Jim Zorn
refer to caption
Zorn as Redskins head coach in 2009
No. 10, 18, 15
Personal information
Born: (1953-05-10) May 10, 1953 (age 71)
Whittier, California, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Gahr (Cerritos, California)
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:21,115
Passer rating:67.3
Rushing yards:1,504
Rushing touchdowns:17
Head coaching record
Regular season:
  • NFL: 12–20 (.375)
  • XFL: 1–4 (.200)
Player stats at PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

James Arthur Zorn (born May 10, 1953) is an American former professional football player and coach. Zorn was a left-handed quarterback, and is best known as the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks for their first eight seasons. He was the quarterback coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 2001 until the 2007 season. Before the 2008 season Zorn was originally hired by the Washington Redskins to serve as offensive coordinator.[1] Two weeks after being hired, he was promoted as the team's head coach.[2][3]

Shortly after being fired following the 2009 season, Zorn was hired as quarterbacks coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Zorn spent one season as the Ravens' quarterback coach before serving two years as the quarterback coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 and 2012. Most recently, Zorn was the head coach and general manager of the Seattle Dragons of the second incarnation of the XFL prior to the league's folding midseason.

Early years

Born in Whittier, California, Zorn attended Gahr High School in Cerritos, where he competed in football, baseball, basketball, track, and speed skating. He didn't start playing organized football until his sophomore season. The next year, Zorn broke his wrist after being put in at the end of a game to play quarterback. He became a starter as a senior in 1970 and graduated in 1971.

Zorn played at the junior college level at Cerritos College for two years. He was benched midway through his sophomore season in 1972 because the head coach didn't like his leadership style.[4]

In 1973, he transferred to Cal Poly Pomona after accepting their half-scholarship offer. As a junior that season, he registered 2,367 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, receiving Little All-American, Little All-Coast, and Southern California College Division Player of the Year honors.

As a senior in 1974, Zorn's play was affected by coaching changes, posting 1,783 passing yards and six touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career with ten school records, 5,314 total yards, 4,150 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 1,164 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.

Zorn also threw the javelin for the Broncos' track team.

Professional career

Zorn was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 1975, the same year they had their famed Dirty Dozen draft. He was the Cowboys' last cut two days before the start of the 1975 season, to make room for running back Preston Pearson, who had been waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had a try-out with the Los Angeles Rams, but was not signed. The Seattle Seahawks signed him as a free agent in 1976, reuniting with Dick Mansperger, who was the Cowboys' director of player personnel the previous year.[5]

He would become a star starting QB for the Seahawks in their early days from 1976 to 1983, before his position was taken by Dave Krieg and he was demoted to second-string quarterback midway through the 1983 season. He held second-string/backup quarterback positions with the Seahawks (1983–84), the Packers (1985), the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (1986), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987), before retiring from football following the 1987 NFL season.

Seattle Seahawks (1976–84)

After spending a year out of football, he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 1976. Zorn is closely associated with his favorite passing target, Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent. Largent was the first Seahawk inducted into the team's "Ring of Honor" (1989), and Zorn was second (1991).[6] Zorn was named AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year by the National Football League Players Association following the team's inaugural 1976 season.[7] He was also the Seahawks' team MVP, throwing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for four touchdowns. His three consecutive 3,000-yard seasons were tops in team history, since broken by Matt Hasselbeck in 2005, and he was the first Seattle quarterback to record back-to-back 300-plus yard games—a feat he accomplished twice.[8]

He earned second-team All-Pro honors for the 1978 season, when the Seahawks had the third-best offense in the league.

He was succeeded by Dave Krieg midway through the 1983 season, the year the Seahawks first made the NFL playoffs. Zorn stayed with the team as a second-string quarterback until the end of the 1984 season.

Zorn was well known as one of the more prolific scrambling quarterbacks of his day, and he was named the eighth-best mobile quarterback by NFL.com in 2008.[9]

Green Bay Packers and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1985–86)

The Green Bay Packers signed Zorn to the second-string quarterback position in 1985. The Packers finished the season 8–8, 2nd in the NFC Central, but did not make the playoffs. The Packers released Zorn in the off-season, and he decided to take a season off from the NFL and signed on to a backup quarterback position with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1986, where he dressed for nine games before leaving the team and being released once again.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and retirement (1987)

Zorn returned to the NFL in 1987 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played one final game as a replacement player during the 1987 NFL strike before officially retiring. The 1987 Bucs finished the season 4–11 and missed the playoffs.

