Jon Kitna

Jon Kelly Kitna (born September 21, 1972) is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. After playing college football for Central Washington University, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 1996 and was allocated to the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe in 1997. He led the Dragons to a World Bowl championship, and became the starting quarterback for the Seahawks in 1998 after spending the 1997 and most of the 1998 seasons as the backup to Warren Moon. Following a four-year stint with Seattle, Kitna signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001. He played for the Bengals from 2001 to 2005 as their starting quarterback, and, later, the mentor to Carson Palmer. He was a member of the Detroit Lions from 2006 to 2008, and the Dallas Cowboys from 2009 to 2011.

Jon Kitna
refer to caption
Kitna with the Cowboys in 2010
Dallas Cowboys
Position:Quarterbacks coach
Personal information
Born:September 21, 1972 (age 46)
Tacoma, Washington
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:Tacoma (WA) Lincoln
College:Central Washington
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Pass attempts:4,442
Pass completions:2,677
Passing yards:29,745
QB Rating:77.4
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Kitna was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, where he attended Concordia Lutheran School and Lincoln High School, lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He moved on to Central Washington University without an athletic scholarship and became a starter at quarterback as a freshman, beating out current California Offensive Coordinator Beau Baldwin before passing for 1,964 Yards. The next year, he posted 3,241 yards. As a junior, he registered 2,532 passing yards.

In 1995, he tallied 4,616 passing yards on 364-of-576 completions (63.1%), 42 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, while leading the Wildcats to the NAIA Football National Championship.[1] He finished his college career with 43 games, 12,353 passing yards, 911-of-1,550 completions (58.8%), 99 touchdowns and 59 interceptions.

In 2006, he was inducted into the Central Washington University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Seattle Seahawks

Believing that his football career was over after the NAIA championship, Kitna finished his math education degree at Central Washington[2] and began applying for high-school coaching jobs. Seattle Seahawks head coach Dennis Erickson visited the campus to give a tryout for his nephew, a receiver on the Central Washington team. Impressed by Kitna's strong passes, on April 25, the Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent to attend the 1996 training camp. He made the practice squad and was sent to NFL Europe at the end of his rookie season.[1]

Barcelona Dragons

Kitna was named the MVP in NFL Europe's 1997 championship game, when he led the Barcelona Dragons to the World Bowl Championship (World Bowl V), winning 38–24 over the Rhein Fire.[3]

He served as a backup to Warren Moon in 1997 and most of 1998, until starting the final five games. Then, in 1999, he started 15 games for the Seahawks, leading them to a 9–7 record (Kitna going 8–7 in games started) and winning the AFC West, though Seattle would lose the wild card game to the Miami Dolphins.

In 2000, Kitna opened the season with a four-interception performance against the Dolphins which opened the door for coach Mike Holmgren to start Brock Huard. During that season, Kitna and Huard rotated as starting QBs due to injury and benchings. On November 5, down 15-14 on 3rd-and-16 with 1:28 left in the game, Kitna dodged a possible 17-yard sack by San Diego Chargers defensive end Neil Smith and made an 18-yard pass to Darrell Jackson. This pass set up the game-winning field goal by Rian Lindell.[4] His last win for the Seahawks came on a rain-soaked Husky Stadium turf in December of that year, beating the AFC Championship Game-bound Oakland Raiders on a touchdown pass to rookie Darrell Jackson in the final minute of play.[5]

Cincinnati Bengals

On March 8, 2001, he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals.[6] He was named the starter.

In 2003, Kitna played every offensive down, and was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year after throwing for over 3,500 yards and 26 touchdown passes in leading the Bengals to a respectable 8–8 record, the team's first non-losing season since 1996.

Kitna's secondary role with the team was to prepare young quarterback Carson Palmer (the Bengals' #1 draft pick in 2003). It was a role Kitna accepted gracefully. By 2004, Palmer was ready, leading the Bengals to another 8–8 season. Kitna was the backup for Palmer in that season. The two QB's developed a close friendship off the field, particularly because both men are avid golfers.

