Steve Young (American football)

Steve Young (American football)

Infobox NFLretired
name=Steve Young

caption= Steve Young in 1990
birthdate=birth date and age|1961|10|11
Salt Lake City, Utah
college=Brigham Young
* Los Angeles Express (1984-1985)
* Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1985-1986)
* San Francisco 49ers (1987-1999)
stat3label=QB Rating
* 7x Pro Bowl selection (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
* 7x All-Pro selection (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
* 3x Super Bowl champion (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX)
* Super Bowl XXIX MVP
* 2x NFL MVP (1992, 1994)
* 2x PFWA NFL MVP (1992, 1994)
* 2x NEA NFL MVP (1992, 1994)
* 1992 NFL Offensive Player of the Year
* 2x UPI NFC Player of the Year (1992, 1994)
* 2x Bert Bell Award (1992, 1994)
* 1983 Davey O'Brien Award
* San Francisco 49ers #8 retired Records
* 96.8 career QB Rating
* 43 career QB Rushing Touchdowns
* 6 TD passes in a Super Bowl

Steve Young (born Jon Steven Young on October 11, 1961 in Salt Lake City, Utah), is a former quarterback for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Los Angeles Express of the short-lived United States Football League. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the NFL in 1992 and 1994, the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, the first left-handed quarterback to be so honored. He holds the NFL record for highest career passer rating and won six NFL passing titles.

High school career

Young attended Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut. He earned 1978 All-FCIAC West Division First Team honors in his junior year, his first year starting at quarterback for the Cardinals. In 1979, he once again earned All-FCIAC West Division First Team honors, along with CIAC All-State honors, rushing for 13 touchdowns. In two seasons, he ran the ball 267 times for 1,928 yards. In the option offense run by Greenwich, passing was always the second option; he completed only 41 percent of his throws for 1,220 yards. During his senior year he was co-captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. In basketball, he averaged 15 points a game. In baseball, he hit .384 and played center field when he wasn't pitching. He was 5-1 and threw a 3-0 no-hitter against New Canaan High School. On top of all of his athletic accomplishments, Steve was also a National Merit Scholar and posted a 4.0 GPA, all the while getting up at 4:00 a.m. each morning to attend an LDS Church religious class before school.


Because Young was such a great runner, he was heavily recruited by North Carolina, who wanted him to play quarterback in the option offense the Tar Heels were using at the time. However, Young ultimately decided to attend Brigham Young University. Initially, he struggled at passing, and BYU's coaching staff considered switching him to defensive back because of his athleticism. However, he worked hard to improve his quarterbacking skills and eventually succeeded record-setting Jim McMahon as the Cougars' starting QB. Young's senior season (1983) was spectacular. He passed for 3,902 yards and 33 touchdowns in the regular season, and his 71.3% completion percentage set an NCAA single-season record. He also added 544 yards rushing. With Young at quarterback, BYU set an NCAA record by averaging 584.2 yards of total offense per game, with 370.5 of those yards coming from Young's passing and rushing. The Cougars finished the year with an impressive 11-1 record; Young was named First Team All-American and finished second in voting for the Heisman Trophy (behind Nebraska running back Mike Rozier). Young's record breaking season was honored when he won the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award which recognizes the nation's best collegiate quarterback. Young capped his college career by scoring the game-winning touchdown in BYU's 21-17 victory over Missouri in the 1983 Holiday Bowl.

Young finished his 3 seasons with 592 pass completions for 7,733 yards and 56 touchdowns, along with 1,048 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. In 2001, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Professional career


Young signed a record 10-year, $40 million contract with the Los Angeles Express of the now-defunct United States Football League in 1984. He agreed to take his payment in the form of an annuity to help the fledgling team; he would receive $1 million every year for 40 years. It was with the Express that Young came into contact with coach Russ A. Molzahn. At the time, it was another huge signing by the fledgling league, who had also succeeded in signing the current Heisman Trophy winner, running back Mike Rozier of the University of Nebraska as well as the previous winner, University of Georgia's running back Herschel Walker. Despite being surrounded with some talent, such as future NFL'ers Jojo Townsell, Mel Gray and Kevin Nelson, and making the playoffs in Young's first season, the Express never was able to create a sustaining fan base in Los Angeles. Young missed the first six games of his rookie season because he took some college classes so he could graduate on time. However, he started the final 12 games and had a decent year. His most notable accomplishment was becoming the first pro football player ever to pass for 300 yards and rush for another 100 in a single game.

