Dan Fouts

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Dan Fouts
refer to caption
Fouts in 2012
No. 14
Personal information
Born: (1951-06-10) June 10, 1951 (age 70)
San Francisco, California
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:204 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:St. Ignatius College Preparatory (San Francisco)
College:Oregon (1970–1972)
NFL Draft:1973 / Round: 3 / Pick: 64
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:43,040
Passer rating:80.2
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Daniel Francis Fouts (born June 10, 1951) is an American former football quarterback for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons. He led the NFL in passing yards four straight years from 1979 to 1982 and became the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. The Chargers advanced to the AFC Championship Game twice during his career, but never reached the Super Bowl.

A member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, Fouts was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He lives in Sisters, Oregon,[1] and was a color analyst for NFL games on CBS television and Westwood One radio. He is the son of Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer Bob Fouts.[2]

High school and college career

Born in San Francisco, Fouts attended Marin Catholic High School, located just north of San Francisco in Kentfield, California, for his two first years, and was the varsity starter as a sophomore in the fall of 1966. He decided to transfer to St. Ignatius College Preparatory (San Francisco) for his final two years of high school, and graduated in 1969.

Fouts was somewhat of an unknown when he accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Oregon to play for the Ducks in Eugene.[3] Things were quite different after the All-Pac-8 quarterback's college football career concluded, as he set 19 school records, including those for career passing yardage (5,995) and total offense (5,871).[4][5] He was inducted into the university's hall of fame in 1992.[6]


Season Cmp Art Pct Yds Avg TD Int
1970 188 361 52.1 2,390 6.6 16 24
1971 123 247 49.8 1,564 6.3 9 11
1972 171 348 49.1 2,041 5.9 12 19
Career[7] 482 956 50.4 5,995 6.3 37 54

Professional career

Selected in the third round with the 64th overall pick of the 1973 NFL Draft, Fouts helped lead the Chargers to the playoffs from 1979 to 1982 and twice to the AFC title game (1980 and 1981). Over that span, San Diego finished in the top-4 in the NFL in points scored each season, twice leading the league.[8] Fouts led the league four times in passing yards; ending his career with over 40,000, the third player to surpass that landmark. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

Fouts was a six-time Pro Bowl selection (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985) and compiled passer ratings over 90.0 for a 3-year stretch (1981–83). He was the first NFL player to surpass 4,000 passing yards in three consecutive seasons (1979–1981),[9] led the NFL in passing yards in four consecutive seasons (1979–1982) and six times eclipsed the 20-touchdown mark with a career-high 33 in 1981. His career high of 4,802 passing yards during the 1981 season was an NFL record at the time.

Fouts set NFL season passing yardage records in three consecutive seasons from 1979 to 1981 with totals of 4,082, 4,715, and 4,802 yards. He broke Joe Namath's professional record of 4,007 set in the American Football League in 1967, and Dan Marino broke Fouts' record in 1984 with 5,084 yards.[10][11] The Chargers in 1979 were the first AFC Western Division champion to run more passing plays (541) than rushing (481).[12] Fouts was a runner-up to Earl Campbell in Associated Press (AP) voting for both its NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Offensive Player of the Year awards.[13][14] The following season, Fouts set an NFL record with eight games of 300 yards or more passing and became the first quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns in a season since Daryle Lamonica in 1969.[15][16] In 1982, a season shortened to 9 games because of a strike, Fouts averaged 320 yards passing per game, an NFL record that stood until Drew Brees averaged 342.25 in 2011.[17][18] Highlights that season included back-to-back victories against the 1981 Super Bowl teams San Francisco (41–37) and Cincinnati (50–34) in which Fouts threw for over 400 yards in each game to lead the Chargers to shootout victories.[19] That season, he was named the NFL MVP by Pro Football Writers Association and Newspaper Enterprise Association.[20] He finished second in the AP poll behind Mark Moseley, the only kicker to ever win the award.[21] However, AP voted him the league's Offensive Player of the Year, as did Pro Football Weekly.[20]

Fouts garnered All-Pro selections in both 1979 and 1982, while also being named 2nd Team All-Pro in 1980 and 1985. In addition, Fouts was also named 2nd Team All-AFC in 1981 and 1983. However, Fouts and the Chargers lost both AFC Championship Games in which they played.

