Joseph Robert Theismann (born September 9, 1949) is a former professional gridiron football player, sports commentator, corporate speaker and restaurateur. He played quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL). Theismann spent 12 seasons with the Washington Redskins, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler and helped the team to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XVII and losing Super Bowl XVIII. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Following his retirement from football in 1985 after a career-ending injury, Theismann worked as a sportscaster and an analyst on pro football broadcasts with ESPN for nearly 20 years. He primarily partnered with Mike Patrick, for the network's Sunday Night Football package and for one season of Monday Night Football with Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser. Theismann also worked as a color analyst on NFL Network's Thursday Night Football package with play-by-play voice Bob Papa and Matt Millen. Theismann also co-hosts the network's weekly show Playbook.
Theismann is the owner of Theismann's Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia, founded in 1975. He also performs as a speaker for corporate events, speaking on topics such as leadership and self-motivation.
Theismann in September 2003
|Born:||September 9, 1949|
New Brunswick, New Jersey
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||192 lb (87 kg)|
|High school:||South River|
(South River, New Jersey)
|NFL Draft:||1971 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Career CFL statistics|
Theismann was born to Austrian Joseph John Theismann who "ran a gas station and worked in his brother's liquor store." His Hungarian mother, Olga Tóbiás worked for Johnson & Johnson until her retirement. Theismann was raised in South River, New Jersey, and attended South River High School, where he lettered in baseball, basketball, and football. He was a high school teammate of Drew Pearson. Theismann accepted a college football scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame.
At Notre Dame, Theismann became the starting quarterback in his sophomore year, after Terry Hanratty was injured late in the season. In the three remaining games in the regular season, he led the Irish to two wins and a tie. In 1969, Theismann led the Irish to a number five ranking, but lost to the University of Texas in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic, 21–17. The next year, the Irish had a 10–1 record, a number two ranking, and won against Texas in the 1971 Cotton Bowl Classic, 24–11. That year, Theismann was an All-American and an Academic All-American, and was in contention for the Heisman Trophy. Theismann, whose last name was actually pronounced "Theesman", recounted in 2007 that it was Notre Dame publicity man Roger Valdiserri who insisted that he change the pronunciation of his name to rhyme with "Heisman", but he finished second to Jim Plunkett of Stanford University.
Theismann set school records for passing yards in a season (2,429) and touchdowns in a season (16). He also set a school record for passing yards in a game (526) and completions in a game (33) while playing against the University of Southern California in a torrential downpour in 1970, which they lost 38–28. As a starting quarterback, Theismann compiled a 20–3–2 record while throwing for 4,411 yards and 31 touchdowns. His 4,411 passing yards rank fifth on Notre Dame's career passing list.
Theismann was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. He was the eighth Notre Dame quarterback enshrined into the hall, joining former Heisman Trophy winners Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, and Paul Hornung.
Theismann was selected in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins and in the 39th round of the 1971 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins. After prolonged negotiations with the Dolphins failed, Theismann elected to sign with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League for $50,000 per season. In his rookie year, Theismann quarterbacked the Argonauts to a 10–4 record, led the league's Eastern Conference in passing statistics and won a berth in the Grey Cup championship game in Vancouver, British Columbia versus the Calgary Stampeders (59th Grey Cup). A fumble late in the fourth quarter by Argonaut running back Leon McQuay close to the goal line cost the Argonauts what would have been their first Grey Cup victory since 1952.
In 1971, he completed 148 of 278 passes for 2,440 yards and 17 touchdowns (with 21 interceptions). His 1972 season was shortened by injury, but he hit 77 of 127 passes for 1,157 yards and ten touchdowns. During his last CFL season, 1973, 157 of his 274 passes were complete, for 2,496 yards and both 13 touchdowns and interceptions. He was an all-star in both 1971 and 1973.
In 1974, the National Football League's Washington Redskins obtained Theismann's rights from the Dolphins in exchange for the team's first-round draft pick in 1976 (the Dolphins selected linebacker Larry Gordon with the pick). Theismann left the CFL and joined the Redskins, where he served as the team's punt returner during his first season. In 1978, Theismann became the Redskins' starting quarterback, succeeding Billy Kilmer.
