Dan Fouts (born June 10, 1951 in San Francisco, California) was an American football quarterback in the National Football League for the San Diego Chargers from 1973 through 1987.
Fouts's father, Bob Fouts, was a long-time announcer for the San Francisco 49ers, and Dan was a ball boy for the team while growing up.
Drafted in the third round out of the University of Oregon, Fouts helped lead the Chargers to the playoffs from 1979 to 1982 and twice to the AFC title game(1980 and 1981). He led the league four times in passing yards; ending his career with over 40,000, the third player to surpass that landmark. Fouts was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Fouts was a 6 time Pro-Bowl selection (1979-1983 & 1985) and compiled passer ratings over 90.0 for a 3 year stretch (1981-83). Fouts threw for over 4,000 yards for 3 consecutive seasons (1979-81) and 6 times eclipsed the 20 Touchdown mark with a career high 33 in 1981. Fouts garnered All-Pro selections in both 1979 and 1982, while also being named 2nd Team All-Pro in 1980 and 1985. In addition Fouts was also named 2nd Team All-AFC in 1981 and 1983. Fouts was named the NFL MVP after the 1982 season.
Fouts's first few years in the league were inauspicious, but with the arrival of Don "Air" Coryell in 1978 the Chargers' fortunes turned. Yet it was actually two years earlier, with the arrival of Bill Walsh as the Charger's offensive coordinator, that the seeds of success were planted. Under Coryell, the Chargers were known for the deep passing game and the involvement of the tight end as a key receiver. This required a tough, intelligent quarterback with a strong arm. Fouts filled the bill.
In his prime, Fouts was not a mobile quarterback and the deep passing game led to many hits. Fouts's ability to take punishment and still play at a very high level is unique. Rarely using the shotgun, Fouts would drop back from center and look for one of a bevy of great receivers. Wide receiver Charlie Joiner and tight end Kellen Winslow were the most famous, both now in the Hall of Fame, but John Jefferson and Wes Chandler, among others, were key. Pass protection was also critical for such an offense. The Chargers had a good pass blocking offensive line which included 4 time Pro-Bowler Ed White, 5 time Pro-Bowler Russ Washington, 3 time Pro-Bowler Doug Wilkerson, Billy Shields and Don Macek.
Despite going to the playoffs from 1979 through 1982, the Chargers never went to the Super Bowl under Fouts (although going many years after his retirement). Usually this is attributed to poor defense - yet the Chargers defense led the league in 1978. In later years the defense was not as stellar, but the running game became far better with the additions of Chuck Muncie, James Brooks and Lionel James. The defense was great when the passing game was just starting to gel, and as the offense became truly great, the defense was slipping a notch from championship form. Overall, the Chargers achieved three wins against four losses in the playoffs under Fouts.
Dan Fouts is one of only six quarterbacks in NFL history that have achieved two consecutive (back-to-back) 30-touchdown passing seasons at least one time in their careers. The others are Steve Bartkowski, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Jeff Garcia and Y.A. Tittle.
Fouts' jersey number, 14, is one of two such numbers retired by the Chargers.
Currently, Fouts is a sportscaster for ABC, teamed with Keith Jackson.