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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson during the 2007 NFL season.
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: September 13, 1968 (1968-09-13) (age 41)
Place of birth: Marietta, Georgia
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 238 lb (108 kg)
Career information
College: Florida State
NFL Draft: 1992 / Round: 9 / Pick: 227
Debuted in 1994 for the Minnesota Vikings
Last played in 2008 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
TD-INT     164-117
Passing yards     28,627
QB Rating     83.1
Stats at NFL.com

James Bradley Johnson (born September 13, 1968 in Marietta, Georgia) is a former quarterback in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He played college football at Florida State.

Contents

Early years

Brad went to Charles D. Owen High School in Black Mountain, North Carolina and spent college at Florida State University. He was a high school All-American in football and basketball.

Professional career

He is best known for leading the Buccaneers past the Oakland Raiders in a 48-21 rout during Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 where he threw for two touchdowns and 215 yards.

Brad ranks 28th in career passer rating in NFL history.[1] Johnson holds a 72-53 career record as a starter and has completed over 60% of his passes for 13[2] straight seasons (1995-2007), the first quarterback in NFL history to do this[2] (Peyton Manning is second with ten straight seasons[3]).

He has been twice selected to Pro Bowl: in 1999 and 2002. In 2003 he was named to USA Today's All-Joe team which recognizes the NFL's most unsung players.

He has eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark five times. In 1999, he became only the second Washington Redskins quarterback in franchise history to eclipse 4,000 yards. He had the top passer rating in the NFC in 2002 and he has earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors seven times in his career. He has also broken almost every passer record at Tampa Bay. To date, Brad Johnson is the only NFL quarterback to have thrown a touchdown pass to himself.[3] Against the Carolina Panthers in 1997, Johnson caught his deflected pass, juked, and ran three yards for a touchdown.

In 2003 he won the NFL's "Quarterback Challenge" competition, in which he beat Pro Bowl QBs Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Jeff Garcia, Mark Brunell, Marc Bulger and others like Byron Leftwich and Joey Harrington in a skills competition with four parts involving accuracy, speed and mobility, long distance throw, and "No Huddle."[4] Former teammate Sean Salisbury said that despite having big, strong arms and a great deep ball, Brad always played it safe and went for the fast and easy completion which earned him the nickname "Checkdown Charlie" among friends.[5]

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Early Minnesota years

Brad Johnson wasn't a full-time starter in college and was more interested in playing basketball. In 1992 he was drafted out of the Florida State University in the 9th round as the 227th overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings with a pick they obtained from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the backup quarterback, only playing in a few games, and a season in NFL Europe until starting QB Warren Moon was injured in 1996. He started eight of twelve games that year earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice and finishing third in the NFC with an 89.4 passer rating. The next year in 1997 he started again and was rated fourth in the NFC with 20 TDs and 3,036 passing yards, but suffered a season-ending neck injury in the 13th game. It was during this season that Johnson became the first player to complete a pass to himself for a touchdown in NFL history.

In 1998, he started the first two games for the Vikings before breaking his leg in week 2. After his leg healed, Johnson resumed his starting role in week 10, but broke his thumb in the third quarter of that game. After that, Johnson's playing time was limited to one appearance in week 16. QB Randall Cunningham started the other games. That year, the Vikings went 15-1 and Cunningham had the best passer rating in the league, an incredible 106.0, the second-most touchdown passes with 34, the fifth-most passing yards with 3,704, and was awarded NFL's MVP award by the Maxwell Club.

After this, Vikings coach Dennis Green decided to start Cunningham and trade Johnson to the Washington Redskins for a first, a future second, and a third-round draft pick. This was to be regretted the next year because Johnson went on to have his best season yet in Washington, while the Vikings began at 2-4 with Cunningham throwing more interceptions than touchdowns and getting benched and replaced by his backup, Jeff George, who helped the team to an 8-2 finish and a playoff spot. George was unable to be resigned as a Viking, with Washington offering a more lucrative deal. Green decided in favor of starting untested second-year QB Daunte Culpepper in his first year as starter.

