Duff Tittle | Posted: 18 Sep 2014 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

McMahon's BYU jersey to be retired Oct. 3

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PROVO, Utah  — Brigham Young University will honor former BYU consensus All-American and NFL quarterback Jim McMahon by retiring his No. 9 jersey during a halftime ceremony at the BYU vs. Utah State football game on Friday, Oct. 3. McMahon will also be inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the 2014 class on Thursday, Oct. 2.

A banner with McMahon’s name and number will be unveiled and permanently displayed on the press box at LaVell Edwards Stadium as part of the halftime ceremony. Throughout the history of BYU football, dating back to 1922, just five jerseys have been retired — Eldon "The Phantom" Fortie (No. 40), Marion Probert (No. 81), Steve Young (No. 8) and Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer (both No. 14).

“I love the example Jim has set by completing his degree. I’m proud of him for finishing after all these years,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “Jim is one of the elite college quarterbacks of all time. He loved the game of football and always played the game like he was having fun. He was a great leader and a great teammate. I know there are a lot of people all over the country who are excited for Jim to be formally recognized as one of the Cougar greats.”

Recognized as one of the outstanding collegiate quarterbacks of all time, McMahon finished his BYU football career in 1981 with an astonishing 70 NCAA records. From 1977-81, he completed 653 passes for 9,536 yards and 84 touchdowns, with a career passing efficiency of 156.9.

In his final two seasons as a Cougar, McMahon threw for 8,126 yards and 77 touchdowns. He led the nation in numerous offensive categories both years, including passing yards, total offense and touchdown passes. He received All-America honorable mention in 1978 as a sophomore and earned first-team All-America honors as a junior in 1980 before becoming a consensus choice as a senior in 1981.

At the conclusion of his senior season, McMahon won the inaugural Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the Sammy Baugh Trophy. He was named NCAA Co-Offensive Player of the Year along with Marcus Allen of USC and finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. From 1977-81 he was part of five consecutive WAC championship teams (redshirting in 1979) and was a three-time All-WAC First Team quarterback in 1978, 1980 and 1981.

McMahon will forever be known as the quarterback who led the Cougars to 21 points in the last 2:33 minutes of the 1980 Holiday Bowl to defeat SMU 46-45, and give BYU its first bowl victory. McMahon was named Offensive MVP of the 1980 and 1981 Holiday Bowls.

"I’m very proud of Jim finishing his degree. He is a competitor and a finisher. Completing his education at BYU is evidence of the type of person he is,” said legendary coach LaVell Edwards. “Jim was a great leader and had a complete understanding of the game of football. He is very deserving of the hall of fame and having his jersey retired.”

Following a historic career at BYU, McMahon was the fifth player selected in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft — the highest Cougar ever taken. McMahon was drafted by the Bears and played seven seasons in Chicago, leading them to the Super Bowl title in 1986. He played 16 seasons in the NFL for seven teams and won two Super Bowl rings. After retiring from pro football, McMahon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

He has also been very active in civic service with the Jim McMahon Foundation; Children’s Miracle Network; Jim McMahon Ronald McDonald House Golf Tournament; Juvenile Diabetes Fund; American Cancer Society; Society for the Prevention of Blindness; Think First Foundation for Children; and BYU Y-Quarterback Weekend. In 2006, he traveled to Iraq with the USO Supporting Freedom program to visit American forces in the field.

McMahon, who came to BYU from Roy, Utah, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from BYU. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has four children — Ashley, Sean, Zach and Alexis.

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