Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esaiason with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1988.
Personal Information
Jersey #(s)
Born: April 17 1961 (1961-04-17) (age 59)
Birthplace: West Islip, New York
Career information
Year(s) 19841997
NFL Draft 1984 / Round: 2 / Pick: 38
NFL Supplemental Draft / Pick:
College Maryland
Professional teams
Career stats
Pass attempts/completions 5,205 att/2,969 comp
Passing yards/Completion Pct (%) 37,920 yards/57.0 %
TDs-INTs/QB Rating 247 TDs-184 INTs/81.1 RTG
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason; born April 17, 1961) is a retired 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 WFAN and Monday Night Football analyst for Westwood One.


Early lifeEdit

Esiason was born in West Islip, New York, and grew up in East Islip, New York, both on Long Island.[1] He attended Timber Point Elementary and East Islip High School, where he graduated in 1979. In high school he was a three-sport varsity player in football, basketball, and baseball.[2] 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.[3]

Football careerEdit

University of MarylandEdit

Esiason played college football at the University of Maryland for head coaches Jerry Claiborne and 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 he 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 the best-known former Terrapin football players.

Cincinnati BengalsEdit

Following his final year at Maryland, Esiason was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 1984 NFL Draft with the 38th overall pick, 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.

At his retirement in 1997 he was among the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history finishing in the top 10 in many statistical categories. 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 3 yard run. 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'-5" and 224 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 "no huddle" at the line of scrimmage offense devised by Bengal Head Coach Sam Wyche. 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 Fame 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, leading to a 20–16 loss for the Bengals. Esiason won the 1988 NFL MVP award and was named to the Pro Bowl, but didn't play in the Pro Bowl due to a shoulder injury he suffered late in the regular season.

New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals and back to CincinnatiEdit

Esiason was traded to his hometown New York Jets for a third round pick in 1993 (which became linebacker Steve Tovar), subsequently guiding their offense until the end of 1995. During his 1995 season with the Jets, he was seriously injured in a game played on October 8 against the Buffalo Bills when rookie Everett McIver was whistled for a false start and Bruce Smith of the Bills raced around him and caught Esiason under his facemask. Smith had been terribly upset about Esiason's injury and said he never heard a whistle blowing the play dead for false start. That horrific collision gave Esiason a severe concussion, which he was sidelined until November 19—ironically that game was played against the Bills.

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 1997 season, throwing for 13 touchdowns and with only 2 interceptions and garnering a passer rating of over 106 for the season. The Bengals were 3-8 with Blake under center. With Esiason at quarterback they won four of their last five games and scored over 30 points four times - twice they broke 40 points, in a 44-42 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and a 41-14 rout of the Tennessee Oilers.

The final play of his 14-year professional career was a 77-yard touchdown pass to receiver Darnay Scott; the touchdown proved the winner in a 16-14 final over the Baltimore Ravens.

Records and honorsEdit

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. At his retirement in 1997 Esiason finished in the top 10 all time of many QB career statistical categories. He played for 7 different coaching staffs during his 14 year career. He was known for running Bengal Head Coach Sam Wyche's complicated "no huddle" offense that took the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 as he was named NFL MVP for that season.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.[4]

In 2011, he was recipient of the Pulse of the People award, breaking Craig Cartons steak of three consecutive years as the winner (2008-2010).

Broadcasting careerEdit

While still playing, Esiason appeared as a color commentator on the USA Network 2 year broadcast of the World League of American Football (WLAF) on Monday nights, partnered with Brad Nessler. Esiason has appeared in over 25 commercials including Diet Coke,Wheaties,Reebok,Samsung,Hanes,Doritos and Dominoes Pizza. He as also appeared in many TV shows and movies. Such as, "Game Plan" ,"Miss America","Super Bowls Greatest Commercials" "Spin City" among others. After his retirement, Boomer Esiason went into broadcasting full time. 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]/Dial Global radio network to become the lead analyst for radio broadcasts of Monday Night Football games. Esiason also currently serves as an in-studio analyst for The NFL Today on CBS television and co-hosts Boomer and Carton in the Morning on WFAN Radio in New York and 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 a best-seller and co-wrote (with Lowell Cauffiel) a 1998 novel titled Toss.

Boomer and Carton in the MorningEdit

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 Francesa and Chris Russo [Mike and the Mad Dog] for several weeks before Boomer's audition.) WFAN announced Esiason as the permanent host on August 13, along with veteran radio host Craig Carton. Boomer and Carton officially started as of September 4.[5]Template:Citation needed On September 6, Esiason pulled double duty: he worked the morning show on WFAN, then flew to Indianapolis to cover the Indianapolis Colts opening 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 5 hour energy. Still an analyst on DialGlobal/Westwood One, Esiason often travels to Monday Night Football games on Monday and still is able to make his Tuesday morning call time on WFAN. The Boomer and Carton radio program has become the number one rated morning show in all key demographics in the greater NY listening area and also can be seen on the MSGTV Network. The powerhouse duo often spar on all sorts of subjects.

Boomer Esiason FoundationEdit

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 scholarships,transplant grants,hospital grants, education and awareness of cystic fibrosis as to provide higher quality of life for people with CF. The foundation has raised in excess of $85 million dollars and has supported numerous hospitals including, Cincinnati Children's Hospital with the Gunnar H Esiason CF/Lung Center and Columbia Presbyterian in NYC with the Gunnar H Esiason Adult CF and Lung Program. The foundation has given over $2 million dollars in scholarship grants to CF patients. The foundation is located in NYC and runs numerous events around the country.

While at a Jets mini-camp in 1993, 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. Boomer Esiason soon after formed the foundation. In 1996 Esiason formed a partnership with Cantor Fitzgerald and Howard Lutnick(CEO) as the foundation offices were moved to the North Tower of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on the 101st floor. This was destroyed in 2001 in the September 11 attacks. All five full-time employees survived, as none were in the building at the time, but Esiason figured he knew "over 200 people personally" who were killed in the attack, including his best friend Tim O'Brien who was a partner at Cantor.[6]

Gunnar Esiason is now an extremely active 21 year old junior attending Boston College who undergoes daily treatments and takes medication. He was a quarterback for his high school football team, played forward on his Ice Hockey team for the Manhasset/Roslyn varsity hockey team. To this day Gunnar and his dad are teammates on their WASP hockey team, Friends Academy in Locust Valley, New York. Gunnar began attending Boston College in the fall of 2009 and is currently a member if the junior class. The Boomer Esiason Foundation annually receives four stars from charity Navigator.

Personal lifeEdit

Esiason lives in Manhasset, New York, with his wife Cheryl, their son, Gunnar, and daughter Sydney. Esiason also served as a judge panelist on The Food Network's Iron Chef America cable TV program.

In 2009, he was named "Father of the Year" in the first annual Open Salon Father's Day Awards.[7]


  2. Smith, Gary. "We're Going To Beat This Thing", October 4, 1993. Retrieved on 2010-06-13. 
  3. Fabrikant, Geraldine. "Talking Money with Boomer Esiason; Quarterback Lets Adviser Call the Plays", April 26, 1998. Retrieved on 2009-09-13. 
  4. Jones, Jim. "Ridgewood 9-Year-Old's Study of Boomer Esiason Leads to WFAN Meeting", July 24, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-15. 
  5. WFAN - The Fan - Sports Radio 66 Homepage
  6. Daugherty, Paul. "Esiason mourns lost friend", September 21, 2001. Retrieved on 2011-09-13. 
  7. Open Salon Father's Day Awards

External linksEdit

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