John Brodie

Last updated

John Brodie
John Brodie 1966.JPG
circa 1966
No. 12
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1935-08-14) August 14, 1935 (age 84)
Menlo Park, California
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:198 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school: Oakland Tech
(Oakland, California)
College: Stanford
NFL Draft: 1957  / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passer rating:72.3
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR
John Brodie
Personal information
Full nameJohn Riley Brodie
NationalityFlag of the United States.svg  United States
SpouseSue Brodie (m.1957)
Children1 son, 4 daughters
College Stanford
Retired 1998
Former tour(s) Senior PGA Tour
Professional wins1
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour Champions1
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
PGA Championship DNP
U.S. Open CUT: 1959, 1981
The Open Championship DNP

John Riley Brodie (born August 14, 1935) is a former American football player, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) for 17 seasons. He had a second career as a Senior PGA Tour professional golfer, and was a television broadcaster for both sports. [1]


During various years of his NFL career, Brodie led the League in passing yardage, passing touchdowns, least sacks, and lowest percentage of passes intercepted. He retired as the third most prolific career passer in NFL history, and was the league MVP in 1970 and a two-time Pro Bowler. [2]


Early years and education

Born in Menlo Park, California, Brodie grew up in the Montclair district of Oakland and attended Montclair Grammar (later Elementary) School. He was a standout athlete at Oakland Technical High School and graduated in 1953.

Brodie played college football across the San Francisco Bay at Stanford University, [3] where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity. In his senior season of 1956, [4] Brodie was a consensus All-American and also played on the Stanford golf team, [5] which kept him out of spring football drills. [6]

Brodie nearly chose golf for his sporting career, turning professional following completion of his time on the Stanford team and playing in several tournaments on the PGA Tour. [5]

Brodie later said of his first golfing experience:

"You talk about pressure. I was always worried that I wasn't going to make the cut. Fact is there was only one time I was close enough to say I was in competition in the final round. I had to make up my mind. I couldn't be pro in two sports and do justice to either one." [7]

Professional football career

Brodie later in his career with the 49ers circa 1972-73. San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos 1985-11-11 (ticket) (crop).jpg
Brodie later in his career with the 49ers circa 1972-73.

Brodie was the third overall selection of the 1957 NFL draft and saw limited action as a rookie with the 49ers in 1957. He got more playing time in 1958 through 1960, sharing time with Y. A. Tittle; he became the starter in 1961 (Tittle was traded to the New York Giants), and continued in that role through 1973.

Brodie was among the leading passers in the league throughout the 1960s. His best statistical year was 1965 when he led the League in passing yardage (3,112 yards) and passing touchdowns (30), leading to his first of two Pro Bowl appearances.

Following his outstanding 1965 season, in which he made about $35,000, [8] Brodie was courted by the Houston Oilers of the rival American Football League. [9] Newspaper reports indicated that a contract with the Oilers paying between $650,000 and $1 million had been arranged. [9] [10] After the NFL Giants signed kicker Pete Gogolak from the AFL champion Bills, offers to Brodie and other NFL stars, like Mike Ditka and Roman Gabriel, expedited the merger agreement between the two leagues in June 1966. [11] An improved contract offer from the 49ers moved Brodie to stay put in San Francisco, however, and a multi-year deal paying Brodie $900,000 over several seasons was instead inked. [8] [12] [13] [14]

The 1970 season proved to be a particularly stellar for Brodie. During that year he led the entire NFL with 24 touchdown passes, [15] while taking a league low 8 sacks during the entire season. [16] Brodie also paced NFL quarterbacks with a league-leading 2.6% of his passes resulting in interception. [16] Brodie's outstanding season was rewarded when he received the 1970 NFL Most Valuable Player Award. [2]

When Brodie retired from the NFL at the end of the 1973 season, [14] he ranked third in career passing yards, behind only Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton. In 2004, he was named to the Professional Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good in the association's second HOVG class [17]

Career after football

A football signed by Brodie, gifted to President Gerald Ford. John Brodie signature football (1991.83.1).jpg
A football signed by Brodie, gifted to President Gerald Ford.

After he retired from football, Brodie served as an NFL football and golf analyst for NBC Sports. He spent two seasons (1977 and 1978) as the network's No. 1 NFL analyst, alongside play-by-play man Curt Gowdy, and called Super Bowl XIII in January 1979. Among the other notable NFL games he worked was the Epic in Miami, the January 1982 AFC playoff game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, with play-by-play man Don Criqui.

He competed as a professional golfer on the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) from 1985 to 1998. Brodie had one win and twelve top-ten finishes, earning a total of $735,000. He had the longest gap between appearances in the U.S. Open — missing the cut in both 1959 and 1981.

