so today is December 5th, 2011. Which happens to be Jim Plunkett's 64th birthday. I was planning on doing a post sometime this week on Jim, but Hackenbush's "You Can't Have Too Many Cards" told me this morning that it was his birthday. So we have to quickly adapt and move plans forward a bit.
At the last trade night I went to, I picked up a few 1976 Topps football cards out of the Quarter box.... er... Quarter binder actually.
One of them, surprise!, was Jim Plunkett.
Jim is a guy who worked four part time jobs through junior high school and high school to help with the familie's financial situation. His mother was blind, and his father, due to a medical condition, was going blind.
Jim earned a full scholarship to Stanford University where he would play his college football.
Despite being encouraged by the NFL to come out early after his junior year for the NFL draft, Jim stayed in school for his senior year to be a good role model to the grade school kids that he tutored in his spare time.
During his Senior seasonin 1970, Plunkett led Stanford to it's first Rose Bowl win over Ohio State, earning the Heisman Trophy as best college football player, beating out Joe Theisman and Archie Manning.
Plunkett was drafted first overall by the Boston Patriots and set rookie records for touchdown passes his first season.
Jim ended up being traded to San Francisco for their starting QB, three 1st round picks, and a 2nd round pick.
Fast forward a bit, towards the end of Jim's career. It's 1981 and Plunkett is a backup with the Raiders. Due to an injury to starting QB Dan Pastorini, Jim took over the starting job and guided the Raiders to 13 wins over the next 15 games, including four in the playoffs, to lead the Raiders to a Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XV, becoming the first 'Wild Card' team to win the title. Jim also took home Super Bowl MVP.
Three years later, another injury to a starting QB, this time Marc Wilson, had Jim leading the Raiders into the playoffs once more, and once more winning the Super Bowl, defeating Washington.
If the whole 'race' thing matters to you at all, Jim was the first Latino to be a Rose Bowl winning QB. The first to win the Heisman. The first, and only, to be drafted 1st overall. The first to start a Super Bowl at QB, the first to win a Super Bowl, the first to win Super Bowl MVP. The first, and only to start and win multiple Super Bowls.
Jim Plunkett is also the only QB of any race to ever start multiple Super Bowls, and the first to win multiple Super Bowls, and NOT be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Why the heck he is not in the Hall I will never understand. We're voting guys in every year like Rod Woodson for god's sake, and we can't elect Plunkett???
Anyways... if you've stayed this long, I thank you. And next time you see a Quarter box, or binder, give it another look. You never know what you might find. There's some interesting stories hidden away in there.