Steve Largent

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Steve Largent
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
November 29, 1994 – February 15, 2002
Preceded byJim Inhofe
Succeeded byJohn Sullivan
Personal details
Born (1954-09-28) September 28, 1954 (age 67)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Terry Largent
EducationUniversity of Tulsa (BS)

Football career
No. 80
Position:Wide receiver,
Personal information
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school:Putnam City (OK)
NFL Draft:1976 / Round: 4 / Pick: 117
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:13,089
Player stats at · PFR

Stephen Michael Largent (born September 28, 1954) is an American former professional football player, enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a former Republican politician, having served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma, from 1994 until 2002. Prior to his political career, Largent was a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League for his entire 14-season professional football career. He held several all-time receiving records when he retired and is considered one of the greatest wide receivers of all time.

Largent holds many Seahawks franchise records including most career receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions. He played his entire career without gloves, catching passes barehanded. In 2019, he was named to the National Football League 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. It honored the best players of the first 100 years of NFL history, he was one of ten wide receivers selected.

Football career[edit]

Banners of Largent and the 12th Man hang over Lumen Field.

In 1974 at the University of Tulsa, Largent had 884 yards receiving and 14 touchdown catches. In 1975, he had 51 catches for 1,000 yards and 14 touchdown catches.

Despite an All-American career at Tulsa, Largent was not selected until the fourth round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers (117th pick). After four preseason games, he was slated to be cut, but was instead traded to the expansion Seattle Seahawks for a 1977 eighth-round pick. According to Largent, Bum Phillips called him into his office and told Largent he had all the receivers they needed, and that Houston would be releasing him. Largent feared his career was over before it began.[1]

Largent spent 14 years with the Seahawks, initially reuniting with his college offensive coordinator, Jerry Rhome. His first practice with the team went horribly, as he suffered from sleep deprivation for 9 days while financially struggling to care for his mother and three younger brothers after their mother left her alcoholic and violent second husband.[2] While not particularly fast, Steve was extremely sure-handed and was able to get wide open due to his route-running discipline. He became the first Seahawk selected to the Pro Bowl in 1978, and was selected six more times during his career. In 1979 he led the league in receiving yards with 1,237, and six years later did it again with 1,287 in 1985. His 1985 receiving yardage was a Seahawks franchise record that stood for 35 years until broken by DK Metcalf in 2020.

In 1987, Largent ended his participation in the NFLPA strike after the third and final week of the strike. With the retirement of Charlie Joiner the previous year, Largent became the NFL's active leader in career receiving yards, retaining that lead until his retirement in 1989. He broke Joiner's all-time record for receiving yards (12,146) in Week 3 of 1988. In the same season, he suffered a concussion and lost two teeth when he was hit by Mike Harden of Denver Broncos. Harden was tackled by Largent and lost a fumble 14 weeks later after Harden's initial interception.

In 1989, Largent became the first Seahawks player to win the Steve Largent Award for his spirit, dedication, and integrity.[3]

During his playing career Largent was given the nickname “Yoda” for his ability to catch anything thrown at him.[4] He attributes this ability from a skeet shooting buddy that focuses only on the edge of the skeet, as he only focuses on the tip of the ball to track and catch balls, in the era where receivers and defensive backs don't wear gloves. This also allowed him to quickly adjust from catching with left-handed Jim Zorn to right-handed Dave Krieg.

When Largent retired, he held all major NFL receiving records, including: most receptions in a career (819), most receiving yards in a career (13,089), and most touchdown receptions (100). He was also in possession of a then-record streak of 177 consecutive regular-season games with a reception. He also holds the distinction as the first receiver in NFL history to achieve 100 touchdown receptions in his career.

Largent was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 46 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, the only Seahawk to make the list.

His #80 was retired in 1992; Largent is the first Seahawk player to be so honored. During Jerry Rice's stint with the Seahawks in 2004, Largent's #80 was temporarily "unretired" after a conversation between Rice and Largent that was reportedly initiated by then Seahawks president Bob Whitsitt.[5] Largent remains the most prolific receiver in team history. On October 26, 2008, Largent's University of Tulsa #83 was also retired.[6]

Career receiving statistics[edit]

Year Team GP Receiving
Rec Yards Avg Lng TD
1976 SEA 13 54 705 13.1 45 4
1977 SEA 14 33 643 19.5 74 10
1978 SEA 16 71 1,168 16.5 57 8
1979 SEA 15 66 1,237 18.7 55 9
1980 SEA 16 66 1,064 16.1 67 6
1981 SEA 16 75 1,224 16.3 57 9
1982 SEA 8 34 493 14.5 45 3
1983 SEA 15 72 1,074 14.9 46 11
1984 SEA 16 74 1,164 15.7 65 12
1985 SEA 16 79 1,287 16.3 43 6
1986 SEA 16 70 1,070 15.3 38 9
1987 SEA 13 58 912 15.7 55 8
1988 SEA 15 39 645 16.5 46 2
1989 SEA 10 28 403 14.4 33 3
Career[7] 200 819 13,089 16.0 74 100

Political career[edit]

Tenure in Congress[edit]

In 1994, Oklahoma's 1st District Congressman Jim Inhofe resigned to run in a special election to succeed Senator David Boren. Largent won the election to succeed Inhofe in Congress; pursuant to an Oklahoma statute, Governor David Walters designated the special election in which Largent was elected to serve the remainder of Inhofe's term in the 103rd Congress before beginning his term in the 104th Congress.[8][9]

Largent took office on November 29, 1994, and was reelected to the three succeeding Congresses, never winning less than 60 percent of the vote in the heavily Republican Tulsa-based district.[10][11][12]

Like many in the Republican freshman class elected in 1994, when the Republicans took control of the House for the first time in 40 years, Largent's voting record was solidly conservative. Largent was one of the "true believers" in that freshman class, devoting most of his time to issues important to conservative Christians.

