May 2, 2011

MVP Profile: Joe Theismann, 1982

Quarterback, Washington Redskins


Age: 33 (Sept. 9)
12th season in pro football, 9th in NFL & with Redskins
College: Notre Dame
Height: 6’0” Weight: 195

Prelude:
Runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1970, Theismann was a 4th-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in ’71 but signed with Toronto of the CFL instead. After three years in Canada, he joined the Redskins (who had traded for his draft rights) in 1974 but was stuck behind veterans Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jurgensen. Jurgensen retired following the ’74 season, and Kilmer in ’77, at which point the cocky quarterback got his chance to start full-time. He passed for over 2500 yards in each season from 1978 thru ’81, with a high of 3568 in 1981. Mobile and a fiery leader, he was well-established as the starting quarterback after four years.

1982 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 9 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 252 [12]
Most attempts, game – 39 at Philadelphia 9/12
Completions – 161 [8, tied with Scott Brunner]
Most completions, game – 28 at Philadelphia 9/12
Yards – 2033 [9]
Most yards, game – 382 at Philadelphia 9/12
Completion percentage – 63.9 [2]
Yards per attempt – 8.1 [4]
TD passes – 13 [8]
Most TD passes, game – 3 at Philadelphia 9/12, vs. St. Louis 1/2/83
Interceptions – 9 [16, tied with Ken Anderson, Vince Ferragamo & Scott Brunner]
Most interceptions, game – 4 vs. NY Giants 12/19
Passer rating – 91.3 [3]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 5

Rushing
Attempts – 31
Most attempts, game - 7 (for 1 yd.) vs. Philadelphia 11/28
Yards – 150
Most yards, game – 58 yards (on 5 carries) at New Orleans 12/26
Yards per attempt – 4.8
TDs – 0

Postseason: 4 G
Pass attempts – 85
Most attempts, game - 23 vs. Minnesota, NFC Second Round playoff, vs. Miami, Super Bowl
Pass completions – 58
Most completions, game - 17 vs. Minnesota, NFC Second Round playoff
Passing yardage – 716
Most yards, game - 213 vs. Minnesota, NFC Second Round playoff
TD passes – 8
Most TD passes, game - 3 vs. Detroit, NFC First Round playoff
Interceptions – 3
Most interceptions, game - 2 vs. Miami, Super Bowl

Rushing attempts – 9
Most rushing attempts, game - 3 vs. Minnesota, NFC Second Round playoff, vs. Miami, Super Bowl
Rushing yards – 27
Most rushing yards, game - 20 vs. Miami, Super Bowl
Average gain rushing – 3.0
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Player of the Year: Bert Bell Award
2nd team All-NFL: UPI
1st team All-NFC: UPI
Pro Bowl

Redskins went 8-1 in strike-shortened season and were top seed in the NFC playoff tournament that replaced the usual postseason format. Defeated the Detroit Lions in the First Round playoff (31-7), Minnesota Vikings in the Second Round playoff (21-7), Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship (31-17), and Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl (27-17).

Aftermath:
Following up the NFL title season, Theismann had a consensus MVP season in 1983 as the Redskins repeated as NFC champions, setting records for scoring along the way. Theismann had career highs in passing yards (3714) and TD passes (29), but the Redskins were upset by the Los Angeles Raiders in the Super Bowl. Theismann continued to start until suffering a career-ending broken leg in a Monday Night game against the Giants during the 1985 season. Overall, he threw for a career pro total of 31,299 yards (6093 in CFL, 25,206 in NFL) and 200 touchdowns (40 in CFL, 160 in NFL).

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/15/14]