||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2014)|
|Date of birth:||October 24, 1962|
|Place of birth:||Martin, South Dakota|
|NFL draft:||1985 / Round: 6 / Pick: 158|
|Career highlights and awards|
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at NFL.com|
Jay McKinley Novacek (born October 24, 1962) is a former American football tight end in the National Football League who played for the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1985–1989) and the Dallas Cowboys (1990–1995). Novacek was a five-time Pro Bowler, who was selected to play each year from 1991 through 1995. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Novacek played high school football in Gothenburg, Nebraska, where he was an all-state quarterback. In 1980 he set the state record in the pole vault with 15-1. He won the state championship in the hurdles. He was also an all-state basketball player. His jersey is the only retired jersey in Gothenburg History.
In 1996 he was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Novacek started his college football career playing at split end and eventually moved to tight end.
In 1984 he was selected to the Kodak All-American football team and to the Western Athletic Conference first team, after setting a NCAA record for receiving yards per receptions (22.6) by a tight end. He finished with 83 career receptions for 1,536 yards and ten touchdowns, while playing in head coach Al Kincaid's wishbone offense.
Novacek also competed in track and field for the University of Wyoming. He won the Western Athletic Conference decathlon championship, earning All-American honors. He also set UW records for decathlon points (7,615), and in the pole vault jump (16'4").
Novacek was drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played for five seasons. During his time with the team he saw little action, his best season came in 1988 when he caught 38 passes for 569 yards and 4 touchdowns.
He was a key contributor for the Cowboys offense in the early 1990s, especially on third downs. Starting in 1991, he played in five straight Pro Bowls, while helping the Cowboys make the playoffs each year and winning the Super Bowl three times in four seasons.
Novacek's last game was Super Bowl XXX in January, 1996. He officially retired from the NFL on July 15, 1997 after a lingering back injury cut short his career. In his 11 seasons, Novacek recorded 422 receptions for 4,630 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Novacek served as a spokesperson for the Alltel Wireless "Yards 4 Youth Football" program in West Texas, the National Dairy Council's NFL Nationwide School Program Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, and Heritage Land Bank.
Novacek co-stars in commercials for friend Bob Lovell of Home Marketing Services www.blessyourheart.com in Dallas, Texas. He appeared as a coach on the Spike TV reality series 4th and Long, as an instructor, in 2009.
Novacek was commemorated for his 2008 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, at half-time of the Wyoming Cowboys game, on September 13, 2008.
On February 1, 2010, Novacek's wife, LeAnne, was found dead in her mother's home in Burleson, Texas, in an apparent suicide. Police say she evidently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He remarried to Amy (née) Bradley of Burleson.
- Wyoming Athletics College Football Hall of Fame story
- University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame - inducted 1993
- Novacek's stats