He was unexpectedly thrust back behind center during the Bengals' AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 8, 2006. Palmer went down with a knee injury on his second play from scrimmage and Kitna stepped in off the bench and into a relief role. Kitna finished 24-40 for 197 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions and a fumble as the Bengals fell to the eventual Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers 31–17.[7]

Detroit Lions

Jon Kitna 2007
Kitna in 2007 with the Detroit Lions.

Kitna signed with the Detroit Lions as an unrestricted free agent on March 14, 2006.[8][9] In 2006, he registered 4,208 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He also became the second quarterback in franchise history (after Scott Mitchell) to pass for 4,000 yards in one season.

In 2007, the offense was ranked ninth in the league in passing, with Kitna throwing for 4,068 yards, 18 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. In 2008, he suffered a back injury in the fourth game of the season and was placed on the injured reserve list on October 14. The team ended the regular season with an 0–16 record and Kitna passed Charlie Batch for the eighth place on Detroit’s all-time passing list with 9,034 yards.[10] Kitna was traded to the Dallas Cowboys on February 28, 2009, in exchange for cornerback Anthony Henry.

Dallas Cowboys

In 2009, the Dallas Cowboys acquired him to be Tony Romo's primary back-up, with rookie Stephen McGee as the third-string quarterback. He did not play a single down for the Cowboys in the 2009 season.

Kitna remained idle until October 25, 2010, when Romo was placed on the injured reserve list, after suffering a broken clavicle.[11] Kitna ended up injuring himself on December 25, 2010, in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. Kitna played well in relief of Romo throwing for 2,365 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the 9 games he started, compiling a 4-5 record and a career-high 88.9 passer rating in the process. He was replaced by third-stringer McGee in the season finale against the Eagles. The next year, he was limited to only 3 games because of a back injury and was placed on the injured reserve list On December 14.

The injury forced him to announce his retirement from the NFL on January 12, 2012.[12] On December 24, 2013, Kitna was called out of retirement to serve as back-up quarterback to Kyle Orton for the Cowboys, following a back injury to Romo.[13] He donated his salary ($55,294 before taxes) from his 2013 signing with Dallas for the final game to the Lincoln High School Booster Club.[14]

Coaching career

From 2012 to 2014, Kitna was a math teacher and head football coach at alma mater, Lincoln High School.[2] As coach he led the team to a 5–5 record in the 2012 season.[1] Lincoln improved to 8–2 in 2013[15] and 11–1 in 2014.[16] Lincoln shared the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association District 3A Narrows regular season championship in 2013, with a 5–1 conference record tied with Lacey Timberline.[17] In 2014, Lincoln went 7–0 in conference play and won the outright regular season championship.[18] In January 2015, he resigned from Lincoln and accepted the head coaching job at Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie, Texas, south of Dallas.[19]

In February 2018, Kitna was hired at Brophy College Preparatory, an all-men Jesuit high school in Phoenix, Arizona.[20] In June 2018, he was named the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football, which began play in 2019.[21] However, he did not coach a game for the Fleet as he joined the Cowboys staff in January to become their quarterbacks coach.[22]

Personal life

Kitna became a Christian while attending Central Washington University.[1] His parents, who had previously been non-religious, later became Christians as well.[23] Kitna has four children with his wife Jeni.[24] His son Jordan was the starting quarterback at Lincoln High for the 2014 season and threw for 55 touchdowns in an 11–1 season.[25] In 2016, Jordan joined the TCU Horned Frogs football team as a preferred walk-on and is the team's back-up quarterback as a freshman.[26]

Head coaching record

High school

Team Year Overall Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
Tacoma (WA) Lincoln 2012 5 5 0 .500 4th in WA 3A Narrows 0 1 .000 Lost to Bellevue (WA) in 3A First Round.
Tacoma (WA) Lincoln 2013 8 2 0 .800 T-1st in WA 3A Narrows 0 1 .000 Lost to Sammamish (WA) Eastside Catholic in 3A First Round.
Tacoma (WA) Lincoln 2014 11 1 0 .917 1st in WA 3A Narrows 2 1 .667 Lost to Sammamish (WA) Eastside Catholic in 3A Quarterfinals.
Tacoma (WA) Lincoln Total 24 8 0 .750 2 3 .400
Waxahachie (TX) 2015 6 4 0 .600 5th out of 8 in TX 5A Region II District 14 0 0 .000 Did not qualify.
Waxahachie (TX) 2016 6 4 0 .600 5th out of 8 in TX 5A Region II District 14 0 0 .000 Did not qualify.
Waxahachie (TX) Total 12 8 0 .600 0 0 .000
Career Total 36 16 0 .692 2 3 .400