In the NFL, Zorn threw for 21,115 yards and 111 touchdowns, completing 53% of his passes. He also ran for another 17 touchdowns.[10]

NFL career statistics

Led the league
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Passing Rushing
GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
1976 SEA 14 14 2–12 208 439 47.4 2,571 5.9 12 27 49.5 52 246 4.7 4
1977 SEA 10 10 4–6 104 251 41.4 1,687 6.7 16 19 54.3 25 141 5.6 1
1978 SEA 16 16 9–7 248 443 56.0 3,283 7.4 15 20 72.1 59 290 4.9 6
1979 SEA 16 16 9–7 285 505 56.4 3,661 7.2 20 18 77.7 46 279 6.1 2
1980 SEA 16 16 4–12 276 488 56.6 3,346 6.9 17 20 72.3 44 214 4.9 1
1981 SEA 13 13 4–9 236 397 59.4 2,788 7.0 13 9 82.4 30 140 4.7 1
1982 SEA 9 7 4–3 126 245 51.4 1,540 6.3 7 11 61.9 15 113 7.5 1
1983 SEA 16 8 4–4 103 205 50.2 1,166 5.7 7 7 64.8 30 71 2.4 1
1984 SEA 16 0 7 17 41.2 80 4.7 0 2 16.4 7 -3 -0.4 0
1985 GB 13 5 3–2 56 123 45.5 794 6.5 4 6 57.4 10 9 0.9 0
1987 TB 1 1 1–0 20 36 55.6 199 5.5 0 2 48.3 4 4 1.0 0
Career 140 106 44–62 1,669 3,149 53.0 21,115 6.7 111 141 67.3 322 1,504 4.7 17

Coaching career

College assistant coach (1988–96)

After his playing career concluded, Zorn returned to college football as an assistant coach. His first stop was at Boise State University, in the Big Sky Conference, where he was the quarterbacks coach for four seasons under head coach Skip Hall, from 1988 to 1991. He then served as the offensive coordinator for Utah State from 1992 to 1994. From 1995 to 1996 Zorn coached the quarterbacks at the Minnesota Golden Gophers football.

NFL assistant coach (1997–2007, 2010–12)

Zorn moved up to the pro coaching ranks in 1997 with the Seattle Seahawks as quarterbacks coach under head coach Dennis Erickson. He then spent three seasons with the Detroit Lions (19982000) under head coach Bobby Ross, and was instrumental in the development of rookie quarterback Charlie Batch in 1998.[8] Batch's 88.3 passer rating that season ranks as the fourth-highest rookie mark in NFL history.

He returned to Seattle in 2001 and worked with head coach Mike Holmgren and offensive coordinator Gil Haskell in implementing the team's offense while also furthering the development of the team's quarterbacks.[8] In 2003, Zorn tutored Matt Hasselbeck, who set a franchise record with 3,841 passing yards. Hasselbeck became the franchise's most-efficient passer (85.1 rating) while joining Zorn as the only Seahawks’ quarterback to pass for 3,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons.[8] In 2007 under Zorn, Hasselbeck set Seattle single-season marks for attempts (562), completions (352) and yards (3,966). He also threw for a career-high 28 touchdowns en route to his third Pro Bowl selection.[8]

After two seasons as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Zorn was hired in 2010 by the Baltimore Ravens as their quarterbacks coach to replace Hue Jackson, who departed to the Oakland Raiders. Under Zorn, quarterback Joe Flacco reached career high totals in touchdowns (25) and quarterback rating (93.6), as well as a career-low 10 interceptions. The Ravens also improved from 9-7 the previous season to 12–4. Despite this, Zorn was fired by the Ravens at the end of the season.[11] Flacco gave Zorn his approval and support, vocally objecting to the firing.[12]

He was hired in 2011 by the Kansas City Chiefs as their quarterbacks coach and stayed through the 2012 season. When Andy Reid took over as head coach after the 2012 season, he brought in a brand new coaching staff.

NFL head coach (2008–09)

After Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs retired in January 2008, owner Daniel Snyder hired Zorn as the team's new offensive coordinator.[1] In a surprise move,[3] Snyder made him the Redskins' new head coach, on February 10, 2008, having never served as a coordinator at the pro level.[13] He was the fourth head coach hired by Snyder since he bought the team in 1999. Zorn earned his first professional coaching victory with a 29–24 win over the New Orleans Saints in week 2 of the 2008 NFL season. In week 4 of the 2008 season, Zorn became the only Redskins head coach to win his first game at Texas Stadium against the rival Dallas Cowboys (2008 was the Cowboys' last year at their stadium in Irving, Texas, which opened in October 1971. The Cowboys moved to Cowboys Stadium for the 2009 season. George Allen won his first game vs. the Cowboys in Dallas as Redskins' coach in 1971, but that game was played at the Cotton Bowl.).

