DAN FOUTS

DAN FOUTS

Class of 1993
Quarterback >>> 6-3, 204
(Oregon)
1973-1987 San Diego Chargers

Daniel Francis Fouts ... Third-round draft pick, 1973 ... Played major role in transforming Chargers from also-ran to three-time AFC West champions ... Third player ever to pass for more than 40,000 yards ... Career stats: 43,040 yards, 254 touchdowns passing; 476 yards, 13 TDs rushing ... Six-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro ... NFL Most Valuable Player, 1982 ... AFC Player of Year, 1979, 1982 ... Born June 10, 1951, in San Francisco, California.

Dan Fouts, an All-Pac 8 quarterback at the University of Oregon, was the third-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1973. He played for the Chargers for 15 seasons before retiring after the 1987 campaign.

Although the 6-3, 204-pounder battled injuries for much of his career, he played a major role in transforming the Chargers from also-rans to AFC Western division champions in 1979, 1980 and 1981. While he never led his team to a Super Bowl, Fouts nevertheless won widespread acclaim as one of the truly outstanding passers of his era.

In 15 seasons, Fouts completed 3,297 passes for 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns and an 80.2-point rating. He also rushed for 476 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was one of only three quarterbacks to pass for more than 40,000 yards. He led the NFL in passing yardage four straight years from 1979 to 1982, and became the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

Fouts was the AFC Player of the Year in 1979 and then, in 1982, he was named the NFL Most Valuable Player by the Pro Football Writers of America, the AFC Player of the Year by United Press International and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by Associated Press. He was also an All-Pro choice in 1979, 1982, and 1985 and All-AFC in 1979 and 1982.

He played in six Pro Bowls in a seven-year span. In both 1980 and 1981, Fouts led the Chargers to the AFC championship game. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Chargers 34-27 in 1980 in spite of Fouts' 336-yard, two-touchdown passing performance. The 1981 AFC title game was played in 59-below-zero wind chill conditions. Still, Fouts completed 15 passes for 185 yards and the Chargers’ only touchdown, a 33-yard pass to Kellen Winslow, in a hard-fought loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Year Team
G
Att.
Comp.
Pct.
Yds.
TD
Int
Rating
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1973 San Diego
10
194
87
44.8
1126
6
13
46.0
7
32
4.6
0
1974 San Diego
11
237
115
48.5
1732
8
13
61.4
19
63
3.3
1
1975 San Diego
10
195
106
54.4
1396
2
10
59.3
23
170
7.4
2
1976 San Diego
14
359
208
57.9
2535
14
15
75.4
18
65
3.6
0
1977 San Diego
4
109
69
63.3
869
4
6
77.4
6
13
2.2
0
1978 San Diego
15
381
224
58.8
2999
24
20
83.0
20
43
2.2
2
1979 San Diego
16
530
332
62.6
4082
24
24
82.6
26
49
1.9
2
1980 San Diego
16
589
348
59.1
4715
30
24
84.7
23
15
0.7
2
1981 San Diego
16
609
360
59.1
4802
33
17
90.6
22
56
2.5
0
1982 San Diego
9
330
204
61.8
2883
17
11
93.3
9
8
0.9
1
1983 San Diego
10
340
215
63.2
2975
20
15
92.5
12
-5
-0.4
1
1984 San Diego
13
507
317
62.5
3740
19
17
83.4
12
-29
-2.4
0
1985 San Diego
14
430
254
59.1
3638
27
20
88.1
11
-1
-0.1
0
1986 San Diego
12
430
252
58.6
3031
16
22
71.4
4
-3
-0.8
0
1987 San Diego
11
364
206
56.6
2517
10
15
70.0
12
0
0.0
2
Career Total
181
5604
3297
58.8
43,040
254
242
80.2
224
476
2.1
13
Additional Career Statistics: Receiving: 1-0

Championship Games

1980 AFC– Oakland Raiders 34, San Diego Chargers 27
Fouts started at quarterback. He completed 22 of 45 passes for 185 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had one rush for six yards.

1981 AFC– Cincinnati Bengals 27, San Diego Chargers 7
Fouts started at quarterback. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had one rush for two yards.

