San Francisco 49ers Fathead

John Brodie
John Riley Brodie was born August 14, 1935.  He is a former National Football League quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and had a second career as a Senior PGA Tour professional golfer. Bottom of FormBrodie was born in San Francisco, California. He played his college football at Stanford University. He graduated in 1956, and was selected as a consensus All-American the same year. The 49ers drafted him third overall in the first round of the 1957 NFL Draft.

John Brodie #12

Player Info

Height 6' 1"
Weight 198 lbs
DOB: 8/14/1935


NFL Draft

1957/Round 1/Pick 3

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Career Highlights

Pro Bowl 1965 and 1970
Awards 1970 NFL MVP
Honors College Football Hall of Fame
San Francisco 49ers Retired his #12

Team(s) As A Player

San Francisco 49ers 1957-1973

Brodie Joins 49ers 

He first appeared with the 49ers as a rookie in 1957, seeing limited action. He got more playing time in 1958 through 1960, sharing time with Y.A. Tittle, and became the starter in 1961, holding that role through 1973.

He was among the leading passers in the league throughout the 1960s. His best statistical year was 1965 when he led the League in passing average (3,112 yards) and touchdowns (30). He appeared in the Pro Bowl in 1965 and 1970.

John Brodie’s 1970 NFL MVP Season

In 1970, John Brodie received the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award. That season he completed 223 passes in 378 attempts for a 59.0% completion rate for 2,941 yards 24 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He was sacked an all-time league low 8 times. It was the best finish for the 49ers in 25 years as they went to the NFC Championship Game before losing to the Dallas Cowboys. (2)

During a week 2 game on September 27 against the Cleveland Browns, Brodie snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The Browns had taken a 31-27 lead on a Leroy Kelly touchdown run. After the 49ers intercepted a pass, Brodie dropped back on a second down play and hit Jimmy Thomas on a 61 yard touchdown play midway through the fourth quarter. For the day, Brodie was 20 of 31 for 277 yards and three touchdown passes, including the game winner as the 49ers won 34-31. (3)

On November 8, the 49ers played against Dick Butkus and the Chicago Bears. Chicago jumped out to a 13-3 first quarter lead and led 13-10 at the half. After the Bears went ahead 16-10 early in the third quarter, the 49ers’ quarterback directed a 79 yard scoring drive, capping it off with a 7 yard touchdown pass to Ken Willard. The next time the 49ers got the ball, Brodie hurled a pass to Gene Washington which covered 79 yards for a touchdown. “I called an audible,” said Brodie. “Their defensive setup indicated a one-on-one situation on Washington if they stayed with it or went into a blitz. They blitzed and we hit.”

Butkus admitted the blitz was on but said, “Maybe I should have canned it. But they hadn't thrown long all day and there's no use in second guessing myself. Brodie reads defense very well, feels the pressure just as well and reacts equally as well. He's having a hot year.” The 49ers romped 37 to 16 over the Bears and Brodie was 21 of 28 for 317 yards and three touchdowns on the day. He also joined an elite class by completing pass 2,000 — a goal previously reached only by John Unitas, Y.A. Tittle and Sonny Jurgenson. (4)

John Brodie’s Career

Over John Brodie’s 17 year NFL career, he completed 2469 of 4491 passes for 31548 yards, had 214 touchdown passes and 224 interceptions. He carried the football 235 times for 1167 yards and another 22 touchdowns. When he retired he was the 49ers all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.

Brodie's Jersey #12 Retired 

In 2006, Brodie’s number 12 jersey was brought out of retirement and worn by Trent Dilfer, backup quarterback for the 49ers. “I'd love to honor you by wearing your number. Is that all right?” Dilfer said he told Brodie. “And he said, 'Yes! Yes!' He was all fired up.” (1) Dilfer, a close personal friend of Brodie, hopes to bring attention to Brodie’s bid for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “John has been a huge influence in my life,” Dilfer said. “Really, this has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame and hopefully his number coming out again will kind of get that thing rolling.” (1) John Brodie was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

By A. Goodin,
October 28, 2007

John Brodie External Links

John Brodie Biography Sources

(1)  49ers to unretire uniform No. 12 for Dilfer as tribute to John Brodie (2006, July 16) Sunday Gazette-Mail
Brodie Beats Out Blanda for MVP (1971, January 7) The Times (San Mateo)
Cleveland Team Beaten In Game (1970, September 28) Post-Herald, pg.2
(4) Beats Bears on Passes 37-16; Brodie Looks Like a Million (1970, November 9) Southern Illinoisan