Bob Berry
No. 17
Personal information
Born:(1942-03-10)March 10, 1942
San Jose, California, U.S.
Died:April 17, 2023(2023-04-17) (aged 81)
Santa Cruz, California, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school:Willow Glen (San Jose, California)
NFL draft:1964 / Round: 11 / Pick: 142
(By the Philadelphia Eagles)
AFL draft:1964 / Round: 26 / Pick: 201
(By the Denver Broncos)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passer rating:77.2
Player stats at · PFR

Robert Chadwick Berry Jr. (March 10, 1942 – April 17, 2023) was an American professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons. He was selected to one Pro Bowl in 1969 as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Berry was a member of three Super Bowl teams with the Minnesota Vikings in the mid-1970s.

College career

Born and raised in San Jose, California, Berry played football at Willow Glen High School, where his father was a longtime head coach.[1][2] He graduated in 1960 and played college football at Oregon,[3] where he was a three-year letter winner under head coach Len Casanova. At Oregon, Berry teamed with future Pro Football Hall of Famers Mel Renfro and Dave Wilcox and led the Ducks to three consecutive winning seasons. In his junior year in 1963, Oregon's last as an independent, the Ducks beat SMU 21–14 in the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve.[4] (The Pacific-8 conference did not allow a second bowl team until 1975).[5]

Berry was named a first-team All-American after his senior season, despite being edged out as All-Pacific-8 quarterback by Craig Morton of California. In the balloting for the Heisman Trophy won by John Huarte of Notre Dame, Berry was thirteenth, just behind Joe Namath (Alabama) and Gale Sayers (Kansas).[6][7] His teammates named him the outstanding player and he played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl.[8]

In 1985, Berry received the university's distinguished alumnus award. Berry was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and the University of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.[9]

Professional career

Minnesota Vikings

Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the eleventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft[10] and by the Denver Broncos in the twenty-sixth round of the 1964 AFL Draft, Berry played his senior season at Oregon in 1964 and signed with the Minnesota Vikings in late November.[11][12] Minnesota had acquired his draft rights in an off-season trade with the Eagles.[13] Berry was out of college during the 1961 season, a de facto redshirt year.[3][14]

Berry played three seasons with the Vikings, the first two under head coach Norm Van Brocklin, a former Oregon quarterback, and was primarily a reserve behind Fran Tarkenton. He made his first start in 1966, a loss in the snow at home to the expansion Atlanta Falcons on December 4.[15][16] Following the 1966 season, Tarkenton demanded to be traded and was sent to the New York Giants for multiple draft picks and Van Brocklin stepped down as head coach.[17] Joe Kapp was the starting quarterback under new head coach Bud Grant in 1967 and Berry saw very limited action.[18] In training camp in 1968, Berry was behind Kapp and Gary Cuozzo (acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Saints) and missed the final cut in early September.[19]

Atlanta Falcons

Berry was quickly picked up by the Atlanta Falcons in 1968,[20] and Van Brocklin became the head coach after the third game of the season.[21] Berry started 51 games for the Falcons in five seasons, through 1972, throwing for 8,489 yards and 57 touchdowns, with a passer rating of 79.2.[22] He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1969, and was traded back to the Vikings in May 1973 for fellow backup QB Bob Lee.[23]

Second stint with Vikings

Berry played for the Minnesota Vikings again for four seasons, beginning in 1973. He was again the backup to Tarkenton, and Minnesota played in three Super Bowls (VIII, IX, and XI) during this second stint, all losses. Berry retired from football on the first day of 1977 training camp, July 28; Berry's position with the Vikings became tenuous when they drafted Tommy Kramer from Rice three months earlier.[24]

Personal life and death

Berry had a daughter, Jennifer (born 1972) and a son, Michael (born 1993) and two grandchildren. Berry resided in Santa Cruz, California.[25]

Berry's younger brother Ken was the starting quarterback at San Jose State, and their two teams met in 1963.[2][26][27]

Berry died in Santa Cruz on April 17, 2023, at the age of 81.[28]

See also


  1. ^ "Berry-Troppmann co-coaches". Lodi News-Sentinel. December 20, 1962. p. 10.
  2. ^ a b "Berry's parents confused". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 1, 1963. p. 14.
  3. ^ a b Leutzinger, Jerry (September 6, 1962). "Cocky Bob Berry figures he's Webfoots' best quarterback". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 3D.
  4. ^ Uhrhammer, Jerry (January 1, 1963). "Berry leads Oregon to 21–14 win". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1D.
  5. ^ "Eugene Register-Guard – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  6. ^ "Huarte wins Heisman gridiron trophy". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. November 25, 1964. p. 1, sec. 3.
  7. ^ "John Huarte". Heisman Trophy. 1964. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  8. ^ "Bob Berry – Football | Oregon Sports Hall of Fame & Museum". Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  9. ^ "Hall of Fame Candidate Capsule: Bob Berry". National Football Foundation. Retrieved April 24, 2023.
  10. ^ "Four Webfoots drafted by NFL". Eugene Register-Guard. December 3, 1963. p. 2B.
  11. ^ Strite, Dick (November 24, 1964). "Van Brocklin visits Berry". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 2B.
  12. ^ "Berry signs pro contract". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. November 29, 1964. p. 1B.
  13. ^ "Vikings sign Bob Berry". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. UPI. November 30, 1964. p. 8.
  14. ^ "Berry to skip '61 grid play". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. UPI. July 11, 1961. p. 2.
  15. ^ "Ice, snow hamper Berry". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. December 5, 1966. p. 4B.
  16. ^ "Boxscore finder: all games started at QB by Bob Berry in 1966". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  17. ^ "Giants trade draft picks for Tarkenton". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. March 8, 1967. p. 18.
  18. ^ Hallman, Charles (August 10, 1968). "Cuozzo may beat out Kapp". Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. p. 6.
  19. ^ "Berry, Tobey cut by Minnesota Viks". Eugene Register-Guard. September 10, 1968. p. 3B.
  20. ^ "Falcons pick up Flatley, Berry". Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. September 11, 1968. p. 16.
  21. ^ Speer, Ron (October 2, 1968). "Van to have 5-year pact". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. p. 1D.
  22. ^ "Bob Berry". Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  23. ^ "Berry back with Vikings and old rival, Tarkenton". Milwaukee Journal. press dispatches. May 15, 1973. p. 15, part 2.
  24. ^ "Tarkenton's backup Berry retires". Palm Beach Post. wire services. July 29, 1977. p. D2.
  25. ^ "RetroDuck – Bob Berry". DuckSportsAuthority. July 22, 2002. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  26. ^ "Berrys hoping to see Berry against Berry". Eugene Register Guard. November 1, 1963. p. 3B.
  27. ^ "Helpless Ducks fall, 13–7". Eugene Register-Guard. November 3, 1963. p. 1B.
  28. ^ Williams, Charean (April 21, 2023). "Former Vikings, Falcons quarterback Bob Berry dies at 81". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved April 24, 2023.