American Football Database
Mark Rypien
File:Mark Rypien 2017.jpg
Rypien in 2017
No. 11, 16     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1962-10-02) October 2, 1962 (age 59)
Place of birth: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Career information
College: Washington State
NFL Draft: 1986 / Round: 6 / Pick: 146
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Washington Redskins ( 1986 1993)
Career highlights and awards
* 2× Super Bowl champion (XXII, XXVI)
Pass attempts     2,613
Pass completions     1,466
Percentage     56.1
TDINT     115–88
Passing Yards     18,473
QB Rating     78.9
Stats at

Mark Robert Rypien (born October 2, 1962) is a former professional football quarterback. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) in the 6th round of the 1986 NFL draft. He is the first Canadian-born quarterback to start in the NFL and win the Super Bowl MVP award, doing so in Super Bowl XXVI.

Early years

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Rypien moved to the United States in 1965 and was raised in Spokane, Washington. He was a star three-sport athlete at Shadle Park High School.[1] As a senior in 1981, in one of the most controversial high school games in Washington state history, he led the Highlanders to the state title in basketball.[2] All three of his varsity numbers (football, basketball, and baseball) were later retired by the school.[3][4]

He accepted a football scholarship to Washington State University in Pullman,[5] and joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. A knee injury in spring drills in 1982 redshirted him for that season[6] and he nearly left football and WSU in November 1983.[7][8] After a good showing as a late replacement to the roster in the Senior Bowl,[9] he was selected by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 1986 NFL Draft, the 146th overall pick and the eighth quarterback selected.

Professional career

Rypien spent his first two years as a professional on the Redskins' injured reserved list, first with a bad knee in 1986, then a bad back in 1987. He watched from the sidelines as the Redskins won Super Bowl XXII under coach Joe Gibbs in January 1988 behind the quarterbacking of veteran Doug Williams.[citation needed]

Rypien became the second stringer after Jay Schroeder, who had lost his job to Williams late in the 1987 season, was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders. In Week 4 against the newly relocated Phoenix Cardinals, Rypien got his first chance to start for an injured Williams and threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-21 loss. In six starts, he went 3-3 and he appeared in nine games overall, including a four-touchdown game in a rematch against the Cardinals. He threw for 1,730 yards in those games and finished with three more touchdowns than Williams had, by a count of 18 to 15.[10]

Named the starter for 1989 ahead of the injured and aging Williams, Rypien emerged as a star quarterback as he threw for 3,768 yards with 22 touchdowns and led the Redskins to a 10-6 record. The team missed the playoffs but Rypien received a bid as an injury replacement for Joe Montana and Don Majkowski in that year's Pro Bowl (NFC coach John Robinson elected to bring only one injury replacement for his intended starter and #2 quarterback).[citation needed]

Rypien was best known for his phenomenal accuracy as a deep passer.[11][12][13]

A running joke among sportswriters in Washington was that Rypien could only throw "ducks" in a ten-yard game of catch going during warmups, but threw such a beautiful, accurate deep ball that from sixty yards away, he could play catch with someone sitting down. According to former head coach Joe Gibbs, "Rypien's sideline throws would wobble and didn't look all that pretty. But that man could seriously throw the deep stuff."[14] A 1992 Sport Magazine article touted him as one of the best deep passers ever.

1991 was Rypien's best season; he threw for 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, leading the Redskins to Super Bowl XXVI after recording a 14-2 regular season record. He was named the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the game, passing for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns and leading his team to a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills. Rypien, a native of Calgary, Alberta, became the first foreign-born player to earn the honor. Rypien was named to the Pro Bowl in both 1989 and 1991.[15]

Rypien was one of several players to benefit from the team's success following their championship season. The Redskins signed him to a 3-year, $9 million deal entering the 1992 season. However, the team battled age and injuries and finished the regular season with a 9–7 record, barely making the playoffs. His passing yardage was a respectable 3,282 yards, but his passer rating fell from 97.9 in 1991 to 71.7 in 1992 and his interceptions outnumbered his touchdowns 17 to 13. Although a dominant team performance in the playoffs brought victory over the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC Wild Card away game, the Redskins eventually lost on a rainy, muddy field in a bruising game vs. the San Francisco 49ers, and the Rypien era was essentially over. Under new Head Coach Richie Petitbon, Rypien had his best training camp in 1993 and expectations were high following a Monday Night win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys. However, Rypien injured his knee in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals and the team began a precipitous slide toward a 4–12 season finish.[citation needed]