Fouts's first few years in the league were inauspicious, but with the arrival of head coach Don Coryell in 1978 the Chargers' fortunes turned. Yet it was two years earlier, with the arrival of Bill Walsh as the Chargers' offensive coordinator, that the seeds of success were planted.[citation needed] Under Coryell, the Chargers were known as Air Coryell for the deep passing game and the involvement of the tight end as a key receiver. This required a tough, intelligent quarterback with a strong arm. Fouts fit the bill.[citation needed]

Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, a Chargers assistant coach in 1976, said "Dan Fouts had a cool, steel-like nerve and courage ... He took a lot of beatings, a lot of pounding, but continued to play, hurt or otherwise. He played more physical football than anybody on his team, including the linebackers".[22] Rarely using the shotgun, Fouts would drop back from center and look for one of a bevy of great receivers. Wide receiver Charlie Joiner and tight end Kellen Winslow were inducted into the Hall of Fame, while John Jefferson and Wes Chandler, among others, were also key. Fouts's passing enabled Winslow to lead the NFL in receptions twice (1980,1981), while Winslow (1982) and Lionel James (1985) led the AFC in receptions on another two combined occasions.[23] James set the NFL record (since broken) in 1985 for receiving yards by a running back at 1,027.[24] Jefferson became the first receiver to have 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. Both Jefferson (1980) and Chandler (1982) led the NFL in receiving yards.[25] Chandler's 129 yards receiving per game average in 1982 is still a league record.[26] Both Jefferson (1978, 1980) and Chandler (1982) led the NFL in receiving TDs. In 1980, Winslow, Jefferson and Joiner became the first trio on the same team to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season. When he retired after 1986, Joiner was the NFL's all-time leader in receptions with 750.[27]

Pass protection was also critical for such an offense. The Chargers had an excellent offensive line[citation needed] which protected Fouts well, and included four-time Pro Bowler Ed White, five-time Pro Bowler Russ Washington, three-time Pro Bowler Doug Wilkerson, Billy Shields and Don Macek. The Chargers led the league in passing yards an NFL record six consecutive years from 1978 to 1983 and again in 1985 under Fouts.[28] They also led the league in total yards in offense 1980–1983 and 1985.

Fouts led the Chargers to a victory in the storied "Epic in Miami" 1981 AFC Divisional Playoff game, setting several postseason passing records.

Despite going to the playoffs from 1979 through 1982 and playing in two AFC Championship Games, the Chargers never went to the Super Bowl under Fouts (although they went 7 years after his retirement). In Fouts's prime the defense was not as stellar, but the running game became far better with the addition of Chuck Muncie, traded from New Orleans in 1980, and the drafting of James Brooks from Auburn in 1981. However, the defense suffered a loss when Fred Dean, an All-Pro sack specialist, was traded away to the San Francisco 49ers in 1981 in a contract dispute,[29] and Dean would win UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year (while playing in only 11 games) that year en route to a Super Bowl victory and help the 49ers to another Super Bowl title three years later. Dean would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame.[30]

"I can't say how much it affected us, because we did make it to the AFC championship game," said Chargers' All-Pro defensive lineman Gary "Big Hands" Johnson of the loss of Dean. "But I could say if we had more pass rush from the corner, it might've been different."[31] U-T San Diego in 2013 called the trade "perhaps the biggest blunder in franchise history."[32] Fouts himself would almost be traded in 1983 to the Baltimore Colts in exchange for the rights to John Elway due to a contract dispute, but would come to an agreement on an extension and Elway would be infamously traded to the rival Denver Broncos instead.[33]

