When the Alliance of American Football launches in 2019, one of its eight inaugural teams is going to feature as CBS News reported Saturday.in Steve Spurrier,
But the Ol' Ball Coach isn't stepping into the professional ring for the first time with his arrival in the AAF.
While his greatest accolades may have come in college, where he left both Florida and South Carolina as those programs' winningest head coach and all but ushered the modern passing game into the SEC, Spurrier first made a football name for himself playing his way into the NFL, then coaching in the pros.
Here, we look back at how the new (old) coach did in between his work with the Gators and Gamecocks:
San Francisco 49ers (1967-1975)
Spurrier was nothing but a hotshot coming out of Florida, where he earned a spot in the Gators Hall of Fame as an All-American and 1966 Heisman Trophy winner, and that made him an easy choice for the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 1967 draft. Deemed the future successor of All-Pro John Brodie, Spurrier's Niners career ultimately predated the Joe Montana-Steve Young years by just four seasons, but over the better part of a decade, his best days were spent as merely a spot starter. Three of his first five years in the NFL saw him throw fewer than five passes, and he left San Fran by way of trade having compiled 33 touchdown passes to 48 interceptions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976)
Nine years on and off the bench with the 49ers may have been even better than getting his long-awaited shot at full-time starting duties in Tampa Bay, however. The Bucs made him the prize of their first-ever trade, entering the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1976, and Spurrier set a career high in pass attempts in his first season in pewter. But that was about all that went right back in Florida. The Bucs went 0-14, becoming the first winless team in modern NFL history, while Spurrier mustered just a 57.1 quarterback rating behind a porous offensive line and coach John McKay's run-first scheme.
Tampa Bay Bandits (1983-1985)
Seven years after his tumultuous time in Tampa Bay, Spurrier found himself right back in the area, having moved past two failed offseason stints with the Broncos and Dolphins to kick off a coaching career -- one that began with assistant roles at Florida, Georgia Tech and Duke. With the Bandits, he got his first taste of head coaching in the upstart United States Football League (USFL), and he made "BanditBall" a favored alternative to the still-woeful Buccaneers, reeling in the USFL's top attendance and going 35-21 before the league dissolved after its third season amid certain owners' efforts to compete directly with the NFL.
Washington Redskins (2002-2003)
Spurrier's latest foray into the pros came more than 15 years ago, when the Redskins took to the college ranks to fill the vacancy left by Marty Schottenheimer. His lead-up to D.C. was special, what with a national title run and six different SEC championships running Florida's football program, but his two years coaching the 'Skins was much like his first big-time gig as an NFL player -- forgettable. His five-year contract made him the most lucratively paid coach in the league at the time, but by year two, having gone 7-9 as a rookie, spats with owner Dan Snyder (sound familiar?) and alleged Gators bias in his roster building led to a quick departure after a 5-11 follow-up season -- an open door for his return to the college sidelines.