10 moments that made BYU and NFL quarterback Jim McMahon famous — and infamous

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013 5:24 p.m. MDT

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McMahon had a field day in his first start as the BYU quarterback

Jim McMahon came to BYU in 1977, but was not the quarterback. In fact, he was the punter his freshman season. He practiced with the quarterbacks and got a significant number of reps, but never played there until 1978 when Marc Wilson, another BYU legend, went down with an injury.

In McMahon's collegiate debut as a signal caller against Colorado State, he accounted for 112 passing yards, 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He was named the Player of the Game. Furthermore, his success at the position led BYU to play both McMahon and Wilson at QB throughout the remainder of the year.

Some say when you have two starting quarterbacks, you really have none. It would be tough to make that assertion with McMahon and Wilson for the 1978 season.
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Enid, OK

God bless Jim McMahon!

I saw the Miracle Bowl on black and white TV. My dad said it was a lost cause and left but I hung in there and watched them win it all. When Clay Brown caught the winning TD I went outside in the dead of night and screamed as loud and as long as I could. Didn't matter to me one bit that it was probably 11 o'clock at night and my neighbors were probably all sleeping. Who cared? We'd won, baby, and we'd won BIG!

Yes, God bless Jim McMahon!


Mission Viejo, CA

I was watching in New Haven CT in the middle of the night. Lying on my couch, morose as Dickerson and James tore the Cougar defense up. Then came the Dickerson TD. Nail in the coffin. But BYU blocked the punt. Jimmy Mac completed the Hail Mary. Kick was good!

Most unbelievable gave I've ever seen.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

I didn't realize Brandon Davies had been cut by the basketball team...where in the world did that tidbit come from? Suspension, yes. But cut?

newhall, CA

I went to school with Jim and had three classes with him. I have nothing but the greatest respect for him because he never changed who he was and was the consummate teammate and leader. I still believe he was one of the greatest QBs in BYU history and he should have won the Heisman, and yes, he should be inducted into BYU's Hall of Fame. I just finished watching the Miracle Bowl and I will admit it brought back memories and teary eyes. Those were the days when the Blue could put up points with a potent offense. I'm looking for that day to begin anew. Thanks for all the wonderful memories Jim, from BYU to the NFL, and God bless you in your recovery and health; I hope your newly found treatment will continue to give you relief and peace of mind without those migraine headaches.

Don't Feed the Trolls
Salt Lake City, UT

"McMahon was and is overtly not a member of the Mormon Church, which at the time of his enrollment at BYU was by far the exception,"

Non-Mormon (at the time of their enrollment) BYU QB's, just off the top of my head...
Before Jimmy Mac:
Gary Sheide
Marc Wilson
Robbie Bosco?
Ty Detmer
Steve Sarkisian

Tom Holmoe
Clay Brown

I could go on, but then again, it isn't MY job as a "journalist" to research a story...


I always remember the Coors Light sticker he had on his helmet during his senior year, along with all his "big play" stickers.

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