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VINCE FERRAGAMO JOINS IN ON THE CONVERSATION TO CHAT ALL THINK FOOTBALL!
Ferragamo was born in Torrance, California. An All-American high school quarterback while at Phineas Banning High School (1969–1971) in nearby Wilmington, he was selected as that year's Los Angeles City Schools Most Valuable Player. Ferragamo was heavily recruited by colleges, and he accepted a football scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley.
Ferragamo got considerable playing time while playing for Cal in 1972 and 1973, but eventually lost the starting job to teammate Steve Bartkowski in that 1973 season. Ferragamo chose to transfer to top-ranked Nebraska in 1974. As a Nebraska Cornhusker, he lettered in 1975 and 1976. During his senior season he was All-Big Eight Conference, All-American and also an Academic All-American.
Nebraska was ranked No. 1 to open the 1976 season but managed only to tie LSU, 6–6, in a game at Tiger Stadium on September 11. The two teams were said to have waged "unrelenting trench warfare". Ferragamo capped his college career by leading the Cornhuskers to a victory over Texas Tech in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl in the Houston Astrodome.
PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL CAREER
National Football League
Ferragamo played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles Rams (1977–1980 and 1982–1984), Buffalo Bills (1985) and Green Bay Packers (1985–1986). After leading the 9–7 Rams to road victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1979–80 NFL playoffs, Ferragamo started for the Rams in Super Bowl XIV, making him the first quarterback to start a Super Bowl in the same season as his first career start, in which the Rams led after three quarters of play before falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19.
Ferragamo enjoyed his best statistical season in 1980 in which he threw for 30 touchdowns, tied for second most in the NFL. The Rams again made the playoffs, but were defeated by Dallas, 34–13 in an NFC Wild Card Playoff game.
Canadian Football League
Ferragamo played for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for just one season in 1981. He was signed to a large contract by both CFL and NFL standards at the time ($600,000, compared to $250,000 the Rams offered him, and the $47,500 they had paid him for 1980.) However, Ferragamo had a difficult time adjusting to the style of Canadian football. Montreal went on to win only three games against 13 losses (but did reach the playoffs due to weak East Division that season). He was demoted to backup to Gerry Dattilio in the latter half of the season and then third string quarterback for the final three games after Ken Johnson arrived in a trade. Ferragamo's last game in the CFL was a loss to the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Eastern semi-final which he watched from the pressbox. His stats during his one season in Montreal were 175 of 342 passes completed (51.2%) for 2175 yards, with seven touchdown passes and 25 interceptions.
Return to NFL
On December 26, 1982, Ferragamo threw for 509 yards in a game against the Chicago Bears, at the time the second highest mark for passing yards in a game in league history behind former Ram Norm Van Brocklin. It was the third time in league history that a quarterback had passed for over 500 yards in a game, following Van Brocklin in 1951 (554 yards) and Y. A. Tittle in 1962 (505 yards). Subsequent to his return, Ferragamo led the Rams back to the NFL playoffs during the 1983 season behind the running of rookie Eric Dickerson. After beating the favored Cowboys in Irving in the wild card matchup 24–17, Ferragamo and the Rams were drubbed by the defending Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl-bound Washington Redskins by the score of 51–7.
In 1984, Ferragamo again started out as the Rams' starting quarterback. But in a 24–14 loss at Pittsburgh in Week 3, Ferragamo broke his right hand and did not return to the lineup for the remainder of the season. He would never play for the Los Angeles Rams again, playing the next two seasons with the Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers.
He has been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice, once in 1980 and again in 1981.
Career after football
Ferragamo owns Touchdown Real Estate in Orange County, California and Ferragamo-Migneco Vineyards in Santa Maria, California. He is the chairman of the Vince Ferragamo Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization began in 1996 that focuses on raising donations for children's organizations such as the Special Olympics, the Speech and Language Development Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities.