FORT WORTH, Texas (September 23, 2008) - The Davey O'Brien Foundation announced today Joe Theismann is the 2008 Davey O'Brien Legends Award recipient in recognition of his life-long contributions to the game of football. Theismann will be presented with the award at the 32nd Annual Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner on February 16, 2009 at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Davey O'Brien Legends Award recognizes a college or professional quarterback who has made a significant contribution to the game of football, distinguished himself as an extraordinary leader and demonstrated exemplary conduct on and off the football field. The award was established in 2001 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Davey O'Brien Foundation. Previous recipients include Steve Spurrier (2007), Paul Hornung (2006), Len Dawson (2005), Archie Manning (2004), Terry Bradshaw (2003), Bart Starr (2002), and Roger Staubach (2001).
"It is an honor to be recognized for my achievements both on and off the field. To join a group of men such as these is truly humbling," said Theismann.
At five feet-eleven inches tall and 147 pounds, Theismann began his college football career at Notre Dame. In 1969, the junior starting quarterback led the Irish to a number-five ranking and their first bowl appearance in 45 years. The following year, Theismann and the Irish ended the season with a 10-1 record, a number-two ranking and a victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl. As the starting quarterback, he set school records for yards (2,429) and touchdowns (16) in a season. His record for passing yards in a game (526) still stands today. Theismann was also a first team All-American and an Academic All-American and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 1971, Theismann was selected in the fourth round of the National Football League (NFL) draft by the Miami Dolphins as well as by the Minnesota Twins as a shortstop in the Major League Baseball draft. He instead signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). During his rookie season Theismann led the team to a 10-4 record and a berth in the championship game, The Grey Cup. He was named to the CFL All-Star Team in 1971 and 1973.
In 1974, Theismann signed with the Washington Redskins of the NFL and volunteered to be the team's punt returner. Theismann earned the starting quarterback position in 1978 and led the Redskins to victory in Super Bowl XVII and an appearance the following year in Super Bowl XVIII.
Theismann played in 163 consecutive games from 1974-1985 and holds several Redskins' records, including most career passing yards (25,206), completions (2,044) and attempts (3,602) while also throwing 160 touchdowns.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Theismann was selected the NFL's Man of the Year in 1982 for his community service and dedication to the health and welfare of children. He won the league's 1983 Most Valuable Player Award for leading the Redskins to an NFL-record 541 points and a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. His career ended abruptly in 1985 after sustaining a broken leg against the New York Giants on a nationally televised Monday Night Football broadcast.
Following his tenure as an NFL quarterback, Theismann began a career in broadcasting which began in 1985 when he helped call Super Bowl XIX on ABC. After spending two seasons as an NFL analyst on CBS, Theismann spent the majority of his broadcast career as a color commentator on ESPN's Sunday Night Football from 1988-2005. He then wrapped up his commentator career on ESPN's Monday Night Football in 2006 and has since helped with a variety of pre-season Washington Redskins games on CSN.
"Joe Theismann exemplifies strong work ethic, leadership and character," said Scott Murray, the Davey O'Brien Legends Chair. "Whether it was in college, the CFL or NFL, he always maintained his integrity as a leader within his team."
About The Davey O'Brien Foundation
The Davey O'Brien Foundation (the Foundation) was founded in 1977 to honor and remember the strong character and leadership of football great, Davey O'Brien. Widely known for its Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award®, the Foundation recognizes champions on and off the field through national awards programs encouraging academic and career success. The Foundation has given away more than $750,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field to leadership in life. The Davey O'Brien Legends Award was established in 2001 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Foundation and to pay tribute to Davey O'Brien. The Legends Award recognizes a college or professional quarterback who has made a significant contribution to the game of football, distinguished himself as an extraordinary leader and demonstrated exemplary conduct on and off the field. More information about the Foundation can be found at www.DaveyOBrien.org.