American Football Wiki
Jeff Garcia
No. 5, 7, 9
Personal information
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
College: San Jose State
NFL Draft: 1994 / Round: / Pick:
Debuted in 1999 for the San Francisco 49ers
Career history

Jeffrey Jason "Jeff" Garcia (born February 24, 1970 in Gilroy, California) is an American retired quarterback who last played with the Houston Texans. He was signed by the Calgary Stampeders as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He played college football at San Jose State University.

A four-time CFL All-Star and four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Garcia has also played for the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders and the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League

Early years[]

Garcia attended Gilroy High School in Gilroy, California and was a letterman in football and basketball.

Professional career[]

Garcia is one of only eight quarterbacks in NFL history who have achieved two consecutive thirty-touchdown passing seasons (2000 and 2001) at least one time in their career. The others are Steve Bartkowski, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, and Y.A. Tittle. He is also one of only twelve quarterbacks to throw a 99 yard touchdown pass.

Calgary Stampeders[]

Garcia was a standout quarterback while attending Gavilan College and San Jose State University. He started his professional career in Calgary with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. He won a place on Calgary's roster as their third string quarterback behind Doug Flutie and Steve Taylor when he threw two fourth quarter touchdowns in his exhibition game appearance in 1994. Soon he was named backup to Doug Flutie. Garcia took over as starter in 1995 when Flutie was sidelined midway through the season with an elbow injury. In his second start filling in for Flutie, Garcia set a team record with 546 passing yards and six touchdown passes in the Labour Day game against Edmonton touching off an eventual quarterback controversy among some fans when Flutie later returned. Flutie ended up starting over Garcia in the Grey Cup that year which the Stampeders lost. After Flutie signed as a free-agent with the Toronto Argonauts in 1996, Garcia took over as the Stampeders' starting quarterback. During Garcia's three years as starter, the Stampeders finished with records of 13-5, 10-8, and 12-6.[1]

In 1997, Garcia won the Jeff Nicklin Memorial Trophy, an award given to the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL Western Division. Garcia led the Stampeders to the Western Final in 1996 and to the Western Semi-Final in 1997. In 1998, he led the team to a Grey Cup victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and was named Grey Cup MVP. Garcia's performance included an 80-yard, game-ending drive to set up the game winning field goal on the last play of the game.[2] Garcia was also named as the 1998 CFL All-Star at quarterback.

San Francisco 49ers[]

Following the Grey Cup victory, Garcia was signed as a backup to Steve Young with the San Francisco 49ers. Over the summer, he had been fighting for a spot on the roster, but early in the 1999 season, Steve Young was hit by Arizona Cardinals CB Aeneas Williams and suffered his final professional concussion, knocking him out for the year. Garcia stepped in and shared time with former Stanford quarterback Steve Stenstrom finishing the season.

Garcia won his first NFL start against the Tennessee Titans 24-22. After being benched for poor performances, Garcia was reinstated as the starting QB and in the final 5 games of the regular season, finished by tossing 8 TD passes to only 2 interceptions. Garcia finished his rookie season with 11 TDs and 11 INTs.


The following season, with Young retired, and despite the 49ers drafting two quarterbacks (Giovanni Carmazzi in the third round and Tim Rattay in the seventh), Garcia kept the starting quarterback position and made his first Pro Bowl appearance. He set a new 49ers' team record with 4,278 passing yards in the 2000 season, although the team finished with a 6-10 record. Garcia finished the 2000 season, his first as a full time starter with 31 TD passes to only 10 INTs. Garcia began the season on a tear, after 7 games, he had thrown for 19 TD passes, including 3 games of 4 TD passes.


By the 2001 season, Garcia had become entrenched as the 49ers' starting quarterback. He had a career high with 32 touchdown passes, including 21 over an eight-game span. With Garcia at quarterback, the 49ers made their first playoff appearance in almost two years, but fell to Green Bay 25-15 in the first round.


