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Jim Del Gaizo (Born May 31, 1947 in Everett, Massachusetts) was a professional American football quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants. His career in the National Football League lasted five seasons (1971-1975).

Early Life

Jim grew up in Revere, Massachusetts while performing as the star quarterback for the Revere Patriots. He still holds Revere High's most notable passing records.

Career

After playing college football at both Syracuse (where he shares the record with several other quarterbacks, most notably Donovan McNabb, for most touchdowns passes, 4, in a single game) and Tampa, the left-handed Del Gaizo went undrafted by any NFL team in an unusual NFL draft that saw only three quarterbacks taken in the first six rounds and only 17 total selected in the entire 17 rounds. Del Gaizo is one of only two quarterbacks ever to play at Tampa who made appearances in the NFL. He made the 1971 Dolphins roster as a walk on, and spent the 1971 season as the third string quarterback.

His rookie season (technically his second season although his first one on an active roster) was a memorable one, as he was a small part of the Miami Dolphins' undefeated 17-0 season in 1972 that culminated in a victory in Super Bowl VII. Del Gaizo appeared in a backup role in 4 games, completing 5 of 9 passes for 2 touchdowns and one interception. He also lost one fumble.

The Dolphins did not retain his services for the 1973 season; however, his stock had risen after two good preseasons coupled with his game performances in the 1972 season, and he was traded to the Green Bay Packers for two second round picks (one in 1974 and one in 1975), which is in itself a memorable accomplishment for a former undrafted walk-on. Green Bay is where he saw his most extensive game action, appearing in eight games while starting two. He suffered a separated shoulder early, a nagging injury, and could not hold onto the starting job, however, and his season stats reflected a subpar season: 27-69 passing, 2 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and 3 fumbles (2 of which he recovered). In the stike season of 1974, he was traded to the New York Giants for a third round draft pick.

Del Gaizo's final season was spent with the New York Giants, where he appeared in four games (one start), completing just 12 of 32 passes with no touchdowns and three interceptions. The Giants released him and Del Gaizo never appeared in another NFL regular season game. However, he was re-signed by the Dolphins for the seond half of the 1975 season after injuries had sidelined both Bob Griese and Earl Morral, and was on the roster for the final three games of the season, but did not play.

He was invited to camp the following season, and went on to have a spectacular 1976 pre-season for the Dolphins, where he completed 25 passes out of 40 attempts, for 372 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He fully expected to make the roster; however, he was cut by the Dolphins. He had played his way back into the league; however, and entertained starting job offers from both the 1976 Atlanta Falcons and the 1976 Buffalo Bills, as well as a back-up roll offer from the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers (which he was quoted as saying later he should have probably accepted); however, disillusioned with both pro football and the Miami Dolphins (where he felt he had earned his spot), he decided to retire at the age of 29. Since retirement, Del Gaizo has enjoyed a successful career as a mortgage broker.

References

  • "Downfield! Untold Stories Of The Green Bay Packers", by Jerry Polling. Copyright 1996
  • The Miami Herald, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1976 Front Page Article of Section D, "Del Gaizo Losses QB Roulette"
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