To say Jim McMahon is well known both in Utah and in football would be a terrible understatement.

ESPN called him a rebel without pause. The BYU faithful still sing his praises for his on-the-field accomplishments. Chicago knows him as the "Punky QB" of Super Bowl Shuffle fame. His antics over the course of his career as a BYU and NFL quarterback have earned him fame, not to mention more than his fair share of infamy.

The gutsy, fiery and unrepentant quarterback is not a part of BYU's Hall of Fame. That, however, does not prevent him from introduction into the state of Utah's Sports Hall of Fame.

Along with BYU volleyball legend Michelle Fellows Lewis, Utah football legends Ron McBride and Marv Fleming as well as golfer Billy Casper, McMahon will be inducted into the Beehive State's hall of sports greatness this evening, his likeness forever to grace the walls of EnergySolutions Arena — at least until the Hall of Fame moves somewhere else.

With McMahon's Tuesday introduction into the Hall of Fame, let's take a look at 10 events by which McMahon earned fame … and infamy.

Landon Hemsley is the sports Web producer for Email: [email protected].


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.

AP Photo

McMahon showed up on time to his first public event with the Chicago Bears, beer in hand

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, not the norm. Though McMahon played at BYU and never received an Honor Code suspension, it was no secret that he was not interested in living an LDS lifestyle after his departure from college. By his own admission, he was on probation for most of the five years he was in Provo.

Perhaps McMahon was overcompensating or perhaps he was just really thirsty. Whatever the reason, McMahon showed up at his first public function as a member of the Chicago Bears with a beer in hand. Head coach Mike Ditka and owner George Halas were none too pleased.


The "Punky QB" reminds everyone that he's the only quarterback named McMahon

What's to say about the Super Bowl Shuffle? The video, produced after the Bears won Super Bowl XX, was a huge hit.

McMahon was one of several Bears to rap to the music. Walter Payton and Mike Singletary put down some sweet lyrics as well, and it lives in infamy to this day.

AP Photo

Jim McMahon wore a corporate logo on a headband, for which he was censured, but still got the last laugh

In this world of corporate sports sponsorships, the thought that the league would fine a player for wearing branded apparel is nigh unto laughable.

Yet that's exactly what NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle did. He slapped McMahon with a $5,000 fine for wearing an Adidas headband during an NFL playoffs game.

The next week, McMahon wore a headband that read, "Rozelle." Reports indicated that Rozelle thought it was hilarious, but the fine stood.


McMahon wore his No. 9 Bears jersey to the White House while a member of the Packers and backup to Brett Favre

To say that the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers are rivals is stating the obvious. It's like saying that Ohio State and Michigan are rivals, that the Red Sox and Yankees are rivals, or that BYU and Utah are rivals. There are Bears and then there are Packers.

Mad Mac was a Bear.

When he met with President Clinton in 1997 following his Super Bowl win as Brett Favre's backup in Green Bay, he wore his No. 9 Bears jersey, much to the chagrin of Packer Nation.

He did so because the 1986 Super Bowl Champion Bears never got to go. The Challenger space shuttle exploded on the day the Bears were scheduled for the White House visit, and so obviously they had to take a back seat on that day.


McMahon left school early and never earned his degree

Following the 1981 season, his senior season, Jim McMahon left BYU. He never finished school, despite his very long and lucrative career in the NFL.

In 2011, McMahon told WQAM radio in not so many words that he was asked after the 1981 season to leave the university. The New York Times blog "The Fifth Down" discovered the interview and transcribed some of the statements McMahon made shortly after Brandon Davies had been cut from BYU's basketball team.

"They said they had just been informed that I was doing some things. I said, Look, I’ve been here five years, man. You follow me around, you stake out my apartment. You don’t know what I’m doing? C’mon. They know what’s going on there."


In a rivalry game against the Utes, all it takes to shut up the hecklers is a finger, and it's not the finger you are thinking of

In 1980, BYU was a force, and few could stop it.

Hecklers tried to stop McMahon anyway. They did their best to get in the mind of the fiery quarterback who they knew was not above heckling right back.

When BYU traveled to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes in the 1980 rivalry game, those hecklers were present, as they always are in the rivalry. But on that day, a legendary quarterback gave rise to a legendary taunt.

McMahon, after throwing one of several touchdowns in a 56-6 romping of the Utes, simply turned toward the fans and pointed at the scoreboard, effectively shutting up his critics in one fell swoop.

For more on that story, read a 2008 article by Brad Rock: The Day Jimmy Mac went scoreboard




McMahon demonstrated to the press why exactly he needed an acupuncturist

Jim McMahon never slid feet first, except for a few rare occasions.

One of those times happened to be in the 1985 NFC Championship game against the L.A. Rams, and the Rams made sure he paid for it. The hit the Rams put on Mac's hind quarters made his status questionable prior to Super Bowl XX.

Understandably, the media appetite to know the latest with McMahon's injury was insatiable, but McMahon didn't care much for the media. When a TV helicopter flew over the Bears' practice prior to the Super Bowl, McMahon dropped his shorts and gave the aerial vehicle a clean view of his posterior.

The acupuncturist McMahon flew in to help with his injury must have done well. Super Bowl XX ended up being a very lopsided win for the Bears over the New England Patriots.


McMahon was a titular party to a lawsuit suing the NFL over concussions

As previously stated, McMahon never slid feet first. He also banged helmets with his linemen on a regular basis.

Now, nearly two decades after retirement, McMahon is dealing with memory loss and early onset dementia. Prior to receiving treatment, he regularly suffered headaches crippling enough to restrict him to his house and on multiple occasions considered suicide, but fortunately never went through with it.

McMahon was party to a 2011 lawsuit against the NFL that sought compensation for former players that had suffered brain damage as a result of concussions while playing football. He was one of the more outspoken plaintiffs in the suit, which was settled earlier this year.

For more on this side of McMahon, read this Oct. 5 article by Randy Hollis: Former BYU, NFL quarterback Jim McMahon aims to win the toughest challenge of his life.


McMahon, an overtly non-religious man, heaved up a prayer and came away with BYU's first-ever bowl win

The moment has gone down in BYU legend, and with good reason.

Cougar fans today look back at BYU's storied bowl history with pride and admiration, but in 1980, all BYU had to look back at was several consecutive losses in the Holiday Bowl against Midwestern teams.

Enter the Pony Express in 1980. At the height of SMU's NCAA rule breaking, the Mustangs of SMU earned a berth to the Holiday Bowl to face BYU. Through more than 56 of the 60 minutes of game time, they held a 20-point lead on BYU.

McMahon led the Cougars back to the win, the final touchdown coming as time expired.

What more could Cougar Nation have asked from this Hall of Famer than BYU's first-ever bowl win?