Commentary

Bad-body Humphries now combines golf and charity

Stan Humphries didn't look like a football player, but he certainly likes to talk about the sport, writes Rudy Klancnik.

Originally Published: January 23, 2008
By Rudy Klancnik | Special to ESPN.com

Stan HumphriesGeorge Rose/Getty ImagesStan Humphries had a decent game, but he couldn't outduel Steve Young in Super Bowl XXIX.

Their Shot At Glory

Of the first 41 Super Bowls, 51 different quarterbacks have started. Some, like Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady, are legends. But whatever happened to some of the lesser-known starters? Take a look:

• Tony Eason (SB XX)
• Vince Ferragamo (SB XIV)
• Jeff Hostetler (SB XXV)
• Stan Humphries (SB XXIX)
• Craig Morton (SB V, SB XII)
• Jim Plunkett (SB XV, SB XVIII)
• Mark Rypien (SB XXVI)

Although there's no list (yet, anyway) of the Worst Physiques to Play Quarterback in a Super Bowl, if such a ranking did exist, Stan Humphries would be the leader in the clubhouse. The former San Diego Chargers' signal caller looked as though he trained by eating at In-N-Out Burger five days a week.

Actually, make that another food with questionable nutritional value. "Stan Humphries," teammate Stan Brock once told The New York Times, "eats more pizza than anybody I've ever known."

Considering Humphries' on-field results on most Sundays during his career, perhaps everyone should eat a little less healthy. A member of the Chargers Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Hall of Fame, Humphries is the Chargers' third-ranked passer of all time, and he also claimed a Division I-AA national championship at Northeast Louisiana (now called Louisiana-Monroe or ULM).

You obviously shouldn't judge this book by its cover.

Unfortunately, the biggest moment of his career was a little hard to swallow.

After leading his upstart Chargers to a surprising berth in Super Bowl XXIX, Humphries had no answer for his counterpart from San Francisco. Steve Young connected on a Super Bowl-record six touchdown passes en route to a cakewalk victory, 49-26.

Statistically, Humphries didn't have a horrible day -- 24-of-49 for 275 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. But compared to Young -- whose effort that day ranks No. 2 on ESPN.com's list of Super Bowl quarterback performances -- Humphries was the invisible man.

Humphries In The Super Bowl

In ESPN.com's rankings of the 82 performances by starting quarterbacks in the first 41 Super Bowls, Stan Humphries' performance for the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX ranks 53rd. Here are his stats:

Super Bowl XXIX

Comp. Att. Yards TD INT
24 49 275 1 2

• All Super Bowl QB performances

Today, Humphries is at least talking a good game as the color analyst for the ULM Sports Network.

"I'm really glad to be part of the university," said Humphries, whose first year with the team coincided with the 20th anniversary of his school's national title in 1987.

Like most other quarterbacks -- especially retired ones -- Humphries is passionate about golf. And he's especially passionate about his charity golf tournament for the San Diego Children's Hospital. His daughter, Brooke, had a defect in her heart that was repaired in 1996.

"Every athlete tries to find something that brings back that competitiveness and desire after their playing days. Golf does it for a lot of us," Humphries says. "It brings back a lot of that competitive spirit. That's what happens when you play in one of these tournaments.

"The one we hold in San Diego is a great event, one of the better events we play in. It started when [Chargers owner] Alex [Spanos] and [team president] Dean Spanos gave the money in Brooke's name to renovate the wing at Children's Hospital when I retired. It's been fun to watch it grow every year."

And what does Humphries miss most about his days between the lines?

"Being around the guys. Walking the halls at the practice facility and seeing everybody," he said. "I miss game day, too, getting in front of 70,000-100,000 fans and competing every week."

Spoken like a true athlete ... even if he never resembled one.

Rudy Klancnik is a freelance writer based in Texas.