All-NFL: 1979 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW) • 1982 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW) • 1985 (NEA)

All-NFL Second Team: 1980 (AP) • 1985 (AP)

All-AFC: 1979 (UPI, SN, PW) • 1982 (UPI)

All-AFC Second Team: 1980 (UPI) • 1981 (UPI) • 1983 (UPI) • 1985 (UPI)

(6) – 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986

(at time of his retirement following 1987 season)

• [1st] Most Consecutive Seasons Leading League in Passing Yards – 4 (1979-1982)
• [1st] Most Seasons 3,000 or More Yards Passing – 6 (1979-1981, 1984-86)
• [1st] Most Games 300 or More Yards Passing, Career – 51
• [1st] Most Fumbles, Career – 106
• [Tied for 1st] Most Consecutive Games 400 or More Yards Passing, Season – 2 (1982)
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Career – 5,604
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Season – 609 (1981)
• [2nd] Most Pass Completions, Career – 3,297
• [2nd] Most Yards Passing, Career – 43,040
• [2nd] Most Games 400 or More Yards Passing, Career – 6
• [2nd] Most Yards Passing, Season – 4,802 (1981)
• [2nd] Most Games 300 or More Yards Passing, Season – 8 (1980)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Seasons Leading League in Passing Yards – 4 (1979-1982)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Games 300 or More Yards Passing, Season – 4 (1979)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Fumbles Recovered, Career – 38
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Games 400 or More Yards Passing, Season – 2 (1982, 1985)
• [3rd] Most Pass Completions, Season – 360 (1981)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Games 300 or More Yards Passing, Season – 7 (1981, 1985)
• [Tied for 3rd] Most Own Fumbles Recovered, Career – 37

Postseason Records

• [1st] Most Games 300 or More Yards Passing – 5
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games 300 or More Yards Passing – 4 (1979-1981)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Pass Completions, Game – 33 (at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [2nd] Most Yards Passing, Game – 433 (vs. Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts Without An Interception, Game – 42 (vs. Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1983)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 53 (vs. Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Pass Interceptions, Game – 5 (vs. Houston. Dec. 29, 1979; vs. Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)

Pro Bowl Records

• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Career – 120
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Career – 63
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Career – 890
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Game – 274 (1983)
• [1st] Most Passes Intercepted, Career – 8
• [1st] Most Fumbles, Career – 6
• [Tied for 1st] Most Fumbles Recovered, Career – 3
• [Tied for 1st] Most Fumbles Recovered, Game – 2 (1982)
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 30 (1983)
• [2nd] Most Pass Completions, Game – 17 (1983)
• [2nd] Highest Average Passing Gain, Career – 7.42
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Fumbles, Game – 3 (1982)
• [3rd] Most Pass Completions, Game – 16 (1986)
• [3rd] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Career – 52.5
• [3rd] Most Passes Intercepted, Game – 3 (1986)

Chargers’ records held by Fouts
(Records through the 1987 season, Fouts’ last season with San Diego)

• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Career – 5,604
• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Season – 609 (1981)
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Career – 3,297
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Season – 360 (1981)
• [1st] Most Consecutive Pass Completions – 15 (at Cleveland, Sept. 7, 1981)
• [1st] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Career – 59.0
• [1st] Most Seasons Leading League in Passing Yards – 4 (1979-1982)
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Career – 43,040
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Season – 4,802 (1981)
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Game – 444 (vs. New York Giants, Oct. 19, 1980; at San Francisco, Dec. 11, 1982)
• [1st] Most Games 300 or More Yards Passing, Career – 51
• [1st] Most Games 300 or More Yards Passing, Season – 8 (1980)
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games 300 or More Yards Passing – 4 (1979, 1980-81)
• [1st] Most Games 400 or More Yards Passing, Career – 6
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Career – 254
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Season – 33 (1981)
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Game – 6 (at Oakland, Nov. 22, 1981)
• [1st] Most Consecutive Games With A Touchdown Passes – 20 (1979-1980)
• [1st] Most Passes Intercepted, Career – 242
• [1st] Most Consecutive Pass Attempts Without An Interception – 168 (Sept. 27-Oct. 25, 1981)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Seasons – 15
• [Tied for 1st] Most Pass Completions, Game – 37 (vs. Miami, Nov. 18, 1984)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Seasons Leading League in Touchdown Passes – 2 (1981-82)
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 56 (vs. Miami, Nov. 18, 1984)
• [2nd] Most Pass Completions, Game – 33 (at Tampa Bay, Dec. 13, 1981; at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982; at San Francisco, Dec. 11, 1982)
• [2nd] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Season – 63.2 (1983)
• [2nd] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Game – 80.0 (vs. Seattle, Oct. 14, 1979)
• [2nd] Lowest Interception Percentage, Season – 2.79 (1981)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdown Passes, Game – 5 (at San Francisco, Dec. 11, 1982; at Baltimore, Dec. 26, 1982)
• [Tied for 2nd] Fewest Pass Interceptions, Season – 11 (1983)
• [3rd] Most Games Played – 181
• [3rd] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 53 (at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [3rd] Most Pass Completions, Game – 31 (at Green Bay, Oct. 7, 1984)
• [3rd] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Game – 78.3 (at Cleveland, Dec. 5, 1982)
• [3rd] Most Consecutive Pass Attempts Without An Interception – 108 (1975-76)

