Chosen in the fifth round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cliff Stoudt got something of a bum rap during his time in Pittsburgh.  A product of Youngstown State University, Stoudt was the back-up to Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, but partly due to Bradshaw's heroics in Super Bowls, Stoudt was held to a higher standard - one that just about any quarterback would fail to meet.

Bradshaw's injury during the 1983 season placed Stoudt at #1 on the team's depth chart at quarterback, and despite leading the team to a 10-6-0 record and a playoff appearance in at the helm, to fans he simply was the guy after Bradshaw... and they let him know it under no uncertain terms.  Once the 1983 season (and his Steeler contract) had come to a close, Stoudt opted for a fresh start with the USFL and the Birmingham Stallions.  But the league's schedule maker had conspired against him - the Stallions 1984 season opener would be on the road, in Pittsburgh, against the expansion Maulers.  Stoudt and the Stallions won the game, but he would be barraged with hecklers and snowballs in what turned out to be the only sell-out game the Maulers would ever have.  Fans bought tickets just to razz Stoudt.

The rest of Stoudt's 1984 campaign wasn't nearly as contentious, and his 3,121 passing yards and 26 touchdowns (against only 7 interceptions) helped the Stallions to a 14-4-0 record and a USFL playoff berth.  The following year was even better on most accounts, throwing for 3,358 yards and 34 touchdowns, leading the Stallions just one game shy of the 1985 USFL Championship Game.

The collapse of the USFL meant the end of Stoudt's days as a starter, but not the end of his career entirely.  He signed with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals for 1986, staying with the Cards for three years before wrapping up his career in 1989 with the Miami Dolphins.  Today, Stoudt calls Pickerington, Ohio home, where he works with the KW Chambers Company and Huntleigh Securities.

CLIFF STOUDT

Birmingham Stallions

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