Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Wall: Ohio Athletes

Bernie Kosar
Northeastern Ohio's finest QB
Bernard Joseph "Bernie" Kosar, born on November 25, 1963 in Youngstown, OH, went on to become a well-known and one of the best QB's of his era, playing most of his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, then going on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. As a Hungarian-American, Bernie was raised and grew up in suburban Boardman, Ohio, just south of Youngstown. He would attend Boardman High School were as a Senior in 1981, earned Parade magazine All-American honors. Also, Bernie was a well-know pitcher on the baseball diamond earning a number of recognitions for his pitching-skills.

Following high school, Bernie decided to go down to South Beach Miami to play for the University of Miami "The U", in most part cause of their pass-oriented offense and emerging as one of the finest programs in the 1980's. After redshirting in 1982, Bernie started at QB in 1983 as a freshmen. During the 1983 season, his 62% passing completion, along with 2,328 passing yards and 15 passing touchdowns led the 11-1 Canes to a bid in the Orange Bowl. In that 1984 Orange Bowl game, Bernie led the Canes to their 1st National Championship, when he passed for 300 passing yards and two TD's vs. the Nebraska Cornhuskers (a team that had won 22-games in a row at that point). In 1984, Bernie set Hurricane season records with 3,642 yards and 25 touchdowns, named a All-American (2nd team), finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting. Kosar's career completion % is still a Hurricane record (62.3). That same season, Bernie was the opposite QB to Doug Flutie in the "Hail Flutie" game, in which a last-second touchdown pass became one of the greatest plays ever in college football (Boston College beat Miami, 47 to 45). In that same game, Bernie passed for 447 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Bernie graduated in the summer of 1985 from Miami's business school with a double major in finances and economics. Following the NFL Draft controversy during the spring/summer of 1985, Bernie was selected #1 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 1985 NFL Supplemental Draft. His friendliness and  on-field performance made him a fans favorite and one of the greatest Browns of all-time. Bernie known for not being the most athletic guy to play QB was famously immobile and threw the football with an unwieldy sidearm motion. During 1990 and 1991, Bernie would set a league record by throwing 308 consecutive passes without an interception. Bernie led the Cleveland Browns to three AFC Championship Games in his career (1987, 1988, 1990), losing all three games to Hall of Fame John Elway and the Denver Broncos. He had his best season in 1987, named to the All-Pro team and a Pro Bowler. His later years with the Browns were labeled with "injuries and poor play". Then during Week 8 of the 1993 season, the Browns released Kosar noting in a press conference, because of his "diminishing skills".

Following the release, Bernie signed a one-year deal with Dallas, filling in for Cowboy's starting QB, Troy Aikman. In the four games he filled in at the QB position, Bernie performed well and earned his only Super Bowl ring as part of the Cowboys 30-13 victory in Super Bowl XXVIII over the Buffalo Bills. Bernie spent the final seasons of his career down in Miami, backing-up Hall of Fame Dolphins QB Dan Marino.

In his 12-season career with 1,994 completions in 3,365 attempts for 23,301 yards and 124 touchdowns, with 87 interceptions. He also rushed for 265 yards and five touchdowns. Following retirement has been involved in a number of ventures. Retirement and after. Bernie now a days, does the best color commentating for the Cleveland Browns preseason games, if you never had a chance to listen to him during a game, it is well worth it.