Jim Plunkett Speaker & Booking Information

Retired Football Player
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Born to Mexican-American parents, Plunkett's father was a news vendor afflicted with progressive blindness, who had to support his blind wife along with their three children. In an effort to aid the family's financial situation, Plunkett worked a series of odd jobs while growing up, including serving as a gas station attendant, grocery store clerk and as a laborer on construction sites. In an acknowledgement of his Mexican roots, Plunkett chose the fictional character of Zorro, the Spanish Robin Hood, as his hero.

Prior to attending James Lick High School in East San Jose, California, he showed his talent for tossing the football by winning a throwing contest at the age of 14 with a heave of over 60 yards. Once he arrived at the school, he played quarterback and defensive end for the football team, with his athletic ability also helping him compete in basketball, baseball, track and wrestling as well.

Upon entering Stanford University, Plunkett endured a rough freshman campaign after being weakened by a thyroid operation. His performance originally caused head coach John Ralston to switch him to defensive end, but Plunkett was adamant in remaining at quarterback, throwing 500 to 1,000 passes every day to polish his arm. He earned the opportunity to start in 1968, and in his first game, completed ten of thirteen passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns, never relinquishing his hold on the starting spot. Plunkett's arrival ushered in an era of wide-open passing, pro-style offenses in the Pac-8, a trend that has continued to the present.

His successful junior campaign saw him set league records for touchdown passes (20), passing yards (2,673) and total offense (2,786). This display of offensive firepower led Washington State coach Jim Sweeney to call Plunkett the "The best college football player I've ever seen." After his junior year, Plunkett became eligible to enter the NFL draft, which would have given him a chance to earn a large roster bonus for himself and his mother. He passed up the chance at a paycheck, however, so that he could set a good example to the chicano youth he had tutored and lectured on the importance of staying in school. During his senior season, he promptly led the Cardinal to a Pac-8 championship and their first Rose Bowl appearance since World War II, a game that ended with a 27-17 Stanford victory over the favored Ohio State Buckeyes.

With eighteen passing and three rushing touchdowns added to his 2,715 passing yards on the year (which broke his own conference record), Plunkett was awarded the 1970 Heisman Trophy given annually to the top college football player in the country. Though he had set so many records on the season, 1970 had been the "Year of the Quarterback," and Plunkett beat out Notre Dame's Joe Theismann and Archie Manning of Ole Miss to win the award. Aside from the Heisman, he captured the Maxwell Award for the nation's best quarterback and was named player of the year by United Press International, The Sporting News, and Sport Magazine. In addition, the American College Football Coaches Association designated him as their Offensive Player of the Year.

Before he entered the NFL, UCLA coach Tommy Prothro had called him the "best pro quarterback prospect I've ever seen," echoing Sweeney's words from the year prior. His excellent arm strength and precision made him attractive to pro teams that relied much more heavily on the passing game than most college teams of the late 1960s. In 1971 he was drafted with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft by the New England Patriots, and won NFL Rookie of the Year honors. The Patriots, however, finished the season at 6-8, fourth place in the AFC East. His touchdowns dropped and his interceptions rose in the coming seasons, and Plunkett struggled with injuries and a shaky offensive line for the rest of his tenure in New England. In 1976 he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, and led the team to a 6-1 start before faltering to an 8-6 record. The 49ers released him during the 1978 preseason.

Plunkett then joined the Oakland Raiders in 1978, serving in a reserve capacity over the next two years. However, five weeks into the 1980 NFL season, his career took a major turn upward when starting QB Dan Pastorini broke his leg. The Raiders, thinking that Marc Wilson did not have the experience they wanted, called on Plunkett to start for the remainder of the year. In his first game, he completed eleven of fourteen passes with a touchdown and no interceptions, beginning one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of sport. Plunkett guided Oakland to a wild-card berth with nine victories in eleven games and an appearance in the playoffs, then helped win three playoff games and capped the stunning resurgence by leading the Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XV. Throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns, Plunkett was named the game's MVP in the 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

After returning to the backup role in 1983, Plunkett again took over starting duties after an injury to Wilson. The Raiders advanced to Super Bowl XVIII, where they dominated the Washington Redskins, 38-9, in the most one-sided game in Super Bowl history to that point.

Plunkett spent most of his last three seasons either injured or as a backup. He retired after the 1986 season, and is currently the fourth-leading passer in Raiders history.

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NOPACTalent acts as a Celebrity Speakers Bureau and Athlete Booking agency for corporate functions, appearances, private events and speaking engagements. NOPACTalent does not claim or represent itself as Jim Plunkett’s speakers bureau, agent, manager or management company for Jim Plunkett or any celebrity on this website. NOPACTalent represents organizations seeking to hire motivational speakers, athletes, celebrities and entertainers for private corporate events, celebrity endorsements, personal appearances, and speaking engagements.

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