Fouts c. 1987

Overall, the Chargers achieved three wins against four losses in the playoffs under Fouts, who threw for over 300 yards in all but two of those games. In the 1982 playoff game known as The Epic in Miami, Fouts led his team to a 41–38 victory by completing 33 of 53 passes for a franchise-record 433 yards and three touchdowns on the hot and humid day. His completions, attempts, and yards in the game were all NFL postseason records at the time. The following week in the AFC championship game in Cincinnati, there was a 92 °F drop in temperature compared to the previous week in Miami,[34] and the Chargers lost 27–7 in what is known as the Freezer Bowl.

The following season, he threw for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 31–28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card round. Fouts's playoff career ended in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against Miami, where he threw five interceptions to only one touchdown pass. Fouts went on to play for four more seasons with the Chargers, retiring in 1987 after 15 years with them. He ended his career as the Chargers' all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns with 43,040 and 254 respectively.

NFL career statistics

Led the league
NFL Offensive Player of the Year
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Passing
GP GS Record Comp Att Pct Yards Avg TD Int Lng Rate
1973 SD 10 6 0−5−1 87 194 44.8 1,126 5.8 6 13 69 46.0
1974 SD 11 11 3−8 115 237 48.5 1,732 7.3 8 13 75 61.4
1975 SD 10 9 2−7 106 195 54.4 1,396 7.2 2 10 57 59.3
1976 SD 14 13 5−8 208 359 57.9 2,535 7.1 14 15 81 75.4
1977 SD 4 4 2−2 69 109 63.3 869 8.0 4 6 67 77.4
1978 SD 15 14 9−5 224 381 58.8 2,999 7.9 24 20 55 83.0
1979 SD 16 16 12−4 332 530 62.6 4,082 7.7 24 24 65 82.6
1980 SD 16 16 11−5 348 589 59.1 4,715 8.0 30 24 65 84.7
1981 SD 16 16 10−6 360 609 59.1 4,802 7.9 33 17 67 90.6
1982 SD 9 9 6−3 204 330 61.8 2,883 8.7 17 11 44 93.3
1983 SD 10 10 5−5 215 340 63.2 2,975 8.8 20 15 59 92.5
1984 SD 13 13 6−7 317 507 62.5 3,740 7.4 19 17 61 83.4
1985 SD 14 12 7−5 254 430 59.1 3,638 8.5 27 20 75 88.1
1986 SD 12 12 3−9 252 430 58.6 3,031 7.0 16 22 65 71.4
1987 SD 11 10 5−5 206 364 56.6 2,517 6.9 10 15 46 70.0
Career[35] 181 171 86−84−1 3,297 5,604 58.8 43,040 7.7 254 242 81 80.2


Fouts c. 1982

Fouts finished his 15 NFL seasons with 3,297 of 5,604 completions for 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns, with 242 interceptions. He also rushed for 476 yards and 13 touchdowns

Fouts was the second quarterback in NFL history to record two consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons, following only Y. A. Tittle. He was also the third quarterback in NFL history to pass for 40,000 yards, after fellow Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton, and the first quarterback ever to throw for over 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

Fouts's jersey number 14 is joined by only Lance Alworth's 19, Junior Seau's 55 and LaDainian Tomlinson's 21 among numbers retired by the San Diego Chargers.[36]

In 1989, Fouts was also inducted by the San Diego Hall of Champions into the Breitbard Hall of Fame honoring San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing surface.[37]

In 1999, he was ranked number 92 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

In 1992, he was inducted into the University of Oregon and State of Oregon Sports Halls of Fame.

Fouts was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility.

In 2009, he was picked by the fans as the "Greatest Charger Of All Time" for the Chargers 50th anniversary year.[citation needed]

In 2010, he received the Davey O'Brien Legends Award during Colt McCoy's award ceremony.

