Desmond Kevin Howard (born May 15, 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a former American football wide receiver, punt returner, and kick returner in the National Football League. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
He played for the Washington Redskins (1992-1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995), Green Bay Packers (1996, 1999), Oakland Raiders (1997-1998) and Detroit Lions (1999-2002). Prior to his professional career, he attended the University of Michigan where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1991. Howard also was voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI, and the only special teams player to win the award. He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN and will be the new color commentator for Detroit Lions pre-season games on The Detroit Lions Television Network.
The Packers took the lead at halftime 27-14 but Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe led his team on a short drive that ended with Curtis Martin's 18-yard touchdown run to pull the Patriots within six late in the third quarter. With new life, the Patriots boomed the ensuing kickoff to the one-yard line, but Howard effectively shattered the Patriots' hopes for a comeback with a Super Bowl record 99-yard kickoff return for a Packers touchdown. His return and the Packers' subsequent two-point conversion closed out the scoring of the game, and the Packers eventually won 35-21. Bill Parcells, the Patriots' head coach, commented after the game; "We had a lot of momentum and our defense was playing better, But [Howard] made the big play. That return was the game right there. He's been great all year and he was great again today". Howard totaled a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards and 154 kickoff return yards with one touchdown; his 244 all-purpose yards also tied a Super Bowl record. His performance won him the Super Bowl MVP award, making Howard the first and only player to ever win the award based solely on a special teams performance.
In his 11 NFL seasons, Howard caught 123 passes for 1,597 yards, rushed for 68 yards, returned 244 punts for 2,895 yards, and gained 7,595 yards returning 359 kickoffs. He also scored 15 touchdowns (7 receiving, 8 punt returns). Overall, Howard gained 12,155 all-purpose yards.
On May 6, 2005, EA Sports announced that Howard would be the cover athlete for their latest installment in the NCAA Football video game series, NCAA Football 06. This announcement is a departure for the series, which has traditionally featured college athletes who went to the NFL the previous year on its covers. He was chosen to highlight the new feature "Race for the Heisman," and his cover picture showed him striking his famous Heisman pose while at Michigan. He struck this pose after a punt return for a touchdown during the 1991 Michigan–Ohio State game.
A SUPERDOME RETURN FOR HOWARD WHEN LAST SEEN RETURNING KICKS FOR THE PACKERS, DESMOND HOWARD PUT ON A RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE AT SUPER BOWL XXXI IN NEW ORLEANS.(Sports)
Aug 27, 1999; As much as he has enjoyed viewing what he calls the efforts of the ``younger guys'' on punt and kickoff returns this exhibition...