David Woodley

David Woodley

David Woodley
No. 16, 19
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1958-10-25)October 25, 1958
Place of birth: Shreveport, Louisiana
Date of death: May 4, 2003(2003-05-04) (aged 44)
Place of death: Shreveport, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 204 lb (93 kg)
Career information
College: Louisiana State
NFL draft: 1980 / Round: 8 / Pick: 214
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
TDINT: 48–63
Yards: 8,558
QB Rating: 65.7
Stats at NFL.com

David Eugene Woodley (October 25, 1958 – May 4, 2003) was an American football player and quarterback for Louisiana State University (1977–1979), the National Football League's Miami Dolphins (1980–1983), and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1984–1985). Woodley's running ability and intelligence, in addition to his passing skills, helped elevate him to become a starting NFL quarterback.


Woodley was a three-year starter and All-State quarterback for C. E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, before signing to play college football at LSU. In his final college game as a senior, he led LSU to a 34-10 victory over Wake Forest University in the 1979 Tangerine Bowl and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. He was inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame.

As quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, Woodley is best known as the bridge between the eras of Hall of Famers Bob Griese and Dan Marino. Despite being an eighth round draft selection, he was elected the Miami Dolphins team MVP for his rookie season in 1980. In the 1980 season, he set the Miami Dolphins team record for most pass completions (176) for a rookie QB later broken by Ryan Tannehill in 2012. In 1982, he became one of the few NFL players to score touchdowns passing, running and receiving in an NFL season. Woodley split time with backup Don Strock, or "WoodStrock" as they were referred. Woodley started for the Dolphins in the 1981-82 playoff game versus the San Diego Chargers. After Miami fell behind 24-0, Strock led the Dolphins back into the game.

In the strike-shortened season of 1982, Woodley handled the lion's share of the time at QB en route to Miami winning the American Football Conference title. The Dolphins went on to face the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII. At the time, he was the youngest Super Bowl starting quarterback in NFL history. Despite starting the game well with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Cefalo, Woodley and the entire offense struggled after that, going 0 for 8 passing in the second half. The Redskins won the game 27-17.

In 1983, Woodley was Miami's starting quarterback, but in week five, the underperforming offense prompted coach Don Shula to insert then rookie quarterback, Dan Marino midway through a 17-7 road loss to the New Orleans Saints. By the next week, Marino was named the starter for the remainder of the season. Woodley was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 1983 season to compete with Cliff Stoudt and Mark Malone for the starting job for the 1984 season (elbow problems forced Terry Bradshaw to retire after the 1983 season). Woodley split the starting quarterback duty with Malone during both the 1984 and 1985 NFL seasons.

Despite being the highest paid player on the Steelers, Woodley abruptly retired before the 1986 season. His career officially ended after he was released by the Green Bay Packers during training camp in 1987.

Woodley is one of two quarterbacks in NFL history (Ken Stabler) to have a career winning percentage above .600 while also throwing at least 10 more interceptions than touchdowns. Woodley's career record was 34-18-1 (.651) despite throwing 63 interceptions against his 48 career touchdown passes.

After football, Woodley increasingly drank, causing several health problems.[1] Woodley underwent a liver transplant in Shreveport in 1992. On May 4, 2003 Woodley died from complications due to kidney and liver failure.[2]


  1. ^ Merrill, Elizabeth (2008-01-23). "Super Bowl XVII starter Woodley's life drifted after football". Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ Bikoff, Ken (2003-05-07). "Woodley's death sad but powerful". Pro Football Weekly. Archived from the original on July 2, 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-01.