Washington Redskins

In 1999, Brad had the best season yet at Washington, making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career with a 90.0 passer rating with 4,005 yards, 24 TDs and 13 INTs. His 316 completions set a Washington team record and his 4,005 passing yards ranks second all-time in Redskins history. He was also NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice that year again. He led the Washington Redskins to the playoffs and defeated the Detroit Lions in the first-round before falling to Tampa Bay by a single point the following week. The following year in 2000 the Redskins went 8-8, Johnson threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and he was traded to the Bucs while Jeff George started in Washington for 2001. They immediately regretted this when George had the worst stats in the league and was benched for Tony Banks after the second game with a 0-2 start while Johnson again had another great season in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay and the Super Bowl

In 2001, Johnson was reunited with former Vikings assistant-coach Tony Dungy for his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That year, he broke Tampa Bay team records for passing yards with 3,406, completions with 340, and attempts with 540. In his 2002-2003 season he led the Buccaneers to their first ever Super Bowl championship and earned his 2nd Pro Bowl appearance. He was helped in the Super Bowl by a defense that scored 21 of their 48 points. That year Johnson also became the first ever Bucs QB to lead the NFC in passer rating at 92.9, and set new team records for touchdowns with 22, completion percentage at 62.3, consecutive passes without an interception with 187, and lowest interception percentage with 1.3%. He was NFC Offensive Player of the Week twice again against Minnesota and Atlanta.

After the Super Bowl, the Bucs ran into some problems. Although Johnson had good passing stats in 2003-2004 the year after the Super Bowl (3,811 yards, 26 touchdowns to break the Buc record again, 21 interceptions, named 2003 Buc MVP by the Tampa Sports Club) and 2004 (63% completion rate) they benched him the fourth game into the 2004 season because the team had gone 4-11 for the last 15 games Johnson started. When the backup quarterback, Chris Simms was injured they started 3rd string quarterback Brian Griese instead of Johnson partly because of salary cap problems. Johnson asked out and was cut from the team at the end of the season. When he couldn't find a starting quarterback job he signed with the Minnesota Vikings to be the backup quarterback, the same exact spot where he began his NFL career.

Back in Minnesota

In 2005, Minnesota was struggling with now three-time Pro Bowler Daunte Culpepper starting at quarterback. Randy Moss had been traded in 2004, and four-time Pro Bowl Center Matt Birk was injured so Culpepper was expected to carry the offense against the top defenses in the NFL. While playing without any offensive weapons, and falling behind early in games the Vikings began the season at 2-5 with Culpepper throwing twice as many interceptions - twelve - as touchdowns - six - and five fumbles (three lost) before tearing his MCL, ACL, and PCL in the seventh game.

Johnson then took over as starting quarterback and the team then finished the season 7-2 with a six-game winning streak needing only one more win to go to the playoffs. However this was mostly due to entering the soft part of the schedule and an improved defense/special teams which set an NFL record for returning an interception, kickoff, and punt for touchdowns all in one game. Brad played very well and set a team record for lowest interception to attempt ratio (1.3% - same as his record in Tampa) which was the lowest in the NFL among starting QBs. While starting against teams that included the second (Bears), fourth (Ravens), fifth (Steelers), and seventh (Packers) ranked defenses in the NFL[6] his passer rating was the third best in the NFC among starting quarterbacks[7], and was also better than three QBs selected to the Pro Bowl. But he struggled in those particular games with the exception of the Bears game in which the Bears had already clinched the division and played all of their 2nd and 3rd stringers. He also scored more touchdowns per game than four selected to the Pro Bowl. And despite his age he threw just as many 40+ yard passes as top 29 yr old QB Peyton Manning - six - in seven fewer games, which was the same amount as his Super Bowl year which had four more games.

Johnson was named the starting quarterback for the Vikings 2006 season, and a few days before the second game he turned 38 which made him the oldest starting quarterback in the league. Many felt his quick-release style was a good fit for then-new coach Brad Childress's highly touted West Coast system. The knowledge he had acquired from going to the playoffs under four different coaching systems and having winning records with seven different head coaches seemed to be an asset for first time head coach Childress. In the preseason, Johnson had a passer rating of 110.7, one of the top 10 in the league out of more than 100 quarterbacks who performed.

However in the regular season, Johnson struggled worse than Daunte Culpepper did in 2005, throwing eight touchdowns to fifteen interceptions. Midway through the season, he had already set an NFL record for passes completed short of a first down on third down in a season. Many fans grew restless for the benching of Johnson because of his conservative checkdowns, immobility, and at the same time reckless decisions which plagued the Vikings offense. His quarterback-rating on 3rd downs, with a lead, from behind, and in the red zone were the worst in the entire league. 31 QBs threw more touchdown passes while only 10 threw more interceptions than Johnson in the 2006 NFL season.

