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Notre Dame NFL MVPs and AFL MVPs

Notre Dame, a storied college football program, has not only produced some of the sport's greatest players but has also been the breeding ground for the NFL MVP award. The Irish also impacted the American Football League Most Valuable Player award as well. With a combined six awards won by five former Fighting Irish players, including NFL legends like Joe Montana and Paul Hornung, it's no wonder why Notre Dame's football program is revered across the country. What's even more impressive is that the Fighting Irish hold the distinction of having produced more NFL MVPs than any other college. This is a testament to the skill and talent that Notre Dame players bring to the professional level. It's no wonder NFL teams keep a close eye on this powerhouse program come draft day.

Fighting Irish NFL-AFL MVP Lineup

  • 1961 - Paul Hornung - Green Bay Packers
  • 1967 (AFL) - Daryl LaMonica - Oakland Raiders
  • 1971 - Alan Page - Minnesota Vikings
  • 1983 - Joe Theismann - Washington Redskins
  • 1989 - Joe Montana - Notre Dame
  • 1990 - Joe Montana Notre Dame

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Notre Dame MVP Highlights

Wearing Two Uniforms, Hornung Scored Big In 1967

The first player from Notre Dame to win an MVP award was Paul Hornung. In 1961, he won the NFL MVP award as a halfback and kicker for the Green Bay Packers. Hornung led the league in scoring that year, helping propel them to an NFL Championship.

Hornung was an NFL star and Heisman Trophy winner who played for the Green Bay Packers as both a running back and a kicker. In 1961, he had led all scorers with 176 points scored. However, after just 12 games into that season, he left to join the United States Army Reserve's 814th Aviation Company as part of Operation Vittles (also known as The Berlin Airlift). 

The aim of this operation was to deliver supplies such necessities as medical aid and food rations to residents living behind the iron curtain due to Soviet Union's blockade which prevented passage through East Germany. Naturally, this heroic act required Hornung’s utmost dedication which meant his absence from the NFL field for four months during the Spring-Fall period when training took place as well as missing at least one game – a November 26th matchup against Philadelphia Eagles – where Packers won 14-9 without their star player present on the field.

The Mad Bomber "Raided" Opponents

Daryle Lamonica was another player who enjoyed success early on in his career when he won an AFL MVP award in 1967 while playing for Oakland Raiders. That season, Lamonica threw for 3,228 yards with 30 touchdowns and 20 interceptions while rushing for four touchdowns. His team went 13-1 in regular season before winning the AFL championship that year.

Prior to LaMonica's stellar 1967 campaign, the player known as the Mad Bomber had played his first four seasons of professional football with the Buffalo Bills. In a career sparking move, LaMonica was traded to Oakland prior to the 1967 season.

Page Made the NFL Get Defensive

Alan Page's remarkable defensive ability and leadership earned him the 1971 NFL MVP Award, making him the first defensive player to receive the prestigious honor. His contributions were essential in anchoring the Vikings defense, known as the Purple People Eaters, which played an instrumental role in their 11-3 winning record. The team's defense was so formidable that they managed to shut out three opponents throughout the season. Even over thirty years later, the 1971 Vikings defense is still highly regarded, with ESPN ranking them in 2007, as the fourth-best in NFL history. Page's impact on the football field is undeniable and his skillset left a permanent mark on the sport.

Theismann Lit Up the Scoreboard

In 1983, Joe Theismann was at the top of his game as he proudly accepted the NFL MVP Award. Leading the Washington Redskins to an impressive 13-1 regular season record and an NFC championship, Theismann proved himself as one of the most skilled quarterbacks of his time. Despite their incredible season, the Skins fell to the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII. But, Theismann's leadership and talent led Washington to score a remarkable 541 points that year- the highest in the entire league.

San Francisco Was Big on Montana

When it comes to legendary quarterbacks, Joe Montana's name is always at the top of the list. Not only did he win four Super Bowls, but he also took home two consecutive NFL MVP Awards in 1989 and 1990. It was in the former year that Montana truly cemented his status as one of the greatest to ever play the game. His remarkable passer rating of 112.4, a completion percentage of 70.2%, and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 26/8 set new standards for excellence.

And when the playoffs arrived, Montana only elevated his game further, leading the San Francisco 49ers to another Super Bowl victory. Even the following year, Montana showed no signs of slowing down. In a game against the Atlanta Falcons, he threw for a career-best 476 yards and six touchdowns, proving that he was still at the very top of his game. Montana's MVP awards were much-deserved recognition for a football player who truly exemplified greatness.