Brodie suffered a major stroke in 2000, rendering speech difficult for him. [18]

In 2006, Brodie's number 12 jersey was brought out of retirement and worn by Trent Dilfer, backup quarterback for the 49ers. Dilfer, a close personal friend of Brodie, hoped to bring attention to Brodie's bid for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986. [18]

In 2010, Brodie was inducted into the African-American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, becoming the first European-American so honored. [18]

Personal life

John married his wife Sue in 1957. They have four daughters and a son, and 12 grandchildren. [5] One of his daughters, Erin, found fame on television in 2003 during the first season of the reality series For Love or Money , [19] while another daughter, Diane, was married until 2011 to former NFL quarterback Chris Chandler. His son-in-law is the renown dermatologist, Dr. Will Kirby.

During the 1969 season, Brodie experienced tendonitis in his throwing arm which caused him to miss two and a half games. [5] He received cortisone shots in an effort to remedy the problem, without apparent success. [5] In desperation for relief, Brodie was introduced to a representative of the Church of Scientology, who — Brodie insisted at the time — used Dianetics-based techniques to completely eliminate the tendonitis by the following week. [5] Thus began a connection between Brodie and the church. [5] [14] [20]

Brodie was for years thereafter one of the leading celebrity endorsers of the Church of Scientology. [14] [20] [21] This public role was ultimately ended when several of Brodie's friends were expelled or harassed in a power struggle with the Church's hierarchy. [21] While professing continued admiration for the teachings of church founder L. Ron Hubbard, "there were many in the church I felt were treated unfairly," Brodie told the Los Angeles Times in 2006. [21]

Professional wins (1)

Senior PGA Tour wins (1)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
1Oct 27, 1991 Security Pacific Senior Classic –13 (66-66-68=200)Playoff Flag of the United States.svg George Archer, Flag of the United States.svg Chi-Chi Rodríguez

Senior PGA Tour playoff record (1–0)

1 1991 Security Pacific Senior Classic Flag of the United States.svg George Archer, Flag of the United States.svg Chi-Chi Rodríguez Won with birdie on first extra hole

Results in major championships

U.S. Open CUT
U.S. Open
U.S. Open CUT
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
Note: Brodie only played in the U.S. Open.

See also


  1. "John Brodie to try career in pro golf". Wilmington Morning Star. North Carolina. Associated Press. August 27, 1985. p. 3B.
  2. 1 2 "John Brodie wins Jim Thorpe Trophy". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. NEA. December 29, 1970. p. 9.
  3. "John Brodie denies cheating in exam". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. June 18, 1957. p. 3B.
  4. "John Brodie best passer in nation". Victori Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. November 14, 1956. p. 9.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gregg Jordan, "John Jumps Over to Candlestick," Petersen's 11th Pro Football 1971 Annual. Los Angeles, CA: Petersen Publishing Co., 1971; pg. 17.
  6. "John Brodie of Stanford leads in total offense". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 17, 1956. p. 23.
  7. Quoted in Jordan, "John Jumps Over to Candlestick," pg. 17.
  8. 1 2 "Brodie: Is he richest pro?". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. Associated Press. August 5, 1966. p. 1C.
  9. 1 2 Jordan, "John Jumps Over to Candlestick," pg. 15.
  10. "Oilers offer John Brodie hefty salary". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. June 6, 1966. p. 12.
  11. Povich, Shirley (February 16, 1967). "Pro struggle hot, Ditka case proves". Tuscaloosa News. Alabama. (Washington Post). p. 8.
  12. Jordan, "John Jumps Over to Candlestick," pp. 15-16.
  13. Gross, Milton (February 20, 1967). "Ditka is mutinous; he's not alone". Milwaukee Journal. North American Newspaper Alliance. p. 17, part 2.
  14. 1 2 3 4 "Brodie will sub Bible for passing". Wilmington Morning Star. UPI. November 23, 1973. p. 7C.
  15. "Official NFL Statistics for the 1970 Season," Petersen's 11th Pro Football 1971 Annual. Los Angeles, CA: Petersen Publishing Co., 1971; pg. 86.
  16. 1 2 Jordan, "John Jumps Over to Candlestick," pg. 14.
  17. "Hall of Very Good". Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  18. 1 2 3 "Ethnic Sports Hall Of Fame Inducts First White Honoree," Archived March 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine KTVU-TV,, March 20, 2010.
  19. "The daughter of 49er football great John Brodie has some game of her own: She's going to go for broke on a TV reality show where the stakes are $2 million or bust". Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  20. 1 2 Kinsolving, Lester (August 5, 1972). "John Brodie believes in Scientology". Bangor Daily News. Maine. Associated Press. p. 6.
  21. 1 2 3 Joel Sappell And Robert W. Welkos, "The Courting of Celebrities," Los Angeles Times, pg. A18, June 25, 2006.

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