In 1982, Theismann led the Redskins to their first championship in 40 years; against the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, he threw two touchdown passes and, with the Redskins trailing 17–13 in the third quarter, made arguably the most important defensive play of the game—after his pass was deflected by Dolphins lineman Kim Bokamper, causing what appeared to be an interception and sure touchdown (which would have given Miami a two-score lead and effectively taken MVP running back John Riggins out of the game), Theismann himself was able to knock the ball out of Bokamper's hands, keeping the score close enough for Washington to stick to the run-heavy strategy that would eventually lead to victory. He also led the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XVIII the following year, and would go on to set several Redskins franchise records, including most career passing attempts (3,602), most career passing completions (2,044) and most career passing yards (25,206), while also throwing 160 touchdown passes, with 138 interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 1,815 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was named NFL MVP in 1983 by four organizations. He earned the Player of the Game Award in the second of his two Pro Bowl appearances. Theismann also punted once in his career, for one yard against the Chicago Bears.
In an era when most quarterbacks had long since used variations of a double-bar facemask (or even triple-bar facemasks) that afforded more protection, Theismann refused to use anything but a one-bar face mask throughout his career. However, on at least one occasion, Theismann wore a helmet with a more standard facemask. Substituting for an ineffective Billy Kilmer against the Dallas Cowboys on October 16, 1977, Theismann entered the game wearing a facemask similar to the style worn by Kenny Stabler at the time.
Theismann's career was ended on November 18, 1985 when he suffered a comminuted compound fracture of his leg while being sacked by New York Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson during a Monday Night Football game telecast by ABC from RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C..
The injury was later voted the NFL's "Most Shocking Moment in History" by viewers in an ESPN poll, and the tackle was ultimately dubbed "The Hit That No One Who Saw It Can Ever Forget" by The Washington Post.
The game's score was 7-7 in the second quarter when the Redskins attempted to run a "flea-flicker" play; Theismann had handed off to fullback John Riggins, who subsequently lateralled the ball back to the quarterback. The Giants' defense, however, was not fooled, and they tried to blitz Theismann. As Taylor pulled Theismann down, Taylor's knee came down and drove straight into Theismann's lower right leg, fracturing both the tibia and the fibula as Giants linebackers Gary Reasons and Harry Carson also joined Taylor in the sack.
The pain was unbelievable, it snapped like a breadstick. It sounded like two muzzled gunshots off my left shoulder. Pow, pow!" Theismann said during a 2005 interview. "It was at that point, I also found out what a magnificent machine the human body is. Almost immediately, from the knee down, all the feeling was gone in my right leg. The endorphins had kicked in, and I was not in pain."
As Theismann lay on the field, a horrified Taylor screamed and waved for emergency medical technicians. Initially, many Redskins personnel thought Taylor's screaming and pointing directed at their sideline was him taunting over the fact that he had successfully stopped their play, and it was a few moments later that they realised Theismann was injured. (The Monday Night Football announcer team of Frank Gifford, O. J. Simpson and Joe Namath had inferred from the start that Taylor was calling for help.)
While initially only the players on the field could see the extent of the damage to Theismann's leg, the reverse-angle instant replay (shown multiple times) provided a clearer view of what had actually happened: Theismann's lower leg bones were broken midway between his knee and his ankle, such that his leg from his foot to his mid-shin was lying flat against the ground while the upper part of his shin up to his knee was at a 45-degree angle to the lower part of his leg.
The compound fracture of the tibia led to insufficient bone growth during Theismann's recovery, leaving his right leg shorter than his left. As a result, the injury forced Theismann into retirement at the age of 36.
Theismann has never blamed Lawrence Taylor for his injury; indeed, while Taylor has apologized to Theismann many times, the quarterback insists that the Giant was merely doing his job.
Theismann's injury was highlighted in the film The Blind Side as the reason that, after the quarterback, one of the highest paid football players is the left tackle, who protects a righthanded quarterback's blind side. The same injury occurred exactly 33 years later to another Redskins quarterback, Alex Smith, on November 18, 2018, against the Houston Texans when Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt sacked Smith.
In 1985, Theismann helped call Super Bowl XIX for ABC alongside Frank Gifford and Don Meredith, becoming only the second player to do commentary on a Super Bowl telecast while still an active player at the time (the first was Jack Kemp when he helped call Super Bowl II for CBS). Theismann served as a color commentator on regional CBS NFL coverage in 1986 and 1987, then worked on ESPN's Sunday Night Football telecasts from 1988 to 2005, and on their Monday Night Football coverage in 2006.
