Dan Ross (American football)
|Date of birth:February 9, 1957|
|Place of birth: Malden, Massachusetts|
|Date of death: May 16, 2006(aged 49)|
|Place of death: Haverhill, Massachusetts|
|NFL Draft: 1979 / Round: 2 / Pick: 30|
|Debuted in 1979|
|Last played in 1986|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
|College Football Hall of Fame|
Daniel R. Ross (February 9, 1957 – May 16, 2006) was a professional American football tight end who played for the Cincinnati Bengals (1979-1985), the Seattle Seahawks (1985), and the Green Bay Packers (1986). He also played for the New Orleans/Portland Breakers of the USFL in 1984-1985.
Ross played football at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts from 1975 to 1978. He was named first-team selection on the College Football All-America Team in his senior year of 1978 while serving as team captain. He also earned the Bulger Lowe Award as the outstanding player in New England and the Harry Agganis Award as New England’s outstanding senior.
Ross left Northeastern as the Huskies' all-time leader in receptions (153), receiving touchdowns (13) and receiving yards (2,343). He also set the single-season records for those categories as well, with 68 receptions for 988 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season. After his senior year, Northeastern retired jersey No. 84 in his honor.
After graduating college in 1979, he was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 30th pick in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft. Ross' best season was in 1981, when he totaled 71 receptions for 910 yards and five touchdowns, helping lead the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI. His 71 receptions were a single-season franchise record, and would remain so until Carl Pickens had 99 in 1995.
Ross had an outstanding performance in the Super Bowl, with a record 11 receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. His receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns were all the most by a tight end in Super Bowl history. However, the Bengals lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 26-21, preventing Ross from being the likely winner of the Super Bowl MVP award.
In addition to his impressive Super Bowl performance, Ross was the Bengals' leading receiver in both playoff wins that year, with six receptions for 71 yards in their 28-21 win over the Buffalo Bills and five receptions for 69 yards in their AFC title win over the San Diego Chargers, a game known as the Freezer Bowl and the coldest game ever played in the NFL.
Ross joined the Green Bay Packers for the following season, and then retired in 1987.
In his eight NFL seasons, Ross recorded 290 receptions for 3,419 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.
Ross later said that as a veteran of a small college not known for its football program, he was grateful for a chance to play in the big leagues. "Just getting drafted was a thrill. You don't expect it from the school I went to. At the time, you don't expect to play in the National Football League, and especially somebody taking you with the 30th overall pick. It's like 'oh geez they must see something I don't'."
Ross later became president and co-owner of WPWB, an independent TV station in Riviera Beach, Florida. He was owner and president of Power House Supply, while also coaching Pop Warner Football and participating in charity golf tournaments.
In 2004, he was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. Northeastern University also recognized the achievement with a halftime ceremony honoring Ross at the October 9, 2004 home game against Villanova University. He was the first Northeastern University player enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Dan Ross died at age 49 on May 16, 2006, after collapsing at his home in Atkinson, New Hampshire, shortly after returning from jogging. He died at Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
He was survived by his wife, Joan, and two children, Jillian, then 23, and Dan Jr., then 22.
Ross's record 11 receptions in a Super Bowl was eventually shared by three other players:
- Ludwig, Chick. Cincinnati Bengals, The Legends. Willmington, OH: Orange Frazer P, 2004. ISBN 1-882203-38-0 page 141
- Associated Press, "Super Bowl record-setter Ross dies at 49"