American Football Wiki
Shaun Hill
No. 14     St. Louis Rams
Personal information
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College: Maryland
Debuted in 2003 for the Amsterdam Admirals
Career history

Roster status: Active

Shaun Hill (born on January 9, 1980 in Parsons, Kansas) is an American football quarterback for the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. He was signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He played college football at Maryland.

Hill has also played for the Amsterdam Admirals and San Francisco 49ers.

Early years[]

Hill was a three-year starter at quarterback and 2-year starter at free safety at Parsons Senior High School. He was a two-time All-Southeast Kansas League 1st-team selection and an honorable mention All-State as a senior. He lettered in basketball, baseball and track and was a three-time All-SEK 1st-team choice in basketball. As a team captain in hoops, he earned All-State honors 3 years and guided the team to the state tournament as a sophomore and senior. Hill also qualified for the state track meet as a senior.

College career[]

Hill was not highly recruited out of high school, so he spent his first two years at Hutchinson Community College, where he earned honorable mention honors as a freshman and sophomore. His community college success garnered him notice, and he eventually decided to attend college at University of Maryland. While serving primarily as a backup as a junior, he led the Maryland Terrapins to their first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 1985 as a senior in 2001. They earned a trip to the 2002 Orange Bowl and finished the year ranked #10 in the country. He finished his Maryland career with 3,158 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Professional career[]

Minnesota Vikings[]

Hill was not considered an NFL prospect and so went undrafted in the 2002 NFL Draft. He ended up signing as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent the season as a 3rd-string backup. He took his first career snaps for the Vikings on the final two plays of the 2005 NFL season, taking a knee both times.

Amsterdam Admirals[]

In order to get more experience, Hill spent the Spring of 2003 with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe, where he led the league in passing yards and tied for second in touchdowns.

San Francisco 49ers[]


Hill entered the 2006 NFL preseason third on the San Francisco 49ers depth chart, behind Trent Dilfer and Alex Smith. He went 15/23 (65.2%) for 162 Yds, no touchdowns and one interception. He spent the 2006 regular season on the sidelines, taking no snaps.


Hill completed 13 of 20 passes for 148 yards with one interception in the San Francisco 49ers' 17-13 preseason opening loss to the Denver Broncos on August 16, 2007. He demonstrated great pocket mobility but had difficulty in the red zone, throwing one interception in his first drive and then nearly throwing an interception at almost exactly the same place the second time down the field. In the last game of the 2007 preseason against the San Diego Chargers, Hill attempted to put the 49ers in field goal range to tie the game. With 16 seconds left on the clock, he threw two deep balls to his wide receivers but both missed their targets, and the second was intercepted, ending the game with the Chargers ahead, 16–13.

Hill made his 49ers regular-season debut on December 9, 2007, after Trent Dilfer suffered a severe concussion. He completed 22 of 27 pass attempts for 181 yards and one touchdown in a loss to his former team, the Minnesota Vikings. Despite his excellent statistics, Hill was critical of his performance, adding, "There [are] a lot of things I need to get better at. Some of that is about getting comfortable playing again. Some things made me want to throw up. Some things, the execution was poor but the results were good on my part. Some things I got away with. The results were better than my execution."[1]

Since Dilfer's injury was serious enough to sideline him for the rest of the season, Hill made his first NFL start on December 15, 2007 in a victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hill completed 21 of 28 pass attempts for 197 yards, ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown.[1] Hill was set to be the starter for the remainder of the 2007 season.[2]

On December 18, 2007, the 49ers announced that they had an interest in re-signing Hill, to provide competition against Alex Smith. However, the contract extension, along with its negotiations, were dependent on Hill's performance for the rest of the season.[3] On December 23, 2007, Hill made his second career start, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He completed 11 of 24 pass attempts for 123 yards and three touchdown passes, to Darrell Jackson, fellow former Terrapin Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore. The 49ers won 21-19.

