Steve Tannen
No. 21
Position:Defensive back
Personal information
Born: (1948-07-23) July 23, 1948 (age 73)
Miami, Florida
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Southwest Miami (FL)
NFL Draft:1970 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:61
Games started:8
INT return yards:204
Player stats at · PFR

Steven Olson Tannen (born July 23, 1948) is an American former college and professional football player who was a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons during the early 1970s. Tannen played college football for the University of Florida, and was recognized as an All-American. He was a first-round pick in the 1970 NFL Draft, and played his entire professional career for the New York Jets of the NFL.

Early years

Tannen is Jewish,[1][2] was born in Miami, Florida,[3] and attended Southwest Miami High School.[4] He was an outstanding track and field athlete in the Florida Relays as a senior in high school, competing in the high hurdles, pole vault, high jump and the 440 relay, as well as starring in high school football for the Southwest Miami Eagles. In 2007, 41 years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Tannen as one of the "100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years" of Florida high school football.[5]

College career

Tannen accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played defensive back for coach Ray Graves' Florida Gators football team from 1967 to 1969.[6] He developed a reputation for tough play and being brash and cocky.[7] Tannen was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1968, a first-team All-American in 1969, and the recipient of the Gators' Fergie Ferguson Award recognizing the "senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage."[6] Memorably, Tannen blocked a punt in the 1969 Gator Bowl, which was returned for a touchdown and provided the Gators' margin of victory in their 14–13 upset win over the Tennessee Volunteers, and helped the Gators achieve their then best-ever record of 9–1–1.[8] A versatile athlete, Tannen finished his three-season college career with 11 interceptions, and led the team in punt return yardage as a senior.[6]

Tannen graduated from Florida with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1972, and was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great."[9] In 2006, the sportswriters of The Gainesville Sun chose him as No. 15 among the 100 greatest players from the first 100 years of Florida Gators football.[10]

Professional career

The New York Jets selected Tannen in the first round (20th pick overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft,[11] and he played for the Jets for five seasons from 1970 to 1974.[12] As a rookie, he blocked a punt, recovered the ball and scored against Buffalo in 1970. A series of muscle pulls idled him in 1971. Shoulder injuries slowed him, but he managed to play in 13 of the games and led the team in interceptions with seven during the 1972 season. In 1973 he managed to start three games at free safety and spent the bulk of the season as backup man at either safety or at cornerback since he had experience at all positions. During his five-year NFL career, Tannen played in 64 games and had 12 interceptions with 204 return yards.[3] He was also a standout special teamer, and blocked two field goals and a punt.

After retiring from the NFL in 1974, Tannen lived in California doing a variety jobs including acting, and then relocated to Gainesville, Florida in 2012.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Robert Stephen Silverman, The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: The 100 Greatest Jews in Sports Ranked According to Achievement, S.P.I. Books, Inc., New York, New York, pp. 59 & 78 (2002).
  2. ^ Day by Day in Jewish Sports History - Bob Wechsler
  3. ^ a b, Players, Steve Tannen. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  4. ^, Players, Steve Tannen Archived February 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  5. ^ "FHSAA unveils '100 Greatest Players of First 100 Years' as part of centennial football celebration," Florida High School Athletic Association (December 4, 2007). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87, 91, 96, 103, 148, 149–150, 154, 186 (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  7. ^ David Kahn, "New Crop Of Seminoles Poses Same Tall Problems For Tannen," St. Petersburg Times, p. 2C (October 2, 1969). Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  8. ^ Norm Carlson, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 83–85 (2007).
  9. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 15 Steve Tannen," The Gainesville Sun (August 19, 2006). Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  11. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1970 National Football League Draft. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  12. ^ National Football League, Historical Players, Steve Tannen. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  13. ^ Gators great Steve Tannen cast in role as SEC "legend" - Florida Gators