Birnbaum, Steve : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Birnbaum, Steve

Birnbaum was a quarterback at Washington State University in the late 1990s. The team's starter in 1998 and 1999, he took over for Ryan Leaf. After his collegiate career, Birnbaum played in the Arena Football League

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 22, 1977

Career Highlights:
Steve redshirted his first year at Washington State (1995) and then served as Ryan Leaf's backup in 1996. That year, Steve appeared in five games during the season and finished 7-20 for 93 yards and one interception as the Cougars finished 5-6 (3-4 in conference).

In 1997, Birnbaum remained the No.2 quarterback behind the All-American Leaf. He appeared in four games and completed 11-19 passes for 142 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Cougars finished tied with UCLA for first in the Pac 10 with a 7-1 record (10-1 overall). They then represented the conference in the Rose Bowl, but lost to the eventual national champions, Michigan (21-16). Washington State finished 10-2 with a No. 9 ranking, the best final result in school history.

In 1998, Leaf departed for a brief and stormy NFL career and Birnbaum shared duties at the quarterback position with Paul Mencke. The Cougars lost over 20 lettermen from the Rose Bowl team, however, and struggled to a 3-8 record (0-8 in conference). Birnbaum played well during the season, appearing in ten games (only eight starts; he was injured for three games) and completed 114-235 passes for 1,677 yards with six touchdowns, but 11 interceptions. He also completed the longest touchdown pass in school history, a 97-yarder against Idaho.

During his senior season in 1999, Birnbaum was again expected to platoon, this time with freshman Jason Gesser (co-Pac 10 Player of the Year in 2002), but became the team's starter when Gesser was injured. Steve had the best season of his college career as he played in 11 games and completed 174-307 passes (56.7%) for 2,022 yards with 11 touchdowns against only five interceptions. He finished fourth in the conference in passing yards as the Cougars finished 3-9 (1-7 in conference).

After his collegiate career, Birnbaum struggled to make it as a professional. In the middle of the 2000 season, he signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He did not appear in a game for Toronto, but handled the quarterback duties on the practice squad. In 2001, Birnbaum played in the Arena Football League with the Detroit Fury and the Quad City Steamwheelers.

San Dimas, California

Career Dates:
Birnbaum played quarterback at Washington State University from 1996-1999.

Physical description:
6'5", 225 pounds

Career Statistics:
At Washington State:

Games: 30
Passes completed: 306
Passes attempted: 581
Passing percentage: 52.7
Passing yards: 3,934
Passing touchdowns: 18
Interceptions: 18

Use links below to navigate through the football section of Jews In Sports.

< PreviousNext >