Each Friday, Ultimate Autographs will feature one athlete that is part of the Ultimate Autographs lineup. This week's Friday Featured Athlete is former NFL MVP and Oakland Raiders star, Rich Gannon.
Rich Gannon played college football at the University of Delaware in which he ran a Wing-T style of offense. Rich Gannon would put up at least 2,000 offensive yards in three consecutive seasons before being selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 1987 NFL Draft.
However, the New England Patriots would trade Rich Gannon to the Minnesota Vikings where he initially struggled to rise up the Vikings' depth chart. Rich Gannon would find mixed results while playing for the Minnesota Vikings from 1987 to 1992 and subsequent one-year stints with the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs.
It would not be until 1999 until Rich Gannon finally blossomed into one of the best quarterbacks in the league after signing with the Oakland Raiders. Playing for Jon Gruden in a West Coast style of offense, Rich Gannon was voted to the Pro Bowl in just his first season with the Oakland Raiders. Rich Gannon would go on to earn 4 Pro Bowls during his time with the Oakland Raiders and won a Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2002. During his impressive MVP season, it looked as though he was going to break a single-season record for most passing yards. Rich Gannon's successful season helped lead the Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII where he became the first University of Delaware Blue Hens QB to start a Super Bowl.
Following Super Bowl XXXVII, Rich Gannon's career started to come to a close due to injuries. He injured his shoulder in Week 7 of the 2003 season and suffered a serious neck injury in the 2004 season that effectively ended his career.
Rich Gannon's career didn't get off to a hot start but he closed it with a bang during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He along with the animated and fiery Jon Gruden helped revitalize an Oakland Raiders franchise in the early 2000s.