2002 saw Garcia's offensive production drop from 31 and 32 TDs in the previous 2 seasons, to only 21. But even though Garcia's numbers dropped, the 49ers won the NFC West for the first time since 1997, with the Division clinching game coming on a last second TD pass to Terrell Owens against the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers trailed the Cowboys 27-17 with under 7 minutes left in the game before Garcia picked apart the Cowboy secondary for 2 TD passes (1 to Tai Streets and the game winner to Terrell Owens). [1] Garcia completed 36 of 55 passes for 276 and 3 4th quarter TD passes in leading to the Division clinching win.

On January 5, 2003, during the 2002-2003 playoffs, Garcia led the 49ers to a comeback win over the New York Giants, the second largest comeback victory in NFL playoff history. In the third quarter, the Giants were up 38-14, with about eighteen minutes left to play. Once the 49ers regained possession of the ball, they began a comeback that saw 25 unanswered points, with San Francisco taking a 39-38 lead. The Giants lost an opportunity to retake the lead after a controversial call, and the improbable victory became the signature game of Garcia's 49er career. He threw for 331 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and also ran for 60 yards and 1 touchdown.

Garcia-Owens: 49er Duo[]

Garcia's favorite target while with the 49ers was WR Terrell Owens. In 2003, Garcia and Owens's relationship turned sour upon Garcia taking issue with Owens's public praise for the play of backup quarterback Tim Rattay. Garcia responded with a cryptic "we can not let the sickness spread" remark, prompting Owens to wear a surgeon's mask at the following practice. Following Owens's trade to Philadelphia, Owens was asked if he thought Garcia was gay, responding by inferring that he thought he was in a Playboy interview by saying, "If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat."

Following his 2004 trade to Philadelphia, Owens began speaking out and criticizing Garcia for the 49ers' offensive struggles during the 2003 season (49ers finished 7-9, Garcia 18 TD passes, 13 INTs).

Garcia revealed on multiple occasions that the pressure of following in the footsteps of Joe Montana and Steve Young had gotten to him.

Upon his departure, Garcia said, "Have somebody step into my shoes and feel what I had to deal with throughout that whole time in San Francisco. The dust would start to settle, and all of a sudden, more fuel was thrown into the fire. It was such a negative situation." [2]

In Owens' first season with Jeff Garcia as his quarterback, Owens caught 60 passes and went on to have campaigns of 97, 93, 100 and 80 receptions over the next four seasons, two times leading the league in TD catches. [3]

2003: Final season with 49ers[]

The 2003 season was a disappointment for Garcia and the 49ers. Following their 2002 playoff thumping at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 49ers fired Head Coach Steve Mariucci and replaced him with former Seahawks Coach, Dennis Erickson, who promised a wide open and vertical passing game.

Injuries to key players on both sides of the ball, and the often reckless play of Jeff Garcia took a toll on him, as he was forced to miss 3 games during the season. The 49ers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 1st time in 2 seasons.

Following the disappointing 2003 season, Garcia, the three-time Pro Bowler, was released, along with several other key 49er players including RB Garrison Hearst and WR Terrell Owens.

Garcia had thirty-one and thirty-two passing touchdowns in the 2000 and 2001 seasons (respectively), more than any other quarterback over those two seasons, and was the 1st 49er QB in history to have back-to-back a 30 TD pass campaign. Garcia went to the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons from 2000 to 2002.

Cleveland Browns[]

Garcia signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns on March 9, 2004. Garcia was released by the Browns after the 2004 season, in which he struggled to find any consistency and battled with injuries. On Sept. 19, 2004, Garcia complete 8 of 27 passes for only 71 yards and 3 interceptions in a 19-12 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, resulting in a career-low passer rating of 0.

Detroit Lions[]

He was signed by the Detroit Lions to a one-year contract on March 12, 2005, to play for his former San Francisco head coach, Steve Mariucci, but Garcia broke his fibula in the fourth pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills on September 2, 2005. He started his first regular season game as quarterback for the Lions on October 23, 2005 against his former teammates, the Browns. Garcia led the Lions to a 13-10 victory completing 22 of his 34 pass attempts for 210 yards, with one touchdown and zero interceptions.

