American Football Database
American Football Database
Dan Ross
No. 89     
Tight End
Personal information
Date of birth: (1957-02-09)February 9, 1957
Place of birth: Malden, Massachusetts
Date of death: May 16, 2006(2006-05-16) (aged 49)
Place of death: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Career information
College: Northeastern
NFL Draft: 1979 / Round: 2 / Pick: 30
Debuted in 1979 for the [[{{{debutteam}}}]]
Last played in 1986 for the [[{{{finalteam}}}]]
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Receptions     290
Receiving Yards     3,419
Touchdowns     19
Stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

Daniel R. Ross (February 9, 1957 – May 16, 2006) was a professional American football tight end who played for the Cincinnati Bengals (1979-1985), the Seattle Seahawks (1985), and the Green Bay Packers (1986). He also played for the New Orleans/Portland Breakers of the USFL in 1984-1985.

College football

Before his NFL career, Ross played football at Northeastern University. As a senior, he was a first team selection on the College Football All-America Team, and is widely considered to be the best football player ever to play for Northeastern University. Ross left as the school's all time leader in receptions (153), receiving touchdowns (13) and receiving yards (2,343), and set the single season record for those categories as well (68 receptions for 988 yards and 7 touchdowns in his senior season). After his senior year, Northeastern retired jersey No. 84 in his honor.

NFL career

After graduating college in 1979, he was selected by the Bengals with the 30th pick in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft. Ross' best season was in 1981, when he recorded 71 receptions for 910 yards and 5 touchdowns, assisting the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI. His 71 receptions were a single season franchise record, and would remain so until Carl Pickens recorded 99 receptions in 1995.

Ross had an outstanding performance in the Super Bowl, recording a record 11 receptions for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. His receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns were all the most by a tight end in Super Bowl history. Unfortunately for Ross, his team lost the game 26-21, preventing him from being the likely winner of the Super Bowl MVP award. In addition to his impressive Super Bowl performance, Ross was the Bengals leading receiver in both their playoff wins that year, recording 6 receptions for 71 yards in their 28-21 win over the Buffalo Bills and 5 receptions for 69 yards in their AFC title win over the San Diego Chargers, a game known as the Freezer Bowl.

Ross went on to make his first and only Pro Bowl selection in 1982, recording 47 receptions for 508 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 9-game season shortened by a players strike. In 1984, Ross briefly left the NFL to play for the New Orleans Breakers and later the Portland Breakers in the newly formed United States Football League. He returned to play for the Bengals in 1985, but finished the season with the Seattle Seahawks. Ross joined the Packers for the following season, and then retired in 1987. In his 8 NFL seasons, Ross recorded 290 receptions for 3,419 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Ross later said that as a veteran of a small college not known for its football program, he was grateful for a chance to play in the big leagues. "Just getting drafted was a thrill. You don't expect it from the school I went to. At the time, you don't expect to play in the National Football League, and especially somebody taking you with the 30th overall pick. It's like 'oh geez they must see something I don't'."[1]

Subsequent career

Ross later became president and co-owner of WPWB, an independent TV station in Riviera Beach, Florida. In 2004, he was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is the first Northeastern University player ever to be enshrined.


Ross died on May 16, 2006, after collapsing at his home in Atkinson, New Hampshire, shortly after returning from a jog. He died at the Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Massachusetts.[2]


Ross's record 11 receptions in a Super Bowl is now shared by three other players:


  1. Ludwig, Chick. Cincinnati Bengals, The Legends. Willmington, OH: Orange Frazer P, 2004. ISBN 1-882203-38-0 page 141
  2. Associated Press, "Super Bowl record-setter Ross dies at 49"

External links