American Football Database
Wade Wilson
No. 11, 18, 16
Personal information
Born:(1959-02-01)February 1, 1959
Greenville, Texas
Died:February 1, 2019(2019-02-01) (aged 60)
Coppell, Texas
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Commerce (TX)
College:East Texas State
NFL Draft:1981 / Round: 8 / Pick: 210
Career history
As player:
* Minnesota Vikings ( 1981 1991)
As coach:
* Dallas Cowboys ( 2000 2002)
Quarterbacks coach
  • Chicago Bears ( 2004 2006)
    Quarterbacks coach
  • Dallas Cowboys ( 2007 2017)
    Quarterbacks coach
  • Career highlights and awards
    ;As player:
    As coach
    • NFC champion (2006)
    Career NFL statistics
    Passing yards:17,283
    Passer rating:75.6
    Player stats at
    Player stats at PFR

    Charles Wade Wilson (February 1, 1959 – February 1, 2019) was an American football coach and previously a quarterback who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders in a seventeen-year career from 1981 to 1998 in the National Football League (NFL). He was quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 2000 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2017 and the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2006.[1] He played college football for Texas A&M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University), where he was an NAIA All-American Quarterback and led the Lions to the NAIA national semifinals during the 1980 season.

    Early years

    Wilson was born in Greenville, Texas and lived there only briefly before moving to Commerce, Texas, where he spent most of his childhood. The son of a football coach, Wilson became a standout quarterback and punter at Commerce High School, after initially quitting the team during his sophomore season.[2]

    As a senior, he led the Tigers to a 10-win season and a district championship, while running a wishbone offense and receiving All-district honors.[3] He graduated from Commerce High School in 1977.[3]

    College career

    Wilson accepted a football scholarship offer from Texas A&M University-Commerce (then East Texas State University). As a freshman in 1977, he backed up Lions All-American quarterback Terry Skinner. He also was the team's punter, averaging 38.5 yards.[4]

    As a sophomore in 1978, he was named the starting quarterback. As a junior in 1979, he received first-team All-LSC honors.[3]

    As a senior in 1980, he completed 116-of-227 passes for 1,978 yards and 19 touchdowns, while the Lions finished tied for first with Angelo State University among NAIA schools in the Lone Star Conference. The Lions were selected for the NAIA national playoffs as the 8th ranked team in the country. Wilson and the Lions upset a top ranked Central Arkansas University Bears team in the national quarterfinals, but bowed out to Elon College, the eventual national champion, in the semifinal round. The Lions finished 6th in the country, with Wilson earning first team All-LSC and first-team NAIA All-American recognition.[5]

    Wilson graduated in 1981 with a degree in Business Management. He finished his college career with 4,616 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and an 18-14-1 record.[6]

    Professional career

    Minnesota Vikings

    Wilson was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the eighth round (210th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft.[7] As a rookie, he appeared in 3 games while being on the active roster for all 16 contests. He saw his first action against the Oakland Raiders, replacing an injured Steve Dils.[8]

    In 1982, he did not appear in any game during the strike shortened season. In 1983, he only played in the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, completing 16-of-28 passes for 124 yards, one touchdown and 2 interceptions, contributing to the 20-14 victory in his first career start.[9]

    In 1984, he started 5 out of 8 contests, with both Tommy Kramer and Archie Manning injured. His best game was the 27-24 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he completed 24-of-36 passes for 236 yards, one touchdown and 2 interceptions.[10]

    In 1985, he was diagnosed with Diabetes mellitus type 1. He appeared in 4 games, with his only start coming in place of an injured Kramer against the Philadelphia Eagles, where he led the team to one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history. The Eagles held a 23-0 advantage with 8:23 minutes to play. Wilson directed 4 scoring drives, that included 3 touchdown passes to achieve a 28-23 victory, tallying 13-of-27 completions for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns.[11]

    In 1986, he appeared in 9 games, that included 3 starts in place of an injured Kramer. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week in the season finale 33-17 win against the New Orleans Saints, after replacing an injured Kramer and having the best game of his career at the time, completing 24-of-39 passes for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns.[12]

    He was mostly the backup quarterback until 1987, when Kramer started 5 games to Wilson's 7 contests, including the playoffs. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after the 21-16 win against the Los Angeles Rams, completing 17-of-38 passes for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the 41-yard game winner to wide receiver Hassan Jones with less than a minute to play.[13] He also threw for 3 touchdowns in the season opener against the Detroit Lions and in the eleventh game against the Chicago Bears. He led the Vikings in rushing in the fourteenth game against the Detroit Lions with 8 carries for 55 yards and in the season finale against the Washington Redskins with 10 carries for 75 yards. He also guided the team to the NFC Championship Game after an upset of the 13-2 San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round,[14] finally succumbing 17-10 to the eventual Super Bowl XXII champion Washington Redskins.[15]