In Young's second and final season with the USFL's Express, between their owner going bankrupt and playing in front of 5,000 to 8,000 spectators, things got so desperate that in one game late in the season, decimated by injuries at running back, Young was forced to play the game at running back while his backup took the snaps.

The league ceased operations in 1986 after losing most of its claims in an antitrust suit against the NFL. Young was still being paid his annuity as of 2008. [ [ - Persistence and patience lead Young to Hall ] ]


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Young signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 after being the first player selected in the year's supplemental draft. However, the Buccaneers posted 2-14 win-loss records in each of Young's two seasons with them, and Young's record as starter was 3-16. In his 19 games, he threw for only 11 touchdowns with 21 interceptions while completing fewer than 55% of his passes.

Trade to the San Francisco 49ers

When the Buccaneers selected University of Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde first overall in the 1987 NFL Draft, Young was deemed a bust and traded to the San Francisco 49ers on April 24, 1987, to serve as a backup to Joe Montana. The Buccaneers received 2nd and 4th round draft picks in the trade, which they used to draft Miami linebacker Winston Moss, and Arizona State wide receiver Bruce Hill, respectively. Young would spend the final 13 years of his career with the 49ers, a stint which would help him become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and secure a spot in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2005.

Montana's Backup: 1987-1990

Steve Young played behind Montana his first several years, but shined as a backup. Subbing for an injured Montana early in the first quarter of a 1987 game against the Chicago Bears, he threw 4 touchdown passes in a 41-0 victory. On October 30 1988, Young shredded the Minnesota Vikings for a 49-yard, game-winning touchdown run. He started the game out with a 73-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor, after Montana went down with an injury. The play earned the 49ers a 24-21 victory and a bit of revenge on the Vikings.

In 1989, he displayed his potential to become the team's starter in the future. While Montana won the NFL MVP award and led the team to victory in Super Bowl XXIV, Young still had a good season, completing 69% of his passes for 1,001 yards and 8 touchdowns, with only 3 interceptions. On October 22 1989, he posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when he completed 11 of 12 passes for 188 yards and three touchdown passes in a 37-20 victory over the New England Patriots. In his four seasons as a backup, Young had thrown 23 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Little did he know that he would take over for Montana sooner than he thought.

Montana Out, Young In

1991 Season

Following an injury to Montana in the 1990 playoffs which forced him to miss the entire 1991 season, Young got his chance to lead the 49ers. It was a rough start for Young. Midway through the season, the 49ers found themselves struggling with a 4-4 record. In the ninth game of the season, after throwing a franchise record 97-yard touchdown pass to Taylor, Young suffered a knee injury and was replaced by backup quarterback Steve Bono. After a loss in that game, Bono led the 49ers to five consecutive victories, playing so well that coach George Seifert decided to keep him in the starting lineup after Young had recovered. It wasn't until the 15th game of the season that Young got to play again, after Bono went down with an injury of his own. Young finished the game by leading the 49ers to victory and then closed out the season by throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns and also rushing for 63 yards and another touchdown in a 52-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football at Candlestick Park.

Young finished the season with an NFL best 101.8 passer rating. Despite missing five full games and most of a sixth, he still threw for 2,517 yards and 17 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions. But despite Young's strong season, the season for the team was widely regarded as a disappointment. The 49ers had slipped from a 14-2 record in the previous season to a 10-6 record in 1991. While 10 wins is usually enough to make the playoffs, this time it wasn't, and San Francisco ended up not playing in the postseason for the first time since 1982. It was thought by many that Young's days as the 49ers starter were numbered due to the impending return of Montana from the injury to his right elbow. However, this wasn't the case.