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Carpenter, Les (December 19, 2012). "Former NFL QB Jon Kitna finds 'gold mine' at his troubled old high school". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  2. ^ a b O'Neil, Danny (May 19, 2012). "Jon Kitna's greatest play: NFL QB to high-school math teacher". The Seattle Times.
  3. ^ "A Star is Born". NFL Enterprises, LLC. Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  4. ^ Trotter, Jim. "Chargers beat Seahawks everywhere except where it matters, the scoreboard". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on December 7, 2000.
  5. ^ Purdy, Mark (December 17, 2000). "New Raiders revert to old Raiders form". San Jose Mercury News.
  6. ^ "AROUND THE NFL; Bengals, Kitna Agree to Terms". March 9, 2001.
  7. ^ Bell, Jarrett (January 9, 2006). "Steel hurtin': Steelers roll". USA Today.
  8. ^ Detroit Lions | All News
  9. ^ Jon Kitna, QB for the Dallas Cowboys at
  10. ^ Jon Kitna News
  11. ^ "Giants rough up Romo, Cowboys to seize control of NFC East". Associated Press. October 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Former Cincinnati Bengal Jon Kitna Decides to Retire". Archived from the original on December 27, 2013.
  13. ^ "Cowboys decide on... Jon Kitna to backup Kyle Orton".
  14. ^ Archer, Todd. "Cowboys' Jon Kitna will give his game check to high school team". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  15. ^,wa%29/football-fall-13/schedule.htm
  16. ^,wa)/football-fall-14/schedule.htm
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Cotterill, TJ. "Jon Kitna resigns coaching, teaching job at Lincoln High to take job in Texas". Tacoma News-Tribune. Archived from the original on January 22, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Crabtree, Curtis (June 1, 2018). "San Diego AAF team to have coaching staff filled with NFL names". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  22. ^ "Cowboys to hire Jon Kitna as quarterbacks coach". ESPN. January 20, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  23. ^ The Increase Stories (April 3, 2013). Jon Kitna - My Story. YouTube. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  24. ^ Cox, Allen. "Casual Comfort - South Sound Magazine". South Sound Magazine. Premier Media Group. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "TCU Horned Frogs football roster". Retrieved September 10, 2016.

External links

1997 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1997 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's 22nd season with the National Football League. This season would mark a new era for the Seahawks as they drafted two first round picks (Shawn Springs and Walter Jones) and traded quarterback Rick Mirer and signed Minnesota Vikings/Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon to be John Friesz's backup. Moon and Jones would go on to be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and 2014, respectively. They also signed rookie quarterback Jon Kitna. After a Week 1 injury to Friesz, Moon led the Seahawks improvement from 1996's 7–9 record to finish 8–8. This would be Moon’s last season making the Pro Bowl in his career, he went on to win Pro Bowl MVP.

This season is notable for being the first under new owner Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Allen helped keep the team from relocating and made sure it remained in Seattle.

1997 WLAF season

The 1997 World League of American Football season was the fifth campaign of the WLAF professional American football league, and the third under its six-team Europe-only format. World Bowl '97 was won by the Barcelona Dragons, whose quarterback was Jon Kitna, then on the roster of the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.