Best LSU Quarterbacks in NFL History

The LSU football program has produced a strong legacy of quarterbacks who have made a tremendous impact on pro football. The group has been well represented in the NFL Draft, has won league rookie of the year honors, NFL MVP awards and has led teams to Super Bowl appearances.

In this article, we'll explore the top passers in LSU Football history that have produced great results for the NFL franchises they played for. We'll also spotlight a Big Miss that was destined to be on this list.

Y.A. Tittle - From LSU to Hall of Fame QB

Marshall, Texas native Y.A. Tittle is a legendary figure in football circles, with his career spanning from playing as the LSU quarterback from 1944 to 1947 all the way to being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Let’s explore how this incredible athlete made it from college football in Baton Rouge to NFL stardom and beyond.

The College Years

Y.A. Tittle’s college football years were spent at Louisiana State University, where he played quarterback for the Tigers from 1944 to 1947, earning First Team All-SEC honors in 1946 and 1947. After graduating from LSU, Tittle was drafted by the Detroit Lions

From Cover Boy to Canton

Fortunately for Tittle, he never actually ended up playing for the Lions. Instead, he started his career with the Baltimore Colts in 1950 and earned AAFC Rookie of the Year honors that season. When the Colts franchise folded after that season, Tittle found himself back in the draft pool and picked up by San Francisco where he quickly established himself as one of the league’s best players.

He earned Pro Bowl honors during his time with the 49ers and even became Sports Illustrated’s first ever QB cover model! After 10 years with San Francisco, Tittle was traded to New York Giants where he played from 1961-1964, eventually winning NFL MVP award in 1963 and earning Hall of Fame recognition later on.

Along with his 1971 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 3-time NFL First Team All-Pro was named to the New York Giants Ring of Honor and to the 49ers Hall of Fame. The Giants also retired his No. 14 jersey.

Y.A. Tittle was also captured in a famous NFL photo during his final season. The image shows him kneeling in the end zone at old Pitt Stadium. Tittle had thrown a pick-six and received a concussion and broken sternum during the play.

Tittle served as an assistant coach with the 49ers after retirement and also founded the Y.A. Tittle Insurance & Financial Services Company. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 90.

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Remembering Bert Jones' Brilliance on the Football Field

Bert Jones was an LSU legend, and one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. A native of Ruston, Louisiana, Jones spent three seasons at LSU (1970-1972) sharing time with Paul Lyons until his senior season when he earned consensus All-American honors and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. In 1973, he was selected No. 2 overall by the Baltimore Colts in the 1973 NFL Draft and would go on to have a storied career that included NFL MVP honors in 1976. Let’s take a look back at his legendary career.

NFL Career with the Colts

Jones’ career with the Colts got off to a great start - he started all 14 games of his rookie season, threw for over 2,900 yards and 20 touchdowns (both franchise records), and led them to their first postseason appearance since 1971. Under his direction, they won three consecutive AFC titles from 1975-1977 but unfortunately lost each opening round of playoffs during this period due to bad luck or ill-timed injuries.

Jones was named NFL MVP in 1976 after throwing for 3,104 yards and 24 touchdowns that season but suffered a separated shoulder injury during in a preseason game prior to 1977 campaign which hampered his play significantly over next few years with Colts organization before being traded away after 1981 season. Jones first and only season with the Los Angles Rams was limited to four games when he retired due to a neck injury.

David Woodley, the Man In Between the Eras of NFL Greats

David Woodley was a standout LSU quarterback from 1977-1979. He shared playing time with Steve Ensminger and led the Tigers to a 34–10 Tangerine Bowl victory over Wake Forest in his final college game. After being drafted in the 8th round of the 1980 draft by the Miami Dolphins, Woodley is best known as the bridge between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Bob Griese and Dan Marino. Let’s break down what makes David Woodley such an important figure in NFL history.

Rookie Success with Miami Dolphins

Woodley was initially fourth on the depth chart for Miami but wound up being elected team MVP for his rookie season in 1980. The next year he led Miami to the Super Bowl, but they were unable to capture a championship title that season. 1982 was a strike-shortened season, making it one of Woodley’s most remarkable seasons as a professional athlete. He finished with 2,743 yards passing and a career-high 18 touchdowns that season and was selected to play in his first Pro Bowl at its conclusion. The following year saw struggles for both Woodley and the entire Miami offense which resulted in him losing his starting job to Dan Marino after week six of that season.

