||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2014)|
|Date of birth||May 9, 1962|
|Place of birth||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|NFL draft||1985 / Round: 6/ Pick 143|
|1985-88||Los Angeles Raiders|
Rusty Hilger is a former professional National Football League American football player. He played quarterback eight seasons for the Los Angeles Raiders, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks.
Oklahoma State University
Rusty Hilger played college football at Oklahoma State University, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Oklahoma State history. As a Sophomore in 1981, Hilger guided the Cowboys to its first post-season bowl since 1976 against Texas A&M in the Independence bowl. In 1982, Hilger suffered a shoulder injury before the season earning him a redshirt as the Cowboys fail to a 4-5-2 record. Returning in 1983, the Cowboys finished 8-4 and Hilger was recognized as the Most Valuable Player in the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl. In 1984, Hilger and the OSU Cowboys would change the course of Oklahoma State football. The Cowboys opened the season with a 45-3 victory over top ranked Arizona State University, earning Hilger Big-8 "Player of the Week" honors. The Cowboys only losses came on the road against #1 ranked Nebraska and #2 ranked Oklahoma to finish with a 10-2 record, the best finish and highest ranking (#6) in school history. The Cowboys final come-from-behind touchdown drive in the Gator Bowl against the University of South Carolina remains as one of the most memorable moments in Cowboy football history.
East-West Shrine Game
Rusty Hilger was selected to play in the 60th Annual East West Shrine Game at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California. Hilger and University of Nevada Las Vegas Quarterback Randall Cunningham were teamed with (1984 National Champion) Head Coach LaVell Edwards of Brigham Young University. For the first time, Hilger's skills were on display in a pro-style offense and under the watchful eyes of NFL owners, coaches, and scouts.
With the 143rd pick of the 1985 NFL Draft, Al Davis and the Los Angeles Raiders selected Rusty Hilger. Rusty at the time was the only Raider rookie QB to ever enter a regular season game, the only Raider rookie QB to throw a touchdown, and the youngest starting quarterback in Raider franchise history. After two seasons as a backup to an aging Jim Plunkett and an ineffective Marc Wilson, Al Davis named Rusty as the starting quarterback for the 1987 season. Rusty and the Raiders opened the season 2-0 before the 1987 NFL Players Association strike halted play, and replacement players took the field. The Raiders would finish the 1987 season with a 5-10 record, their worst since 1963.
In 1988, Rusty underwent a knee surgery that changed the course of his career and led to his termination from the Raiders. After missing the first five games of the 1988 season, Hilger signed with the Detroit Lions despite failing his physical. Only 6 days after arriving in Detroit, Hilger was forced into action with his team trailing 17-0 against the Chicago Bears. Without a grasp of the playbook, Hilger managed to call plays, attempt a career high 43 passes, and toss a touchdown in the 24-7 loss. Hilger was named as the Lions Offensive MVP at the end of the 1988 season. However, in 1989 the Detroit Lions released Hilger. In 1990, Hilger teamed with former Raiders Head Coach Tom Flores and the Seattle Seahawks. Hilger was released prior to the first game and then was picked up by former Raiders Offensive Coordinator Larry Kennan and the Indianapolis Colts. Hilger signed with the Indianapolis Colts and spent the remainder of the season with the Colts. At season's end, Coach Larry Kennan joined former Raider Head Coach Tom Flores in Seattle. Rusty remained under contract with the Colts until being released just days before the 1991 season opener. Rusty then re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks for the 1991 and 1992 seasons. Chronic Arthritis forced Hilger to retire after the 1992 season.
- "Rusty Hilger Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards - databaseFootball.com". Football database. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2014.