Bruce McGonnigal

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Bruce McGonnigal
No. 49
Position: Tight end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1968-05-01) May 1, 1968 (age 49)
Place of birth: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 229 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school: Loyola High School
College: Virginia
NFL Draft: 1991 / Round: 9 / Pick: 238
(By the Pittsburgh Steelers)
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 2
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Joseph Bruce McGonnigal (born May 1, 1968) is a former American football tight end on the University of Virginia football team, and was a starter at the position in 1989 and 1990. In 1989, he set an ACC record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single season, with 634.[1]

Early years[edit]

McGonnigal played high school football at Loyola High School where he helped the Dons end a long losing streak to archrival Calvert Hall in the annual Turkey Bowl game his senior year. MCGonnigal graduated in 1986.

College career[edit]

McGonnigal has become an integral part of football folklore at the University of Virginia, where many fans tell varying accounts of how McGonnigal was injured while searching for his girlfriend's dog, some time prior to the game against Georgia Tech in 1990. McGonnigal ruptured his spleen and received a concussion from the fall incurred during the nighttime search. The spleen injury sidelined him for the rest of the 1990 season. At the time of the accident, the Virginia Cavaliers football team was ranked #1 in both major polls. Without McGonnigal, the Cavaliers fell to eventual NCAA champion Georgia Tech, 41-38. Late in the game, with the Cavaliers trailing 38-35, quarterback Shawn Moore threw what would've been a go-ahead touchdown pass to new starting tight end Aaron Mundy; however, the play was overturned because a back-up tight end had not come onto the field causing there a penalty for too few players on the line of scrimmage. Coach George Welsh then elected to kick a tying field goal, but the Yellow Jackets then drove for the winning field goal. Many University of Virginia football fans speculate that had McGonnigal never been injured, the Virginia Cavaliers might have gone on to win at least a share of the NCAA national championship.[2]

Professional career[edit]

McGonnigal was drafted in 1991 by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 9th round, but ended up with the Cleveland Browns, where he saw little playing time and closed out his brief NFL career.[3]

After football[edit]

McGonnigal took up a career in political campaign management after leaving the NFL.[4]


  1. ^ "Postgame Notes". University of Virginia. November 29, 2003. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Bruce McGonnigal: How I Hurt Myself (The True Story!)". May 25, 2005. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Bruce McGonnigal". The Football Database. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  4. ^ John Gizzi (March 25, 2002). "Ohio 'Brown-in?'". Human Events Publishing, Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2009.