I don’t know much about University of Louisiana-Monroe football, but I’d posit a guess that Stan Humphries is the greatest quarterback in the school’s history. For a few seasons in the NFL, he wasn’t bad either. Humphries was drafted in 1988 by the Redskins, and was immediately charged with backing up eventual Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. The team didn’t need Humphries until their eighth game of the 1989 season, when Rypien went down with an injury. Humphries went 5-for-10 in his debut, with a touchdown and an interception.
Humphries wasn’t getting much playing time backing up Rypien, however, and the Skins ended up trading him to San Diego shortly before the 1992 season began. The Chargers brought in Humphries after seeing their starter John Friesz suffer a devastating knee injury during a preseason game. Finally Humphries would have his chance at NFL starting quarterbacking glory.
After a brutal 0-4 start to the Chargers’ 1992 season, Humphries and the offense kicked it into gear and the team went on an historic run to end the year. San Diego won 11 out of their final 12 games to finish 11-5 and win the AFC West. And the legend of Stan Humphries was born. The 1994 season proved even more magical for Stan and the Chargers. Humphries threw for 3,209 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown, forever tied for the NFL’s longest touchdown pass to wide receiver Tony Martin:
Humphries and the Chargers weren’t done with the dramatic yet, however. The team hosted the Dolphins in the divisional playoff round, and the Chargers were forced to make a comeback after falling behind 21-6 at halftime. Stan was up to the task–he led the Chargers on a furious second-half comeback. The San Diego defense held strong, and the Chargers pulled ahead 22-21 late in the game, ultimately securing the victory.
The Chargers traveled to Three Rivers Stadium to play an overconfident Steelers team in one of the greatest conference championship games ever played. Again it was Humphries leading a second half comeback, but this time it was the San Diego defense which held Pittsburgh in one of the greatest goal line stands in NFL history at the end of the game. The Three Rivers crowd fell silent, Bill Cowher put on his sad face, and Stan and the Chargers went to the Super Bowl.
The Chargers, though, never had a chance in the Super Bowl. Steve Young got the monkey off his back and led the Niners to the bookend-Super Bowl victory which punctuated a decade-plus of dominance (even though Montana and Bill Walsh were gone by then) and Stan Humphries was denied the game’s ultimate glory. 49-26 San Fran was the final. Humphries continued to start for San Diego, and ultimately retired after the 1997 season. He finished with 17,191 passing yards, and 89 touchdown passes to go with 84 interceptions. He he had a solid career, but ultimately falls into the “Obscure 90’s quarterbacks who almost won the Super Bowl” category. Stan had a solid career, however; he’s a working man’s quarterback, and a great friend of OA.