Professional Football Player. For twenty-one seasons (1956 to 1976), he played at the quarterback position in the National Football League with the San Fransisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. He will perhaps be best remembered for his key contributions as a backup to Johnny Unitas (Baltimore Colts) and Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins). Morrall played a significant role in the Miami Dolphins' achievement of a perfect 17 win 0 loss season in 1972. He is considered by many as being one of the greatest substitute quarterbacks in NFL history. Born Earl Edwin Morrall, he attended his hometown high school in Muskegon, Michigan and played collegiate football at Michigan State University. He achieved greatness on both the gridiron, as well as the baseball diamond. Morrall helped lead the Spartans to a 17 to 14 victory over UCLA in the Rose Bowl Game played on January 2, 1956, while achieving All-American status that season. He could have pursued a career in Major League Baseball, but chose football and was selected as the number 2 overall pick by San Francisco during the 1st round of the 1956 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, he served as a backup to Y.A. Tittle and after he was acquired by the Steelers the following year (1957), he achieved Pro-Bowl honors as Pittsburgh's starting quarterback. In 1968, he replaced an injured Johnny Unitas as the Colts' quarterback and helped lead Baltimore to a 13 win 1 loss record which resulted in an appearance in Super Bowl III in January 1969. Additionally, he passed for a career-high 2,909 yards and led the league with 26 touchdowns. His accomplishments earned him the NFL MVP Award for 1968. He returned to the role of back to Unitas and experienced a Super Bowl Championship with the Colts in 1971, Super Bowl V. Morrall achieved further prominence, as he replaced an ailing Bob Griese with the Dolphins in 1972 and helped lead Miami to their perfect season culminating with a win in Super Bowl VII played in January 1973. He received NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors that season, as well as Pro-Bowl status. He was also a part of the Dolphins' Super Bowl VIII victory in 1974. In 255 regular season games, he compiled 20,809 passing years with 161 touchdowns. After retiring as a player, he served on the coaching staff at the University of Miami and mentored such star quarterbacks as Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde. Additionally, he served as a councilman and Mayor of Davie, Florida. He was inducted into the Michigan State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. He died after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease.
Bio by: C.S.