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Dante "Dan" Anthony Pastorini (born May 26, 1949 in Sonora, Californiamarker) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League for the Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles.

NFL career

Pastorini was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the first round (third overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft out of Santa Clara Universitymarker. The draft was dubbed "The Year of the Quarterback" and Pastorini was part of a prized trio of college quarterbacks taken with the top three picks that year, Jim Plunkett (first) and Archie Manning (second) being the others. Several other quarterbacks were taken early in 1971. A late round draftee, Kenny Anderson, was drafted by Cincinnati and became the steal of the draft under his mentor Bill Walsh.

Pastorini was known as a tough quarterback throughout his career. From 1971 through 1979, Pastorini missed only five regular season games, playing through the pain of broken ribs and even a punctured lung at times. He was the first player to wear the now ubiquitous "flack jacket" under his uniform to protect broken ribs. He did not play behind what would be considered a quality offensive line until 1977 when the Oilers hired Joe Bugel as offensive line coach and brought in players like Greg Sampson and, later Leon Gray. By 1978, the Oilers had a running game with the drafting of future Hall-of-Famer Earl Campbell.

In the 1978 playoffs, Pastorini fared very well, helping lead the Oilers to wins over the Bob Griese-led Miami Dolphins and AFC East division champion New England Patriots.

Pastorini's last game as a Houston Oiler was the 1979 AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a game which many Oilers fans contended was decided when, in their opinion, the officials blew a call on a Mike Renfro TD reception. Instant replay rules, in any form, were not in effect at the time, so the play could not be reviewed, as it would be in the present day. The best replay angles NBC could provide of the play show Renfro juggling the ball as he went to the ground. It was not clear if he had complete control of the ball when he hit the ground or, if he did, if he was inbounds if he had possession. The play was a major turning point in the momentum of the game, which resulted in a Steeler triumph.

Later in 1980, Oilers owner, Bud Adams, traded Pastorini to the Oakland Raiders, in exchange for an aging Ken Stabler, who was 3 years Pastorini's senior.

Five weeks into the 1980 season with Oakland, after posting a 2-2 record, Pastorini broke his leg and was summarily booed by Raider fans as he was taken off the field. Jim Plunkett, a former Heisman Trophy winner, and local star at Stanford had been with the Raiders as a backup quarterback since 1978. He took over and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in January 1981.

Pastorini's best season came in 1978 when he threw for a career high 2,473 yards and 16 touchdowns, leading the Oilers to the AFC Championship game. Pastorini was also named to the 1975 AFC Pro Bowl Team.

Outside of football

Pastorini raced hydroplanes, drag-raced cars, judged wet T-shirt contests, and starred in a 1974 B-movie called Weed: The Florida Connection and then co-starred in a 1979 Lee Majors movie called Killer Fish. Pastorini married Playboy Playmate June Wilkinson. She was British and 10 years older. They had one child, a daughter, and later divorced.

Pastorini currently lives and works in Houston as President of DP7 racing and works in Public relations and Marketing for Lamborghini Houston.[182585]


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