Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana has had many professional caliber quarterbacks pass through its historic athletic program. In recent years, top flight quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Kyle Orton have been excelling in the National Football League, posting record numbers and decimating opponents. In fact, the university is so well known for its passers that it has become known as the Cradle of Quarterbacks. However, not every Purdue quarterback has done well in the NFL, even after excellent careers with the Boilermakers. One such historic Purdue quarterback is Carmel, Indiana native and College Football Hall of Fame member Mark Herrmann. Despite Herrmann’s stellar performances with Purdue, he failed to amount to much in the national leagues. But he’s still remembered in West Lafayette as a top Boilermaker quarterback.
|Purdue University video about the Cradle of Quarterbacks, featuring College Football Hall of Famer and Carmel, Indiana native Mark Herrmann|
Born in 1959 in Cincinnati, Mark Herrmann grew up in the prosperous Indianapolis suburb of Carmel. Herrmann performed well in his high school days, when he played football and basketball for Carmel High School in the 70’s. Interestingly enough, Herrmann was more successful as a basketball player during high school: he played on Carmel’s state championship team in 1977. After his graduation from Carmel High School, Herrmann went on to Purdue University, where he experienced his greatest football successes. 1980 was a great year for Herrmann: he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten, was selected first team All-America, and he finished fourth in the race for the Heisman Trophy. At the time, he held an NCAA record for the most passing yards, and he also had several classic appearances at Purdue bowl games. As a matter of fact, Herrmann started in three consecutive bowl games (the Peach Bowl, the Bluebonnet Bowl, and the Liberty Bowl) and was awarded Most Valuable Player in each. The only other Purdue quarterbacks to start three consecutive bowl games are Drew Brees and Kyle Orton. His accomplishments at Purdue were enough to earn him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mark Herrmann‘s professional career, however, never really got off the ground. He was drafted in 1981 by the Denver Broncos but was unable to play until 1982, when he only appeared in two games. He was traded to the then Baltimore Colts in 1983, which was the start of a decade of team changes. He only played for the Colts for two years before being traded to the Chargers; three years later, Herrmann was once again traded, this time to the Los Angeles Rams. In 1990, he returned to the Indianapolis Colts, but he only played three seasons there before finally retiring. Over his 11 year NFL career, Mark Herrmann only played in 40 games, retiring with a quarterback rating of 64.3. Not a great number for one of Purdue’s most successful quarterbacks.
Despite Mark Herrmann‘s disappointing run as a professional quarterback, he is an important figure in Purdue football history and Indiana sports. This famous Carmel person certainly had his best moments in the Hoosier state, whether it was his inspiring play with Carmel High School or his record breaking seasons with the Purdue Boilermakers. He even played some professional football in Indy, though he certainly wasn’t as good as his college days. But after being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, does it really matter if Herrmann’s professional career was less than fantastic?
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