Karl Sweetan
Karl Sweetan 1972.jpeg
Born:(1942-10-02)October 2, 1942
Dallas, Texas
Died:July 2, 2000(2000-07-02) (aged 57)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Career information
CollegeWake Forest
NFL draft1965 / Round: 18 / Pick 249
Career history
As player
1966–1967Detroit Lions
1968New Orleans Saints
1969–1970Los Angeles Rams
Career highlights and awards

Karl Robert Sweetan (October 2, 1942 in Dallas, Texas – July 2, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada) was a professional NFL quarterback.

Early life

Sweetan grew up in Dallas and graduated from South Oak Cliff High School in 1960.


Sweetan played football at Navarro Junior College and Texas A&M before transferring to Wake Forest.

Sweetan was Wake Forest’s starting quarterback in 1963, his senior year. He completed 79 of 218 passes for 674 yards, throwing 1 touchdown and 18 interceptions. His 218 pass attempts were the 2nd highest in the conference, and 5th highest in the country. [1]

Professional Football

Undrafted by the NFL, Sweetan played quarterback and defensive back for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts during the 1964 season.

In the 1965 NFL Draft, Sweetan was an 18th round draft choice of the Detroit Lions.

Sweetan played five NFL seasons, from 1966 to 1970, for 3 teams.

During his first season, in 1966, he replaced an injured Milt Plum in an October 16 game against the Baltimore Colts. In that game, Sweetan threw a 99 yard pass to Pat Studstill that will always be an NFL record for longest pass completion. Sweetan was the 2nd NFL quarterback to accomplish the feat; as of 2021, a total of 12 NFL quarterbacks have thrown a 99 yard pass, with the most recent being Eli Manning in 2011. [2]

Sweetan played himself in the 1967 movie, Paper Lion, which starred Alan Alda as an amateur participating at quarterback during the Lions preseason (based on an actual experience by the writer George Plimpton).[3]

Sweetan gained a different kind of notoriety when it was alleged that he tried to sell an NFL football playbook to another team; however, the charge was not proven.[4]


Sweetan spent the last 27 years of his life in Las Vegas, where he worked for a series of casinos; his last job was as a baccarat shift boss at the old MGM Grand before it became Bally's. He was survived by 4 daughters and a son. [5]

According to a 1966 article in the Detroit Jewish News, Sweetan said he was Jewish. [6]


  1. ^ "Karl Sweetan". Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  2. ^ "Karl Sweetan Stats - Pro-Football-Reference.com". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  3. ^ Karl Sweetan – The Internet Movie Database.
  4. ^ Maule, Tex. "Would You Buy A Used Playbook From This Man?" Sports Illustrated, July 24, 1972.
  5. ^ NFL quarterback, longtime LV resident Karl Sweetan dies at 57;Las Vegas Sun
  6. ^ Jewish Indians in sports arenas; Detroit Jewish News