    In 1988, he started 10 games to Kramer's 6 contests, while missing 2 games with a separated shoulder. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after the 49-20 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, completing 22-of-30 passes for 335 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for November, when he completed 73-of-112 passes (65.1%) for 1,009 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, while leading the Vikings to a 4-0 record. His best game came in the week 10, 44–17 win against the Detroit Lions, completing 28-of-35 passes (80%) for a career-high 391 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception, including a stretch where he had 14 straight completions.[16] He finished a Pro Bowl season, completing 204-of-332 passes for 2,746 yards, 15 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, ranking as the NFC leader with a 91.5 quarterback rating.[17]

    In 1989, he started 12 out of 14 games, missing 2 contests with a finger injury. He led the team in pass attempts (362), completions (194), passing yards (2,543) and passing touchdowns (9) for the third consecutive year. He had a season-high 42 attempts in the 7-38 loss against the Chicago Bears. He led the team in rushing with 8 carries for 55 yards in the 24-10 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 19-20 loss against the Green Bay Packers, he completed 23-of-38 passes for a season-high 308 yards and 2 interceptions. In the 29-21 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, he passed for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns.[18]

    In 1990, he started the first 3 games before injuring his right thumb against the Chicago Bears. Rich Gannon replaced him while he was out. Wilson returned to action in the second half of the week 15, 13-26 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, completing 24-of-39 passes for 374 yards, including a career-long 75-yard touchdown pass to Hassan Jones. He started the next game against the Oakland Raiders, completing 11-of-19 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception, before suffering a separated right shoulder, that forced him to miss the season finale.[19]

    In 1991, he started the first 5 games, completing 72-of-122 for 825 yards with 3 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, before losing the starting position to Gannon. In his final start of the season against the Denver Broncos, he completed 10-of-21 passes for 101 yards and 3 interceptions. He was released on July 8, 1992.[20] He finished his Vikings career completing 1,391 passes on 2,428 attempts for 17,283 yards, 99 touchdowns and 102 interceptions.[17]

    Atlanta Falcons

    On July 13, 1992, Wilson was signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Falcons.[21] He appeared in 9 games and started the last three in place of an injured Chris Miller, while completing 111-of-63 passes for 1,366 yards, 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.[22]

    New Orleans Saints

    On April 12, 1993, Wilson signed with the New Orleans Saints, who proceeded to cut former starter Bobby Hebert.[23] He earned the starter job over Steve Walsh and although he directed the Saints to a 5-0 winning streak, the team only won three more games to finish with an 8-8 record, which would be Wilson's last season as a regular starter.[24]

    In Week 15 of the 1993 NFL season, Wilson was struggling against the New York Giants in a game on Monday Night Football. However, he was injured with a knee injury during the game and the fans at the Superdome began cheering when Wilson was injured. Saints head coach Jim Mora the fans who cheered Wilson's injury, "Sick, sick, sick people. Mentally sick."

    On March 17, 1994, the team traded a seventh round draft choice (#220-Herman O'Berry) in exchange for Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jim Everett and waived Wilson on March 18.[25] Wilson was re-signed on April 13.[26] He appeared in 4 games as the backup quarterback during the season.[27] He was released on March 20, 1995.[28]

    Dallas Cowboys

    On May 22, 1995, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to be the backup quarterback to Troy Aikman.[29] He was a part of the Super Bowl XXX winning team. He only started one game during his three seasons with the Cowboys, when the team played its backups in the 1996 season finale against the Washington Redskins, resulting in a 37-10 loss.[30]

    Oakland Raiders

    On July 6, 1998, Wilson signed with the Oakland Raiders to be the third-string quarterback.[31] After Jeff George suffered a groin injury, backup Donald Hollas struggled in the second half of the season and also suffered a wrist injury in his last start against the Miami Dolphins, giving Wilson the opportunity to start the last 3 games, passing for 425 yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and producing a 1-2 record.[32]

    In 1999, the Raiders signed free agent Rich Gannon and Wilson returned to the third-string quarterback role once again.[33] He was limited with a groin injury during the season and didn't appear in any game. He announced his retirement on December 30, at the age of 40.[34]

    Coaching career

    Wilson was the Dallas Cowboys quarterback coach from 2000 to 2002. He became the Chicago Bears quarterback coach from 2004 until 2006, while reaching Super Bowl XLI and contributing to Rex Grossman having his best professional season.

