Zorn during the 2009 preseason.
|Date of birth:May 10, 1953|
|Place of birth: Whittier, California|
|High school: Gahr High School
|College: Cal Poly Pomona|
|Undrafted in 1975|
|Debuted in 1976 for the Seattle Seahawks|
|Last played in 1987 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
College coaching career
Professional assistant coaching career
Professional head coaching career
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
James Arthur "Jim" Zorn (born May 10, 1953) is an American quarterbacks coach in the National Football League. He was formerly the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. Zorn was a left-handed quarterback, and is best known as the youthful and charismatic leader of the (then-expansion) Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, for their first seven-and-a-half seasons. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 season. He was hired by the Washington Redskins to be their head coach starting with the 2008 season and remained head coach until being fired in the early morning of January 4, 2010, the day after the final game of his second season as coach. Shortly thereafter, Zorn was hired as quarterbacks coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Zorn was released as quarterbacks coach of the Ravens on January 27, 2011. Zorn was added to the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff as their new quarterbacks coach on February 15, 2011.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional career (1976–87)
- 3 College coaching career (1988–96)
- 4 Professional assistant coaching career (1997–2007; 2010–present)
- 5 Professional head coaching (2008–2009)
- 6 Head coaching record (2008–2009)
- 7 Coaching tree
- 8 Personal life
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Professional career (1976–87)
Zorn was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 1975, the same year they had their famed Dirty Dozen draft. He would make the team, but was later cut to make room for running back Preston Pearson, who had been waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Seattle Seahawks took advantage and claimed him off waivers.
He would become a star starting QB for the Seahawks in their early days from 1976–83, before his position was taken by Dave Krieg and he was demoted to second-string quarterback midway through the 1983 season. He held second-string/backup quarterback positions with the Seahawks (1983–84), the Packers (1985), the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (1986), and the Buccaneers (1987), before retiring following the 1987 NFL season.
Seattle Seahawks (1976–84)
After spending a year out of football, he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 1976. Zorn is closely associated with his favorite passing target, Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent. Largent was the first Seahawk inducted into the team's "Ring of Honor" (1989), and Zorn was second (1991). Zorn was named NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year by the National Football League Players Association following the team's inaugural 1976 season. He was also the Seahawks' team MVP, throwing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for four touchdowns. His three consecutive 3,000-yard seasons were tops in team history, since broken by Matt Hasselbeck in 2005, and he was the first Seattle quarterback to record back-to-back 300-plus yard games—a feat he accomplished twice.
He was succeeded by Dave Krieg midway through the 1983 season, the year the Seahawks first made the NFL playoffs. Zorn stayed with the team as a second-string quarterback until the end of the 1984 season.
Zorn was well known as one of the more prolific scrambling quarterbacks of his day. The excitement of his style of play is what kept fans coming back to the Kingdome again and again. Many people reverently referred to him as "the left-handed Fran Tarkenton." He was named the 8th best mobile quarterback by NFL.com in 2008
Green Bay Packers and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1985–86)
The Green Bay Packers signed Zorn to the second-string quarterback position in 1985. The Packers finished the season 8–8, 2nd in the NFC Central, but not enough to make the playoffs. The Packers released Zorn in the 1985–86 NFL off-season. Zorn decided to take a season off from the NFL and signed on to a backup quarterback position with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1986, where he played one game before leaving the team and being released once again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Retirement (1987)
In 1987, Zorn decided to come back to the NFL after only one season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He signed on with his third NFL team (fourth overall), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He managed to play one final game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a replacement player during the 1987 NFL strike before officially retiring. The 1987 Bucs finished the season 4–11, missing the playoffs. In the NFL, Zorn threw for 21,115 yards and 111 touchdowns, completing 53% of his passes. He also ran for another 17 touchdowns.
College coaching career (1988–96)
After his playing career concluded, Zorn returned to college football as an assistant coach. His first stop was at Boise State University, where he was the quarterbacks coach from 1988–91. He then served as the offensive coordinator for Utah State from 1992–94. From 1995–1996 Zorn coached the quarterbacks for the University of Minnesota.
Professional assistant coaching career (1997–2007; 2010–present)
Zorn moved up to the pro coaching ranks in 1997. Zorn joined the Seattle Seahawks as quarterbacks coach after serving in the same capacity with the Detroit Lions (1998–2000). He was instrumental in the development of rookie quarterback Charlie Batch in 1998. Batch’s 88.3 passer rating that season ranks as the fourth-highest rookie mark in NFL history. During his time in Seattle, Zorn worked with Seahawks Head Coach Mike Holmgren and Offensive Coordinator Gil Haskell in implementing the team’s offense while also furthering the development of the team’s quarterbacks. In 2003, Zorn tutored Matt Hasselbeck who set a franchise record with 3,841 passing yards in. Hasselbeck has become the franchise’s most-efficient passer (85.1 rating) while joining Zorn as the only Seahawks’ quarterback to pass for 3,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons. In 2007 under Zorn, Hasselbeck set Seattle single-season marks for attempts (562), completions (352) and yards (3,966). He also threw for a career-high 28 touchdowns en route to his third Pro Bowl selection. On January 30, 2010 Zorn was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as their quarterbacks coach, to replace Hue Jackson, who had departed to the Oakland Raiders.