1992 Season

By the start of the 1992 season, it appeared that Young's starting job was in serious peril. In addition to having to compete with Bono, Montana appeared to be close to recovering from his injury caused by the 1990 playoff game. San Francisco came close to trading Young, but no deals were finalized, and it turned out that Montana would not recover in time to start in the opening game. Young ended up as San Francisco's starting quarterback, but once again got off to a rough start. On the fifth play of the opening game, he suffered a concussion and was replaced by Bono, who threw two touchdown passes while leading the 49ers to a 31-14 win. The following week, San Francisco lost 34-31 to the Buffalo Bills, despite a career high 449 passing yards and three touchdowns from Young, a game that's notable for the fact that there were no punts that day. However, Young recovered and led the 49ers on a five game winning streak, capped off by a 56-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons in which Young passed for 399 yards and three touchdowns. After missing most of the next game with the flu, Young led San Francisco to victory in all of their remaining games of the season, giving the team a 14-2 record. Young finished the season with 3,456 passing yards and 537 rushing yards, along with an NFL best 25 touchdown passes and 107.0 passer rating, earning him the Most Valuable Player award. Young was the first quarterback ever to record a triple digit rating in consecutive seasons. Many credit Young's turnaround to the arrival of then 49ers Offensive Coordinator Mike Shanahan, who mentored Young just as he did John Elway in the years before. He went on to throw for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, and rush for 73 yards, in a 20-13 divisional playoff win over the Washington Redskins before losing the NFC title game 30-20 against the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. Despite the disappointment, Young was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

1993 Season

Young's performance was so impressive that before the start of the 1993 season, San Francisco traded Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs. Young was now the 49ers' undisputed starter, and would remain so for the rest of his career. But once again, he had a rough start to the season. Over the first four games of 1993, Young, who was hindered by a swollen thumb on his throwing hand, threw eight interceptions, more than he had thrown during the entire 1992 season. But after his thumb healed, Young went on an incredible streak over a span of seven games, throwing 16 touchdown passes with only 2 interceptions and a 122.2 passer rating. By the end of the year, Young set franchise records for most passing yards (4,023), and consecutive passes thrown without an interception (189), while leading the NFL in touchdown passes (29) and passer rating (101.5). The team slipped to a 10-6 record, but advanced to the NFC championship game again by blowing out the New York Giants 44-3 in the divisional round. However, once again they were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, this time 38-21.

1994 Season

After several key free agent signings and NFL Draft selections, the 49ers looked to win their first Super Bowl since 1989. They started fast, beating the Los Angeles Raiders 44-14 on the strength of four touchdown passes from Young, one of four games during the regular season in which he had at least four. After a loss in a much anticipated game to Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers won their next two games before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 40-8 at Candlestick Park, a game in which Young was eventually benched in the middle of an offensive series. Young was visibly angry at George Seifert over this, but the game was considered a turning point in the season; from there, Young led the team to 10 straight wins and they finished 13-3. The 49ers had the number one offense in the NFL, and were so dominant that Seifert often took Young out of games early if they were ahead by a wide margin.

After an easy 44-15 victory over the Chicago Bears in the first round of the playoffs, the 49ers jumped out to a 31-14 halftime lead over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game, holding on to win 38-28 as Young threw for two touchdowns and added 47 yards and another touchdown on the ground. As a result, Young would head to his first Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. The 49ers were heavy favorites to become the first team with five Super Bowl victories.

On the strength of a six touchdown performance that surpassed the previous Super Bowl record of five, owned by the man Young replaced, Joe Montana, Steve Young was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX as the 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26. Young also threw for 325 yards and rushed for 49 yards, making him the first player ever to finish a Super Bowl as the game's leader in both rushing and passing yards. The victory capped off an incredible year for Young, who had one of the best seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. He threw for 3,969 yards, a then franchise record 35 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions, completed a franchise record 70.28 percent of his passes, and broke Montana's single season mark with a then record 112.8 passer rating. He was named NFL MVP for the second time.