Hill suffered a back injury during the week 16 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when rookie Gaines Adams hit him after a throw, drawing a 15-yard personal foul. As a result, Hill was unable to play in week 17 against the Cleveland Browns. Chris Weinke played in his place.


File:Shaun Hill at Rams at 49ers 2008-11-16.jpg

Hill with the 49ers in November 2008

In February 2008, Hill signed a new 3-year contract with the 49ers, with contractual terms not released to the media. The undrafted Hill competed for the starting job against Alex Smith and J.T. O'Sullivan in training camp and the 2008 preseason. O'Sullivan ended up getting the job and Hill became the primary backup after Smith was put on injured reserve early in the season.[4][5]

Hill did not play until 49ers interim head coach Mike Singletary took over on October 27. After J.T. O'Sullivan committed his second turnover against the Seattle Seahawks that was returned for a touchdown, he was pulled from the lineup and Hill replaced him with solid output: 15 of 23 for 173 yards with one touchdown to Jason Hill and no turnovers, but he could not rescue the 49ers, who lost 34–13.

Despite the loss, Hill was named as Singletary's no. 1 QB for the remainder of the 2008 season. His 2008 starting debut was in week 10, on Monday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals.

Shortly after the Seahawks game,[6] reports surfaced that Nolan and offensive coordinator Mike Martz allegedly made up stories about Hill having a tired arm in the preseason so that O'Sullivan, who played for Martz when he was offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, would win the starting job without a real challenge.

On Monday Night Football against the heavily-favored Arizona Cardinals, Hill delivered a solid performance in the first half. Hill completed a 31 yard touchdown to Josh Morgan to put the 49ers up 14-3, and then struck later with a 20 yard touchdown to Vernon Davis shortly before half-time. However, in the second half, Hill threw an interception at a critically bad time to give the Cardinals the 29-24 lead. Hill also threw a second interception on an attempted shovel pass at the Arizona 20 yard line. Despite this, Shaun Hill drove the 49ers down the field twice, the first with 3:39, and the second with only 1:04 left on the game clock. Hill's last pass of the game was a completion to Jason Hill to bring the 49ers to the Arizona goal line. Unfortunately, the 49ers were unable to score the game-winning touchdown. Coincidentally, on Monday Night Football of the 2007 season against the Cardinals, the 49ers drove to the goal line in a similar fashion, and were able to get the game-winning touchdown.

File:Shaun Hill passes at at Rams at 49ers 11-16-08 2.JPG

Hill passes against the Rams on November 16, 2008

During week 11 of the 2008 NFL season, Hill broke his career single-game passing record in yards, in a 35-16 victory over the St. Louis Rams by throwing for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns and running for a third. He was awarded NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

In week 12, Hill got his first 300-yard passing game in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Hill delivered an impressive come-back performance in Week 16 against the St. Louis Rams. After throwing three interceptions in the first three quarters, 49ers coaches Mike Singletary and Mike Martz were preparing to bench Hill for J.T. O'Sullivan. Hill convinced his coach to leave him the 4th quarter and then drove 80 yards, finishing with a touchdown pass to Isaac Bruce for his 1000th career reception. Now down 16-10 and under three minutes left on the clock, Hill got the ball back and completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan. The 49ers defense intercepted Marc Bulger, ending any chance of a Rams comeback and capping Hill's first big come-from-behind win.

In a week 17 thriller against the Washington Redskins, Hill was showing difficulty, throwing an interception in the first half and no touchdowns. However, in the fourth quarter, Hill took the lead by completing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jason Hill. Later, with the game tied at 24-24, Hill drove down the field with one minute left on the game clock to set up a game-winning Joe Nedney field goal.

With the victory, Hill improved to a 5-3 record on the season, and a 7-3 record as a starter all time. He finished the season with 13 passing touchdowns, 2 rushing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 2,046 passing yards, and a 87.5 quarterback rating in 9 games (8 as a starter).