Postseason Records

• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Career – 286
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Career – 159
• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 53 (at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Game – 33 (at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [1st] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Career – 55.6
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Career – 2,125
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Game – 433 (vs. Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [1st] Longest Pass Completion – 55 (to Ron Smith - vs. Oakland, Jan. 11, 1981)
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Career – 12
• [1st] Most Touchdown Passes, Game – 3 (at Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1983; at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [1st] Most Passes Intercepted, Career – 16
• [1st] Most Pass Interceptions, Game – 5 (vs. Houston. Dec. 29, 1979; vs. Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [1st] Lowest Interception Percentage, Career – 5.594
• [Tied for 1st] Most Games, Career – 7
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 47 (vs. Houston, Dec. 29, 1979)
• [2nd] Most Pass Completions, Game – 27 (at Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1983)
• [2nd] Highest Passer Rating, Career – 70.1
• [2nd] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Game – 64.3 (at Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1983)
• [2nd] Most Yards Passing, Game – 336 (vs. Oakland, Jan. 11, 1981)
• [2nd] Longest Pass Completion – 50t (to Ron Smith - vs. Buffalo, Jan. 3, 1981)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdown Passes, Game – 2 (vs. Oakland, Jan. 11, 1981; vs. Buffalo, Jan. 3, 1981)
• [3rd] Highest Passer Rating, Game – 112.4 (at Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1983)
• [3rd] Most Pass Attempts, Game – 45 (vs. Oakland, Jan. 11, 1981)
• [3rd] Most Pass Completions, Game – 25 (vs. Houston, Dec. 29, 1979)
• [3rd] Highest Pass Completion Percentage, Game – 62.3 (at Miami, Jan. 2, 1982)
• [3rd] Most Yards Passing, Game – 333 (at Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1983)
• [Tied for 3rd] Longest Pass Completion – 48t (to Charlie Joiner - vs. Oakland, Jan. 11, 1981)

NFL Statistical Championships
Passing Touchdown Leader: 1981, 1982

AFC Statistical Championships
Passing Titles: 1979
Passing Touchdown Leader: 1980, 1981, 1982

Team Statistical Championships
Passing Titles: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987

• 1980s All-Decade Team
• 1979 AFC Player of the Year (UPI, SN)
• 1982 Most Valuable Player (PFWA, NEA)
• 1982 AFC Player of the Year (UPI)
• 1982 Offensive Player of the Year (AP, PW)

Year Team W L T Division Finish
1973 San Diego Chargers 2 11 1 (4th)
1974 San Diego Chargers 5 9 0 (4th)
1975 San Diego Chargers 2 12 0 (4th)
1976 San Diego Chargers 6 8 0 (3rd)
1977 San Diego Chargers 7 7 0 (3rd)
1978 San Diego Chargers 9 7 0 (4th)
1979 San Diego Chargers 12 4 0 (1st)
1980 San Diego Chargers 11 5 0 (1st)
1981 San Diego Chargers 10 6 0 (1st)
1982 San Diego Chargers 6 3 0 (5th*)
1983 San Diego Chargers 6 10 0 (4th)
1984 San Diego Chargers 7 9 0 (5th)
1985 San Diego Chargers 8 8 0 (4th)
1986 San Diego Chargers 4 12 0 (5th)
1987 San Diego Chargers 8 7 0 (3rd)
* AFC regular season finish in strike-shortened season.

 

Full Name: Daniel Francis Fouts

Birthdate: June 10, 1951

Birthplace: San Francisco, California

High School: St. Ignatius (San Francisco, CA)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 31, 1993

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: July 31, 1993

Presenter: Don Coryell, Fouts' coach with the San Diego Chargers

Other Members of Class of 1993: Larry Little, Chuck Noll, Walter Payton, Bill Walsh

Pro Career: 15 Seasons, 181 games

Drafted: 3rd round (84th player overall) in 1973 by San Diego Chargers

Uniform Number: 14

 

Pro Football Hall of Fame
July 31, 1993
 

Don Coryell (presenter):
Thank you, inductees and ladies and gentlemen. It’s been very rewarding and very exciting for me to be one of Dan's coaches and to be able to present him to the Hall of Fame makes me extremely proud.