Later Years

In the three years following Super Bowl XXIX, the 49ers would be eliminated each year by Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, twice in San Francisco. However, in 1998, Young would finally beat Favre in the NFC wild card game, as he threw the winning touchdown to wide receiver Terrell Owens with three seconds remaining to win the game 30-27. In deference to Dwight Clark's legendary catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC championship game, Owens' grab was called "The Catch II". However, a week later, the 49ers were defeated by the Atlanta Falcons 20-18 in the divisional playoffs. Over that span of seasons from 1995 to 1998, Young led the NFL in passer rating twice (in 1996 and 1997), and led the NFL with a career high 36 touchdown passes in 1998.

1999 was Steve Young's final season. After suffering his fourth concussion in three years in the third game of the regular season ("officially", Young has suffered seven concussions; many believe the number to be higher), he retired at the end of the season. Reportedly, Young suffered from symptoms of post-concussion syndrome for weeks afterward.

Though he did not become the 49ers' starter until his 8th NFL season, and though he played a full season only 3 times during his 15-year career, Young compiled impressive career numbers. He completed 2,667 of 4,149 passes for 33,124 yards and 232 touchdowns, with 107 interceptions. His 96.8 passer rating is the highest in NFL history; his 4,239 rushing yards are the second most ever gained by a quarterback, behind Randall Cunningham.

Records and Legacy

* Highest Passer Rating, Career - 96.8 [ [ "NFL Records"] ,]
* Most Rushing Touchdowns by a QB, Career - 43 [ [, "Steve Young career highlights"] ,]
* Most Passing Titles, Career - 6 (tied w/Sammy Baugh) [ [ "NFL Records"] ,]
* Most Consecutive Passing Titles - 4 (1991-94) [ [ "NFL Records"] ,]
* Most Seasons With a Passer Rating Over 100, Career - 6 (1991-94, 1997-98) [ [ "All-time 100-point passers"] , Pro Football Hall of Fame]
* Most Consecutive Games w/300+ Yards Passing - 6 (Young was the first QB to do this in 1998; Kurt Warner (2000) and Rich Gannon (2002) have since tied the mark) [ [ "NFL Records"] ,]
* One of only 4 QB's to lead the league in touchdown passes 4 times (tied w/Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and Len Dawson) [ [ "NFL Records"] ,]
* Most Passes Attempted, Playoff Game - 65 vs. Green Bay, 1995 [ [ "NFL Playoff Records: Individual - Passing"] ,]
* Most TD Passes, Playoff Game - 6 (tied w/Daryle Lamonica) [ [ "NFL Playoff Records: Individual - Passing"] ,]
* Most TD Passes in one Super Bowl - 6 [ [ "Steve Young - Pro Football Hall of Fame"] , Pro Football Hall of Fame]

A left-handed thrower, Young was famous for his ability to "scramble" away from the pass rush. He has the third-highest single-season passer rating at 112.8 (set in the 1994 season), next to Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning (121.1 QB rating in 2004), and New England Patriots' Tom Brady (117.2 QB rating in 2007). However, among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 passing attempts, Young's career passer rating of 96.8 is the highest of any quarterback in NFL history. Peyton Manning is second at 94.4; Kurt Warner is third at 93.8. Young's career completion percentage (64.3%) is the third-highest ever for qualifying quarterbacks, behind Miami Dolphins' Chad Pennington (65.3%) and Arizona Cardinals' Kurt Warner (65.2%).

In 1999, he was ranked #63 on "The Sporting News" list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Young was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 5 2005 and was enshrined August 7 2005. His induction speech was given by his father, LeGrande "Grit" Young.

After Football

Steve Young received his Juris Doctor J.D. from Brigham Young University J. Rueben Clark Law School

Steve Young has attempted to pursue a career in private equity investments, joining private equity firm H&G Capital Partners, which was founded by billionaire industrialist Jon M. Huntsman and former Bain Capital executive Robert C. Gay.