Career Ends in Pittsburgh

Prior to the 1984 season, David Woodley was traded to Pittsburgh where he split time with Mark Malone as quarterback for two seasons before retiring from professional football due to chronic shoulder problems.

Woodley's life ended in 2003 from complications due to kidney and liver failure on May 4, 2003. His death in his hometown of Shreveport, LA, was twenty years after Super Bowl XVII. Woodley became the youngest Super Bowl starting quarterback to die.

Joe Burrow's Historic NFL Journey

Although Joe Burrow began his college football journey at Ohio State, his rise to stardom began when he transferred to the Tigers. Much to the delight of LSU fans, Burrow's record-breaking 2019 season not only culminated in a Heisman Trophy, but it also helped deliver the fourth football national championship in LSU history.

Joe Burrow is the best LSU quarterback in the NFL

After being drafted No. 1 by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, Burrow was having an impressive rookie season until a season-ending knee injury cut it short. But that didn't keep him down; he returned with renewed vigor in 2021 and earned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year while leading the Bengals to an AFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance. Following that Super Bowl loss, Burrow has continued to emerge as one of the league's best QBs.

JaMarcus Russell - What Might Have Been

Russell played for LSU from (2004-2006) and started his final two seasons in Baton Rouge. The 6 ft 6 in quarterback was a physical specimen and wowed NFL scouts with his tremendous arm strength. Those tangibles elevated draft status and he became the first LSU quarterback to be drafted with the first selection of the NFL Draft.

JaMarcus Russell's career with the Raiders was a fascinating one. Initially seen as a potential franchise quarterback, he was selected by Oakland in the 2007 NFL Draft as the first overall pick. However, after three years of struggles and never living up to expectations, his time with the Raiders ended abruptly.

On July 25th, 2010 JaMarcus was released from Oakland after failing to make any tangible progress on or off the field since being drafted just a few short years prior. His style of play had quickly become outdated in today's explosive offensive schematics and that ultimately led to his release. Despite being given numerous opportunities to improve and make an impact, JaMarcus "couldn't keep hold of his job” according to then-Raiders coach Tom Cable who openly expressed regret at not having higher expectations for the former LSU quarterback when they drafted him in 2007.

His downfall can be attributed largely to his poor work ethic both in practice and about tending to off-the-field issues like weight loss which impaired his physical abilities. With no incentive structures built into Russell's contract despite being the first overall pick, he didn't feel strongly enough compelled take responsibility for his own habits that were detrimental to success on or off the field leading him down this path instead of going onto bigger things like so many number 1 picks before he had done successfully previously.

Best Alabama Quarterbacks In NFL History

Alabama quarterbacks have made a tremendous impact on the NFL through the history of the league. Storied names such as Starr, Namath and Stabler have won NFL championships, Super Bowls and have had their busts placed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In this article, we will further explore the incredible pro football legacy generated by Crimson Tide quarterbacks.

More recently, Jalen Hurts has emerged with success after leading the Philadelphia Eagles to an NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance following the 2022 season. And Hurts teammate, Tua Tagovailoa has been a strong force after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins. 2021 Heisman Winner Bryce Young enters the league for the 2023 season as he begins his quest for becoming one of the Best Alabama Quarterbacks to make his mark on pro football.

The list of excellence includes additional names that have impacted the league, earning Alabama a high standing in Quarterback U. conversations.

Remembering Bart Starr, the MVP of Super Bowl I and II

If you’re an Alabama fan or a Green Bay Packers fan, then you know who Bart Starr was. The Montgomery, Alabama native was drafted in the 17th round of the NFL's 1956 draft by the Green Bay Packers and what followed were two decades of success both on and off the field. From his time as one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history to his tenure as head coach and general manager of the Packers, Starr's legacy as one of the best Alabama Quarterbacks in NFL history will live on forever. Let’s take a look back at his incredible career.

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As a quarterback, Starr was one of the greatest to ever play in the National Football League. He led the Packers to five NFL titles including victories in Super Bowl I and II, earning him Super Bowl MVP honors in both games as well as being named NFL MVP in 1966. He was also named to the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team and led the league’s passer rating five times during his 15-year career (1956-1971). In recognition of his contributions to pro football and team spirit, Starr’s No. 15 jersey was retired by the Packers and he is a member of both their Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Packers Couldn't Pass on Coach Starr

Starr wasn't done after retiring from playing football; he went on to become head coach and general manager for nine years (1975–1983). While he never achieved much success during this portion of his career—he had winning seasons only twice—he still left a mark with his leadership style that reverberated throughout Green Bay for years after he stepped down from coaching duties.

