of the 1970 Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award as the best college player
of the year, Plunkett started at quarterback for two years at Stanford
University. He completed 530 of 962 passes for 7,544 yards and 52
touchdowns, becoming the first player ever to account for more than
7,000 yards in passing and in total offense.
He was the first round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 1971
and was named rookie of the year after completing 156 of 328 attempts
for 2,158 yards and 19 touchdowns. Plunkett suffered a variety of
injuries during the next four seasons. In 1976, the Patriots traded him
to the San Francisco 49ers, who released him after the 1977 season.
Plunkett joined the Oakland Raiders as a backup during the 1978 season.
He took over as the starter after Dan Pastorini suffered a broken leg in
the fifth game in 1980 and he helped lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl
title as a wild-card team. In Oakland's 27-10 win over the Philadelphia
Eagles in Super Bowl XV, Plunkett completed 13 of 21 passes for 261
yards and 3 touchdowns and was named the game's most valuable player.
An injury limited his playing time in 1981. The Raiders moved to Los
Angeles in 1982, when a player strike shortened the season. With
Plunkett throwing well once again, the Raiders won 8 of 9 regular season
games but lost in the second round of the playoffs.
He was replaced by Marc Wilson during the 1983 season. However, Wilson
was injured and Plunkett took over to lead Los Angeles to 6 victories in
their last 7 games. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 172 yards and 1
touchdown as the Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII 38-9 over the Washington
Plunkett missed most of the 1984 season with an injury, served as a
backup in 1985 and 1986, and retired after missing all of the 1987
season with a bad shoulder. In his 17 NFL years, he completed 1,943 of
3,701 passes for 25,882 yards and 164 touchdowns. He also rushed for
1,337 yards and 14 touchdowns.