2001 Cincinnati Bengals season

The 2001 Cincinnati Bengals season was the franchise’s 34th year in professional football and its 32nd with the National Football League. In the first full season with Dick LeBeau as head coach, the Bengals abandoned their plans for developing quarterback Akili Smith as their starter by acquiring Jon Kitna from the Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals would win their first two games with Kitna behind center, and sat at 4–3 through the first seven games of the season. However, the Bengals would struggle again, losing their next seven games as Kitna struggled with inconsistency, throwing 22 interceptions while throwing only 12 touchdown passes. The Bengals would win their final two games to close the season with a mediocre 6–10 record, their eleventh consecutive season without tallying a winning record. Despite the team’s struggles, All-Pro running back Corey Dillon had another stellar year, rushing for 1,315 yards.2001 would turn out to be an important year for the team, as players such as Justin Smith, Chad Johnson, and T. J. Houshmandzadeh were drafted, all those players would be important to Cincinnati in later years.

2003 Cincinnati Bengals season

The 2003 Cincinnati Bengals season was the team's 36th year in professional football and its 34th with the National Football League. The Bengals hired first year head coach Marvin Lewis, replacing Dick LeBeau, who was fired following the 2002 season after the worst season in Bengals history. The Bengals had the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft with which they selected 2002 Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer. After a slow start, the Bengals got hot winning at midseason, winning four straight games to stand at 7–5, entering a key Week 14 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens with a chance to win the division. However in the key showdown for first place the Bengals showed they were not quite ready for primetime as they were beaten 31–13. The Bengals would rebound to win their next game against the San Francisco 49ers, but at 8–6 the Bengals could not get that ninth win, losing their last two games to spoil an effort to earn their first winning season in 13 years, finishing at 8–8.Along with Willie Anderson, Chad Johnson, for the first time in his career, was named to the Pro Bowl at the end of the season.

2005 Cincinnati Bengals season

The 2005 Cincinnati Bengals season was the team's 38th year in professional football and its 36th with the National Football League.

2005 was the team’s first season with a winning record, playoff berth, and division title since 1990. In the fourteen seasons and 224 games in between (1991–2004), the Bengals’ record was 71–153, a 0.317 winning percentage. It would be the Bengals’ lone playoff appearance in a span of 18 years (1991–2008). QB Carson Palmer got off to a strong start on his way to a solid 3836 yard season with 32 Touchdown passes, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. Receiving many of Palmer’s passes was Chad Johnson, who followed teammate Palmer to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, racking up an impressive 1,432 yards in receiving with nine TDs, many of which were followed by unique celebrations that made him a regular star on the spots highlight shows.

Following a 42–29 win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals faced the Steelers again this time in Pittsburgh, where the Bengals offense continued to fly behind Carson Palmer who had three Touchdown passes and 227 yards passing in an impressive 38–31 win that gave the Bengals first place in the AFC North at 9–3. The Bengals would not relinquish first place winning the next two games to clinch the division with two weeks to go. On December 18, with a 41–17 win over the Detroit Lions, the Bengals clinched a playoff spot. After clinching the division the Bengals played cautiously and dropped their final two games to finish with an 11–5 record, beating out the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers, who finished with an identical record, on a tiebreaker situation.

2006 Detroit Lions season

The 2005 Detroit Lions season was the franchise's 77th season in the National Football League, and their 83rd as the Detroit Lions.

The season began with the team trying to improve on their 5–11 record in 2005; however, they regressed and finished with a 3–13 record..

The Lions started the 2006 season losing their first five games and six of their first seven. The Lions would not recover, as they never got over .500 during the season. The Lions would only get two wins in their first 15 games, both home wins against the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons, who both finished with losing records. The Lions went 1–6 against teams that finished with a winning record. From weeks 10 to 16, the Lions embarked on a 7-game losing streak to sit at 2–13, but in week 17, the Lions conclude their season by stunning the Dallas Cowboys in Texas 39–31 – a loss that cost the Cowboys the NFC East. The lowest point of the season came in their Thanksgiving Day game against the Miami Dolphins. During the game, “Fire Millen” signs, which were a part of the Fire Millen movement in association with Lions GM Matt Millen, were seen in the stands for portions of the game. All the while, fans chanting “Fire Millen” were heard all over the stadium. The Dolphins won the game 27–10.