Chargers Franchise Records

  • Passing yards, season: 4,802 (1981)
  • Passing yards per game, season: 320.3 (1982)
  • Passing touchdowns, game: 6 (11/22/81 vs. Oakland)
  • Passer rating, game (min 15 attempts): 158.3 (9/26/76 vs. St. Louis)
  • Passing touchdowns, playoff game: 3 (twice, tied with Philip Rivers)
  • Passing yards, playoff game: 433 (1/2/82 vs. Miami, also 2nd and 3rd place with 336 and 333 respectively)
  • Passing attempts, playoff game: 53 (1/2/82 vs. Miami
  • Completions, playoff game: 33 (1/2/82 vs. Miami
  • Interceptions, career: 242


In 1988 through 1993, Fouts worked as an analyst on NFL on CBS. He worked with a variety of play-by-play announcers including Dick Stockton, James Brown, Verne Lundquist, Brad Nessler, Jim Nantz, Jack Buck, and Tim Ryan.[38]

Fouts left CBS in 1994 to become a sports anchor for KPIX-TV in his hometown of San Francisco. In the fall of 1997, Fouts returned to network television as an analyst, this time serving as a college football analyst for ABC Sports alongside play-by-play man Brent Musburger.[39]

In 1998 Fouts made his big-screen debut, portraying himself in the football comedy The Waterboy, starring Adam Sandler. Fouts and Musburger appeared late in the film as ABC Sports' broadcast team for the fictitious New Year's Day "Bourbon Bowl" game.[40]

In 2000, Fouts moved into a commentator role on ABC's Monday Night Football, alongside MNF anchor Al Michaels and comedian Dennis Miller.[41]

In 2002, Fouts returned to broadcasting college football, calling Pac 10 action alongside legendary announcer Keith Jackson.[42]

After Jackson's retirement from ABC in 2006, Fouts became a play-by-play announcer, adding his own commentary on the game at times since he was a former player and analyst. His broadcast partner for 2006 and 2007 was Tim Brant,[43] now that Jackson had opted to permanently retire.

On February 11, 2008, ESPN announced they were not re-signing Fouts or his partner Tim Brant.[44]

It was reported in USA Today on August 20, 2008, that Fouts was returning to CBS for NFL games[45][46] with a variety of play-by-play announcers including Don Criqui, Ian Eagle, and Dick Enberg. In 2009, he was moved to partner with Enberg as the number 3 broadcasting team for the NFL on CBS. Fouts has since teamed with Eagle in the number three slot until 2014, when the pair was elevated to the number two team behind Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (and later, Tony Romo).[47] Fouts and Eagle are often called "The Bird and the Beard".

Fouts has also helped call NFL games for Westwood One radio, including Super Bowl 50.

He had been the play-by-play voice for Chargers preseason games carried on CBS stations throughout Southern California for many years (2012–2016), alongside fellow Charger alum Billy Ray Smith.

Fouts also did color commentary for the football video game NFL GameDay 2004. He partnered with long-time announcer Enberg.

In April 2020 it was announced that CBS had parted ways with Fouts.[48]

