March 24, 2012

MVP Profile: Bobby Hebert, 1983

Quarterback, Michigan Panthers

Age: 22
1st season in pro football
College: Northwestern Louisiana State
Height: 6’4” Weight: 208

The unheralded Hebert was chosen by the Panthers in the third round of the inaugural USFL draft in ’83. “The Cajun Cannon” had a good arm and immediately moved into the starting lineup for the new team, although he and the Panthers got off to a slow start until some veteran offensive linemen with NFL experience were added to the roster.

1983 Season Summary
Appeared in all 18 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 451 [3]
Most attempts, game – 45 at Philadelphia 6/5
Completions – 257 [3]
Most completions, game – 25 at Philadelphia 6/5
Yards – 3568 [3]
Most yards, game – 314 at Philadelphia 6/5
Completion percentage – 57.0 [3]
Yards per attempt – 7.9 [1]
TD passes – 27 [1]
Most TD passes, game – 5 at Chicago 6/26
Interceptions – 17 [5]
Most interceptions, game – 3 vs. Denver 4/4, vs. Chicago 4/17
Passer rating – 86.8 [1]
300-yard passing games – 1
200-yard passing games – 8

Attempts – 28
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 7 yds.) at Boston 5/1
Yards – 35
Most yards, game – 11 yards (on 2 carries) at New Jersey 4/10
Yards per attempt – 1.3
TDs – 3

TDs – 3
2-pt conversions – 1
Points - 20

Postseason: 2 G
Pass attempts – 66
Most attempts, game - 39 vs. Philadelphia, USFL Championship
Pass completions – 38
Most completions, game - 20 vs. Philadelphia, USFL Championship
Passing yardage – 609
Most yards, game - 314 vs. Philadelphia, USFL Championship
TD passes – 4
Most TD passes, game - 3 vs. Philadelphia, USFL Championship
Interceptions – 2
Most interceptions, game - 1 vs. Oakland, USFL Semifinal playoff, vs. Philadelphia, USFL Championship

Rushing attempts – 3
Most rushing attempts, game - 2 vs. Oakland, USFL Semifinal playoff
Rushing yards – 28
Most rushing yards, game - 20 vs. Philadelphia, USFL Championship
Average gain rushing – 6.7
Rushing TDs – 1

Awards & Honors:
USFL Player of the Year: Sporting News
1st team All-USFL: League, Sporting News, College & Pro Football Newsweekly, Pro Football Weekly

Panthers went 12-6 to win the USFL Central Division while leading the league in touchdowns (57) and finishing second in scoring (451 points). Won Semifinal playoff over Oakland Invaders (37-21) and USFL Championship over Philadelphia Stars (24-22).

The Panthers got off to a 6-0 start in 1984 but slumped after a season-ending broken arm to WR Anthony Carter, Hebert’s most productive target. The team still made it to the postseason, finishing second in the division and qualifying for a wild card slot, and Hebert passed for 3758 yards with 24 TDs, although with 22 interceptions. With the merging of the Michigan and Oakland franchises for ’85, Hebert became starting QB of the Invaders and passed for 3811 yards and 30 TDs. The team topped the Western Conference but lost the final USFL title game to the Stars. With the demise of the league, Hebert, who had gone undrafted by the NFL, signed with the New Orleans Saints to return to his native Louisiana. After splitting time with Dave Wilson in 1985 and suffering a broken foot in ’86, he took over as the starting quarterback full-time in 1987 and the Saints posted their first winning record and capped the year with their first postseason appearance as well. Hebert and the Saints followed up with winning seasons in 1988 and ’89, although they missed the playoffs. Hebert sat out in 1990 due to a contract dispute and returned to the club in ’91, regained the starting job, and the team won the NFC West. In 1992 he achieved a NFL career high in passing yards (3287) and New Orleans again returned to the postseason, although again failed to win a playoff contest. Hebert signed with Atlanta as a free agent in ’93 and achieved his only Pro Bowl selection as he passed for 2978 yards and 24 TDs. He played sparingly as backup to Jeff George in 1994 and ’95 and, in his final year in 1996, threw for 3152 yards but also a league-leading 25 interceptions. Overall, he was the USFL’s career passing yardage leader with 13,137. In the NFL, he passed for 21,683 yards and 135 TDs and, with the Saints, compiled a 49-26 record in his starts.


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 2/9/14]