March 20, 2024

Former NFL QB Dead at 81

A man who was a part of NFL history has died.

Steve Tensi, who played QB for the Broncos and Chargers, has passed away.

Tensi was 81 years old.

Part of NFL History

Tensi was only in the NFL for six years, four of which he spent with the Broncos.

His name is not one that most of us recall when we consider the greats of that era, but he is most definitely in the history books.

Tensi played his college football at Florida State, where he made a name for himself dropping dimes to Fred Biletnikoff, who would go on to achieve great things for the Oakland Raiders.

Tensi did not get as much attention as the First Team All-American, but he did get noticed.

In 1965, Tensi was drafted by both the NFL and AFL.

He was picked in the 16th round, number 224 overall, by the Baltimore Colts, but he went in the 4th round of the AFL draft, the 30th pick overall, taken by the Chargers, which is where he chose to sign.

Tensi saw limited action with the Chargers, primarily serving as a backup QB, and was moved to the Broncos in what would be considered a blockbuster trade at the time.

The Broncos sent their next two #1 picks to the Chargers to get the rights to Tensi (those picks wound up being #4 and #9).

Tensi was plugged in as the starter, taking the starting snaps in 12 of the 14 games that season in what was a miserable one for the Broncos, finishing with a record of 3-11.

In 1968, Tensi had his collarbone broken twice because of weak pass protection on the part of his offensive line.

He returned to start for the team in 1969, eventually losing his starting job to Pete Liske.

With virtually no success in his professional career, however, he would make his mark in history.

When the NFL and AFL merged, Tensi threw the Broncos' first TD pass as an NFL team.

There was little information given as to his cause of death, with the announcement only stating that his family requested donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in lieu of flowers.

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