Tannen, Steve : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Tannen, Steve

Steven Olsen Tannen

Tannen was an All-America cornerback at the University of Florida in the late 1960s, and was named to the school's Team of the Century. The 20th overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft, Steve played five years in the NFL with the New York Jets.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 23, 1948

Career Highlights:
Considered one of the greatest cornerbacks in the history of University of Florida football, Tannen was a three-year starter in the late 1960s. A "big-play guy," Steve had four interceptions as a sophomore in 1967 as the Gators finished the season 6-4-0. Tannen had another four interceptions in 1968, with Florida finishing the year 6-3-1. Steve also returned two punts for touchdowns and was named All-SEC (Southeastern Conference).

In 1969, his senior season, Tannen had three interceptions, repeated as All-SEC, was named All-America, and won the Forrest K. (Fergie) Ferguson Award given annually to the, "senior who displays out-standing leadership, character and courage." Florida finished the regular season 8-1-1 and played in the Tangerine Bowl against Tennessee. In that game, Tannen blocked a punt that led to the Gators' first touchdown. Florida won the game, 14-13, and finished the season ranked No. 14 in the AP poll, No. 17 in the UP standings.

Steve completed his tenure at Florida with 11 career intereceptions, which is still fifth all-time at the school. In 2000, he was named to the University of Florida's Team of the Century at cornerback.

In 1970, Tannen was the first-round pick of the New York Jets in the NFL Draft (20th overall). That year, he appeared in all 14 regular season games for the Jets and had two interceptions as New York went 4-10. After playing 11 games with no interceptions the following year, Steve had the best season of his career in 1972.

That year, Tannen played in 13 games and finished second in the NFL with a team-high seven interceptions (no one else had more than two), although the Jets only went 7-7. Tannen played two more seasons with the Jets and had three more interceptions to bring his career total to 12; he retired following the 1974 season.

Following his football career, Tannen became a model and actor. In 1980, he appeared in the football movie Fighting Back about Pittsburgh Steelers halfback and Vietnam War hero Rocky Bleier

Miami, Florida

Career Dates:
Tannen played cornerback at the University of Florida from 1967-1969, and in the NFL with the New York Jets from 1970-1974.

Physical description:
6'2", 194 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NFL:
Games: 61

Interceptions: 12
Interception return yards: 704
Fumbles: 1

Kick returns: 1
Kick return yards: -1

Punt returns: 2
Punt return yards: 0

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Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)

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