Pat Toomay

Pat Toomay
No. 67, 65, 66
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1948-05-17) May 17, 1948
Place of birth: Pomona, California
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 247 lb (112 kg)
Career information
College: Vanderbilt
NFL Draft: 1970 / Round: 6 / Pick: 153
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 142
Games started: 83
Interceptions: 2
INT yards: 79
Fumble recoveries: 8
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Patrick Jay Toomay (born May 17, 1948) is a former professional football player, a defensive end for ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Oakland Raiders.

Toomay played college football at Vanderbilt University and was selected in the sixth round of the 1970 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He is the author of books about professional football, including The Crunch and the novel On Any Given Sunday.

Early years

One of four children of a U.S. Air Force officer,[1][2][3] Toomay was born in California and lived various locations, including Hawaii, upstate New York, and northern Virginia. He attended Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was an all-state player in football, basketball, and baseball, and graduated in 1966.

He accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was given a chance to play both basketball and football for the Commodores. As a sophomore, he made the decision to focus on football, where he was converted from a running quarterback, to a safety, linebacker, and finally defensive end. As a senior, he played in the Blue–Gray Football Classic.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Toomay was selected in the sixth round of the 1970 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, the 153rd overall pick. At the beginning of his career, he was an undersized defensive end, used mostly in substitution situations. In his third season in 1972, with the imminent retirement of George Andrie, Toomay became the starter at right defensive end.

The NFL didn't start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official statistic until 1982; however, the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. According to the Cowboys' stats, Toomay is unofficially credited for leading the team in 1973 with a total of 10½ sacks.

Toomay was considered a character and an intellectual during his time with the team. He was a member of the "Zero Club" which prided itself on performing behind the scenes. Their first rule, "Thou Shalt Not Seek Publicity," kept their members (Toomay, Blaine Nye, and Larry Cole) out of the limelight.[4]

Although Toomay remained a starter in 1974, he shared playing time with Ed "Too Tall" Jones, the first overall selection of the 1974 NFL draft. That year Toomay was used mainly on running downs.

During his five seasons with Dallas, Toomay was a productive and durable player (never missing a game) and was a part of two Super Bowl teams: runners-up in V and champions in VI.

Buffalo Bills

After playing out his option in Dallas, Toomay was a free agent and joined the Buffalo Bills in July 1975.[5] Dallas received a second round draft choice in 1977,[5] that was eventually used in a deal package to draft running back Tony Dorsett. Toomay was the Bills' defensive MVP in 1975, but was involved in different controversial official calls, including being called for elbowing head lineman Jerry Bergman, which contributed to a loss against the Miami Dolphins (31–21), that ended Buffalo's playoff chances.[6]

At the end of the year he was left unprotected for the 1976 NFL expansion draft. Through the years, there has been speculation that the publishing of his insider view in the book The Crunch, was the main reason behind this decision. In a Sports Illustrated "Where Are They Now?" article in 2014 about the winless 1976 Bucs, Toomay said of his book that it was "in retrospect, the kind of book you write AFTER your career is over, not while you're still playing."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The new Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him from the Bills roster in the 1976 NFL expansion draft and he was the starter at right defensive end for their winless inaugural season (0–14),[7] and he registered 49 tackles and 3 sacks.[8] In a "worst to first" deal, the Bucs traded him to the reigning Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders in July 1977, in exchange for a draft choice.[9]

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders credited Toomay with a team leading 17 sacks in 1977.[10] In 1978, he was credited with 5 sacks after seeing little playing time. Often used in obvious passing situations, he was known by fans as "Third down Pat." He was released in August 1979,[10][11][12] then returned and played that season, then retired, after having problems with his knee.

Personal life

Toomay published a series of books, including the novel, On Any Given Sunday. He also played the part of an assistant coach to Y. A. Tittle in the Oliver Stone film of 1999, Any Given Sunday. His father John (1922–2008) was 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), played professional basketball in the late 1940s, and was a two-star general in the U.S. Air Force.[2][3][13]



  1. Toomay, Pat. "A rivalry for a song ... and chicken feed". Page 2. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Major General John C. Toomay". U.S. Air Force. 1979. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  3. 1 2 Schudel, Matt (April 6, 2008). "John C. Toomay; shaped U.S. nuclear defense tactics". Washington Post. (obituary). Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  4. "Cole steps into limelight with retirement". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. UPI. March 28, 1981. p. 24.
  5. 1 2 "Toomay joining Buffalo". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. July 23, 1975. p. 3B.
  7. Reed, Steven R. (April 1, 1976). "Pat Toomay isn't bitter". Beaver County Times. Pennsylvania. UPI. p. B2.
  8. "Pat Toomay". Buc Power. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  9. Zier, Patrick (July 20, 1977). "Toomay is given ticket, not guarantee". Lakeland Ledger. Florida. p. 1D.
  10. 1 2 "Raiders cut veteran Toomay". Lakeland Ledger. Florida. Associated Press. August 8, 1979. p. 1D.
  11. "Curtis, Toomay get a trim". St. Petersburg Independent. Florida. Associated Press. August 8, 1979. p. 2C.
  12. Schulian, John (September 12, 1979). "Paranoia: even in retirement author Toomay faces it". Sarasota Journal. Florida. (Chicago Sun-Times). p. 4C.
  13. "John Crawford Toomay". Dallas Morning News. (obituary). March 16, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
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