49ers head coach Mike Singletary had stated that Hill would be the starting quarterback going into training camp in 2009 but would compete with former number-one overall draft pick Alex Smith for the regular season starting job.

Hill was named the starter for the 49ers preseason opener versus the Denver Broncos, where he would throw only two passes, completing both.

On August 25, Hill was named the 49ers' starting quarterback for the regular season, defending his starting title over Smith.

Hill made his season-opening debut on September 13 against the Arizona Cardinals. Hill made a fourth quarter touchdown pass to Frank Gore to win the game 20-16. With the win, Hill improved to 8-3 as a starter.

The following week against the Seattle Seahawks, Hill completed 19 of 26 passes for 144 yards and also ran once for 17 yards. The 49ers won 23-10, and Hill would continue his undefeated streak of six home victories. After a 35-0 drubbing of St. Louis, he extended it to seven.

Arguably, one of Hill's best games came in week 3 on the road against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings. Hill was 15/25, for 195 yards, with two touchdowns, and one interception in the game. Hill led the 49ers to a lead near the end of the game, but Brett Favre ultimately threw a 30 yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to win for the Vikings.

After a scoreless first half in the game against the Houston Texans in week 7, Singletary benched Hill and put Alex Smith into the game. Smith rallied the 49ers with three touchdowns to bring the score from 21-0 to 24-21. Although the 49ers lost the game, the comeback earned Smith the starting quarterback position in the next game against the Indianapolis Colts on November 1. Hill served as Smith's backup for the rest of the season.

Detroit Lions[]

Hill was traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a seventh round draft pick in 2011 on March 14, 2010.[7] The Lions signed him to a one year contract on July 12, 2010.[8] He entered the Lions first game of the 2010 season when starter Matt Stafford was injured. Hill threw 9 receptions on 19 attempts with 88 yards and one interception leading Detroit to within the 30 yard line with under 30 seconds to go. Hill threw what seemed to be the game winning touchdown but was later ruled incomplete by a technicality in the NFL rule book, which is now being referred to as the "Calvin Johnson Rule" [9] He was injured while filling in for the injured Matthew Stafford October 17, 2010, against the New York Giants. The Lions announced that he suffered a fracture of his left (non-throwing) forearm.[10] Hill started for the Lions during Week 10 (vs Buffalo) because of an injury suffered by Matthew Stafford during week 9. Hill capped the season with victories against the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings, and the Lions finished 6–10. He quickly established himself as one of the best backup QBs in the league.


Hill was a kinesiology major at Maryland. He participated in several Viking Children's Fund events and has supported the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He joined former Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice as a former Terrapin quarterback and was team mates at Maryland with current Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson. Hill kept a weekly journal chronicling his adventures in Europe for fans on former team's website,

Shaun enjoys fishing. The quarterback started reeling in fish that were inhabitants of farm ponds in his home state of Kansas during high school. When he lived in Minnesota as a member of the Vikings, Shaun caught a 30-inch, nine-pound walleye on his first try. He was able to lure the fish using a leech for bait 40 feet deep. Also in his fishing repertoire is a 48-inch Muskellunge. On January 31, 2011, his father, Ted Hill, died after falling while helping his son work on a barn.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Crumpacker, John. "49ers QB likely Hill, at least for this week", The San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2007. 
  2. Wire. ESPN Sports.
  3. Sabercats.
  4. 49ers re-sign quarterback Hill to compete for starting job.
  5. Crumpacker, John. "Happy birthday: Niners cut Dilfer", The San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 2008. 
  6. Morning Rush.
  7. Barrows, Matt (March 14, 2010). Niners-Lions make a deal for Shaun Hill. The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved on 2010-03-14.
  8. Detroit Lions reach deal with backup QB Shaun Hill via Associated Press July 12, 2010
  9. Calvin Johnson and the Going to the Ground Rule.
  10. Follett Taken to Local Hospital for Evaluation Detroit Lions Official Site October 17, 2010
  11. Lions' Shaun Hill's Dad Dies After Fall.

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