Many schools boast of tradition. But none can match Purdue's tradition of turning out top-flight quarterbacks.
The Cradle of Quarterbacks has evolved over the last half century as a defining feature of Boilermaker football. Members of the Cradle have set NCAA and Big Ten records, many have been chosen as All-Americans, national awards winners or finalists, four have been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and two are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Fifteen former Purdue signal-callers have gone on to play in the National Football League, accumulating more starts and throwing for more yards than those from any other school.
And with Drew Brees joining Len Dawson and Bob Griese as Super Bowl champion quarterbacks, Purdue is one of just two universities that can claim three Super Bowl champs at the position. (The other school is Alabama with Bart Starr, Kenny Stabler and Joe Namath.)
The Cradle of Quarterbacks tradition started with Bob DeMoss, who gained fame as a freshman from Dayton, Kentucky, by leading the 1945 Boilermakers to an upset of fourth-ranked Ohio State in Columbus.
DeMoss passed up an opportunity to play professional football and stayed at his alma mater as quarterbacks coach for 20 years before becoming head coach in 1970. Along the way he recruited and developed many members of the Cradle: Dale Samuels, Dawson, Griese, Mike Phipps and Gary Danielson.
Mark Herrmann set NCAA career records for passing attempts, completions and yards, as well as total offense - becoming the first quarterback in NCAA history to throw for 8,000 yards and subsequently the first to throw for 9,000 yards - from 1977 to 1980.
Later in the 1980s, Scott Campbell and Jim Everett became Cradle members and after coach Joe Tiller brought the spread offense to Purdue in 1997, Brees, Kyle Orton and Curtis Painter joined the exclusive club.
The term Cradle of Quarterbacks has been trademarked by Purdue to create a lasting tradition that epitomizes Boilermaker football.
In recognition of this heritage and with help from thousands of on-line voters, Purdue's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, in conjunction with "Gold & Black Illustrated" and the Office of Trademark Licensing, selected the Boilermakers' top 12 quarterbacks of all-time in the summer of 2010 from a list of 31 multiple-time starters. A different quarterback was highlighted each week of the season.
To commemorate the year-long celebration, Purdue created a line of products featuring the 12 quarterbacks. Proceeds from the sale of products benefited the 12th Boiler Scholarship Fund, which raised money through the John Purdue Club to endow a Boilermaker football scholarship.
CRADLE OF QUARTERBACKS
Drew Brees, 1997-2000
Scott Campbell, 1980-83
Gary Danielson, 1970-72
Len Dawson, 1954-56
Bob DeMoss, 1945-48
Jim Everett, 1981-85
Bob Griese, 1964-66
Mark Herrmann, 1977-80
Kyle Orton, 2001-04
Curtis Painter, 2005-08
Mike Phipps, 1967-69
Dale Samuels, 1950-52