Now, to many people Dan is a legend and the fans remember him I know as an inspirational leader and of course as a fearless competitor. He was a tall, feisty, bearded quarterback who had fire in his eye and fans remember, of course, the way he walked to the line of scrimmage, the way he looked over the defense and the way he called the signals. His opponents remember him because of his quick drop and the way he set and threw the ball without hesitation. He could see the whole field and find the receiver quickly. Dan would stay in the pocket to the last second and take a hit without flinching. To win, opponents had to defense Dan very well or less, like many of them did, score a lot of points.

His receivers knew that if they got open they would get the ball. His passes were perfectly timed and if the receiver read the defense right and made the right move the ball would be in his face before he turned his head. He made it easy for the receivers.
Dan had a special love for his offensive linemen. They were his buddies. He had a way of exciting these big guys and they all loved him. They were a close knit group and they were good, they were a very good team and Dan was one of them. By the way, three of them are here today. Now, we coaches knew that Dan was extremely bright and very skilled and if we let him do the things that he did best, that we’d have a good chance to win. Now, our defense knew that if they were tired, they better sit down and get a drink of water fast because Dan could score in a hurry and get back on the field.

Dan was in charge. He instilled confidence. In the huddle he did all the talking except once. At the start of a series Dan said, give me 10 good plays and we’ll score. His good friend, big Ed White, groaned and said, ‘hey, Dan I'm hurting let's make it eight.’ And old Dan you know he is ready to accommodate, he said, ‘well okay, for you Ed we will score in eight.’

When Dan was too beat up to play, we had to force him to the sidelines. He never pampered himself. He never saved himself for the next game. Winning the game he was playing was the only important thing. I remember the sinking feeling I used to get inside of me when I’d see him during the week with ice packs on both elbows, both shoulders and both ankles usually. He’d walk like a robot. He wasn't able to practice because he was injured so badly at times.

Pregame warm ups he would have an angry look on his face, I knew he didn't want me to ask him if he was okay. But I watched him and as he got more excited, he became more feisty and even more nasty and very, very short tempered. That was a very, very good sign and I was relieved. I knew he was able to play. He started 171 out of 178 games and many of these games, he was injured but he still played that ball game. He didn't have to play. He was so courageous and he was so tough and he was so loyal to his teammates and his team and he would make any personal sacrifice to win.

No, Dan does not fit into any mold. He will never be duplicated. He was special, very, very special and my personal feeling when you add together all his personal abilities and his virtues, his accomplishments, he is the greatest quarterback in my mind that’s ever played the ball game. In my mind I know there are a lot of them, but that’s how I feel. It is my honor to present Dan Fouts into the Football Hall of Fame.

Dan Fouts
Thank you, coach. Thank you very much really from the bottom of my heart. Of all the thank yous that I’d had to dole out in the last six months from my election into the Hall of Fame and the thank you I give to you is the most significant because if it wasn't for you, Don Coryell and an offense named “Air Coryell,” I most assuredly would not be here accepting this induction to the Hall of Fame.
You know since retiring from the NFL five years ago and going into broadcasting I want to do something now that I haven’t been able to do that you see all players doing all the time on the sidelines and I just want to say, ‘hi mom, hi dad, hi Nick and Susie and hi Geri.’

This is obviously a great day in my life and in the lives of my family and friends and I want to thank all of you who have flown here all the way from the west coast for being here. I know how difficult and expensive it is to break up your summer vacation and I certainly and sincerely appreciate you all being here. Where this is a great honor and a thrill to be here, this is also a very difficult speech to give. It’s hard because there are no rules, there are no guidelines, the only thing they tell you is that you have eight minutes and then they turn a little red light on and then you are supposed to get off. Well, there’s the red light. And, I think I am going to give it to the coach and when there’s two minutes to go, he will turn it on.

Like many of you, I’ve watched these ceremonies on TV and some of these speeches have been very good, some of them have been bad, some of them have been moving and inspirational and some of them have just laid there. Some of have been funny and witty, some of them political and others rather inane and didn't you love it when Terry Bradshaw stood up here and pretended to get under center, he wanted one more chance. What about the time Earl Campbell stood here and said quoting Willie Nelson ‘Who’ll buy my memories.’ Well, like you Earl and like you Terry, my memories are not for sale. But I wouldn't mind having a shot at some of the money the owners are throwing around.