In addition to covering football, Theismann hosted the first half of the first season of American Gladiators in 1989.
On March 26, 2007, ESPN announced that Ron Jaworski would replace Theismann in the Monday Night Football booth. Theismann rejected an offer to work on the network's college football coverage. He has since done a number of Washington Redskins pre-season games on CSN. On September 16, 2009, the NFL Network announced that Theismann would analyze game films on the show Playbook, airing Thursday and Friday nights at 6 p.m. Eastern.
On January 9, 2010, Theismann and his former head coach Joe Gibbs served as color commentators, along with play-by-play man Tom Hammond, for the Saturday AFC Wild Card Game between the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals.
On September 6, 2010, NFL network announced that they had added Theismann to their Thursday Night Football broadcast crew alongside Bob Papa and Matt Millen. The grouping lasted one season. He also co-hosted NFL games on NBC in 2010, and co-hosted NFL Network's No Huddle in 2011.
Theismann has occasionally acted, although most appearances are as himself or as himself in a fictional context. He does have several TV and movie appearances, including the B.J. and the Bear (1981), Cannonball Run II (1984), and The Man from Left Field (1993).
More recently, Theismann appeared as himself as part as a buyer group for the fictional "New York Hawks" football team on the TV series Necessary Roughness (2013) and on the post-Super Bowl episode "Operation: Broken Feather" of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2014). On September 5, 2014, Theismann was honored by the Ride of Fame as they christened a double decker sightseeing bus in Washington DC dedicated to him and his achievements. His most recent acting appearances were in movies for the Hallmark Channel. In 2016's "Love on the Sidelines," he appeared as the father of an injured professional football player. In 2019's "SnowComing," he played an agent for professional athletes (in particular, a professional football player.) Theismann has acted as a national spokesman for several companies including Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company and for Super Beta Prostate.
Theismann fathered three children—Joseph Jr., Amy, and Patrick—with his first wife, the former Shari Brown. Amy died in 2016 at the age of 43. Soon after the couple divorced in 1984, Theismann began a seven-year relationship, including a brief engagement, with television personality Cathy Lee Crosby. Early in 1991, Crosby sued for $4.5 million, touching off a counter suit. The suits were settled several months later.
His second marriage, to former Miss Connecticut and Miss America contestant Jeanne Caruso, ended in divorce after three years in 1995. Theismann was ordered to pay nearly $1 million of marital property and $3,500 a month in alimony.
Theismann's son, Joseph W., pleaded guilty in 2002 to drug charges of dealing cocaine and possessing drug paraphernalia. He received a 10-year suspended prison term, was placed on five years of probation and fined.
Theismann was inducted into the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1997.
On August 19, 2010, head coach Jay Gruden of the UFL's Florida Tuskers "confirmed that Theismann introduced himself to the Tuskers as the team's new part owner". Theismann expressed disappointment at the way he was treated during his time in the league and left the team when it was folded into the Virginia Destroyers in January 2011.
In 2011, Theismann was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
| Super Bowl television color commentator
(prime-time package carrier)
1984 (with Don Meredith)
Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf
The 1969 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame during the 1969 NCAA University Division football season. The Fighting Irish were led by sixth-year head coach Ara Parseghian and played their home games on campus at Notre Dame Stadium.
After 44 seasons without postseason play (1925–1968), the school ended its self-imposed bowl hiatus. With an 8–1–1 regular season record, the Irish were led on the field by junior quarterback Joe Theismann. They met top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on New Year's Day, but lost 21–17 when the Longhorns scored a late touchdown.1982 Washington Redskins season
The 1982 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 51st season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 46th in Washington, D.C.. Although the Redskins lost all their preseason games, they were to advance from an 8–8 record the previous season to become the only team in NFL History to win the Super Bowl after not winning a pre-season game. Only the 1990 Buffalo Bills and the 2000 New York Giants have since made it to the Super Bowl after a winless pre-season.The 1982 NFL season was shortened from sixteen games per team to nine because of a players’ strike. The NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament; eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8, and division standings were ignored. Washington had the best record in the NFC, and were the number one seed in the conference for the playoff tournament.