Though it has been more than 30 years since he last donned an official Packers uniform, fans continue to remember him fondly for all that he accomplished on—and off—the field. With five titles to his name, two Super Bowl MVP awards under his belt, a place among one of football's all-time greats in Canton, Ohio and an undeniable spirit for leading others that transcends sport itself; Bart Starr is an icon whose legacy will live forever within both NFL history books and hearts across America alike.

On May 26th 2019, we said goodbye to one of football's greatest legends when Bart Starr passed away at age 85 due to complications from a stroke suffered earlier this year. Although we may never see another like him again, his impact lives on through those who were lucky enough to watch him play or learn from him as head coach/general manager.

Joe Namath: From Bama to Broadway Joe

Joe Namath is an icon of American football and a source of pride for Alabama Fans. After playing at the University of Alabama from 1961-1964, Namath was drafted in the first round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 12th overall pick. The New York Jets then picked Namath with the 1st pick of the AFL's 1965 draft, and with that, Broadway Joe was born and his legacy began.

The Controversy Before Super Bowl III

One of the most memorable moments in all of sports history is when Joe Namath stirred up controversy before Super Bowl III by guaranteeing victory over the Baltimore Colts. Not only did he deliver on his promise, but he also earned MVP honors in leading his team to one of the biggest upsets in sports history. This moment solidified his status as an NFL legend, not only for Jets fans but for fans around the world who were amazed at what he had accomplished against seemingly insurmountable odds.

The Legacy Beyond Super Bowl III

Namath would continue to have a successful career beyond that fateful day in 1969. He won the AFL MVP Award following both 1968 and 1969 seasons, earning him a spot on both the AFL All-Time Team and Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 1985). His No. 12 jersey is also retired by the Jets organization as a tribute to his incredible accomplishments during his time in New York (1965-1976), after which he finished out his career with Los Angeles Rams in 1977.

A Look Back at the Legendary Football Career of Ken "Snake" Stabler

Ken Stabler, the legendary NFL quarterback, was a Foley, Alabama native who left a lasting legacy on the game of football. After playing for the University of Alabama from 1964 to 1967, Stabler was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 1968 NFL Draft. He was also drafted by multiple Major League Baseball teams during this time, making him one of only 20 athletes ever to be drafted by both professional football and baseball teams. Let’s dive into Stabler’s career and look at his accomplishments.

Stabler's Career With The Raiders

As the Raiders quarterback from 1970-1979, Stabler led this franchise to a Super Bowl XI championship following the 1976 season. Known as Snake, he became an integral part of the team's success during that decade with his passing prowess and leadership abilities on and off the field. He was named as NFL MVP in 1974 and is also a member of its 1970s All-Decade Team.

Other Stints in The NFL

Stabler played for three other teams before retiring in 1984 after stints with the Houston Oilers (1980-1981) and New Orleans Saints (1982-1984). During this time he earned two more Pro Bowl selections (1973 & 1979). His career spanned 16 years in total; he passed away at age 69 on July 8th 2015.

Additional Crimson Tide Quarterbacks Impacting the NFL

Mac Jones

When Mac Jones burst onto the scene as the quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide, he looked like the real deal. His accuracy and efficiency were unparalleled, setting NCAA season records for passer rating and completion percentage as a junior. So it was no surprise when the New England Patriots selected him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Jones seemed to be up to the challenge, leading the team to a playoff berth during his rookie season and earning Pro Bowl honors. However, the second season proved to be a bit rockier for the young quarterback. Battling injuries and struggling with a subpar touchdown to interception ratio, Jones had his share of ups and downs. But there's no denying his potential, and fans are eagerly watching to see what the future holds for this promising young athlete.

Jalen Hurts

Although he didn't finish his collegiate career in Tuscaloosa, many Tide fans still consider him a beloved member of the Bama nation. Hurts was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Hurts quickly emerged as one of the league's top signal callers and led the Eagles to the 2022 NFC Championship before falling to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

Tua Tagovailoa

After accomplishing national championship success with the Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa entered the 2020 NFL Draft and was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 5th overall pick. The former Tide star was the NFL passer rating leader in 2022.

Richard Todd

Following his career in Tuscaloosa, the Birmingham native was drafted with the 6th overall pick of the 1976 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Todd replaced Joe Namath as the Jets starter. Todd threw for 20,610 yards in his pro career that also included two years with the New Orleans Saints.

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