On February 28, 2007, the Vikings released Brad Johnson in favor of rookie QB Tarvaris Jackson.

Dallas Cowboys

On March 5, 2007 he signed a three year deal with the Cowboys to back up Tony Romo. Johnson played little in the 2007 season. He played in Week 17 against the Washington Redskins. Johnson completed 7 of 11 passes for 79 yards for no touchdowns or interceptions. Washington won 27-6.

During the 2008 season, Romo suffered a broken pinkie finger on his throwing hand in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson started for the Cowboys during the next 3 weeks until the injury has healed. In Johnson's Week 7 start against the St. Louis Rams, Johnson completed 17 of 34 passes for 234 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also had one fumble in the 34-14 loss. [8]

In week 8, despite winning 13-9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he only passed for 122 yards and 1 TD to Roy E. Williams, and the Cowboys had the lowest total offensive yards in a winning game: 172 yards.

In week 9, he did even worse against the New York Giants. He only completed 5 of 11 passes for 71 yards and had 2 passes intercepted. He was replaced by third-string quarterback Brooks Bollinger at the start of the second half.

After the Cowboys' bye week, Tony Romo returned from a broken pinky to take back the starting QB role.

On February 26, 2009, the Dallas Cowboys released Brad Johnson.[4]

After being released from the Cowboys, he retired from football.

Career statistics

Year Team G Passing Rushing
Comp Att PCT Yards Y/A TD INT Att Yards TD
1994 MIN 4 22 37 59.5 150 4.1 0 0 2 -2 0
1995 MIN 5 25 36 69.4 272 7.6 0 2 9 -9 0
1996 MIN 12 195 311 62.7 2,258 7.3 17 10 34 90 1
1997 MIN 13 275 452 60.8 3,036 6.7 20 12 35 139 0
1998 MIN 4 65 101 64.4 747 7.4 7 5 12 15 0
1999 WSH 16 316 519 60.9 4,005 7.7 24 13 26 31 2
2000 WSH 12 227 364 62.4 2,505 6.9 11 15 22 58 1
2001 TB 16 340 559 60.8 3,406 6.1 13 11 39 120 3
2002 TB 13 281 451 62.3 3,049 6.8 22 6 13 30 0
2003 TB 16 354 570 62.1 3,811 6.7 26 21 25 33 0
2004 TB 4 65 103 63.1 674 6.5 3 3 5 23 0
2005 MIN 15 184 294 62.6 1,885 6.4 12 4 18 53 0
2006 MIN 15 270 439 61.5 2,750 6.3 9 15 29 82 1
2007 DAL 16 7 11 63.6 79 7.2 0 0 5 -5 0
2008 DAL 16 41 78 52.6 427 5.5 2 5 2 -1 0
Total 178 2,668 4,326 61.7 29,054 6.7 166 122 276 657 8

Personal

Johnson has two children with his wife, Nikki.[5] His brother-in-law is Mark Richt, head football coach at the University of Georgia football team. Johnson's father is Rick Johnson, who helped establish the Winshape Camps after working several years at Ridgecrest Camps.

References

  1. ^ "Career Passer Rating Leaders", Pro-Football-Reference.com
  2. ^ "Brad Johnson Statistics", Pro-Football-Reference.com
  3. ^ "Peyton Manning Statistics", Pro-Football-Reference.com
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ bradjohnson14.com-Profile

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Warren Moon
Minnesota Vikings Starting Quarterbacks
1996-1998
Succeeded by
Randall Cunningham
Preceded by
Trent Green
Washington Redskins Starting Quarterbacks
1999-2000
Succeeded by
Jeff George
Preceded by
Shaun King
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Quarterbacks
2001-2004
Succeeded by
Brian Griese
Preceded by
Daunte Culpepper
Minnesota Vikings Starting Quarterbacks
2005-2006
Succeeded by
Tarvaris Jackson
Preceded by
Tarvaris Jackson
Minnesota Vikings Backup Quarterbacks
2006
Succeeded by
Kelly Holcomb
Preceded by
Tony Romo
Dallas Cowboys Starting Quarterbacks
2008
Succeeded by
Tony Romo

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