One of his first bills was a "parental rights" bill that died in committee after it attracted opposition even from other Christian conservatives. Another of his bills would have abolished the federal tax code at the end of 2001. He opposed ending the 1995 federal government shutdown and played a role in the failed attempt to oust Newt Gingrich as Speaker. Largent introduced a bill that would ban adoptions by gay and lesbian parents in Washington, D. C.

He was accused of being anti-Catholic due to his line of questioning of a House of Representatives chaplain in 2000, though he denied this.[13]

After the Republicans lost five seats in the 1998 midterm elections, Largent tried to take advantage of discontent with Majority Leader Dick Armey by challenging Armey for the post. Although Armey was not popular in the Republican caucus, Largent was thought to be far too conservative for the liking of some moderate Republicans, and Armey won on the third ballot.[14] However, when Bob Livingston of Louisiana stood down as Speaker-elect, Armey was still too wounded to make a bid for the job.

Run for Governor[edit]

Largent decided to run for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002. He easily won the Republican nomination and resigned his House seat on February 15 to devote his energy to the race. Initially seen as an overwhelming favorite against Democratic state senator Brad Henry, Largent lost to Henry by just under 7,000 votes.

Largent's loss has been attributed by analysts to factors that included:

  • The presence of a well-funded independent (Gary Richardson, a former Republican) on the general election ballot;[15]
  • Henry's support of cockfighting, garnering a last minute endorsement by rural cockfighting interests that turned out in large numbers in the election in which the legality of cockfighting was on the ballot;[15][16][17]
  • Largent used a vulgarity, "bullshit" in response to an Oklahoma City television reporter who repeatedly asked where he was at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Largent had been on a hunting trip and did not know about the attacks until then.[16][18]

Post-political career[edit]

Largent became President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association in November 2003 and served until May 2014. CTIA is an international nonprofit membership organization founded in 1984, representing all sectors of wireless communications: cellular, personal communication services, and enhanced specialized mobile radio.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

In 1990, Largent received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[21]

People magazine named Largent to its 1996 list of "Most Beautiful People".[22]

Largent has a son Kramer James (b. November 11, 1985) with spina bifida. He and his wife, Terry, also had three older children, sons Kyle and Kelly and daughter Casie.[23]

Electoral history[edit]

Oklahoma's 1st congressional district: Results 1994–2000[24]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1994 Stuart Price 63,753 37% Steve Largent 107,085 63%
1996 Randolph John Amen 57,996 28% Steve Largent 143,415 68% Karla Condray Independent 8,996 4%
1998 Howard Plowman 56,309 38% Steve Largent 91,031 62%
2000 Dan Lowe 58,493 29% Steve Largent 138,528 69% Michael A. Clem Libertarian 2,984 1%
Summary of the November 5, 2002 Oklahoma gubernatorial election results
Candidates Party Votes %
  Brad Henry Democratic Party 448,143 43.27%
  Steve Largent Republican Party 441,277 42.61%
  Gary Richardson Independent 146,200 14.12%
Total 1,035,620 100.0%
Source: 2002 Election Results


  1. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Playing Physical, Evolution of Gear, & Lacking Confidence | WR Round Table". YouTube.
  2. ^ Steve Largent: A Football Life, retrieved April 19, 2020
  3. ^ Booth, Tim (December 19, 2008). Holmgren given Largent Award by players. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  4. ^ Davis, Nate (October 23, 2015). "Seahawks great Steve Largent was nicknamed for 'Star Wars' character". USA Today. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Greg Bishop, "Hawks offered No. 80, Rice says", Seattle Times, October 29, 2004.
  6. ^ Mike Brown, "TU honors standouts", Tulsa World, October 27, 2008.
  7. ^ "Steve Largent Stats".
  8. ^ LARGENT, Steve, (1954– ).
  9. ^ Jim Myers, "Largent Takes Oath of Office", Tulsa World, November 30, 1994.
  10. ^ "Oklahoma State Election Board". General Election Results. November 5, 1996
  11. ^ "Oklahoma State Election Board". General Election Results. November 3, 1998
  12. ^ "Oklahoma State Election Board". General Election Results. November 7, 2000
  13. ^ David van Biema, Catholic Bashing?, TIME, February 27, 2000.
  14. ^ Guy Gugliotta and Juliet Eilperin. House Republicans Embrace Livingston, Armey, Watts. Washington Post, November 19, 1998.
  15. ^ a b David Averill, "Eyeing another campaign: Richardson had impact on 2002 governor's race", Tulsa World, March 22, 2009.
  16. ^ a b "Henry upsets Steve Largent in governor's race", AP at USA Today, November 5, 2002.
  17. ^ John M. Broder, "The 2002 Elections: Governors; Bright Spots, Amid Dim Ones, for Democrats", New York Times, November 7, 2009.
  18. ^ Chris Cilliza, "The Fix: Holtz for House: The Strange History of Sports Stars and Politics", Washington Post, August 4, 2009.
  19. ^ Matt Richtel, "In the Hall as a Lobbyist After Time in the House", New York Times, March 22, 2004.
  20. ^ President & CEO Steve Largent at CTIA website.
  21. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  22. ^ "Steve Largent", People, May 6, 1996.
  23. ^ "Largent scandal fans flames of fame". July 17, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  24. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on July 25, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2007.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Response to the State of the Union address
Served alongside: Jennifer Dunn
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by