Joe Theismann
Birth Date:
September 9, 1949
Birth Place:
New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
6' (1.83 m)
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The Redskins


“Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.” Joe Theismann

Former American football quarterback in the National Football League Joe Theismann played college football for the University of Notre Dame, during which time he led the Fighting Irish to a 20-3-2 record and was named a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1970. He even now still holds Notre Dame's single-game record for most passing yards (526). Theismann spent 12 years of his 15-years of professional career with the Washington Redskins (from 1974 to his retirement in 1985). The most productive quarterback ever for the Redskins, he led the team to a Super Bowl XVII victory and an appearance in the Super Bowl XVIII. He was selected NFL's MVP in 1983 and the Super Bowl's MVP in 1984. He has been inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey.

After retiring from football, ex- Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts (1971-1973) Theismann has a career in broadcasting. He was a color commentator on ESPN's “Sunday Night Football” from 1988 to 2005 and their “Monday Night Football” in 2006. He also has acted in a few films and appeared on numerous TV shows.

As for his personal life, the 6-foot tall sportsman has been married three times. He married first wife Shari Brown from 1971 to 1985, with whom he has three children, and second wife Jeanne Caruso from 1991 to 1995. He is now the husband of Robin Smith.

The Squirmin' German

Childhood and Family:

Joe Theismann was born Joseph Robert Theismann on September 9, 1949, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His father, Joseph John Theismann, came from Austria and his mother, Olga Tobias, was a Hungarian immigrant. He was raised in South River, NJ, and was educated at South River High School in New Jersey, where he played high school football along side future Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Drew Pearson, and then at the University of Notre Dame.

In 1971, Joe was married to Shari Brown, but the bond ended in divorce on March 27, 1985, after producing three kids. He married second wife Jeanne Caruso from 1991 until April 1995. Now, Joe is married to Robin Smith.

The former quarterback in NFL is known by the nickname The Squirmin' German.

In and Outside the Field


Joe Theismann began playing football in high school at South River High School before joining the team of University of Notre Dame. As a sophomore in Notre Dame, he was appointed the team's starter late in the season, replacing Terry Hanratty who was injured, and went on to guide the Irish team for two wins and a tie in their three games. In 1969, he brought the Irish a No. 5 ranking, their first bowl appearance since 45 years, as well as a near touched of national champion Texas. 1970 saw the Irish have a 10-1 record, a No. 2 ranking, and a revenge win over top-ranked Texas, with Theismann himself peaking at No. 2 on the Heisman voting and being acknowledged as a first-team All-America and as an Academic All-America. He created school records for passing yards in a game, yards in a season and touchdowns in a season. For his outstanding collegiate career, later in 2003, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

“When you look at me, Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia, some guys have had a fair amount of success going the Canadian route. Better than sitting on an NFL bench, you learn how to manage a football game, how to handle the pressure. Not to demean the league, but the CFL really has become a feeder to the NFL.” Joe Theismann

Theismann started his 15-year of professional career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1971. He was formerly selected in the forth round by the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League in its 1971 Draft and Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins as shortstop in the 1971 Major League Baseball Draft, but he joined the Argonauts instead of playing for the Dolphins or the Twins. As a rookie, Theismann and his team achieved a 10-4 record and he brought home the league's eastern conference passing title and nabbed a position in the Grey Cup championship game in Vancouver, British Columbia versus the Calgary Stampeders (59th Grey Cup). However, the Argonauts were lost in the game.

After completing 148 of 278 passes for 2440 yards and 17 Tds in the first season in 1971, Theismann's second season with the Argonauts was marked with injury. Still, he dosed 77 of 127 passes for 1157 yards and 10 Tds. In his third and last season, in 1973, he completed 157 of his 274 passes for 2496 yards and both 13 TDs and interceptions. He was an all star in 1971 and also in 1973.

In 1974, Theismann left the Canadian Football League and moved to National Football League, where he would spend the rest of his career with Washington Redskins. Starting out by volunteering to be the Redskins' punt returner, he was chosen four years later, 1978, as the team's starting quarterback after Billy Kilmer became unproductive. One of his most memorable moment with the Redskins came when he led his team to a Super Bowl XVII victory in 1982. The same year, he was also awarded a Man of the Year honor from NFL due to his community service and excellence on the field. He continued to pick up NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1983 and also received another award in the category of Offensive Player of the Year, that same year. In his second appearance in a Pro Bowl game in 1984, Theismann was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Theismann's career with the Redskins also marked with the setting of several Redskins franchise records, such as most career passing attempts (3,602), most career passing yards (25,206) and most career passing completions (2,044). He also threw 160 touchdown passes, with 138 interceptions, and on the ground, he rushed for 1,815 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“It was at that point, I also found out what a magnificent machine the human body is. Almost immediately, from the knee down, all the feeling was gone in my right leg. The endorphins had kicked in, and I was not in pain.” Joe Theismann

Theismann's NFL career ended in 1985 following a leg injury caused by linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants during a nationally-broadcast “NFL Monday Night Football” game. His lower leg bones were broken halfway between his ankle and his knee. Though he was forced to retire from football early, at the time he was 36, Theismann has never darned Taylor for his injury. Taylor himself has stated that he has never seen film of the play and never wants to.

Following his retirement, Theismann maintained in public eye by pursuing a career in broadcasting. From 1988 to 2005, he served as a color commentator on ESPN's “Sunday Night Football,” and took the same duty on the network's “Monday Night Football” in 2006. Ron Jaworski replaced him in the “Monday Night Football” booth in 2007. Aside from covering football, Theismann also hosted the first season of “American Gladiators” in 1989 and had a minor acting career in the early-1980s and early-1990s. He played Jack on Robert Day's “The Man with Bogart's Face” (1980) and was cast along side Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise in the action/comedy “Cannonball Run II” (1984). He made his TV film debut with a supporting part as Phil Corey on the comedy-drama “The Man from Left Field” (1993), starring and directed by Reynolds.

In 2007, Theismann co-hosted with Forbes Riley an infomercial for the “Barefoot Science” arch activation system. On October 31, 2007, he appeared as a guest star in an episode of the talk show “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”


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