Comeback Player for All Time

 If nothing else, the story of quarterback Jim Plunkett is story of motivation and inspiration. Setting both Stanford and PAC-8 records during his college career, he edged out other collegiate stars Joe Thiesmann and Archie Manning for the 1970 Heisman. The New England Patriots made him the first pick of the college draft in 1971 and he played well enough to earn Rookie of the Year honors as he helped led them to their best season in years.

  Over the next few seasons though, neither Plunkett nor the Patriots seemed to improve much. By 1974, after 4 seasons in the league he had been credited with leading the Patriots to just 21 victories. He threw more inteceptions and less touchdowns and even led the NFL in 1974 with 22 interceptions. In week 5 of 1975 he suffered a separted shoulder and was replaced by rookie Steve Grogan for the remainder of the season. In 1976 he was traded to San Francisco where he spent 2 rather undistinguishable seasons and was released before the 1978 season.

Jim Plunkett, Raiders Super Bowl QB
Jim Plunkett

 At the age of 30 in 1978, he was considering just quitting when Al Davis of the Raiders contacted him and he agreed to a 3-year contract with Oakland. As the #3 quarterback backing up Ken Stabler and David Humm, he all but sat out the 1978 season and barely played at all in 1979. He requested a trade but the Raiders refused.

 That’s when things changed.

 1980 found him thrust into the Raiders starting role when Dan Pastorini, just aquired from the Oilers, went down with a broken leg in week 5 against Kansas City. He didn’t play well at all in relief of Pastorini. But despite throwing 5 inteceptions against the Chiefs he got the starting nod against the Chargers in week 6. This time he played very well, connecting on 11 of 14 passes and a touchdown as the Raiders beat the Chargers 38-24. He then led Oakland to 9 victories over the next 11 games to finish 2nd in the AFC Western Divsion with an 11-5 record. Jim Plunkett was named 1980 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and the Raiders made the playoffs as a wildcard team. Oakland then ran the table with 3 straight playoff wins over the Oilers, Browns and Chargers to capture the AFC Title win a trip to Super Bowl XV against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Raiders dominated the Eagles to a 27-10 win as Plunkett, the game’s MVP threw for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns.

 He found himself a backup again in 1981 but regained the starting role by 1982. In 1983 he guided Oakland once again to an NFL Championship with a convencing victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. He remained active throught the 1986 season before he suffered a season ending shoulder injury in 1987. He was waived by the Raiders in 1988.

Jim Plunkett remains the center of a very spirited debate as to whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Supporters point to his 2 Super Bowl victories as well as his Super Bowl MVP recognition of Super Bowl XV and the challenges he overcame the latter part of his career. Detractors though bring the fact he has only 3 winning seasons as quarterback and no Pro Bowl nor All Pro awards to his credit.

Image Gallery of Jim Plunkett, Quarterback 1971 -1986

Jim Plunkett All-Time Career Passing

Regular Season Passing
YearAgeTeamNo.Games PlayedQBrecAttCmpCmp%YardsY/ALongTDIntRatingSackedYards Lost4QCGWD
197124NWE16146-8-032815848.221586.688191668.63631911
197225NWE16143-11-035516947.621966.26282545.73938522
197326NWE16145-9-037619351.325506.864131765.83735022
197427NWE16147-7-035217349.124577.069192264.12117411
197528NWE1652-3-0923639.15716.2763739.71389  
197629SFO16126-6-024312651.915926.685131663.026249  
197730SFO16145-9-024812851.616936.84791462.13024202
197932OAK164 15746.7895.9391160.129  
198033OAK16139-2-032016551.622997.286181672.93628512
198134OAK1692-5-01799452.510455.8424956.722184  
198235RAI1698-1-026115258.220357.852141577.02321154♦
198336RAI161410-3-037923060.729357.799201882.7423633♦4♦
198437RAI1685-1-019810854.514737.47361067.61310322
198538RAI1631-2-01037168.98037.8413389.613101  
198639RAI16103-5-025213352.819867.98114982.52721512
8 seasons Raidewrs7038-19-0170796056.2126657.499808175.717814711214
5 seasons Patriots6123-38-0150372948.599326.688628759.7146131766
2 seasons 49ers2611-15-049125451.732856.785223062.55649102
15-Year NFL Career15772-72-03701194352.5258827.09916419867.538032791822

Post Season Passing
YearAgeTeamGames PlayedQBrecAttCmpCmp%YardsY/ALongTDIntRatingSackedYards Lost4QCGWD
198033OAK44-0924953.38399.1807396.2128411
198235RAI21-1704564.36529.3641569.5436  
198336RAI33-0835465.16187.4502285.3543  
198437RAI10-1271451.91846.8461255.2649  
10 Playoff Games8-227216259.622938.480111281.92721211
  • + – All-Pro Selection
  • * – Pro Bowl Selection
  • ♦ – Led the League
  • ♚ – NFL Champion

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