The 1971 NFL Draft: The First “Year of the Quarterback”

Some of the best-known NFL drafts are the ones that produce a bunch of star-quality quarterbacks, such as 1983 (Elway, Marino, Kelly) and 2004 (Eli Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger). However, the original “Year of the Quarterback” was 1971 when QBs went 1-2-3 overall and brought a bushload of backfield talent in the league. Jim Plunkett went first overall to the Patriots, followed by Archie Manning to the Saints, and then Dan Pastorini to the Oilers. Also in the draft were Joe Theismann, Lynn Dickey, and Kenny Anderson. All six would have long, productive careers although Manning and Dickey played for consistently awful teams. Sports Illustrated spoke to all six as well as some front office personnel for a fun look back at the beginning of the age of the quarterback.

Oral history of the 1971 NFL draft: The original Year of the Quarterback, 4.21.16

Joe Theismann’s Brutal Compound Fracture on MNF

If you were watching the Redskins play the Giants on “Monday Night Football” in November of 1985 then you remember the play. Star quarterback Joe Theismann receives a flea-flicker toss and looks downfield. The Giants’ fearsome pass rush causes him to step up in the pocket before a flying Lawrence Taylor brings him down, snapping his leg in two places. It remains one of the most notorious sports injuries in American history.

The Oral History of Joe Theismann’s Broken Leg, 9.29.15