After the win, Mariucci named Garcia the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, over Joey Harrington, the longtime Detroit starter. Garcia struggled later in the season and Harrington returned as the starter. Following the season, the Lions did not offer Garcia a new contract.

First stint with Eagles[]

On March 15, 2006, after consecutive frustrating seasons for the Browns and Lions, Garcia signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles to serve as the primary backup to Donovan McNabb in 2006. Because McNabb was already wearing number 5, Garcia would end up having his jersey number changed to 7, previously worn in Philadelphia by former quarterback Ron Jaworski.

Following McNabb's season-ending knee injury in a game against the Tennessee Titans on November 19, 2006, Garcia entered the game. Coach Andy Reid named Garcia as the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season over fellow backup A.J. Feeley, despite Feeley's popularity in Philadelphia.

After a loss against the Colts on Sunday Night Football, many sportscasters (namely Jimmy Johnson) predicted the Eagles to be out of contention for the rest of the season. However, Garcia led the Eagles to five consecutive victories and the NFC East division championship. The rejuvenated quarterback threw ten touchdowns and only two interceptions, while posting a QB rating of 95.8 in eight total games played. He also made the front cover of Sports Illustrated following his five-game winning streak. On January 7, 2007, Garcia earned only his second ever playoff win, throwing for 153 yards and one touchdown in a 23-20 victory over the Giants. On January 13, 2007, Garcia and the Eagles lost to the New Orleans Saints by a score of 27-24. He threw for 240 yards and a touchdown - a 75-yard touchdown pass to Donte Stallworth - the longest in Eagles' postseason history.

Though he stated that he would love to re-sign with Philadelphia, the Eagles decided not to offer Garcia a new contract after the season. The Eagles opted to instead sign the younger A.J. Feeley to a three-year deal.[3]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[]

After his run with the Eagles, Garcia signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on March 3, 2007, to compete for their starting position.[4] Although his more familiar number 5 was available, Garcia decided to keep the number 7 he wore with the Eagles.

For of the 2007 regular season, Garcia was the Bucs' starting quarterback. He also brought the Bucs to the playoffs. The Buccaneers lost to the eventual Super Bowl winning Giants 24-14 in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs on January 6, 2008, with Garcia throwing for 207 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. On January 24, 2008, it was announced that Garcia would be replacing Brett Favre in the Pro Bowl, making it his first Pro Bowl since 2002. Garcia suggested in 2008 that he might stage a holdout of the Buccaneers if they didn't meet his contract extension demands. He was in the final year of the two-year contract. He was expected to make $2.75 million that season, including a $750,000 roster bonus.[5]

Jeff Garcia stayed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and started in the 2008 opening game against the New Orleans Saints. After a poor performance, he was demoted to third-string on the depth chart and placed on the inactive roster. However, following an injury to quarterback Brian Griese in the fourth week of the season, Jeff Garcia started in his place. During a victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Garcia surpassed 40,000 yards for his career when combining his statistics from both the CFL and NFL, becoming the twentieth player to accomplish the feat.

Oakland Raiders[]

Garcia signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on April 6, 2009.[6] As he did in Tampa Bay, Bruce Gradkowski changed his number to 5 to allow Garcia to wear number 7. He was expected to back up JaMarcus Russell in the 2009 season, but was released during final cuts on September 5, 2009.

Second stint with Eagles[]

After quarterback Donovan McNabb suffered a fractured rib in Week One, the Eagles signed Garcia to a one-year contract on September 14, 2009.[7] He was released on September 29, following Michael Vick's return from suspension. During this short stint with the Eagles, he wore jersey number 9.

