|No. 19, 16|
July 28, 1952|
Wichita Falls, Texas
|Supplemental draft:||1974 / Round: 1|
|Career NFL statistics|
Howard Clinton "Clint" Longley, Jr. (born July 28, 1952) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League and Canadian Football League. He played two seasons for the Dallas Cowboys (1974–1975) and one for the San Diego Chargers (1976). Longley earned his nickname the "Mad Bomber" for bouncing passes off of Coach Tom Landry's coaching tower in the Cowboys' training camp. He played college football at Abilene Christian University.
After attending Littleton High School, he enrolled at Abilene Christian University without a scholarship. In 1973 as a junior, he led the nation's small colleges in passing and total offense, with 3,167 yards and 28 touchdowns. He set a school record by passing for 434 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 victory against Southwest Texas State University.
Longley finished the year guiding his team to 11 straight victories and the NAIA championship. He would also receive Small College All-America honors and was named along with teammate Wilbert Montgomery, to the 1973 NAIA football All Star team, which backfield included Walter Payton.
He passed up his senior year in 1974 to enter the NFL.
Because he left college before his final year of eligibility, he entered the free agent pool in 1974 where he was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals and eventually traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a fifth round draft choice. During that season he was named the backup quarterback to Roger Staubach, after having a strong training camp and the trade of Craig Morton to the New York Giants.
He is best remembered for his performance in a Thanksgiving Day game in 1974 against the Washington Redskins. Longley then a rookie, came into the game for an injured Roger Staubach with the Cowboys trailing 16-3 in the third quarter, and facing elimination from the playoffs. After hitting Billy Joe Dupree for a 35-yard touchdown pass, he led the Cowboys on a 70-yard drive capped by a 1-yard Walt Garrison touchdown run. Finally, with the Cowboys behind 23-17 and with only 28 seconds left with no time outs, Longley hit Drew Pearson down the middle for a 50-yard hail mary pass touchdown which gave the Cowboys a dramatic 24-23 come from behind victory. Because Longley had no expectation of playing in that game and was completely unprepared, Cowboys lineman Blaine Nye sarcastically called his winning effort "the triumph of the uncluttered mind." The game was named the second-best in the history of Texas Stadium by ESPN in 2008.
After a training room incident in which he sucker-punched Roger Staubach during the 1976 preseason, the team suspended and eventually traded him to the San Diego Chargers for first and second draft choices; the Cowboys used those two picks and two other picks to eventually land the No. 2 overall pick in the 1977 draft, selecting Tony Dorsett.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers traded for him with the intention of creating a competition with Dan Fouts, but decided to waive him the following year during the 1977 training camp. He appared in three games, starting one of them. He threw 12-for-24 for 130 yards along with 2 touchdowns and three interceptions while being sacked seven times before being cut.
Toronto Argonauts (CFL)
St. Louis Cardinals
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL)
Roger Staubach incident
Less than two years after his Thanksgiving Day heroics, Longley, under pressure from Danny White for the back-up QB role, left the Cowboys in disgrace after he landed a blindside punch on Staubach during training camp in Thousand Oaks, California. The infamous "sucker punch" occurred after Longley and Staubach had fought over a negative remark Longley made about Staubach to fellow Cowboy teammates. Staubach was putting on his shoulder pads on the last day of training camp when Longley hit him in the face without warning and from behind, requiring several stitches to close the wound on Staubach's face. Longley was immediately traded to the San Diego Chargers where he finished his NFL career undefeated as a starter.
Later reports indicated that Longley's sole motivation was that he wanted to be traded.
When the NFL Network did a "Top 10 One-Hit Wonders" list that included Longley, Steve Sabol said he last heard that Longley had ended up selling carpet remnants out of the back of a van in Marfa, Texas.
- "Clint Makes ‘Skins Eat Crow Instead", St. Petersburg Independent, Associated Press, Evening Independent Sports, 1-C, Friday, November 29, 1974.
- Rookie Rises From Obscurity to Help Dallas Shock Redskins, The Milwaukee Journal, from press dispatches (Dallas, Tex.), Part 2-14, Friday, November 29, 1974.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
- "Camp can drive some over edge". ESPN. July 23, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-12. Retrieved 2015-08-11.