Not a household name, but this quarterback played with much courage and heart. Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers (11th overall).
Ironically, he was drafted by "that other league" in the fifth round of the AFL draft by the San Diego Chargers.
Billy Kilmer signed with the more familiar NFL. He spent his first six seasons as a backup to 49er legend John Brodie.
In his rookie season he saw playing time at running back because he was a proven runner at UCLA (he ran for over 800 yards his senior year). He rushed for 509 yards and 10 touchdowns.
His promising career with San Francisco was tarnished when he fell asleep while driving his '57 Chevy and crashed it unintentionally into the San Francisco Bay.
The accident cost him two seasons of his career. In 1967 he was selected by the New Orleans Saints via Expansion Draft. The 49ers allowed him to be eligible because of a contract dispute.
Kilmer was the regular starter in the Big Easy for his first two seasons but split time with Edd Hargett for his two final years with the team.
Kilmer asked to be traded in 1971 because he was sick of losing and didn't want to fight off Archie Manning for the starting job. Billy Kilmer saw himself as Redskin fan favorite Sonny Jurgensen's backup.
He acquired the starting role when Jurgensen went down with a shoulder injury. He led the nation's capital squad to a surprising 5-0 mark.
However, he was later yanked in the middle of the season due to some poor performances, but later regained the reins when Jurgensen stumbled to injury yet again.
He led the Redskins to their first playoff appearance in over a score, but exited quickly after when they lost to Kilmer's former team the 49ers.
However, Billy Kilmer rebounded the next season by leading the league in touchdown passes with 19 and a passer rating of 84.8.
Most importantly, he and NFL MVP Larry Brown led Washington to a NFC best 11-3 record and a conference title over the rival Dallas Cowboys en route to Super Bowl VII.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, the team ran into a roadblock, which were the Miami Dolphins, and lost 14-7.
Kilmer held on to his starting job until his final season, when a more familiar Redskin quarterback, Joe Theismann, beat him out for the starting job in 1978.
He retired at the conclusion of that season. He finished his career with 20,495 yards passing, 152 passing touchdowns, 1,509 yards rushing, and 21 rushing touchdowns.
He was named to one Pro Bowl, All-Pro twice, and the 70 Greatest Redskins list.