Blackledge was the seventh pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was picked behind John Elway but ahead of Dan Marino, astounding both Marino (who believed that he was better than Blackledge) and Blackledge himself (who had expected to be picked in the middle of the round). He was also drafted ahead of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. He was a Chief for five seasons (1983–1987) before ending his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1988–1989). Blackledge holds the distinction of being the last quarterback that was drafted by Kansas City that has won a playoff game with the franchise.
Blackledge lives in North Canton with his wife, Cherie, and their four children.
Blackledge earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication from Penn State in 1983, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a 3.8 grade point average. Named a first team Academic All-American, he was also awarded the Eric Walker Award, given to the Penn State senior student who has most "enhanced the esteem and recognition of the University." Blackledge was inducted into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 1997. He sits on the Board of Visitors for Penn State’s Center for Sports Journalism.
Blackledge was selected to receive the prestigious 2008 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, recognizing former student-athletes who excelled both in their collegiate and professional careers. On June 5, 2009, Blackledge received Penn State's prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award.
In April 2008, Blackledge and seven other former NFL players traveled to the Middle East to visit with troops and coach them in the USO's Operation Gridiron: Huddle with the Troops, a flag football tournament for service personnel serving overseas.
Currently, he is coaching varsity basketball at North Canton Hoover High School and the North Canton Little League 10-year-old Williamsport team.
Blackledge is also Christian, as his tweets on ESPN.com usually quote a verse from the Bible daily. He sometimes concludes these tweets by writing, "Make today a great day!"