When he was healthy enough to return, Rypien performed spot duty, sharing time with the newly acquired Rich Gannon. The Redskins hired Norv Turner as their head coach in 1994. Rypien participated in offseason workouts, but the team released him from his contract. He went on to become a backup, serving with the Cleveland Browns in 1994, the St. Louis Rams in 1995 and 1997, and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons for the 1998 season but never made it to Atlanta. His son's death from a malignant brain tumor that August caused Rypien to leave the game (although he would return in 2001 for a stint with the Colts).[16]

Rypien returned to football with the Indianapolis Colts in 2001. His last touchdown pass came in relief of Eagles quarterback Ty Detmer, an 8-yarder to Irving Fryar with five seconds remaining in a 37-10 loss to the Colts. In August 2002, Rypien was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as a backup quarterback, played in two preseason games and finished 13-of-21 passing for 97 yards, but was cut early in September. His last professional game was on June 10, 2006; as part of a promotional gig, Rypien played one game for the Rochester Raiders of the Great Lakes Indoor Football League.[citation needed]

In 11 NFL seasons, Rypien completed 1,466 of 2,613 passes for 18,473 yards and 115 touchdowns, with 88 interceptions. He rushed 127 times for 166 yards and 8 touchdowns.[17]


Rypien had a brief stint in NASCAR racing as a team owner, and was the original owner of the 2004 Nextel Cup championship-winning No. 97 team driven by Kurt Busch, having sold it to Jack Roush's Roush Racing in 1997.[18]

Passing statistics

Year Team GP GS Att Com Pct Yds TD Int Rate
1988 Washington Redskins 9 6 208 114 54.8 1,730 18 13 85.2
1989 Washington Redskins 14 14 476 280 58.8 3,768 22 13 88.1
1990 Washington Redskins 10 10 304 166 54.6 2,070 16 11 78.4
1991 Washington Redskins 16 16 421 249 59.1 3,564 28 11 97.9
1992 Washington Redskins 16 16 479 269 56.2 3,282 13 17 71.7
1993 Washington Redskins 12 10 319 166 52.0 1,514 4 10 56.3
1994 Cleveland Browns 6 3 128 59 46.1 694 4 3 63.7
1995 St. Louis Rams 11 3 217 129 59.4 1,448 9 8 77.9
1996 Philadelphia Eagles 1 0 13 10 76.9 76 1 0 116.2
1997 St. Louis Rams 5 0 39 19 48.7 270 0 2 50.2
2001 Indianapolis Colts 4 0 9 5 55.6 57 0 0 74.8
Totals 104 78 2,613 1,466  56.1  18,473 115  88  78.9

Key to Abbreviations
GP= Games Played
GS= Games Started
Att= Passes attempted
Com= Passes Completed
Pct= Completion percentage
Yds= Yards
TD= Touchdowns
Int= Interceptions
Rate= Passer rating

Personal life

On June 8, 2006, Rypien was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.[19]

Rypien's cousin, Rick Rypien, was a member of the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL before the latter's August 15, 2011 death.[20][21]

Former NHL player, Shane Churla, also is Rypien's cousin.[22] In the fall of 2015, his nephew, Brett Rypien, became the starting quarterback for the Boise State Broncos football team as a true freshman.[23]

Rypien's daughter, Angela, played the 2011 season for the Seattle Mist of the Lingerie Football League; she currently is playing for the LFL's Baltimore Charm.[24][25]

An avid golfer, Rypien has been known to participate in charity tournaments at various locations across the nation. He has played in one PGA Tour event (Kemper Open in 1992),[26][27][28] and one Tour event ( Tri-Cities Open in 2000), and missed the 36-hole cut by a substantial margin both times.[28]

He has been a regular competitor at the American Century Championship, the annual competition at Lake Tahoe to determine the best golfers among American sports and entertainment celebrities. Rypien won the inaugural event in 1990,[29] and won his second crown 24 years later in 2014;[30] he has a total of eleven top ten finishes.[31] Televised by NBC in July, the tournament is played at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline, Nevada.[citation needed]

In a 2018 interview with the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Rypien's wife stated that she believes he is suffering from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy from his years of playing football, with bizarre behavior occurring from time to time.[32] Rypien himself confirmed that he has had struggles with mental health since his retirement from football, even attempting to take his own life by overdosing on pills before his wife stopped him.[33][32] On June 30, 2019, he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and was charged with fourth-degree assault.[34] This charge was dismissed on August 30, 2019. [35]

