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14 days to Miami Hurricanes Football: a tribute to Vinny Testaverde

The 3rd of 4 retired numbers at UM

Vinny Testaverde
Miami Hurricanes legend QB Vinny Testaverde
Getty Images archive

As we continue our countdown to kickoff, the discussion about the number 14 centers around one player: QB Vinny Testaverde.

A Brooklyn, NY native, Testaverde was 6’5” QB with a rocket arm and outstanding athleticism. After HS in New York and a post-grad year at the famed Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, Testaverde accepted a scholarship at Miami and enrolled in 1982.

Testaverde’s career took an interesting path. After playing in 2 games in the 1982 season, Testaverde redshirted in 1983, and was the backup in 1984. Miami was set at QB in those seasons, with Jim Kelly and Bernie Kosar doing exemplary work leading Miami to a 26-10 record and the 1983 National Championship along the way. Both Kelly and Kosar ending up being 1st round NFL Draft Picks for their efforts, so it stood to reason that Testaverde, who was younger than both players, would take a backseat role.

But, when he time came in 1985, Testaverde took full advantage. In leading Miami to a 10-2 record, the junior QB threw for 3238 yards on 61.4% completions with 21 TD and 15 INT.

As a senior in 1986, Testaverde had one of the greatest seasons in Miami Hurricanes history. His yardage dropped, but his efficiency was much, much better. Testaverde ended the season with 2557 yards on 63.4% completions with an oustanding 26-9 TD-INT ratio.

For the phenomenal numbers he put up as a senior, Testaverde won a cavalcade of awards. He won the 1986 Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien award, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Sammy Baugh Trophy, was a consensus All-American, the UPI player of the Year, and the Sporting News’ player of the year. So, yeah, Testaverde was kind of good.

To end the 1986 season, Testaverde and the Canes went to the Fiesta Bowl. You know the one, where Jerome Brown had the team wear fatigues and all that. Testaverde swagged that look out as well.

Vinny Testaverde (sunglasses) and Alonzo Highsmith in their fatigues before the 1987 Fiesta Bowl

Unfortunately, that game didn’t end well for Miami but we don’t need to talk about that.

After his collegiate career, Testaverde was the #1 overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That was the beginning of a 21 year NFL career for Testaverde that saw him play for 8 teams to varying levels of success.

Vinny Testaverde
Vinny Testaverde in his stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Getty Images archive

In his NFL career, Testaverde was a 2-time All-pro (1996 and 1998), led the AFC in TDs in both of those years, and threw for more than 46,000 yards. Testaverde holds several NFL records including most consecutive seasons with a TD pass (21), oldest QB to win an NFL game (at 44 years old in 2007), among others.

After his playing career, Testaverde had his #14 retired by the University of Miami in 1997. He was also inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Testaverde’s son, Vincent Jr., is currently a walk-on QB at Miami. Due to the family connection, he is allowed to wear his father’s number. But, he’ll be the last player to wear 14, unless he has a son who comes to Miami in the future to play football.

A legendary player in the history of College Football, there are few others who have the resume of Vinny Testaverde.

Go Canes