The Redskins marched through the NFC playoffs, beating each of their opponents by an average of 19 points. In a rematch of Washington's only prior Super Bowl appearance ten years prior, the Redskins – in a game famous for Washington's "70 Chip’ play on fourth-and-1 – went on to beat the Miami Dolphins 27–17 to win Super Bowl XVII. It was the Redskins’ first ever Super Bowl victory, and their first NFL Championship in 40 years. Combining the post-season and their first Super Bowl victory, the Redskins finished the season with an overall record of 12–1.1983 Washington Redskins season
The 1983 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 52nd season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 47th in Washington, D.C.. The season began with the team trying to win consecutive Super Bowls, following their victory in Super Bowl XVII against the Miami Dolphins. Washington's 14–2 record was the best in the NFL. Though the Redskins did win their second-consecutive NFC Championship they were blown out by the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII, 9–38.
The Redskins' 541 points scored and +209 point differential was the best in the league, with the 541 points setting an NFL record at the time. The 1983 Redskins also had a turnover margin of +43, an NFL record. Washington was the first team since the merger to record more than 60 takeaways (61).This season is cornerback Darrell Green's first in the league. He would spend the next 19 years with the team.1984 Pro Bowl
The 1984 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 34th annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1983 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 29, 1984, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii before a crowd of 50,445. The final score was NFC 45, AFC 3.
Chuck Knox of the Seattle Seahawks led the AFC team against an NFC team coached by San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh. The referee was Jerry Seeman.Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Players on the winning NFC team received $10,000 apiece while the AFC participants each took home $5,000.1985 Washington Redskins season
The 1985 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 54th season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 49th in Washington, D.C.. The team failed to improve on their 11–5 record from 1984 and finshed 10-6. The biggest moment of the year occurred on a November 18 Monday Night Football game, which witnessed Joe Theismann's career-ending injury after a sack by New York Giants outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor. The tackle resulted in a serious leg injury, and Theismann never played in the NFL again. Though the team failed to make the playoffs, they remained in contention for the entire regular season.Bill Etter
William F. Etter (born February 18, 1950) is a former American football quarterback. He was an All-American at Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane; a two-game starter for the University of Notre Dame until a knee injury ended his college career; and a three-year backup for the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, from 1973-1975. He is currently a commercial and personal injury defense lawyer in Spokane.
Etter held the Notre Dame record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game—146 yards against the Naval Academy, accomplished as a backup to Joe Theismann in 1969.Cliff Brown (American football)
Clifton "Cliff" Brown, Sr. (June 14, 1952 – December 10, 2012) was an American football quarterback for the University of Notre Dame, and was the first Negro quarterback to start a game for the prestigious program.After future Hall-of-Famer Joe Theismann graduated in 1971, Irish head coach Ara Parseghian selected Pat Steenberge to start the first two games of the next season. Following a leg injury to Steenberge, backup Bill Etter started the next two games, and then he too suffered a knee injury that ended his season. Cliff Brown then went into action in the second quarter against Miami, and led the team to a 17–0 victory. Brown started all of the remaining games in the season, losing only to USC and LSU.The following year, sophomore Tom Clements started at quarterback, and Brown was the primary backup for both the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Brown's last touchdown at Notre Dame came in the final regular-season game of the 1973 national championship season—a 6-yard run at the end of a 44–0 rout of Miami. Brown was selected in the 17th round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles as a running back; he did not make the final roster.
Brown died on December 10, 2012 at the age of 60.Colonial Penn
Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company is a Philadelphia-based life insurance company, founded by philanthropist and AARP co-founder Leonard Davis, owned by CNO Financial Group. Colonial Penn, originally focused on people over 65 who became the origins of insurance provided through American Association of Retired Persons, now known as AARP, now has a marketing campaign is aimed at people between the age of 50 and 85, specializing in guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek commonly appears as a compensated endorser for Colonial Penn in advertisements. Former endorsers include Star Search host Ed McMahon, male singer Lou Rawls, and Joe Theismann.
Utility holding company FPL Group acquired Colonial Penn in 1985. FPL sold Colonial Penn to Leucadia National in 1991.Conseco bought Colonial Penn from Leucadia in 1997, and in 1998 it was renamed Conseco Direct Life to reflect Conseco ownership. In 2001, the name was changed back to Colonial Penn, though, according to the fine print at the end of Colonial Penn commercials today, it is still Banker's Conseco Life Insurance Company for residents of The New York State.Cotton Speyrer
Charles Wayne Speyrer (born April 29, 1949) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts and the Miami Dolphins. He played college football at the University of Texas.