In a career that spanned 15 years, I have had thousands of teammates and hundreds of coaches and I appreciate all of them. All of their help and tolerance, all of their support and guidance. And I have always prided myself as being an honest person, perhaps sometimes too honest, but honest nonetheless. My teammates and my opponents will tell you they know and they knew exactly where I stood on every matter. Whether it was a crucial 3rd and long and 4th down or discussing a referee's mark or sitting around debating the Players Association or who was going to buy the next round of beers, my teammates always knew exactly where I stood. I always made my honest feelings known so it is with that in mind that I stand before you today on the steps of the Hall of Fame to tell you that without a doubt that I am the luckiest man in the world.

And lucky for many reasons. Lucky to have had a family who supported me through the good times and the bad. A mother and father who when I went to them when I was 11 years old and asked for permission to play football they both told me I had to play quarterback or I couldn't play at all. Now coach that should tell you the shape of my body when I was eleven. I was lucky to have brothers Bob and John to play catch with, sisters Patty and Nancy to talk to. Their love and caring saw me through. Their and their families’ 100% attendance today illustrates just how special the Fouts family is.

You know I have been lucky to play my entire career in one city, San Diego, 15 years, same team. And, I played with the greatest quarterback that ever played the game, Johnny Unitas. And I know Johnny U is watching this somewhere today and I just want to say hi John quit shaking your head I am really here. Because I know John Unitas and Dan Fouts is no John Unitas.

I am lucky to have played for a coach who could cut through all that coach speak and lay it out in the simplest of terms. You’d come over the sidelines in the crucial time out late in the game and the other assistant coaches would be saying, ‘well, you have to read the defense, throw it to x to z try to get it into the seam if not then you dump it off to the halfback and da’ da’ da’ da da.’ And, he’d grab me and he would shake me and say, ‘dammit, just throw it J.J. (John Jefferson).’ I would, he'd catch it first down and then we’d score.

It is my sincere hope that my inclusion into the Hall of Fame helps open the doors for so many others deserving athletes and coaches who have not participated in a Super Bowl game or worse yet, did not come out on top in that game. To me the Hall of Fame is about influence on and contribution to the game of pro football. I was lucky enough to play for and with such worthy individuals. There’s no coach that has had as big an influence on how offensive football is played today as has Don Coryell. The offense that became known as “Air Coryell” led the NFL in passing seven of eight years in a row. That statistical fact is unparalleled in the history of the game. You can look it up. And, all you have to do is tune into CBS any Sunday and you will see multiple formations, substitutions, shifting, flexing, men in motion and a bombs away attitude that Don Coryell made a routine part of the greatest passing offense in the history of football.

At the time of his retirement, no offensive lineman played in more games than Ed White. Over 17 seasons “Big Ed” played in 241 games, 24 playoff games and four Super Bowls, represented the Minnesota Vikings and the Chargers in the Pro Bowls and no offensive lineman was more feared or more respected than my buddy the biggest of Eds.

And could someone please tell me how the voters could continue to overlook the exploits of Charlie Joiner. All Charlie did was catch more passes for more yards and played more games than any other wide receiver in football. Two of those marks have been surpassed but he still has played in more games, 239, as a wide receiver.

Can anybody show me a better tight end than Kellen Winslow or a better wide receiver than Wes Chandler or John Jefferson? Am I bias? Okay, Swann and Stallworth that's okay. I am bias, these are my coaches, these are my teammates, they’re my friends but they are more than anything most deserving.

I am so proud to join these men over here and with these men behind me in this the Hall of Fame. Can you imagine a better class to go in with – Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Larry Little and Walter Payton? I told you I was lucky.

I’m also the happiest man in the world right now. Because it’s been said that a pro football career is similar to a roller coaster ride. I’ve gone from a pro prospect, to a third-round selection, to a rookie quarterback to a fledgling quarterback, to a struggling quarterback to a promising signal caller, to All-Pro almost, to All-Pro, Player of the Year, to potential Hall of Famer, to aging superstar, to ex-quarterback, to certain Hall of Famer, to elected in first year of eligibility, this gold jacket, these steps, this Hall of Fame and as a roller coaster ride it too has been thrilling. Thank you very much.

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