Steve Young works as an NFL analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Football. He works with Stuart Scott and Emmitt Smith on the pre-game and post-game shows.

Also, he has a radio show. He comes on with The Razor and Mr.T, Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert, on KNBR. He comes on every Wednesday at 5:00 PM during football season. He is renowned for his great analysis and insight into the inner-workings of the NFL.

Steve Young has also partnered to launch a venture capital firm in Lehi, Utah.

Steve also serves as a National Advisor to ASCEND, a Humanitarian Alliance. This non-profit organization plans expeditions to African and South American countries to provide life skills mentoring with sustainable solutions in education, enterprise, health and simple technology. [ [ Sixteen Celebrities Join Together Promoting a Life Changing Cause] ]

The San Francisco 49ers had his #8 jersey retired during a halftime ceremony against the New England Patriots on October 5th, 2008. He was the 11th player in team history to receive this honor. [ [ 49ers to Retire Steve Young's Jersey] ]

Personal life

* Young is the great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for whom Brigham Young University is named.
* His father, LeGrande "Grit" Young, played football at BYU in the late 1950s. He led the school in scoring in 1955 and in rushing and total offense in 1959.
* Steve Young's younger brothers Mike and Tom both played quarterback at BYU after Steve, but neither received much playing time.
* In 1994, Young graduated from Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School with a Juris Doctor.
* Young spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2000, leading some to speculate that he might be interested in entering politics in the future.
* Married former model Barbara Graham, on March 15 2000 in a ceremony at the Kona Hawaii Temple in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. They have two sons and one daughter together.
* Steve Young's 1988 scramble against the Minnesota Vikings was featured in a 2006 Burger King commercial with the Burger King "King" digitally superimposed over the young quarterback.
* When Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, Young was the first volunteer. During the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Young carried the placard for Great Britain. Additionally, Young was among the contingent at Salt Lake City in February 1998 to receive the Olympic Flag after the 1998 Winter Olympics closed in Nagano, Japan at Salt Lake City International Airport.
*He appeared in All Sport, Visa, and Gatorade commercials with Jerry Rice while the two played for the 49ers.
* Steve Young currently sits on the board of Foundry Networks.
* In 1993 Steve founded a charitable foundation known as the Forever Young Foundation which serves children who face significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges by providing academic, athletic, and therapeutic opportunities unavailable to them.
* Steve Young was a co-founder of a private equity firm, Sorenson Capital and currently is actively involved in that market.
*Young is the first left-handed Quarterback to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
*He appeared in the football video game All-Pro Football 2K8, along with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
* Despite having the 2nd highest rushing yardage total of any quarterback in NFL history, as a football analyst Young surprisingly is not a strong supporter of modern "running/scrambling" quarterbacks such as Vince Young.
* He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Utah Valley State College for speaking at its graduation commencement in 2005.
* Rushed for a career high 102 yards on just 8 carries vs. the New Orleans Saints on December 23, 1990, making him only the second 49ers quarterback to rush for at least 100 yards in a single game. The 49ers lost the game 13-10.
* In the 1994 and 1995 seasons, Young received snaps from center Bart Oates who, like Young, is also a lawyer. This marks the only time in NFL history one lawyer has snapped a football to another.
* With the 49ers, Young once completed a pass to himself against the Atlanta Falcons. The pass was deflected, and he caught it himself and ran it for a first down.

ee also

*Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame


External links

* [ Pro Football Hall of Fame profile]
* [ Forever Young Foundation]
*pro-football-reference|id=YounSt00|name=Steve Young
* [ More Career Stats]
* [ Young profile from ESPN]
* [ Super Bowl MVPs]
* [ Young calls it a career]
* [ CFHOF bio]
* [ SI: 2005 Hall of Fame Inductees]
* [ Steve Young Tribute On 49ers Paradise]
* [ Video & Podcast of Steve Young speaking at Stanford]
* [ Davey O'Brien Award]
*imdb name|id=950084|name=Steve Young

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