    On February 22, 2007, he re-signed with the Cowboys, where he coached Tony Romo and Dak Prescott among other quarterbacks.[35] He was also one of the advocates that convinced the team to draft Prescott.[36]

    On September 1, 2007, Wilson was suspended five games and fined $100,000 for purchasing and using performance-enhancing drugs.[37] In his own defense, Wilson said that the drug (HGH) was used to help his problem with diabetes. However the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to sidestep this defense saying, "First of all, I'm not going to get into the personal situations of why Wade was taking it, but that's not an accurate point."[38] In 2016, he had the second toe on his right foot amputated because of an infection caused by complications from his diabetes condition.[39]

    The Cowboys decided to part ways with Wilson following the 2017 season, replacing him with Kellen Moore.[40]

    Personal life

    Wilson died due to complications from Type 1 Diabetes, a disease he had for almost 30 years, at his home in Coppell, Texas on his 60th birthday.[41][42] He left behind his four children.[43]


    1. "Cowboys fire two veteran assistant coaches" (in en-US). ProFootballTalk. January 3, 2018.
    2. Scott, Ryan (December 29, 2016). "From Commerce to Big D: Wade Wilson's story". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Claybourn, David (February 3, 2019). "Hunt County won't ever see another quarterback like Wade Wilson". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    4. "Wade Wilson Raiders' bio". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    5. "2010 A&M-Commerce sports Hall of Fame inductees announced". September 29, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    6. "Wade Wilson (2002) - A&M-Commerce Athletic Hall of Fame" (in en).
    7. Clarence Hill Jr [@clarencehilljr] (1 February 2019). "RIP to former Cowboys quarterback coach Wade Wilson. So sad".
    8. Wallace, William (September 16, 1981). "Castoffs Play Key Role in Raiders' Victory Over the Vikings". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    9. "This week in Bengals history: Looking at Cincinnati’s seven games on Dec. 17". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    10. "Wade Wilson Is a Carefree Millionaire". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    11. "Eagles Take 23-0 Lead, but Vikings Win, 28-23". December 2, 1985. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    12. "Vikings' Sub Sinks Saints 33-17". December 22, 1986. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    13. "Record for Payton As Bears Win, 20-3". September 21, 1987. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    14. Dufresne, Christ (January 10, 1988). "PRO FOOTBALL: THE PLAYOFFS : Carter, Vikings Catch 49ers by Surprise, 36-24". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    15. Alfano, Peter (January 18, 1988). "N.F.C. PLAYOFFS; Excruciating End for Vikings". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    16. "Wilson Sticks With It and Sticks It to Lions". November 7, 1988. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    17. 17.0 17.1 Bataglin, Bruno (2019-02-01). "Ex-QB e assistente do Dallas Cowboys, Wade Wilson morre aos 60 anos de idade" (in pt-BR).
    18. "Vikings 29, Bengals 21". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    19. "Eagles Leave Quarterbacks Ailing, Out". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    20. "Wade Wilson Released By Rebuilding Vikings". July 9, 1992.,3601068&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    21. "Wilson Joins Falcons". July 14, 1992.,2878959&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    22. "Former Falcons quarterback dies on his birthday". February 1, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    23. "New Orleans Passes On Hebert, Brings In Wilson". April 13, 1993.,5730333&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    24. "Long-Suffering New Orleans Saints Fans Deserve a Feel-Good Season". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    25. "Rams unload Everett to New Orleans". March 19, 1994.,4142325&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    26. "Vikings Near On a Deal To Acquire Oilers' Moon". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    27. "Wait, Say Broncos, Wrong Wade Wins : Interconference: Instead of losing one to Wade Phillips, Saints win one for Wade Wilson. Everett hurt, but sets record". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    28. "Transactions". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    29. "Dallas Signs Wade Wilson As Backup Quarterback". May 23, 1995.,4433893&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    30. Dixon, Schuyler (February 1, 2019). "Former NFL QB and assistant coach Wade Wilson dies at age 60" (in en).
    31. "Wilson Signs Deal With The Raiders". July 7, 1998.,1784319&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    32. "Former Raiders quarterback Wade Wilson dies at 60". February 1, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    33. "Raiders Sign Gannon As Starter". February 16, 1999.,196264&hl=es. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
    34. "History: Players Who've Played in NFL at Age 40 or Older". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
    35. "Chicago - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 6, 2007.
    36. "Cowboys' path to Dak Prescott started a year ago at this time". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    37. "ESPN - Dallas assistant wants Goodell to explain Belichick's punishment - NFL". September 14, 2007. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
    38. "Goodell says Wilson's punishment is justified | Dallas Cowboys News | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News". September 17, 2007. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
    39. "Diabetic Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Wilson fine after toe amputation". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
    40. Drummond, K.D. (January 3, 2018). "Cowboys not bringing back QB coach Wade Wilson or secondary coach Joe Baker". USA Today. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
    41. Middlehurst-Schwartz, Michael (February 1, 2019). "Former NFL QB, Cowboys assistant coach Wade Wilson dies at 60". USA Today.
    42. McCarrick, Finn (2019-02-01). "Former Cowboys QB and Assistant Coach Wade Wilson Passes Away" (in en).
    43. Walker, Patrik (February 1, 2019). "Police issue statement on Wade Wilson death, Cowboys react". Retrieved January 12, 2019.

    External links