• The second quarterback taken in the 2006 NFL Draft (Titans, Vince Young, 3rd overall), selected by the Cardinals with the 10th overall pick. In four NFL seasons, has made a total of 17 starts.
• Took over the Cards starting QB spot in week 5 of his rookie campaign and started the next 11 games; missed the season finale at San Diego after injuring his left shoulder in game 15.
• In his second NFL season in 2007, started the first five games before suffering a season-ending collarbone injury at St. Louis (10/7).
• Only start in the last two seasons came on 11/29/09 @ Tennessee when he found out the morning of the game that Kurt Warner (head) could not go. In a hostile environment against a hot Titans team, Leinart passed for 220 yards in a mistake-free game and had AZ in the lead before a 99-yard drive and last second TD lost it.
• Named the “Arizona Cardinals/Walter Payton NFL Man of The Year,” which recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service.
• In 2006, became the first Cardinals QB since Jake Plummer in 2001 to have three games in a season with a 100+ QB rating (all were in his final six starts of ’06).
• Became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in a game when he passed for 405 at Minnesota on 11/26/06. The previous league record belonged to Plummer who threw for 388 yards against the New York Giants on 11/16/97. Leinart’s record has since been surpassed by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford (422 yards).
• Leinart's 2,547 yards passing in 2006 also broke Plummer's franchise rookie record of 2,203 yards, set in 1997.
• Became first QB in NFL history to throw two TD passes in the first quarter of each of his first two games when he did it in 2006 vs. Kansas City and Chicago.
• Recorded a 37-2 record as a starter at USC, a 94.8% winning percentage.
• Led USC to National Championships in 2003 and 2004, becoming only the third quarterback in the last 30 years to lead his team to back-to-back National Championships.
• Holds the USC and Pac-10 record for career TD passes with 99, shattering the previous school record of 72 set by Carson Palmer and the conference record of 77 set by Stanford’s John Elway.
The Cardinals first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (10th overall), Leinart took over as the starter in week five of his rookie season, starting in 11 of the 12 games in which he appeared and only missed the final game of the season after being deactivated with a left shoulder injury. Suffered a fractured collarbone in game five in 2007 at St. Louis that forced him onto injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Served as the backup to Pro Bowler Kurt Warner in 2008 and ‘09, seeing action in 12 regular season games and one postseason contest.
2009: Served primarily as Warner’s backup, starting one game and seeing limited action in seven others as well as one postseason game … with Arizona up 31-3 near the end of the third quarter relieved Warner @ Jax (9/20) … saw action in the final minute of the game vs. Ind (9/27) … with the Cardinals up 27-3 in the fourth quarter, relieved Warner for the final 5:36 @ Sea (10/18) … saw action in the fourth quarter, throwing an INT on only pass attempt @ Chi (11/8) … came in late in the second quarter for an injured Warner (head) and totaled 74 yards on 10-of-14 passing @ StL (11/22); with 2:35 left in the game, secured the win by converting a 3rd-and-4 from Arizona’s 13-yard line with a 20-yard pass to Early Doucet … started for the injured Warner (head), completing 21-of-31 passes for 220 yards and a QB rating of 88.1 @ Ten (11/29); marked first start since 10/7/07 @ St. Louis; in the second half completed 13-16 passes for 137 yards, including 4-of-5 for 61 yards on the 80-yard fourth quarter scoring drive that gave Arizona a 17-13 lead; completed passes of 20+ yards to a season-high five different Cardinals receivers … came on in relief of Warner early in the second quarter and completed 13 of 21 passes for 96 yards and two INTs in the regular season finale vs. GB (1/3/10) … DNP as the backup to Warner in Wild Card game vs. GB (1/10/10) … saw action in first career playoff game, replacing Warner at the end of the first half after he left the game with a chest injury and then came in for Warner midway through the fourth quarter, completing seven-of-10 passes for 61 yards @ NO (1/16/10); with 1:10 left in the first half, drove 47 yards on seven plays to set up a 50-yard FG attempt that was no good as time expired.
2008: Served as backup QB behind Pro Bowl starter Warner, seeing limited action in four regular season games ... saw late game action and completed one of two passes for 15 yards vs. Mia (9/14) … DNP as backup to Warner for the next 11 games ... came in during the fourth quarter and completed three of five passes for 28 yards vs. Min (12/14) ... played the majority of the second half and registered a career-long 78-yard TD pass to WR Larry Fitzgerald @ NE (12/21) ... DNP as backup to Warner in postseason.
