Randall Cunningham: Wikis

  
  
  

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Randall Cunningham
No. 1, 7, 12     
Quarterback/Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: March 27, 1963 (1963-03-27) (age 46)
Place of birth: Santa Barbara, California
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
College: UNLV
NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37
Debuted in 1985 for the Philadelphia Eagles
Last played in 2001 for the Baltimore Ravens
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2001
TD-INT     207-134
Yards     29,979
QB Rating     81.5
Stats at NFL.com

Randall W. Cunningham (born March 27, 1963 in Santa Barbara, California) is a former American football quarterback.

After playing college football at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he was selected in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he remained through the 1995 season. He announced his retirement from football following the end of that season, taking a job as an analyst for TNT in 1996. The following year, however, he resumed his playing career. He played for the Minnesota Vikings (1997-1999), the Dallas Cowboys (2000), and the Baltimore Ravens (2001). Cunningham then re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and retired for good in 2002. He won the Bert Bell Award in 1990, the height of the 'Ultimate Weapon' stories. He is the younger brother of former college and professional football player Sam Cunningham who played for the New England Patriots.

Contents

High school and college

Cunningham attended Santa Barbara High School in Santa Barbara, California, and was a graduate of the class of 1981.[1] As a senior, he led his team to a League title and the CIF Finals.[2] He then went on to attend University of Nevada at Las Vegas, from which he graduated in 1985.

Professional career

Philadelphia Eagles

Cunningham was the Eagles' second-round pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. Cunningham was also sought by the United States Football League's Tampa Bay Bandits that same year. Eagles owner Norman Braman refused to negotiate with Cunningham if he accepted offers from the Bandits. Ultimately, the USFL folded, thus ending that issue. In his rookie season he played sparingly as a backup to veteran Ron Jaworski but made a big splash with his uncanny scrambling ability, though he completed just 34 percent of his passes and threw just one touchdown against eight interceptions. In 1986, new head coach Buddy Ryan arrived in Philadelphia and made wholesale changes, many of them unorthodox. At the quarterback position, Ryan designated 35-year-old Ron Jaworski the starter but would replace the aging veteran with the fleet-footed Cunningham in third-and-long situations where the youngster’s scrambling would presumably put the defense on its heels. After a hand injury to Jaworski in week 10, Cunningham would replace him as the Eagles’ starter. Cunningham was permanently handed the Eagles' starting job for the 1987 season. Cunningham was said to have reached "elite" status during the 1988 season, when he threw for 407 yards during the "Fog Bowl" playoff game against the Chicago Bears.

In 1989, Cunningham, who had been an all-conference quarterback and punter while at UNLV, unleashed a 91-yard punt against the Giants on December 3, the longest in Eagles history (and the fourth-longest ever)[3]. He had 20 punts during his career, with an average of 44.7 yards per punt[4].

In a 1990 game against the Buffalo Bills, when Cunningham, throwing from his end zone, was about to be sacked by Bruce Smith from his blind side. Cunningham ducked and threw a pass 60 yards to wide-receiver Fred Barnett, resulting in a 95-yard touchdown. That same year, Cunningham finished with 942 rushing yards, 3rd most ever for a quarterback, 10th best in the league.

In 1991, Cunningham's season came to an abrupt end when he was tackled by Bryce Paup of the Green Bay Packers and tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the 1st game of the season. He would return to the Eagles completely healed the following season, and led the team to its first playoff victory in 12 years. However, it was evident that the injury he suffered took away much of his speed and athleticism. The 1993 and 1994 seasons would be riddled by a series of nagging injuries and a transition to the west coast offense that eventually led to his benching in favor of veteran Rodney Peete. Feeling as if the fans and organization didn't fully appreciate his contributions to the team's success, as well as being unhappy with his role as a back-up, Cunningham retired from football after the 1995 season.

Minnesota Vikings

Cunningham joined the Vikings in 1997 after being out of football in 1996. There he reunited with former Eagles wide receiver Cris Carter. In his first year with the Vikings, he orchestrated two late touchdown drives to defeat the New York Giants in an NFC Wild Card game at Giants Stadium.

Cunningham enjoyed the greatest season of his career in Minnesota during the 1998 campaign when he guided the Vikings to a 15-1 regular season record with 34 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions. Cunningham had a good supporting cast that year with Cris Carter, Rookie Randy Moss and Jake Reed at Wide Receiver and Robert Smith at Running Back. Cunningham led the league with a 106.0 passer rating while the Vikings posted a then-NFL record 556 points during the 1998 season. Cunningham claimed the Vikings Monday night 37-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers was "the greatest night of his career". Cunningham threw for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns in a game where Brett Favre, in the prime of his career, was benched at the end of the first half.

During the early stages of the 1999 season, after throwing 9 interceptions in just 6 games, Cunningham was benched once again- this time in favor of Jeff George. After the team announced that 2nd-year quarterback Daunte Culpepper would be the starter prior to the 2000 season, Cunningham was released.

Dallas Cowboys

Shortly before the 2000 season, Cunningham signed with the Dallas Cowboys to serve as backup to Troy Aikman. After a series of concussions ended Aikman's season, and ultimately his career, Cunningham once again took the helm at quarterback. Despite posting a 1-2 record as a starter, he put up respectable numbers (849 yards passing with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions). One notable occurrence during his time with the Cowboys was a return to Philadelphia. Cunningham started the game and dueled the new Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb. The game was decided in overtime, with an Eagles field goal giving them the 16-13 victory. Cunningham was given a standing ovation by the usually tough Philadelphia crowd. A 5-11 subpar year for the Cowboys led to major roster changes, and Cunningham was one of the many changes. He was released after the 2000 season, but then signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens

Cunningham saw very little playing time as a backup to Elvis Grbac, and retired from football- this time for good- after the 2001 season. However, he went 2-0 as a starter in Baltimore, and fans chanted for his comeback when Grbac returned from injury. In his final 10 NFL seasons, Cunningham played in only 80 games, but finished his 16-year career completing 2,429 of his 4,289 attempts for 29,997 yards and 207 touchdowns, with 134 interceptions. He was sacked 484 times, second-most all time to John Elway. Cunningham also rushed for 4,928 yards on 775 carries and 35 touchdowns. He retired after the 2001 season as the NFL's all-time leader in rushing yards and carries for the quarterback position and tied for fourth with Steve Grogan in rushing touchdowns by a QB. Cunningham also averaged 30.6 rushing yards per game during his career—second most all-time for quarterbacks, behind Michael Vick.

After retirement

After retirement, Cunningham returned to UNLV to finish his college degree. Cunningham has also been active in the Gospel music business since his retirement from the NFL by opening a recording studio and producing a Christian rap group called "Humility". Their album "Our Purpose" has yet to be released in 2008 under Cunningham's label. Cunningham, a born again Christian, became an ordained Protestant minister and founded a church called Remnant Ministries in Las Vegas in 2004.[1] He also coaches youth football in the city for his son.

In December 2009, Cunningham was hired by Silverado High School to become the offensive coordinator of the school's varsity football team. His son, Randall Cunningham II, is an incoming freshman quarterback for the Skyhawks.[5]

References

External links

Preceded by
Brad Johnson
Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback
1998
Succeeded by
Jeff George
Preceded by
Jim McMahon
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
1992
Succeeded by
Marcus Allen
Preceded by
Ron Jaworski
Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterbacks
1986-1995
Succeeded by
Rodney Peete







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