seasons extending progressively from relatively short four-games seasons in the 19th century to the current 12-game regular seasons, conference championship games, and bowl games, and with players being eligible to play four years of college football starting in 1972, the lists tend to be dominated by more recent players.

Ruth Pickett Thompson

Ruth Pickett Thompson is a former All-American synchronized swimmer for the University of Michigan. A native of Richmond, Virginia, she was named an All-American in four consecutive years from 1978 to 1981, and also placed among the top three individuals at the Intercollegiate Synchronized Swimming Championships in each of those years. Synchronized swimming was one of the six original varsity sports for women. Under the coaching of Joyce Lindeman, the varsity team finished second in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women tournament in 1977 and 1978. Thompson was the leader of the 1977 and 1978 squads, and was honored with the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women's 1979 and 1980 Broderick Awards as the nation's top collegiate athlete in her sport. She also received the 1981 Marie Hartwig Award winner as the University of Michigan's female athlete of the year. In 1998, she received the Gerald R. Ford Award, presented each year to a single former student-athlete who epitomizes excellence in scholarship, sport and society. In February 2008, she was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor along with Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard. In February 2008, Thompson said the Ford Award and the induction into the Hall of Honor rank at the top of her top achievements. "I was quite surprised when I got the phone call, so I was very thrilled and honored to be recognized by the university and athletic department," she said. Her two sons, both students at the University of Michigan, attended the Hall of Honor induction ceremonies. She noted at the time: "My children and husband were thrilled about this award because Desmond Howard was being inducted with me, so this one is a lot cooler" than other honors. Thompson remains involved with synchronized swimming, swimming with U-M's masters group, which takes part in the national competition every year. She currently lives in the St. Clair County, Michigan, works as a substitute teacher and volunteers in school, community and church organizations.Since 2001, the University of Michigan Synchronized Swimming Team has presented the Ruth Pickett Thompson Athlete of the Year Award to the athlete who has demonstrated superior work ethic, dedication to the team, and the potential to achieve greatness. Past recipients include Rochelle Ross and Sarah DuBay.

Super Bowl XXXI

Super Bowl XXXI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Green Bay Packers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1996 season. The Packers defeated the Patriots by the score of 35–21, earning their third overall Super Bowl victory, and their first since Super Bowl II. The Packers also extended their league record for the most overall NFL championships to 12. It was also the last in a run of 13 straight Super Bowl victories by the NFC over the AFC. The game was played on January 26, 1997 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This Super Bowl featured two clubs that had recently returned to competitiveness. After 24 mostly dismal seasons since Vince Lombardi left, the Packers' fortunes turned after head coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Brett Favre joined the team in 1992. After four losing seasons, the Patriots' rise began in 1993 when Bill Parcells was hired as head coach, and the team drafted quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Under their respective head coaches and quarterbacks, Green Bay posted an NFC-best 13–3 regular season record in 1996, while New England advanced to their second Super Bowl after recording an 11–5 record.

The game began with the teams combining for 24 first-quarter points, the most in Super Bowl history. The Packers then scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, including Favre's then-Super Bowl record 81-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Freeman. In the third quarter, the Patriots cut the lead to 27–21 off of running back Curtis Martin's 18-yard rushing touchdown. But on the ensuing kickoff, Desmond Howard returned the ball a then-Super Bowl record 99 yards for a touchdown. The score proved to be the last one, as both teams' defenses took over the rest of the game. Howard became the first special teams player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP. He gained a total of 154 kickoff return yards, and also recorded a then-Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards, thus tying the then-Super Bowl records of total return yards (244) and combined net yards gained (244).

This was the first Super Bowl broadcast by Fox under its first contract to carry NFL games. By a large margin it was the highest-rated program aired in the network's history at the time.

Desmond Howard—championships, awards, and honors

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