Tom Tupa
No. 19, 7, 9
Position:Quarterback / punter
Personal information
Born: (1966-02-06) February 6, 1966 (age 58)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Brecksville–Broadview Heights
(Broadview Heights, Ohio)
College:Ohio State
NFL draft:1988 / Round: 3 / Pick: 68
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Punting yards:37,862
Punting average:43.4
Passing yards:3,430
Passer rating:60.5

Thomas Joseph Tupa Jr. (born February 6, 1966) is an American former professional football player who was a punter and quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He was selected in the third round of the 1988 NFL Draft to the Phoenix Cardinals. He also played for the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Redskins.

Early life and high school

As a child, Tupa participated in the NFL's Punt, Pass, and Kick contest, and was a semi-finalist three times, winning once. Tupa played mostly quarterback at Brecksville–Broadview Heights High School; he led his team to the state championship while also lettering in basketball (where he averaged 20.8 points per game) and baseball (where he was a pitcher and shortstop).[1] While in high school, Tupa played on the same basketball team as former NBA head coach Eric Musselman and former NBA forward Scott Roth.

College career

After sitting three seasons behind Mike Tomczak and Jim Karsatos, Tupa took over the starting quarterback job at Ohio State University in 1987, throwing for 2,252 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.[2] He was selected as an All-American punter in the same season,[3] as well as All-Big 10. Tupa was a four-time football letterman and was also selected to play in the 1988 Hula Bowl all-star game.[4]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 4+12 in
(1.94 m)
220 lb
(100 kg)
10+14 in
(0.26 m)
4.83 s 1.68 s 2.82 s 4.31 s 28.0 in
(0.71 m)
8 ft 9 in
(2.67 m)
13 reps
All values from NFL Combine[5]

Phoenix Cardinals

Tupa was drafted in the third round (68th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Phoenix Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL).[6] His second season with the team saw an expanded role after. He started two games at quarterback, while registering six punts for 46.7 yards per punt.[7] After spending the entire 1990 season as strictly a holder on kicks, he was the primary quarterback for the Cardinals the following year, playing in 11 games and throwing six touchdowns to 13 interceptions.[8]

Indianapolis Colts

Tupa joined the Indianapolis Colts in 1992, as the backup for quarterbacks Jack Trudeau and Jeff George.

1992 also marked the last time Tupa was used regularly as a quarterback; after that he almost exclusively punted, with only emergency occasions or trick plays making use of his throwing skills.

Cleveland Browns

Tupa did not play in the 1993 NFL season, having been cut by the Cleveland Browns right before the season and later re-signed as a backup in November[9] following an injury to starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde and the release of backup Bernie Kosar. He was retained by the Browns the following year and stayed with them for two seasons as their starting punter. With the Browns, Tupa scored the first two-point conversion in NFL history, running in a faked extra point kick attempt for the Browns in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first week of the 1994 season. He scored a total of three such conversions that season, earning him the nickname "Two Point Tupa."[10]

New England Patriots

Tupa joined the New England Patriots in 1996 and played for them for three years. During his Patriots tenure, he played in Super Bowl XXXI, in which the Patriots lost to the Green Bay Packers.[11] He would be named the Patriots' All-1990s Team.

New York Jets

In 1999, Tupa signed with the New York Jets. It was during this season that Tupa received his first invitation to the Pro Bowl. He also made his first pass attempt since 1996, and went 6-of-10 for 165 yards and two touchdowns during the Jets' week one matchup against his former team, the Patriots. Tupa was put in at quarterback in the first quarter after Vinny Testaverde tore his achilles tendon,[12] as under NFL rules at the time, using an emergency QB before the fourth quarter meant that the starting and backup QBs could not play for the remainder of the game. Despite his success, once the third quarter ended, Tupa was moved back to punting and the Jets switched to emergency QB Rick Mirer, who ended up going 4-of-11 for 28 yards and two interceptions, the second of which set up a game-winning field goal from the Patriots' Adam Vinatieri. The Jets lost the game to the Patriots 30-28, and ended up missing the playoffs that season by one game, finishing with an 8-8 record. Tupa remained with the Jets through the 2001 season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2002 saw Tupa sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was their punter on their road to Super Bowl XXXVII, where they defeated the Oakland Raiders.[13]

Washington Redskins

Before the start of the 2004 NFL season, Tupa signed with the Washington Redskins. In 2004, he was named as a Pro Bowl second alternate. He spent 2005 on the injured reserve list, and did not appear in a game.

The final pass of Tupa's career was thrown in an overtime loss in the 2002 season-opener against the New Orleans Saints during a punt attempt from the Buccaneers' five-yard line. Pressure from a Saints defender forced Tupa to abort the punt attempt and throw a desperation pass with his non-throwing arm which was intercepted by a Saints defender and returned for a touchdown, ending the game.


Tupa announced his retirement from football in the spring of 2006.[14] In February 2006, he was appointed as the recreation director of Brecksville, Ohio.[15]

Personal life

Tupa was the offensive coordinator at his high school alma mater, Brecksville–Broadview Heights High School, where he called the plays for both his sons.[16] He was also Brecksville's recreation director from 2006 until his retirement on May 7, 2021.[17][18]

His son Tom Tupa III (high school class of 2013) was a quarterback for Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.[19] His son Tim Tupa (high school class of 2014) played wide receiver for the Bowling Green State University.[20] His son Tyler Tupa (high school class of 2016) formerly played wide receiver for Ohio University. His daughter Emma Tupa (high school class of 2018) formerly played volleyball for Ohio University.

He is a first cousin of former Colorado Democratic State Senator and Majority Caucus Leader Ron Tupa.


  1. ^ "Tom Tupa | Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame". August 15, 2018. Archived from the original on December 23, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Ohio State Football Has Sad History with Sports Agent Issue". Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  3. ^ "Ohio State Buckeyes All-Americans, Awards, Captains, MVPS". Archived from the original on September 27, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  4. ^[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Tom Tupa, Combine Results, P - Ohio State". Retrieved March 20, 2023.
  6. ^ "1988 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "Tom Tupa 1989 Game Log". Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  8. ^ "Tom Tupa 1991 Game Log". Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  9. ^ Archived copy (PDF), archived (PDF) from the original on December 6, 2021, retrieved April 27, 2020((citation)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ NFL (October 13, 2017), That Time a Punter Played QB for the Jets and Threw 2 TD's | NFL Highlights, archived from the original on October 22, 2017, retrieved October 14, 2017
  11. ^ "Super Bowl XXXI - New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers - January 26th, 1997". Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  12. ^ Cox, Zack (October 14, 2017). "Tom Tupa's Touchdowns: Remembering One Of Patriots-Jets Rivalry's Wildest Games". Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  13. ^ "Super Bowl XXXVII - Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Oakland Raiders - January 26th, 2003". Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  14. ^ Bournival, Brad (June 5, 2012). "OSU Time And Change: Tom Tupa". Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 25, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2006.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Passing on the family tradition: Tupa name takes to the field again". September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  17. ^ "Still Right at Home in Brecksville". May 5, 2011. Archived from the original on July 17, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  18. ^ "Message from Mayor Hruby - April 23 2021" (PDF). Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  19. ^ "Tom Tupa". Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  20. ^ Kuzydym, Stephanie (January 28, 2015). "Former Brecksville QB/WR Tim Tupa transfers to Bowling Green from Naval Academy". Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.