The Interesting Career Of Steve Deberg
Steve Deberg has long been labeled a journeyman quarterback, but after 21 seasons spanning parts of three different decades, he was much more than that.
Steve Deberg was drafted in 1977 in the 10th round by the Dallas Cowboys, but started his career with the San Francisco 49ers. With Bill Walsh as his head coach, Steve Deberg is credited with being the first-ever “west coast offense” quarterback. The writing on the wall became clear when the 49ers drafted a young quarterback named Joe Montana and after four years with the team, Deberg moved on to a new team.
Deberg’s next career stop had him in Denver, the year the Broncos drafted a young quarterback named John Elway. Steve stayed with the Broncos for three seasons before joining the Buccaneers for the 1987 season.
The USFL had been an alternate pro football league in the mid 1980’s and after it disbanded, some of it’s star players joined the NFL teams that owned their rights. In Tampa Bay, this meant the arrival of Steve Young. Steve Deberg thus found himself backing up for a third future hall-of-famer in ten years. After Steve Young was moved to the 49ers, Tampa Bay drafted highly touted Vinny Testaverde. Having spent four seasons in Tampa Bay, Deberg now moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Finally in Kansas City, Deberg saw time as a starting quarterback and in three seasons there he led the team to the playoffs twice. It was with the Chiefs that he saw the best years of her career. After the 1991 season, Steve left the Chiefs and went back to the Buccaneers before spending a final season in 1993 with the Miami Dolphins.
But, this wasn’t the last the NFL would see of Steve Deberg. At the age of 44 and having been out of football for over two seasons, Steve came out of retirement to be a backup quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons (coached by Deberg’s former coach in Denver, Dan Reeves). Though he didn’t make it into the game, Steve Deberg is credited with being the oldest player included on the roster of a team in the Super Bowl when the Falcons made it to the big game in 1996.
Steve Deberg… not your everyday journeyman quarterback.