|Date of birth:||March 9, 1954|
|Place of birth:||Roseville, California|
|NFL Draft:||1977 / Round: 5/ Pick 115|
New York Giants
Oakland Invaders (USFL)
Fred Besana (born March 9, 1954 at Roseville, California) is a former American football quarterback for the Oakland Invaders of the United States Football League as well as the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round (115th overall) of the 1977 NFL Draft. He was active for two games in 1977 and two games in 1978, before being released by the New York Giants on August 13, 1979.
With Besana's NFL pro career effectively over, he returned to California, playing semi-pro ball for the Twin Cities Cougars of the California Football League from 1980-1982.
The Oakland Invaders signed Besana on January 26, 1983. Besana would go on to win the starting job for the Invaders leading them to a 9-9 record and the Pacific Division title. The Invaders lost in the first round of the playoffs to the league's eventual champion, the Michigan Panthers, 37-21. Besana was the league's 2nd ranked QB spreading the ball around to 4 receivers who caught over 50 passes. Following the season, All-League tight end Raymond Chester retired and by the start of the 1984 season big play threat wide receiver Wyatt Henderson would also be off the team.
Without two of his top four receivers to stretch the defense, opposing defenses were able to smother the Invader offense. In spite of a strong defense, the team lost its first nine games --- scoring a total of 82 points. Without a running game and with few good receiving options, Besana struggled. In the second half of the season, halfback Eric Jordan emerged as an effective feature back. Besana, Jordan, and WR Gordon Banks combined to reignite the offense. The team won 7 of their last 9 games.
Following the 1984 season the Invaders merged with the Michigan Panthers and Besana was forced to the bench backing up Bobby Hebert on the eventual Western Conference Champions. The new team retained Jordan & Banks and added Michigan stars Albert Bentley, Anthony Carter, Derek Holloway, & John Williams. Besana did see the field a few times in 1985 with this team full of weapons and Besana put up the third best QB rating in the league.
|Oakland Invaders Starting Quarterbacks