Speyrer was a first team all state running back at Port Arthur Jefferson High school and a two-time all american receiver at the University of Texas. He is a member of the University of Texas Hall of Honor and the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and the only player ever named to the Cotton Bowl All-Decade team in two different decades.
Speyrer was a key play-maker in what is considered by some to be the most famous drive in Texas history. Texas was fresh off its famed 15–14 come-from-behind victory over No. 2 Arkansas in the "1969 Shootout", and was eager to avoid a letdown over the eighth-ranked Irish in the 1970 Cotton Bowl National Championship game between Notre Dame, featuring Joe Theismann, and the University of Texas at Austin. But the early proceedings had the makings of one of the decade's biggest upsets when Notre Dame charged out to a 10–0 lead.
Starting on their own 24-yard line, the Longhorns embarked upon a fourth-quarter, 17-play march that included a pair of fourth-and-two conversions, the last coming at the Notre Dame 10 when James Street completed a clutch pass to a diving Speyrer that took the Horns to the two. From there, it took three plays before Billy Dale pushed the ball over the goal line to cement UT's second national title—Texas 21, Notre Dame 17.
Speyrer is also known for his last minute touchdown catch for a come-from—behind win in the Texas–UCLA game in the fall of 1970. That victory cemented Texas' second National Championship year. The third would come in the 1971 season, after being voted Champion by the Coaches Poll.Kim Bokamper
Kim Bokamper (born 1954) is a former American football linebacker and defensive end who played his entire nine-year career with the National Football League Miami Dolphins from 1977 to 1985.
Bokamper was drafted in the first round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Dolphins after playing college football at San Jose State University. He was a member of the Dolphins' Killer B's defense of the early 1980s and was a one-time Pro Bowler in 1979.
Bokamper started at right defensive end for the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX. Against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII, he was involved in a play in which he deflected a pass attempt from Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, and nearly intercepted the deflected pass in the end zone, for a touchdown. Theismann was able to knock the ball away from Bokamper, preventing the interception.
After retirement Bokamper became a broadcaster at WFOR-TV in Miami.
Bokamper can be heard on South Florida's Paul and Young Ron Show on WBGG-Miami anytime NFL news breaks.
Bokamper was also part of the morning team on WQAM-AM along with Kenny Walker. In 2008, he hosted the weeknight Dolphins Tonight show on WQAM and opened a sports bar and restaurant in Plantation, Florida, called "Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill". He has also opened Florida "Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill" locations in Miramar, Estero, Naples and Fort Lauderdale.
Bokamper serves as the host of The Audible, a 30-minute program streamed live and via podcast from MiamiDolphins.com. On the program, Bokamper speaks with Dolphins personalities and gives viewers or listeners an inside look at the Dolphins team.Bokamper's wife Colleen died in March 2014.List of American Bowl broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers to have broadcast the American Bowl, which was a series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States between 1986 and 2005. Out of the list, ESPN hosted the America Bowl the largest number of times, with NBC coming second.List of Monday Night Football commentators
The following is a list of sportscasters who have served as commentators for Monday Night Football broadcasts on various networks, along with each commentator's period of tenure on the show (beginning years of each season shown, as the NFL season ends in the calendar year after it begins). Game announcers used in #2 games usually come from ESPN and are included for both wild card playoff games (1995–2005 except 2002–2003 season) and secondary regular season games (1987, 1997, 2005–present).List of NFL draft broadcasters
The following is a list of broadcasters of the NFL draft.List of Pro Bowl broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast the National Football League's Pro Bowl throughout the years.List of Washington Redskins starting quarterbacks
These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, and its predecessors the Boston Braves (1932) and Boston Redskins (1933–1936). The Washington Redskins franchise was founded in Boston, Massachusetts as the Boston Braves, named after the local baseball franchise. The name was changed the following year to the Redskins. For the 1937 NFL season, the franchise moved to Washington, D.C., where it remains based.Of the 50 Redskins starting quarterbacks, two have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen.Theismann
Theismann is a German surname. Notable people with the surname include the following:
Dirk Theismann (born 1963), German former water polo player
Joe Theismann (born 1949), American former football player
|Led the league|
|Won the Super Bowl|
|AP NFL MVP|
Joe Theismann—championships, awards, and honors