Omaha Nighthawks[]

Garcia was one of the signature players of the United Football League and his former team, the Omaha Nighthawks. He won two offensive player of the week awards during the 2010 season having produced a game-winning drive in two separate games.[8]

Career statistics[]

CFL   Passing
Season Team Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT
1994 Calgary Stampeders 2 3 66.7 10 0 0
1995 Calgary Stampeders 230 364 63.3 3,358 25 7
1996 Calgary Stampeders 315 537 58.7 4,225 25 16
1997 Calgary Stampeders 354 566 62.5 4,573 33 14
1998 Calgary Stampeders 348 554 62.8 4,276 28 15
NFL Passing   Rushing
Season Team GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rating Att Yds TD
1999 San Francisco 49ers 13 225 375 60.0 2,544 11 11 77.9 45 231 2
2000 San Francisco 49ers 16 355 561 63.3 4,278 31 10 97.6 72 414 4
2001 San Francisco 49ers 16 316 504 62.7 3,538 32 12 94.8 72 254 5
2002 San Francisco 49ers 16 328 528 62.1 3,344 21 10 85.6 73 353 3
2003 San Francisco 49ers 13 225 392 57.4 2,704 18 13 80.1 56 319 7
2004 Cleveland Browns 11 144 252 57.1 1,731 10 9 76.7 35 169 2
2005 Detroit Lions 6 102 173 59.0 937 3 6 65.1 17 51 1
2006 Philadelphia Eagles 8 116 188 61.7 1,309 10 2 95.8 25 87 0
2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13 209 327 63.9 2,440 13 4 94.6 35 116 1
2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12 244 376 64.9 2,712 12 6 90.2 35 148 1
2009 Philadelphia Eagles 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 3 -2 0
NFL Playoffs Passing Rushing
Season Team GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rating Att Yds TD
2001 San Francisco 49ers 1 22 32 68.8 233 1 1 87.1 2 3 0
2002 San Francisco 49ers 2 49 85 57.7 524 3 4 68.0 7 60 1
2006 Philadelphia Eagles 2 32 61 50.8 393 2 0 83.6 8 23 0
2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 23 39 59.0 207 1 2 60.5 1 2 0
UFL Passing Rushing
Season Team GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rating Att Yds TD
2010 Omaha Nighthawks 8 132 255 51.8 1,321 9 11
CFL/NFL/UFL Passing Rushing
Season Team GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Rating Att Yds TD
1994–1998 CFL 1,249 2,024 61.7 16,442 111 52 94.9
1999–2009 NFL 131 2,264 3,676 61.6 25,537 161 83 87.5
2010 UFL 8 132 255 51.8 1,321 9 11
1994-2010 COMBINED 3,645 5,955 61.2 43,300 281 146

Personal life[]

Garcia is the third of seven children born to Bob and Linda (née Elder) Garcia. His father is a former athletic director and football coach at Gavilan College in his hometown of Gilroy, California.[9] A pair of twin girls died before Garcia's birth. His younger brother Jason drowned on a family camping trip in 1977 when Garcia was seven, and fourteen months later his younger sister Kimberly died after falling out of a truck. His two surviving sisters, Jene and Melissa, were born after the deaths of Jason and Kimberly. Garcia has said that much of his drive stems from trying to make his parents happy after the deaths of his siblings.[10] His maternal grandfather, Maurice "Red" Elder, was a football star at Kansas State University in the 1940s; both played in the East-West Shrine Game while in college, the only grandfather/grandson duo to do so.[11] Elder was a longtime coach at Gilroy High School. Garcia donated money to refurbish the athletic field at the school, and the field was renamed Garcia-Elder Field to honor both of them.[12] Garcia, who is of Mexican and Irish heritage, has also done various charitable work in support of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.[13]

Garcia married Carmella DeCesare, the 2004 Playboy Playmate of the Year, on April 21, 2007, in San Martin, California. They have a daughter named Presley who was born on April 28, 2008.[14] The couple welcomed their second child, a son, in June 2009.[15] The couple's third child, a son named Jax was born on September 21, 2010.[16]


External links[]