Steve Young

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Mormon Steve Young

Jon Steven Young (born October 11, 1961 in Salt Lake City, Utah), is best known as quarterback for the National Football League's San Francisco 49ers. He also played for he Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Express of the now defunct United States Football League. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the NFL in 1992 and 1994, the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, the first left-handed quarterback to be so honored. He holds the NFL record for highest career passer rating and won six NFL passing titles. Steve is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he was known for his exemplary conduct throughout his career. He is a descendant of early Mormon prophet Brigham Young.

Personal Life

Steve attended Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was a multi-sport athlete. He went on to play for LaVell Edwards of Brigham Young University, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Steve's father was LeGrande "Grit" Young, who played football at BYU in the late 1950s. He led the school in scoring in 1955 and in rushing and total offense in 1959. Steve is married to the former Barbara Graham. They married on March 15, 2000, in a ceremony at the Kona Hawaii Temple in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. They have two sons and two daughters together.

Football Career

When Steve began to play for BYU, his speed overshadowed his passing ability. He was not originally considered for the quarterback position. He invested much effort in improving his passing ability to land the QB position. He "eventually succeeded record-setting Jim McMahon as the Cougars' starting QB. Young's senior season (1983) was spectacular. He passed for 3,902 yards and 33 touchdowns in the regular season, and his 71.3% completion percentage set an NCAA single-season record. He also added 544 yards rushing. With Young at quarterback, BYU set an NCAA record by averaging 584.2 yards of total offense per game, with 370.5 of those yards coming from Young's passing and rushing. The Cougars finished the year with an impressive 11–1 record; Young was named First Team All-American and finished second in voting for the Heisman Trophy (behind Nebraska running back Mike Rozier). Young's record breaking season was honored when he won the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award which recognizes the nation's best collegiate quarterback. Young capped his college career by scoring the game-winning touchdown in BYU's 21–17 victory over Missouri in the 1983 Holiday Bowl" ( Young finished his 3 seasons with 592 pass completions for 7,733 yards and 56 touchdowns, along with 1,048 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. In 2001, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Young signed a record 10-year, $40 million contract with the Los Angeles Express of the now-defunct United States Football League in 1984, making him the highest paid player in football history . However, the team never attracted a fan base, and the owner bankrupted. The league ceased operations in 1986 after losing most of its claims in an antitrust suit against the NFL. Young continues to receive his annuity as legally promised in his contract.

Young signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 after being the first player selected in the year's supplemental draft. However, the Buccaneers posted 2–14 win-loss records in each of Young's two seasons with them, and Young's record as starter was 3–16. In his 19 games, he threw for only 11 touchdowns with 21 interceptions while completing fewer than 55% of his passes. Although his time in Tampa Bay was miserable, San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh was impressed by Young's natural abilities and felt that his problems were due to the struggling Bucs organization (Wikipedia).

Young was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on April 24, 1987, to serve as a backup to Joe Montana. Young would spend the final 13 years of his career with the 49ers, a stint which would help him become one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and earn membership in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2005. Steve Young played behind Montana his first several years, but shone as a backup. In 1989, he displayed his potential to become the team's starter in the future. Following an injury to Montana in the 1990 playoffs which forced him to miss the entire 1991 season, Young got his chance to lead the 49ers. However, he was also injured, and three quarterbacks -- Montana, Young, and Bono -- switched places as they became healthy. The 49ers lost ground. However, Young performed well enough during his first couple of seasons, that he was selected for the Pro Bowl.

Young's performance was so impressive that before the start of the 1993 season, San Francisco traded Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs. Young was now the 49ers' undisputed starter, and would remain so for the rest of his career. For the 1994 season, Steve Young was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX as the 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26. In 1994 he threw for 3,969 yards, a then franchise record 35 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions, completed an NFL record 70.28 percent of his passes, and broke Montana's single season mark with a then record 112.8 passer rating. He was named NFL MVP for the second time.

The 1999 season would turn out to be Steve Young's last. Young was plagued by concussions throughout his career. Officially, Young had suffered seven concussions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, becoming the first left-handed quarterback to be so honored. A left-handed thrower, Young was famous for his ability to "scramble" away from the pass rush. He has the third-highest single-season passer rating at 112.8 (set in the 1994 season), next to Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning (121.1 QB rating in 2004), and New England Patriots' Tom Brady (117.2 QB rating in 2007). However, among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 passing attempts, Young's career passer rating of 96.8 is the highest of any quarterback in NFL history. The San Francisco 49ers had his #8 jersey retired during a halftime ceremony against the New England Patriots on October 5, 2008. He was the 11th player in team history to receive this honor.

Professional Life

Steve earned his law degree from Brigham Young University, and after his sports career ended, he has been active in many business ventures. He currently serves on the board of directors of Nutraceutical Corporation in Park City, Utah, and is active in the Forever Young Foundation, which he started as a charitable organization. Forever Young serves children facing significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges by providing academic, athletic, and therapeutic opportunities otherwise unavailable to them.

Steve serves as a National Advisor to ASCEND: A Humanitarian Alliance. This non-profit organization plans expeditions to African and South American countries to provide life skills mentoring with sustainable solutions in education, enterprise, health and simple technology. He has been involved in business ventures which include: (a) a stint with private equity firm H&G Capital Partners, which was founded by billionaire industrialist Jon M. Huntsman and former Bain Capital executive Robert C. Gay and (b) a co-founder of the private equity firm, Sorenson Capital, in Lehi, Utah. Moreover, he currently sits on the board of Foundry Networks.

Steve currently serves as an analyst for ESPN, the cable channel dedicated to sports.

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