Under Zorn, quarterback Joe Flacco reached career high totals in touchdowns (25) and quarterback rating (93.6), as well as a career-low 10 interceptions.
On January 27, 2011, Zorn was fired by the Ravens.
On February 15, 2011 he was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs as their Quarterbacks coach.
Professional head coaching (2008–2009)
After Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs retired in January 2008, owner Daniel Snyder hired Zorn as the team's new offensive coordinator. On February 10, 2008, Snyder made him the Redskins' new head coach. He was the fourth head coach hired by Snyder since he bought the team in 1999. Zorn earned his first professional coaching victory with a 29–24 win over the New Orleans Saints in week 2 of the 2008 NFL season. In week 4 of the 2008 season, Zorn became the first Redskins head coach to win his first game at Texas Stadium against the rival Dallas Cowboys since George Allen during the 1971 season.
Zorn complemented the Redskins’ bruising running attack with his version of the West Coast Offense, a combination that helped the Redskins finish eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (130.9). After the first half of the regular season, in which the team finished 6–2, Redskin Nation got "Horny for Zorny." Zorn and the team proceeded to implode and finish 8–8, making the season a huge disappointment. However Zorn’s new offense produced four starters who earned Pro Bowl honors. Running back Clinton Portis, finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,487). Tight end Chris Cooley earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance and led the team with a career-high 83 receptions for 849 yards. Offensive Tackle Chris Samuels earned his sixth Pro Bowl appearance—marking the third-most in franchise history, while fullback Mike Sellers earned his first Pro Bowl selection in his eighth NFL season.
Six games into the 2009 season, with a record of two wins and four losses, the Washington Redskins relieved Zorn of offensive play calling duties, assigning them to assistant coach Sherman Lewis following the Redskins' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on October 18.
In the early morning of January 4, 2010, it was reported that Zorn had been fired after the final game of the regular season, a loss to the San Diego Chargers. He failed to make the playoffs in either of his seasons as head coach of the Redskins. He was replaced by former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. Jim Zorn has since given a series of interviews with the local Washington, DC networks in which he expressed disappointment in the handling of his dismissal.
Head coaching record (2008–2009)
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|WAS||2008||8||8||0||.500||4th in NFC East||–||–||–||–|
|WAS||2009||4||12||0||.250||4th in NFC East||–||–||–||–|
NFL head coaches under whom Jim Zorn has served:
- Dennis Erickson, Seattle Seahawks (1997–1998)
- Bobby Ross, Detroit Lions (1999–2000)
- Mike Holmgren, Seattle Seahawks (2001–2007)
- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens (2010)
- Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs (2011)
- Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs (2012)
Zorn and his wife, Joy, have four children: daughters Rachael, Sarah, and Danielle and son Isaac. Jim and Joy Zorn are active in Medical Teams International and Pro Athletes Outreach. Medical Teams International is dedicated to implementing and supporting programs that address the causes and effects inadequate of health care worldwide.
Zorn is noted for his interest in mountain biking, kayaking and other outdoor sports. He has continued to mountain bike even as he approaches the age of 60. When he was a player with the Seattle Seahawks, he experimented with building bikes for off-road riding with the help of the owner of Mercer Island Cyclery.
Zorn was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony prior to Washington’s game at Seattle on November 23, 2008.
- "Young Seahawks suddenly contenders". Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- "Seahawks Ring of Honor". Archived from the original on December 22, 2007. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Oakland Tribune, November 3, 1977, page 46, Retrieved on 2008-02-20
- Washington Redskins bio
- NFL Top 10 Mobile Quarterbacks
- Jim Zorn Statistics – Pro-Football-Reference.com
- Hensley, Jamison. "Jim Zorn fired as Ravens QB coach". BaltimoreSun.com. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- Reid, Jason (February 11, 2008). "Washington Post on Jim Zorn". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Reid, Jason (January 4, 2009), "Redskins fire Zorn after 2 seasons", Washington Post, retrieved January 4, 2009.
- Mike Shanahan Watch
- Merrill, Elizabeth. "Zorn doesn't play by conventional rules." ESPN.com. July 14, 2009.
- "On the Edge with Jim Zorn". Retrieved January 4, 2010.
- Competitor Magazine, Mid-Atlantic edition, Nov/Dec 2009, page 62
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com • Pro-Football-Reference
- Pro-Football-Reference.com – career coaching statistics – Jim Zorn