See also


  1. Weaver, Dan (September 18, 1990). "Rypien: local ties are important...". Spokane Chronicle: p. C1.
  2. Smith, Craig. "Driving down memory lane with state tournaments in Seattle". The Seattle Times.
  3. Blanchette, John (May 16, 1992). "Rypien keeps Shadle close to his heart". Spokesman-Review: p. C1.,3189443.
  4. "Shadle Park High School of Spokane retires Rypien's three numbers". Sarasota Herald: p. 3C. May 18, 1992.,4535908.
  5. Van Sickel, Charlie (December 5, 1980). "Rypien goes for Cougars". Spokane Daily Chronicle: p. 27.
  6. Van Sickel, Charlie (May 7, 1982). "Knee shelves Rypien". Spokemsan-Review: p. 29.,3093284.
  7. Devlin, Vince (November 3, 1983). "Rypien welcome to return". Spokesman-Review: p. 31.,1574715.
  8. Weaver, Dan (November 8, 1983). "Rypien will remain a Cougar". Spokesman-Review: p. 19.
  9. Shearer, Ed (January 19, 1986). "Rypien helps self with Senior Bowl showing". Bowling Green (KY) Daily News. Associated Press: p. 11–A.,2811023.
  10. "In a single season, in 1988, playing for the Washington Redskins, in the Regular Season, requiring Passing TD >= 1, sorted by descending Passing TD". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  12. George, Thomas (January 13, 1992). "PRO FOOTBALL; Rypien Savors A Special Moment". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  14. Quote by Joe Gibbs, The Washington Times; accessed February 5, 2018.
  15. "Mark Rypien: Leaderboards, Awards and Honors". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  16. Klancnik, Rudy, "After son's death, Rypien devoting life to foundation", ESPN Sports News; accessed February 5, 2018.
  17. "Mark Rypien". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  18. Pockrass, Bob (January 31, 2014). "NFL and NASCAR: Former NFL stars who dabbled in stock-car racing". Sporting News. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  19. "Mark Rypien". Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.
  20. "Rick Rypien found dead in his home". Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  21. Boren, Cindy. "Rick Rypien suspended indefinitely by NHL for fight with fan". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  22. Molnari, David (December 26, 1993). "Everything Is Relative - Or So It Seems". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.,4483853. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  23. Frei, Terry. "Colorado State no match for Boise State, lose in blowout". Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  24. Boren, Cindy (May 11, 2011). "Mark Rypien's daughter to quarterback a Lingerie league team". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  25. Patrick Seitz (July 30, 2011). "Lingerie Football League needs stars". Tech-media-tainment. Retrieved April 22, 2012. "For season three, the LFL has two stars in the making: Seattle Mist quarterback Angela Rypien, the daughter of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, and Toronto Triumph linebacker Krista Ford, niece of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and daughter of City Councillor Doug Ford. They’re relatives of sports and political figures, so that gives news writers a hook to cover the games. So far, the LFL has gotten scant coverage from the mainstream media, which treats it like a peep show. Adding stars can only help the fledgling league."
  26. "Rypien gets invitation to Kemper". Free Lance-Star. wire reports (Fredericksburg, Virginia): p. B1. March 31, 1992.
  27. "Rypien gets strokes from fans". Spokane Chronicle. wire reports (Washington): p. C3. May 29, 1992.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Ginsburg, David (May 30, 1992). "Rypien misses Kemper cut". Kentucky New Era. Associated Press (Hopkinsville, KY): p. 2B.
  29. "Rypien dodges blitz, wins $75,000". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press (Spokane, Washington): p. C3. July 16, 1990.
  30. "Mark Rypien wins American Century title". July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  31. Tahoe Celebrity Golf Tournament website
  32. 32.0 32.1 Blanchette, John (2018-03-30). "Walking his darkest path: Mark Rypien's long struggle with traumatic brain injury" (in en). The Spokesman-Review.
  33. "Mark Rypien: Out Of The Shadows" (in en). 2018-03-29.
  34. Thoburn, Luke (2019-06-30). "FIRST ON KHQ: Former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien arrested for domestic violence charge in North Spokane" (in en).
  35. "Assault charge against former NFL football player Mark Rypien dismissed".


External links

Preceded by
First winner
American Century Celebrity Golf Classic champion
Succeeded by
Rick Rhoden
Preceded by
Billy Joe Tolliver
American Century Celebrity Golf Classic champion
Succeeded by
Mark Mulder

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