See also


  1. ^ Where Are They Now: Dan Fouts | Pac-12 Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "Bob Fouts – KSFO/49ers Photograph – Circa 1958". Archived from the original on December 25, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  3. ^ Cawood, Neil (October 29, 1970). "Recruiting Sixkiller, Fouts turned out to be a breeze". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1D.
  4. ^ "Oregon Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on March 24, 2012.
  5. ^ "Dan Fouts – Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  6. ^ "Oregon Hall of Fame Inductees – GoDucks.com – The University of Oregon Official Athletics". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  7. ^ "Dan Fouts College Stats". sports-reference.com/cfb. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Krasovic, Tom (February 22, 2021). "Ex-Chargers guard Doug Wilkerson, "Air Coryell" mainstay, dies at 73". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  9. ^ Gehlken, Michael (June 27, 2014). "No. 7: Dan Fouts a San Diego mainstay". U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  10. ^ Coffin, Phil (December 28, 2011). "Dan Fouts, the Man Before Brees and Marino". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "Brees blows into record book". ESPN.com. December 27, 2011. Archived from the original on January 17, 2012.
  12. ^ Elderkin, Phil (September 16, 1980). "Chargers, in passing, write a book". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014.
  13. ^ "AP Picks Campbell As Tops". The Sacramento Bee. AP. December 19, 1979. p. D-1. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Earl Campbell edges Fouts for NFL honors". Times-Advocate. AP. December 20, 1979. p. D-1. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Fink, David (December 23, 1980). "Steelers bow out on losing note, 26–17". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13. Retrieved February 2, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Fouts riddles San Diego, 21–14". The Tuscaloosa News. AP. December 14, 1980. p. 6B. Retrieved February 2, 2021 – via Google News.
  17. ^ "NFL Single-Season Passing Yards per Game Leaders - Pro-Football-Reference.com". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  18. ^ Cacciola, Scott (December 13, 2011). "The NFL's Mount Passmore". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012.
  19. ^ "Dan Fouts: Game Logs at NFL.com". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Carroll, Bob; Gershman, Michael; Neft, David; Thorn, John (1999). Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 388. ISBN 0-06-270174-6.
  21. ^ Martin, Cameron (January 5, 2013). "An M.V.P. Award for One of a Dying Breed". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013.
  22. ^ Jaworski, Ron (2010). The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays. Random House. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-345-51795-1.
  23. ^ "NFL Historical Stats Leaders". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  24. ^ Neville, David (March 31, 2003). "Little Big Man". chargers.com. San Diego Chargers. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  25. ^ "NFL Historical Stats Leaders". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  26. ^ "NFL Single-Season Receiving Yards per Game Leaders - Pro-Football-Reference.com". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  27. ^ "Charlie Joiner – Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  28. ^ "NFL Records". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  29. ^ "San Diego trades DE Fred Dean to San Francisco for a 2nd-round pick in '83". CNN. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  30. ^ "Fred Dean – Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  31. ^ Thomas, Jim (July 30, 2008). "Fred Dean: Situational pass-rusher made most of his opportunities". The State Journal-Register. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016.
  32. ^ Krasovic, Tom (June 5, 2013). "Chargers had a Fearsome Foursome, too". U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on January 27, 2014.
  33. ^ "Elway to Marino". 30 for 30. Season 2. April 23, 2013. ESPN.
  34. ^ "Inhistoric - SBNation.com". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  35. ^ "Dan Fouts Stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  36. ^ "Chargers to retire Tomlinson's No. 21 jersey". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  37. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ https://www.cbspressexpress.com/cbs-sports/shows/nfl-on-cbs/bios?id=dan-fouts
  39. ^ http://506sports.com/forum/index.php?topic=2697.0
  40. ^ "The Waterboy (1998) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.
  41. ^ "Monday Night Football - Fouts, Dan". www.espn.com.
  42. ^ http://506sports.com/forum/index.php?topic=2985.0
  43. ^ "More ABC/ESPN Firings, Fouts And Brant's Contracts Not Renewed". February 11, 2008.
  44. ^ "More ABC/ESPN Firings, Fouts And Brant's Contracts Not Renewed". February 11, 2008. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  45. ^ Hiestand, Michael (August 19, 2008). "Fouts, Sapp deepen CBS' analyst bench". USA Today. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  46. ^ "CBS Sports TV Team – CBSSports.com".
  47. ^ "CBS Sports 2014 booth pairings: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts named No. 2 team".
  48. ^ Ian Casselberry. "Dan Fouts is no longer part of CBS' NFL coverage; Charles Davis or Trent Green eyed as replacements". MSN.com. Retrieved April 10, 2020.

External links

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