|Born:||April 26, 1941|
Montclair, New Jersey
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||Glen Ridge (NJ)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Gary Samuel Cuozzo (born April 26, 1941) is a former professional American football player. An undrafted quarterback from the University of Virginia, Cuozzo played in 10 NFL seasons from 1963 to 1972. He began his NFL career on the Baltimore Colts as a backup to Johnny Unitas. When Unitas was injured in 1965, Cuozzo replaced him until getting sidelined by injury as well, forcing coach Don Shula to use running back Tom Matte as an emergency quarterback.
On March 6, 1967, the Colts traded Cuozzo to the expansion team New Orleans Saints, as part of a deal that also sent offensive lineman Butch Allison to the Saints in exchange for a 1967 first round pick (#1-Bubba Smith), a 1967 third round pick (#54-Norman Davis), a 1969 seventh round pick (#163-Gary Fleming) and center Bill Curry. He became the first starting quarterback in the franchise's history. However, the trade was disastrous for New Orleans, which gave away the first overall pick in the 1967 NFL draft to the Colts,who used it to select Michigan State All-American Bubba Smith, who became an All-Pro and was Baltimore's starting left defensive end in Super Bowl III and V.
After losing the Saints' starting job later in 1967 to Billy Kilmer, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings.He became the Vikings' starting quarterback in 1970 when Joe Kapp, the team's Most Valuable Player in 1969, held out and was traded to the Boston Patriots. Cuozzo was named NFC Player of the Week for leading the Vikings to a 27–10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of Super Bowl IV in the season opener.
The 1970 Vikings posted the NFL's best regular season record at 12–2, but lost in an NFC Divisional playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers at home. In 1971, Cuozzo could not hold on to his starting job, sharing duties with Norm Snead and Bob Lee. The Vikings went 11–3 in the regular season and lost in the divisional playoffs at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys.
After the 1971 season, the Vikings reacquired Fran Tarkenton from the New York Giants, with Snead and the Vikings' leading receiver from 1971, Bob Grim, going to the Big Apple. Tarkenton played his first six seasons (1961-66) in Minnesota, coinciding with the Vikings' first six seasons in the NFL.
Cuozzo was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in the deal which sent fleet wide receiver John Gilliam to the Vikings.Cardinals coach Bob Hollway was familiar with Cuozzo, having served as Minnesota's defensive coordinator under Bud Grant prior to leaving for St. Louis in 1971.
Cuozzo was part of a chaotic four-quarterback rotation with Jim Hart, Pete Beathard, and Tim Van Galder in 1972, but when Don Coryell took over as Cardinals coach in 1973, he named Hart the undisputed starter, and he would hold the job into the 1980s.
Following his retirement in 1973, Cuozzo moved to Middletown Township, New Jersey, to start an orthodontics practice.
In 1990, his oldest son Gary Jr., a/k/a Chip, was murdered in Miami during a drug deal, and Cuozzo gave talks to teens about avoiding drugs. He served as national chairman of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from 1995 to 1998.
Cuozzo played high school football at Glen Ridge High School in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
John Constantine Unitas was an American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons, primarily with the Baltimore Colts. Following a career that spanned from 1956 to 1973, he has been consistently listed as one of the greatest NFL players of all time.
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis. The Vikings joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion team in 1960, and first took the field for the 1961 season. The team competes in the National Football Conference (NFC) North division.
Francis Asbury Tarkenton is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons, primarily with the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football for the University of Georgia, where he was recognized as a two-time first-team All-SEC, and was selected by the Vikings in the third round of the 1961 NFL Draft. After retiring from football, he became a television personality and computer software executive.
James Edward Finks was an American football and Canadian football player, coach, and executive.
Thomas Roland Matte, is a former American football player who played quarterback in college and primarily running back in the National Football League (NFL) in the 1960s and 1970s and earned a Super Bowl Ring. He attended Shaw High School in East Cleveland and is an Eagle Scout. Matte was an All-American back at Ohio State University.
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Robert Lee Grim is a former American football player in the National Football League who played from 1967–1977.
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The 2000 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 40th in the National Football League. They won the NFC Central division title with an 11–5 record and beat the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs before losing 41–0 to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
The Minnesota Vikings are an American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After initially committing to become one of the founding members of the American Football League (AFL) in 1959, the team joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion franchise and played their first game in 1961, as part of the Western Conference. In 1967, they were placed into the new Central division, which became part of the National Football Conference following the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. The divisions were reorganized again in 2002, with the Vikings as part of the NFC North, in which they have played ever since. The Vikings have won their division 20 times and appeared in the playoffs 30 times, leading to four conference championships and one NFL title in 1969.
The 1968 season was the Minnesota Vikings' eighth in the National Football League. Under head coach Bud Grant, the Vikings won the NFL Central division title with an 8–6 record, and qualified for the postseason for the first time in franchise history. The Vikings' first trip to the playoffs saw them suffer a 24–14 loss in the Western Conference Championship Game to the eventual NFL champion and Super Bowl runner-up Baltimore Colts at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. In the Playoff Bowl two weeks later, they again lost to the Dallas Cowboys 17–13.
The 1971 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 11th in the National Football League. They finished with an 11–3 record to win the NFC Central title and return to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season; however, they lost 20–12 at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round.
The 1972 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 12th in the National Football League. It marked the return of Fran Tarkenton to the Vikings after he had been traded to the New York Giants in 1967. In return, Minnesota sent three players to the Giants, plus first- and second-round draft picks. Tarkenton's return also resulted in Gary Cuozzo, who had been with the team since 1968, being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal that sent wide receiver John Gilliam to the Vikings along with second- and fourth-round draft picks in 1973. Cardinals coach Bob Hollway was familiar with Cuozzo, having served as Minnesota's defensive coordinator under Bud Grant prior to leaving for St. Louis in 1971.
The 1975 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 15th in the National Football League.
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