John Stofa
No. 15, 5
Personal information
Born:(1942-06-29)June 29, 1942
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died:April 23, 2022(2022-04-23) (aged 79)
Mason, Ohio, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Bishop McCort (Johnstown, Pennsylvania)
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:1,758
Passer rating:62.7
Player stats at · PFR

John Carl Stofa (June 29, 1942 – April 23, 2022)[1] was an American professional football player who was a quarterback in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL).

Early life

John Stofa was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Ann Stofa.

He graduated from Bishop McCort High School. He attended the University at Buffalo where, as a member of the Class of 1964, he was the Bulls starting quarterback in 1962 and 1963. As a starter those seasons, the Bulls were 6–3 and 5–3–1, respectively. He set passing and total yardage records as the Bulls' quarterback. He also played baseball at Buffalo from 1962 to 1964.[2]

Professional career

Miami Dolphins, first stint

Stofa began his pro football career in the American Football League in 1966 for the expansion team Miami Dolphins. He played his first two seasons with the Dolphins, playing in a total of eight games, starting two. With the Dolphins, he completed 31 passes in 59 attempts for 476 yards and four touchdowns. His first career touchdown pass was a 27-yard completion to Joe Auer in a 29–28 win over the Houston Oilers in the final game of the season.[3]

Cincinnati Bengals

Stofa was traded to the AFL expansion team Cincinnati Bengals prior to the 1968 season. He was the first Bengal in franchise history, signing with the team in December 1967.[4] He has used the license plate "1ST BNGL.[5]

He played one season (1968) with the Bengals, completing 85 passes in 177 attempts for 896 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions as the Bengals went 3–11 in their inaugural season. Stofa shared time with fellow Bengals quarterbacks Dewey Warren and Sam Wyche.

Stofa holds the distinction of throwing the first touchdown pass in Bengals history. In the team's second game, he completed a 58-yard pass to tight end Bob Trumpy in the third quarter of a 24–10 win over the Denver Broncos for the first win in team history.[6]

The following year, the Bengals drafted Greg Cook to become their starter. Stofa was waived during training camp, but then signed to the Bengals taxi squad. He was later claimed off waivers by the Dolphins.[7]

Miami Dolphins, second stint

Stofa returned to the Dolphins for the 1969 season and for 1970, the Dolphins' first year in the NFL after the AFL–NFL Merger. Stofa, playing behind Bob Griese and Rick Norton, played in just one game for the Dolphins in 1969, with 14 completions in 23 attempts for 146 yards.

In 1970, backing up starter Bob Griese, Stofa played in eight games, with 16 completions in 53 attempts for 240 yards and three touchdowns. It was the fifth and last season of his five-year AFL–NFL career.[8][9]

Jacksonville Sharks

In 1974, Stofa returned to pro football, signing with the World Football League's Jacksonville Sharks in the league's only season. Backing up quarterbacks Reggie Oliver and Kay Stephenson, Stofa completed two passes in five attempts for 24 yards and one touchdown.[10][11]

Personal life

He was inducted into the University of Buffalo Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973.[12] He retired after many years with Medical Mutual of Ohio and resided in Mason, Ohio.[13] He was also a former board member of the University of Buffalo Blue and White Club, which holds annual fund-raising campaigns to provide scholarships for UB student-athletes and activities to enhance the visibility and reputation of the university's Division of Athletics.[14] Stofa died on April 23, 2022, at the age of 79.[15][16][17]


Year Team # Games Att. Comp. Yards TD INT
1966 Miami Dolphins (AFL) 7 57 29 425 4 2
1967 Miami Dolphins (AFL) 1 2 2 51 0 0
1968 Cincinnati Bengals (AFL) 10 177 85 896 5 5
1969 Miami Dolphins (AFL) 1 23 14 146 0 2
1970 Miami Dolphins (NFL) 6 53 16 240 3 2

See also


  1. ^ "Bengal Jim's "Before the Roar" Tailgate Experience". Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  2. ^ Brady, Erik (February 9, 2022). "John Stofa, the original Cincinnati Bengal, traces roots back to University at Buffalo". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "Houston Oilers at Miami Dolphins - December 18th, 1966 |".
  4. ^ "Bengals Franchise Firsts - Cincinnati Bengals".
  5. ^ ""Catching up with John Stofa - THE BENGALS FORUM - For Bengals Fans *Only* - - The Best Bengals Fan Community in the World!". November 25, 2011.
  6. ^ "Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals - September 15th, 1968 |".
  7. ^ "The Bryan Times - Google News Archive Search".
  8. ^ "John Stofa Stats, Height, Weight, Position, Draft, College". Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Catching up with John Stofa - THE BENGALS FORUM - For Bengals Fans *Only* - - The Best Bengals Fan Community in the World!". November 25, 2011.
  10. ^ "World Football League".
  11. ^ "WFL-John Stofa".
  12. ^ "Reference at".
  13. ^ "Catching up with John Stofa - THE BENGALS FORUM - For Bengals Fans *Only* - - The Best Bengals Fan Community in the World!". November 25, 2011.
  14. ^ "5 Named To Blue And White Club's Board Of Directors - University at Buffalo".
  15. ^ Clark, Dave (April 26, 2022). "John Stofa, former Cincinnati quarterback known as 'The Original Bengal,' dies at 79". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on April 26, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  16. ^ "Former UB quarterback John Stofa, the first Cincinnati Bengal, dies at age 79". The Buffalo News. April 25, 2022. Archived from the original on April 25, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  17. ^ John C. Stofa