Zorn complemented the Redskins’ bruising running attack with his version of the West Coast Offense, a combination that helped the Redskins finish eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (130.9).[8] Zorn started his tenure with the Redskins by leading the team to a 6–2 record for the first half of the season, but subsequently finished the season going 2–6 with an overall 8–8 record. However Zorn's new offense produced four starters who earned Pro Bowl honors. Running back Clinton Portis, finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,487).[8] Tight end Chris Cooley earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance and led the team with a career-high 83 receptions for 849 yards. Offensive Tackle Chris Samuels earned his sixth Pro Bowl appearance—marking the third-most in franchise history, while fullback Mike Sellers earned his first Pro Bowl selection in his eighth NFL season.[8]

Six games into the 2009 season, with a record of two wins and four losses, the Washington Redskins relieved Zorn of offensive play calling duties, assigning them to assistant coach Sherman Lewis following the Redskins' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on October 18.

In the early morning of January 4, 2010, it was reported that Zorn had been fired after the final game of the regular season, a loss to the San Diego Chargers.[14] He failed to make the playoffs in either of his seasons as head coach of the Redskins. He was replaced by former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.[15] Jim Zorn has since given a series of interviews with the local Washington, D.C. networks in which he expressed disappointment in the handling of his dismissal.

XFL (2020)

On February 25, 2019, Zorn was announced to be the GM and head coach of the Seattle Dragons.[16] He was not retained after the league's bankruptcy and sale.[17]

Head coaching record


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
WAS 2008 8 8 0 .500 4th in NFC East
WAS 2009 4 12 0 .250 4th in NFC East
Total 12 20 0 .375


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SEA 2020 1 4 0 .200 TBD 0 0 .000 TBD
Total 1 4 0 .200 0 0 .000

Personal life

Zorn and his wife, Joy, have four children: daughters Rachael, Sarah, and Danielle and son Isaac.[18] Jim and Joy Zorn are active in Medical Teams International and Pro Athletes Outreach. Medical Teams International is dedicated to implementing and supporting programs that address the causes and effects of inadequate health care worldwide.[8]

Jim Zorn currently resides with his wife on Mercer Island, a suburb of Seattle. The couple is active in the local community, and attend Encounter Church.

Zorn is noted for his interest in mountain biking, kayaking and other outdoor sports. He has continued to mountain bike even as he approaches the age of 70.[19] When he was a player with the Seattle Seahawks, he experimented with building bikes for off-road riding with the help of the owner of Mercer Island Cyclery.[20]

Zorn was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony prior to Washington's game at Seattle on November 23, 2008.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Redskins hire Zorn as offensive coordinator". The Washington Times. January 25, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  2. ^ "Jim Zorn hired as Washington Redskins coach". The New York Times. February 10, 2008. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Daniel Snyder's Surprise: Jim Zorn Named Redskins' Coach". Bleacher Report. February 11, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  4. ^ Elfin, David (July 13, 2008). "On the edge with Jim Zorn". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  5. ^ Lowitt, Bruce (November 29, 1978). "Young Seahawks suddenly contenders". Lewiston Evening Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2013 – via Google News.
  6. ^ "Seahawks Ring of Honor". Archived from the original on December 22, 2007. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
  7. ^ Oakland Tribune, November 3, 1977, page 46, Retrieved on February 20, 2008
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Washington Redskins bio Archived January 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ NFL Top 10 Mobile Quarterbacks on YouTube
  10. ^ Jim Zorn Statistics – Pro-Football-Reference.com
  11. ^ Hensley, Jamison. "Jim Zorn fired as Ravens QB coach". BaltimoreSun.com. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  12. ^ Joe Flacco unhappy with Ravens' firing of Jim Zorn
  13. ^ Reid, Jason (February 11, 2008). "Redskins' New Coach Sees the Task Ahead". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
  14. ^ Reid, Jason (January 4, 2009), "Redskins fire Jim Zorn after 2 seasons", Washington Post, retrieved January 4, 2009.
  15. ^ The Shanahan watch commences
  16. ^ Benjamin, Cody (February 25, 2019), "XFL announces hiring of Seahawks great Jim Zorn as coach and general manager of Seattle franchise", CBS Sports, retrieved February 25, 2019.
  17. ^ Williams, Madison (June 4, 2022). "Report: XFL Assigns Coaches to Franchises for 2023 Season". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  18. ^ Merrill, Elizabeth. "Zorn doesn't play by conventional rules." ESPN.com. July 14, 2009.
  19. ^ "On the Edge with Jim Zorn". The Washington Times. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
  20. ^ Competitor Magazine, Mid-Atlantic edition, Nov/Dec 2009, page 62