Paul McDonald
refer to caption
McDonald walks the sidelines before a game between USC and UVA, 2008.
No. 16, 14
Personal information
Born: (1958-02-23) February 23, 1958 (age 64)
Montebello, California
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school:Bishop Amat Memorial
(La Puente, California)
NFL Draft:1980 / Round: 4 / Pick: 109
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:85
Passer rating:65.7
Player stats at · PFR

Paul Brian McDonald (born February 23, 1958) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Southern California.

Early years

McDonald attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School, before accepting a football scholarship from the University of Southern California. He was the third-string quarterback as a freshman and the backup as a sophomore.

He became the starter at quarterback as a junior and helped the team capture a share of the national championship in the 1978 season, while passing for 1,690 yards, 19 touchdowns (school record) and 7 interceptions. His only loss in his two years as a starter came against Arizona State University, after injuries to the Trojans' top two centers led to several fumbled snaps that opened the door for Sun Devil and future NFL quarterback Mark Malone to win 20-7.

In 1979, he posted 2,223 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, while playing in a backfield with future Heisman Trophy winners Charles White and Marcus Allen. He led the team to a 17-16 win against Ohio State University, after it entered the 1980 Rose Bowl as the number one ranked team in the nation.

He was known for his poise and as a winner, finishing his college career with a 22-1-1 record, holding the NCAA mark for the lowest interception percentage in a career at 2.3% (13 interceptions in 561 attempts) and the Pac-10 record of 143 straight passes without an interception.[1]

Professional career

Cleveland Browns

McDonald was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft. He was a backup behind quarterback Brian Sipe in his first 4 seasons.

He replaced Sipe (who was suffering from a sore throwing arm) in the last three games of the strike-shortened 1982 season, posting a 2-1 record and helping the team make the playoffs that had been expanded to 16 teams. He started in the first round of the playoffs, a 27-10 loss against the Oakland Raiders, after throwing for 281 yards and 1 touchdown with no interceptions.[2] Sipe won back the starting job the next season.

In 1984, the Browns did not re-sign Sipe and gave the starting job to McDonald, who had a 5-11 record after enduring 53 sacks and registering 3,472 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Against the New England Patriots, he had a career-high 320 passing yards on 23 out of 37 attempts (62.2%) and one touchdown. Against the New Orleans Saints, he tallied a career-high 75% completion percentage (18 out of 24). Against the Houston Oilers, he completed 13 straight passes.

In 1985, he was the third-string quarterback behind Gary Danielson and first round supplemental draft choice Bernie Kosar. He was waived on June 26, 1986. He left after passing for 5,269 yards, 24 touchdowns and 37 interceptions.

Seattle Seahawks

On July 16, 1986, he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. He was released on August 26.[3]

Dallas Cowboys

On November 4, 1986, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent to be the third-string quarterback, after starter Danny White was lost for the season with a broken right wrist he suffered during the 14-17 loss against the New York Giants.[4] He reunited with pass offense coordinator Paul Hackett who was one of his coaches with the Trojans and the Browns. Mcdonald also became the first left hander quarterback to make the team in franchise history.

In 1987, he beat rookie Kevin Sweeney for the third-string quarterback job, leading the team with a 92.0 quarterback rating in pre-season. After the players went on a strike on the third week of the season, those games were canceled (reducing the 16 game season to 15) and the NFL decided that the games would be played with replacement players. Sweeney was signed to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys replacement team, had success and was kept on the roster for the rest of the year along with McDonald. On August 23, 1988, he was released without playing a down in his time with the team.[5]

Personal life

McDonald does radio color commentary for USC Trojans football games and lives in Newport Beach, California.[6] He won the award for being the best radio color analyst given yearly by the prestigious Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.

His son Mike, was the third-string quarterback for the USC Trojans during the 2005 season.

See also


  1. ^ "Paul McDonald, Millennium Hall of Fame". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "Raiders Advance With 27-10 Victory". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  3. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  4. ^ "Newswire". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  5. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "As USC's Analyst, He's a Left-Handed Complement". Retrieved June 27, 2018.