Jim Plunkett’s career as a quarterback was off to such a rough start that his college head coach suggested he start playing defensive end. He not only proved his coach wrong, but he did it style, breaking many college football records and winning the Heisman Trophy. This led to a ton of hype about Plunkett as he entered the 1971 NFL draft, where he was drafted #1 overall by the New England Patriots.
After a decent rookie season, Plunkett spent the next few years seeing a drop in touchdowns and a rise in interceptions. The Patriots decided to draft a new quarterback and then traded Plunkett to the 49ers where he spent two seasons failing to take the team to the playoffs.
Plunkett’s next two seasons were spent sitting on the Oakland Raiders sidelines, but in Week 5 of the 1980 NFL season his career took a major turn when Raiders starting quarterback Dan Pastorini broke his leg on a play against the Kansas City Chiefs. Though Plunkett was horrendous in that game – throwing 5 interception – the team believed in him being the best choice for quarterback. He went on to win 9 of his next 11 games while guiding the Raiders into the playoffs and eventually a victory in Super Bowl XV against the Eagles by the score of 27–10. Plunkett was named Super Bowl MVP, making him only the second of 4 players to win the Heisman Trophy AND Super Bowl MVP (Roger Staubach did it before him, while Marcus Allen and Desmond Howard did so afterwards).
In 1983 Plunkett once again started the season as a benchwarmer and ended up being the starting QB on a Super Bowl-winning team when the Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins 38-9 to take Super Bowl XV.