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|Date of birth:||May 5, 1962|
|Place of birth:||Sunnyvale, California|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||200 lb (91 kg)|
|High school:||Sunnyvale (CA) Peterson|
|NFL draft:||1984 / Round: 6 / Pick: 148|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Career Arena statistics|
|Player stats at ArenaFan.com|
Ben Bennett (born May 5, 1962) is a former American football quarterback and coach. He has been involved in professional football as a player and coach since 1984. After a successful college career at Duke University, Bennett played in the National Football League (NFL), the United States Football League (USFL), the Arena Football League (AFL), and the World League of American Football (WLAF). He coached in the AFL and af2. He was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame as a player in 2000.
High school career
Ben Bennett played high school football at Peterson High School in Sunnyvale, California where he set 18 school and 9 Santa Clara Valley Athletic League records and was the captain of the senior team.
As a freshman in 1980, was voted ACC “Rookie of the Year” and twice named the ACC “Offensive Player of the Week”. Best individual game was against Wake Forest University, setting three NCAA freshman records by completing 38 of 62 passes for 469 yards. Finished the season completing 174 of 330 passes for 2,050 yards and 11 TDs.
During his sophomore season in 1981, he injured his shoulder during the season opener and missed the next three games. Bennett punted against University of South Carolina twice for an average of 41 yards. He came back against Virginia Tech and completed 9 of 16 passes for 113 yards with one TD. He had his best games against Maryland (31 of 46 for 397 yards and 2 TDs) and Clemson University (17 of 25 for 243 yards and one TD). In five games, he completed 75 of 132 passes for 994 yards with 4 TDs.
As a junior in 1982, become the first player in the ACC in 30 years to pass for over 3,000 yards with 3,033. Chosen as the ACC Player of the Year and selected as the All-ACC QB. He set numerous records, including ACC career marks for most passing yards (6,528), most passes attempted (906), most passes completed (520), and most TD passes (38). He was named Sports Illustrated 's Offensive Player of the Week following the season finale against University of North Carolina while passing for 273 yards, completing 25 of 34 passes, with one TD and no interceptions. In the 4th quarter against Navy, he completed an NCAA record 21 passes with 3TDs. He threw at least one TD pass in every game. Bennett had a completion percentage of 63.1 and a passing efficiency rating of 142.5.
Bennett completed his collegiate career as the top passer in the history of NCAA Division I-A football with the most passes attempted (1,375), most passes completed (820), and the most yardage (9,614). Record for passes attempted and yards surpassed marks set by John Elway and Jim McMahon. Bennett was the first quarterback to run the "Fun & Gun" offense designed by Steve Spurrier, who was then the offensive coordinator at Duke University. He set seven NCAA, 15 ACC, and 42 school records while at Duke.
During his senior season in 1983, completed 300 of 469 pass attempts for 3,086 yards with 17 TD vs 12 INT. He averaged 280.54 yards per game.
Ben Bennett was selected in the 6th round by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1984 NFL Draft and was waived during preseason. He was selected by the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League in the 1984 territorial draft, signed and appeared in 2 games. He completed 7 of 13 passes for 113 yards with one TD and no interceptions. He was released by the Bulls in training on February 7, 1985.
He signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons but later released during preseason.
Bennett signed as a strike replacement player by the Dallas Cowboys on October 3, 1987 and released three days later. He was claimed on waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals on October 7, 1987 and remained on the roster until being released on October 19, 1987. He played in one game, completing 2 of 6 passes for 25 yards with one interception.
He played with the Chicago Bruisers of the Arena Football League for the entire 1988 season where he finished the season completing 172 of 323 passes for 2,304 yards with 49 TDs and 13 interceptions. He was named First Team All-Arena team at QB and was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player. He signed with the Chicago Bears on November 29, 1988 and was active for two games, but did not play.
Bennett was with the Bruisers for the 1989 season until the team suspended operations. During the shortened season, he completed 69 of 127 passes for 808 yards with 14 TDs and 5 interceptions.
Bennett began the year with the Albany Firebirds, but was traded on May 14 to the Dallas Texans. He appeared in all 8 games where he led the team to ArenaBowl IV. During the season, he completed 115 of 220 attempts for 1,149 yards, 24 TDs and 15 interceptions. He was named Second Team All-Arena team at QB.
In 1991, he started the year by playing for the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football after being selected in the first round of the year’s draft. He was then signed by the expansion Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. In 1991, he completed 42 of 81 passes for 540 yards with 6 TDs and 2 interceptions.
In 1992, he completed 145 of 264 passes for 2,092 yards with 41 TDs and 10 interceptions. The greatest feat of his career the "Miracle Minute", an historic comeback in a game against the Detroit Drive on June 19. In that game, he threw two touchdown passes and two 2-point conversions in the final 49 seconds of the game, all to Barry Wagner. Wagner then got a game-winning safety, the Predators coming back from a 42-32 deficit to win, 50-49. Bennett led the Predators to ArenaBowl VI, where they were beaten by the Drive.
In 1993, he completed 180 of 340 yards for 2,515 yards with 50 TDs and 10 interceptions. In 1994, he completed 166 of 245 passes for 2,211 yards with 45 TDs and 9 interceptions. In 1995, he completed 91 of 149 passes for 1,111 yards with 20 TDs and 7 interceptions. For both the 1993 and 1994 season, Bennett was named First Team All-Arena team at QB. He would also lead the Predators to a total of three ArenaBowls, losing all three.
For the 1996 season, Bennett played for the San Jose SaberCats where he completed 26 of 55 passes for 376 yards with 4 TDs and 4 interceptions.
For the 1997 season, Bennett played for the Portland Forest Dragons and completed 63 of 124 passes for 792 yards with 14 TDs and 6 interceptions.
In three seasons as a head coach in the af2, Bennett has compiled a record of 36-18 (including playoffs). His win total is the third highest among active coaches and tenth best all-time. Bennett’s coaching resume also includes stints as an assistant with the Florida Bobcats (AFL, 2001), the Greensboro Prowlers (af2, 2000), and the Milwaukee Mustangs (AFL, 1998). Bennett built and led the Florida Firecats of the af2 to two ArenaCup championship games during the 2002 and 2004 seasons, winning the 2004 ArenaCup championship. In 2005, he transformed the Manchester Wolves from a 5-11 team in 2004 into the East Division champion in his first season. He guided the Wolves to a franchise-best 12-win season, finishing 12-5 overall. The team’s season also included a 10-game win streak and a trip to the second round of the af2 playoffs. Bennett was to be the head coach for the Orlando Fantasy during the 2010 season, but he decided that it wasn't a job he was interested in.
- Tom Boggie (June 21, 1990). "Preseason Deal Could Come Back to Haunt Firebirds". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- George Diaz (June 8, 2010). "Ben Bennett out as coach of Orlando Lingerie Football League team". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 30, 2013.