Chargers history lesson: The story of Dan Fouts and overcoming adversity


Name: Dan Fouts (M.F.I.C. or “Motherf**ker in Charge”)

Position: Quarterback

Years Played for Chargers: 1973-1987

Hall of Fame Class: 1993

NFL Top 100: N/A (and a damn shame)


Dan Fouts Statistics


6x Pro Bowler (1979-1983, 1985) 3x 1st Team All Pro (1979, 1982, 1985)

1982 NFL Offensive POTY


Dan Fouts was never supposed to be great. Barely known out of high school, he took the only scholarship that he was offered and went to the University of Oregon to play quarterback. During his career at the U of O, Fouts amassed 35 touchdowns and 54 interceptions; showing a great arm, but erratic accuracy. There were doubts if Fouts could have the accuracy to adjust to the NFL game and whether the speed of the game would be too fast for him to be successful. These doubts caused him to drop to the 3rd round, where the San Diego Chargers selected him in the 1973 NFL Draft.

Dan Fouts became the starter of the Chargers during his rookie season after veterans Johnny Unitas and Wayne Clark struggled. Thrown into the lion’s den, Fouts had to work with his best back rushing for 607 yards and one touchdown, his best receiver notching 537 yards and three scores, and an offensive line that gave up 37 sacks. His lack of an offensive line caused him to take a beating each game and his career to got off to a rocky start. Averaging under 2,000 yards and a 0.59/1 TD to INT ratio in his first six seasons, few would have thought his career would be Hall of Fame worthy. Though he struggled, Fouts earned the respect of his teammates and coaches for having a bull mentality. Then assistant coach, Bill Walsh, said of Fouts, “Dan Fouts had a cool, steel-like nerve and courage. He took a lot of beatings, a lot of pounding, but continued to play, hurt or otherwise.” Fouts basically had to work as a one-man band, struggling to make plays with defenders engulfing him snap after snap.

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  • Russell Van Driel

    Dan Fouts and Air Coryell made me a Charger Fan. 34 years and still waiting…….