2007 Detroit Lions season

The 2007 Detroit Lions season was the 78th season for the team in the National Football League. After achieving a 6–2 record at the halfway mark, the Lions lost seven of their last eight games. They finished with a 7–9 record for their seventh consecutive losing season. The Lions improved upon their 3–13 record in 2006 but failed to make the playoffs once again, extending their postseason drought to eight years. The 7-9 record in 2007 was the best record the Lions had in any season under general manager Matt Millen.

The 422 pass completions that Detroit surrendered in 2007 is an NFL record. The 70.1% completion percentage against the Lions defense was the worst in league history until it was broken by the Colts in 2011.

2010 Dallas Cowboys season

The 2010 Dallas Cowboys season was the 51st season for the team in the National Football League, and the second season playing their home games at Cowboys Stadium. After falling to the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the 2009-10 NFL Playoffs, the Cowboys sought to defend their NFC East division title and contend for a Super Bowl Championship, particularly given that Super Bowl XLV would be played at Cowboys Stadium. However, this did not happen and after a 1–7 start Wade Phillips became the first coach in Cowboys history to be fired during the season. He was replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The Cowboys finished the season 6–10, 3rd place in the NFC East, and failed to reach the playoffs. However, under Garrett the team's record was 5–3 as compared to the 1–7 start under Phillips.

Brock Huard

Brock Anthony Huard (born April 15, 1976) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). His older brother Damon also played quarterback at the University of Washington and had an extended career in the NFL. Younger brother Luke played at North Carolina and pursued a coaching career.

Central Washington Wildcats football

The Central Washington Wildcats program represents Central Washington University in college football at the NCAA Division II level. The Wildcats are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Chris Magruder

Christopher James Magruder (born April 26, 1977) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder for the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers.

Magruder was drafted out of the University of Washington, where he played college baseball for the Huskies from 1996–1998, by the San Francisco Giants. He made his Major League debut in 2001 as a member of the Texas Rangers. Magruder elected free agency following the 2005 season, in lieu of an outright assignment to the Brewer's top minor league baseball affiliate, the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He had served in a backup role as a reserve for the starting outfielders Carlos Lee, Geoff Jenkins, and Brady Clark.

Perhaps the single most significant moment of his career was his debut with the Indians. His first at bat as a member of the Tribe was a double off the wall in the 8th inning to break up a no-hit bid.

Former National Football League quarterback Jon Kitna is Magruder's first cousin.

Ken Zampese

Kenneth Zampese (born July 19, 1967) is an American football coach who most recently served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). Zampese began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of San Diego, and has held a variety of college and professional coaching positions.

Lincoln High School (Tacoma, Washington)

Lincoln High School is a historic high school located in the south central sector of Tacoma, Washington, adjacent to Lincoln Park. Part of Tacoma Public Schools, it was named for Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. The school was founded in 1913 and built according to an architectural design by Frederick Heath. It celebrated its Centennial Jubilee in 2014.

List of Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Bengals.

List of Dallas Cowboys starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Cowboys.

List of Detroit Lions starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Lions.

List of Seattle Seahawks starting quarterbacks

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the Seahawks.

San Diego Fleet

The San Diego Fleet were a professional American football team based in San Diego, California, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The league began play in February 2019, with the team playing its home games at SDCCU Stadium. They were coached by former NFL head coach Mike Martz. The team was one of the two professional football teams playing in San Diego, along with the San Diego Strike Force of the Indoor Football League, and the first since the former San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017.On April 2, 2019, the league's football operations were reportedly suspended, and on April 4 the league allowed players to leave their contracts to sign with NFL teams. The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 17, 2019.

World Bowl '97

World Bowl '97 (also referred to as World Bowl V) was the final game of the 1997 WLAF season in American football. It was the fifth championship game of the World League of American Football (WLAF), and the third since the WLAF adopted a six-team European format.

The game was held at Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday, June 22, 1997. The game was played between the 7–3 Rhein Fire and the 5–5 Barcelona Dragons. 31,100 fans were in attendance as the Dragons won their first and only World Bowl title in franchise history by beating the Fire 38–24. Dragons quarterback Jon Kitna was given MVP honors after completing 23 of 31 attempts for 401 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

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