Monday Morning Quarterback: Steve DeBerg

Benjamin EdwardsCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2008

From Studyofsports.com:

We are proud to introduce a new section today. Each Monday throughout the football season, we will spotlight a quarterback from the past that you may not know. We call this section “Monday Morning Quarterback”.  Today we focus on a QB with a great story, Steve DeBerg.

Steve had one of the most interesting careers in NFL history by having some very bad luck. Here is his story:

Steve’s career looked to have a very bright future when in 1977, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys who would win the Super Bowl that season. Roger Staubach was 35 at the time and was at the end of his career. It looked like Steve could jump right in and continue the dynasty of the ’70s Cowboys.

However, Steve was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 1978.  With Bill Walsh, DeBerg was the first significant pro “West Coast” offense quarterback, and in the 1979 and 1980 NFL seasons he set several records for sheer number of passing attempts and completions. As long as he kept his job, he would have continued success in the league. However, from the University of Notre Dame came Joe Montana.

DeBerg was traded to Denver in 1981 where he would play as a backup for Craig Morton. Again, it looked like once the aging veteran stepped down, DeBerg could step in. But then a first round draft pick from Stanford named John Elway changed his career for the second time.

DeBerg, now 30, was traded to Tampa Bay in 1984 where he quickly took on the starting job. He had a solid season and things began to look up until the following year’s draft when lo and behold, the Bucs select Steve Young from BYU. This time however, DeBerg kept his starting role and had another good season in 1985.

In 1986, Steve Young took over and DeBerg was once again forced to ride the bench. When Young was traded to the 49ers at the end of the season, DeBerg had a second chance. He started eight games for the Bucs in 1987, but later in the year was forced to share playing time with a new kid from Miami named Vinny Testaverde.

Finally at the age of 34, Steve got his break when he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. For the next four seasons, he would be the starter and lead his Chiefs to two playoff appearances in ’90 and ‘91.  

In 1990, his best season, he had a 101.2 quarterback rating, passing for 3,444 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. But he wouldn’t be the QB to lead the Chiefs to the AFC championship game in 1993, that team would be led by…Joe Montana.

Over the next two seasons, DeBerg would be a backup in Tampa Bay and Miami and would retire after the 1993 season. His story doesn’t end there however.

In 1998, at the age of 45, Steve would return to the game as a backup to Chris Chandler for the Atlanta Falconsand on Jan 31, 1999, Steve DeBerg finally made it to the Super Bowl.

His Falcons were defeated that day 34-19 by the Denver Broncos…

led by John Elway.

Benjamin Edwards is lead writer for Studyofsports.com


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