With all due apologies going out to Drew Bledsoe and Scott Mitchell, Steve DeBerg may be the perfect example of a mediocre quarterback. Like Bledsoe, DeBerg was never really great, but hung around the NFL long enough to put up some pretty impressive totals. For example, did you know that DeBerg ranks in the NFL top twenty in career attempts, completions and yards?
DeBerg was known as a journeyman in the NFL, but he is one of very few athletes to be a journeyman in college as well. DeBerg was enrolled at two different colleges before heading to the NFL. Sadly, DeBerg impressed almost no one except his family and friends while in college. In the 1977 NFL Draft the Cowboys took a shot on Steve in the 10th round, he never played a down for Dallas.
Steve somehow impressed the San Francisco 49ers and their Hall of Fame coach, Bill Walsh. The youngster DeBerg started 11 games in 1978, leading the 49ers to a record of 1-10. Somehow, after that god-awful performance, DeBerg kept his job the following season and improved GREATLY, helping the Niners go 2-13 in his starts. While he was a bit better the following year, DeBerg finally lost the starting job to Joe Montana. I think the Niners made the right call there.
DeBerg then moved on to Denver where he served as a starter and a backup before losing his job to John Elway. So, in a span of only a few seasons, Steve lost jobs to two Hall of Fame field generals. Tough break. He then made the move to the hapless Tampa Bay Bucs and did his usual caliber of work with that franchise, putting up a record of 8-29 while he was the starter down there. It really looked like things could be over for DeBerg at this point. He had been mediocre at best on some of the worst teams in the NFL, not exactly something a guy can hang his hat on.
Following his final season in Tampa, DeBerg turned 34 and didn’t look much like starting QB material. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs that offseason, a move that turned his career around. During his four years in KC, DeBerg led the Chiefs to a 31-20, including a record-setting campaign in 1990 at the age of 36. That season, DeBerg set the NFL single season record for the lowest percentage of passes to be intercepted in a single season. The aging DeBerg was finally on track.
In his later 30s, DeBerg made cameos in Miami and Tampa Bay and then retired following the 1993 season at the age of 39. He had a pretty good run. He stuck around in the NFL for about 15 years and started on a couple of decent teams. However, the call to the grid iron was too great, and in 1999, a 44-year-old DeBerg returned to the NFL to play for the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. Steve served as the back up to Chris Chandler, another great mediocre quarterback.
DeBerg retired for good following the Falcons Super Bowl loss with 196 TDs and 204 picks, both among the league leaders in NFL history. He currently coaches football camps all around the country.