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Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason (born April 17, 1961) is a former American football quarterback and current network color commentator. He played for the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals before working as an analyst for ABC and HBO. He is currently an analyst for CBS Sports primarily on The NFL Today, as well as morning co-host on New York radio station WFANmarker.


Early life

Esiason was born in West Islip, New Yorkmarker, and grew up in East Islip, New Yorkmarker. He attended Timber Point Elementary and East Islip High School in Long Island, New York, where he graduated in 1979.

Football career

University of Maryland

Esiason played college football at the University of Marylandmarker for head coach Bobby Ross and offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen. At Maryland, he set 17 school records. Esiason completed 461 of 850 passes (54.2 percent) for 6,259 yards and 42 touchdowns and was a two-time honorable mention All-American in 1982 and 1983. In his final home game threw two third-quarter touchdown passes to lead a comeback victory over No. 3 North Carolina and seal the ACC title. Esiason graduated with a B.A. in 1984 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999. He is today one of the best-known former Terrapin football players.

Cincinnati Bengals

Following his final year at Maryland, Esiason was selected as the 38th pick in the second round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, surprisingly low. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper was, in Esiason's words, "going ballistic" that he was still available in the latter stages of the first round. Two of his teammates on the Terrapins squad, guard Ron Solt and defensive end Pete Koch, were drafted in the first round by the Indianapolis Colts and the Bengals, respectively. No quarterbacks were drafted in the first round; Esiason was actually the first one selected. He was also drafted by the Washington Federals franchise of the now-defunct United States Football League.

Among the most prolific left-handed quarterbacks in NFL history, Boomer got his first pro start on October 7, 1984, in Cincinnati in a game against the Houston Oilers. On a rainy day, Boomer led the Bengals to a 13–3 win over Houston and scored the game's only touchdown on a quarterback rush near the goalline. Boomer took over for Ken Anderson as the Bengals' full-time starting quarterback on September 22, 1985, in a game in Cincinnati against the San Diego Chargers. He could not repeat the victory of his first career start, as the Bengals fell to the Chargers and eventual Hall of Famer Dan Fouts 44–41. At 6'-4" and 240 pounds, far larger than his predecessor and with a much more powerful arm, Esiason was the signal caller on one of the most potent offenses of the late 1980s, and he was surprisingly mobile, rushing for 1,598 yards on 447 attempts and scoring 7 touchdowns in his career. He was particularly adept at running the difficult play-action pass offense. A little over three years later, Esiason led the Cincinnati Bengals to their second (and to date, their last) appearance in the Super Bowl, where they again lost another close game to the San Francisco 49ers. In Super Bowl XXIII, the 49ers, led by Hall of Famemarker quarterback Joe Montana, marched 92 yards on their last drive and won the game on a touchdown pass to receiver John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining in the game. A last-ditch pass to wide receiver Cris Collinsworth was broken up. The final score: 49ers 20, Bengals 16.

New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals and back to Cincinnati

Esiason was traded to his hometown New York Jets for a third round pick in 1993, guiding their offense until the end of 1995. During his 1995 season with the Jets he was seriously injured in an October 8 game against the Buffalo Bills when rookie Everett McIver jumped offsides and Bruce Smith of the Bills raced around him and caught Esiason under his facemask.

After being released by the Jets, Esiason signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in 1996. It was during this season, on November 10, 1996, that Esiason threw for the 3rd best passing yardage day in NFL History, with 522 yards in a 37-34 overtime victory over the Washington Redskins. He contemplated retirement in the offseason, but was talked into playing one more season — with the Cincinnati Bengals. Esiason was surprisingly effective after replacing Jeff Blake midway through the season, throwing for 13 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions and garnering a passer rating of over 106 for the season. The final play of his 14-year professional career was a 77-yard touchdown pass to receiver Darnay Scott.

Records and honors

Boomer Esiason was named to four Pro Bowl games (1986, 1988, 1989, 1993) and holds several NFL career records for left-handed quarterbacks, including most touchdown passes (247), passing yards (37,920), and completions (2,969). Esiason also led the AFC in passing in both 1988 and 1989.

Among the awards Boomer Esiason has earned during his career include the NFL Most Valuable Player Award in 1988 (leading the league with a quarterback rating of 97.4), and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1995 for his charitable work.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.

Broadcasting career

After his retirement, Boomer Esiason went into broadcasting. He was a color commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football from 1998 to 2000. Following his dismissal by ABC (due primarily to personal conflicts between him and play-by-play announcer Al Michaels), Esiason was hired by the Westwood One radio network to become the analyst for radio broadcasts of Monday Night Football games. Esiason also currently serves as an in-studio analyst for The NFL Today on the CBS television network and hosts The Boomer Esiason Show on the Madison Square Garden Network. While Esiason has thus far not ghostwritten the de rigueur autobiography, he authored a children's reader in 1995 titled A Boy Named Boomer and co-wrote (with Lowell Cauffiel) a 1998 novel titled Toss.

Boomer and Carton in the Morning

In April 2007 after the firing of Don Imus, CBS Radio gave Boomer a one-week "try-out" as Imus's replacement on WFAN. (The slot had been covered by WFAN afternoon duo Mike and the Mad Dog for several weeks before Boomer's audition.) WFAN announced Esiason as the permanent host on August 13, along with Craig Carton, formerly of New Jersey 101.5marker and WIP. Boomer and Carton officially started as of September 4. On September 6, Esiason pulled double duty: he worked the morning show on WFAN, then flew to Indianapolis to cover the Indianapolis Colts open the 2007 NFL season against the New Orleans Saints on Westwood One with Marv Albert, then returned to do the morning show the next day. However, both Carton and Albert mocked how tired he was, including jokes about Esiason's intake of Red Bull and espresso.

Origin of the "Boomer" name

Esiason got the "Boomer" nickname before he was born. His mother, reacting to his constant kicking in the womb, called him "Boomer," and he has kept the name since.

Boomer Esiason Foundation

The Boomer Esiason Foundation was created to fund research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, a disease of the respiratory and digestive systems. The Foundation also provides education and awareness of cystic fibrosis to provide higher quality of life for people with cystic fibrosis.

While at a 1993 Jets mini-camp, Esiason was notified that his two-year-old son, Gunnar, had to be taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties. Soon after, Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. A devastated Boomer Esiason soon after formed the foundation, a charity.

Now 18, Gunnar is an extremely active teenager who undergoes daily treatments and takes medication. He is a quarterback on his school's football team (Friends Academy) in Locust Valley, New Yorkmarker. Gunnar will be attending Boston Collegemarker in the Fall of 2009 as a freshman.

Soon after Esiason formed the Foundation he formed a partnership with John Sawyer, a co-founder of the Bengals and the chairman of Sawyer Industries to form a company that would sell what came to be called Boomer's Products to Fight Cystic Fibrosis. The top-selling item is Boomers BBQ Sauce, an award-winning Texas-style sauce with all proceeds going to cystic fibrosis research.

Personal life

Esiason lives in Manhasset, New Yorkmarker, with his wife Cheryl, their son, Gunnar, and daughter Sydney.

Esiason was a judge on Iron Chef America.

In 2009, he was named "Father of the Year" in the first annual Open Salon Father's Day Awards.

See also


  1. In elementary school Esiason beat up Anthony Cumia of the Opie and Anthony Show for calling him Norman.
  2. WFAN - The Fan - Sports Radio 66 Homepage
  3. Open Salon Father's Day Awards

External links

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