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Steve DeBerg
Jersey #(s)
Born January 19, 1954 (1954-01-19) (age 56)
Oakland, California
Career information
Year(s) 19771998
NFL Draft 1977 / Round: 10 / Pick: 275
College San Jose State
Professional teams
Career stats
TD-INT 196-204
Yards 34,241
QB Rating 74.2
Stats at
Career highlights and awards
  • Led the NFL in Pass Attempts and Completions in 1979
  • Set NFL single-season record for lowest interception percentage in 1990

Steven Leroy DeBerg (born January 19, 1954 in Oakland, California) had a long and varied career as an American Football quarterback. His career spanned 21 years over 3 decades. Despite the fact that large portions of his career were spent as a backup, Steve DeBerg ultimately accumulated some fairly impressive NFL statistics.

DeBerg's reputation is that of a journeyman, and he was also very much a "witness to history" who played an incidental role in significant events. But late in his career, DeBerg exhibited flashes of brilliance, as well as endurance and staying power that separated him from other journeymen and career backups.


DeBerg is an alumnus of Savanna High School in Anaheim, California, Fullerton College in Fullerton, California, and of San José State University. He played for the San Francisco 49ers (1978-1980), Denver Broncos (1981-1983), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1984-1987, 1992, 1993), Kansas City Chiefs (1988-1991), Miami Dolphins (1993), and Atlanta Falcons (1998). He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 10th round of the 1977 NFL Draft. Prior to joining the NFL, he played quarterback for San Jose State, and his Fullerton College Hornets won the state Junior College Bowl at Anaheim Stadium in 1974.

The first part of DeBerg's NFL career found him in San Francisco with Coach Bill Walsh. In the 1979 and 1980 NFL seasons he set several records for sheer number of passing attempts and completions.

Walsh aspired to even greater things, though, and soon brought in Joe Montana, drafted from Notre Dame. Amazingly, similar events unfolded again and again over the next decade, wherever DeBerg sought employment. He was not only with the 49ers when they drafted Joe Montana, but also with the Denver Broncos when John Elway arrived, and at Tampa Bay when both Steve Young and Vinny Testaverde were brought in.[1] In each case, DeBerg offered solid but unspectacular performance before being replaced.

DeBerg passed for over 34,000 career yards, and ranks in the top 20 all-time for attempts, completions, and yards passing. DeBerg's best years were with the Chiefs, during which he led the team to two playoff berths and had his best year in 1990 with a 96.3 quarterback rating, passing for 3,444 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, with 3 of those interceptions coming in one game. Chronologically, most of his career was spent in a back-up role, and he never spent more than 64 games with any one team.

DeBerg also acquired a reputation for playing through particularly gruesome or unique injuries. He played with laryngitis and wore a portable amplifier during regular season games with San Francisco. He also played with an exposed metal pin sticking out of his finger in a Chiefs playoff victory in 1990. In 1993, he left a Dolphins game versus the New York Giants battered and bloodied after taking a helmet to the chin, only to return to the game following halftime.

DeBerg served as the head coach of the Arena Football League's Indiana Firebirds in 2004 for 5 games. The team's record during his tenure was 0-5. He later served as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Storm.

After coming out of retirement at age 44, DeBerg holds the distinction of being the oldest player ever included on a Super Bowl roster, having been part of the Atlanta Falcons team that made it to the game when he was 45 years old. He did not, however, get into the game. He has now been inducted to the Rebel hall of fame at Savanna High School, for his achivements as a starting quarterback in the NFL, on February 5, 2010 during halftime at a varsity boys basketball game at Savanna High School.

DeBerg now helps to coach various Football University camps around the country.


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jim Plunkett
San Francisco 49ers Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Joe Montana
Preceded by
Craig Morton
Denver Broncos Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
John Elway
Preceded by
Jack Thompson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Steve Young
Preceded by
Steve Young
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Vinny Testaverde
Preceded by
Bill Kenney
Kansas City Chiefs Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Dave Krieg
Preceded by
Scott Mitchell
Miami Dolphins Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Dan Marino
Preceded by
Chris Chandler
Atlanta Falcons Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Chris Chandler


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