2007: Started first five games of 2007 before suffering a season ending collarbone injury at St. Louis … in season-opening start, rushed for career-high 35 yards on six carries with a career long of 20 yards @ SF (9/10) … registered second-most passing yards of his career with 299 yards in the home opener vs. Sea (9/16); 30-yard TD pass to TE Leonard Pope was third-longest scoring toss of his career … registered 3,000th career passing yard @ Bal (9/23) … while sharing time with Kurt Warner for the second week in a row, Leinart completed 7-of-14 passes for 93 yards vs. Pit (9/30), including leading the Cardinals on a 13-play 82-yard drive in the fourth quarter that took up over seven minutes and resulted in a two-yard Edgerrin James TD to put the Arizona up 21-7 with 4:14 to play … after completing seven of 13 passes for 100 yards and one INT, suffered season ending collarbone fracture in the second quarter @ StL (10/7) when sacked by LB Will Witherspoon … placed on injured reserve on 10/9.
2006: Took over as the starting QB in game five of his rookie season and started 11 games before sitting out the season finale with a left shoulder injury … saw his first regular season action @ Atl (10/1) when he replaced Kurt Warner in the fourth quarter, completing five of eight passes for 49 yards and an INT … starting the first game of his NFL career, threw TD passes of 49 and 5 yards in the Cardinals first two possessions vs. KC (10/8); completed 22 of 35 passes for 253 yards and 2 TDs for a 91.7 passer rating … completed 24 of 42 passes for 232 yards and 2 TDs in the Monday Night contest vs. Chi (10/16), becoming the first QB in NFL history to throw two TD passes in the first quarter of his first two starts … completed 20 of 38 passes for 216 yards and ran for a three-yard TD vs. Dal (11/12) … logged his highest QB rating of the season (101.7) while earning his first NFL victory as he completed 19 of 29 passes for 233 yards and one TD in the win vs. Det (11/19); also ran for his second TD in two weeks and second of the season … completed 31 of 51 passes for 405 yards, all career-highs, with one TD pass @ Min (11/26); his 405 passing yards established a new NFL rookie record, surpassing Jake Plummer’s previous mark of 388 yards set in 1997; threw for just the eighth 400-yard passing day in franchise history and the first since 1998 … went 21 for 34 with 232 yards and two TDs vs. Sea (12/10), completing at least 60% of his passes for the fourth consecutive game … completed nine of 13 passes for 162 yards and one TD before leaving the game with a sprained shoulder in the second quarter @ SF (12/24) … inactive (left shoulder) for the season finale @ SD (12/31).
A three-time All-American and one of the most decorated QBs in college football history, Leinart compiled the highest winning percentage of any USC QB and the second highest in NCAA history with a 37-2 record as a starter (94.9%). Only Toledo’s Chuck Ealey (35-0, 1969 71) had a higher winning percentage among QBs with at least 25 starts. Completed 807 of 1,245 passes (64.8%) for 10,693 yards and 99 TDs with only 23 INTs in four seasons at USC … as a senior started all 13 games completing 283 of 431 passes (65.7%) for 3,815 yards and 28 TDs with only eight INTs … passed for 365 yards while completing 29 of 40 passes for one TD and one INT against Texas in the Rose Bowl … completions, passing yardage, passing efficiency rating and rushing TDs in 2005 were better than his 2004 Heisman Trophy season … completed 66.8% of his passes (129-of 193) for 1,493 yards, 15 TDs and just two INTs … completed 269 of 412 passes (65.3%) for 3,332 yards, 33 TDs and only six INTs in 13 games as a junior en route to a Heisman Trophy and National Championship … completed 24 of 34 passes for 242 yards and five TDs vs. Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl … 33 TD passes were second on the USC season record list, 269 completions were third, and 3,322 passing yards and 3,278 yards of total offense were fourth … 33 TD passes also tied for third on the Pac-10 season-record list … after winning the starting job in a preseason battle, went on to complete 255 of 402 passes (63.4%) for 3,556 yards, 38 TDs and only nine INTs while winning a National Championship as a sophomore … completed 23-of-34 passes for 327 yards and three TDs against Michigan in the Rose Bowl … ranked third nationally in passing efficiency (164.5, first in Pac-10) … set a Pac-10 season record with 212 consecutive passes without an INT, stretching over eight games and fell just four passes short of the Pac-10 career record … 164.5 passing efficiency rating was the best season in USC history … 38 TD passes was a Pac-10 season record and the second most by any sophomore in NCAA history (Chad Pennington, 39, 1997) … became the first USC sophomore to have back-to-back 300-yard passing games and the first USC sophomore to have thrown for 3,000 yards in a season … the third-string QB as a redshirt freshman … appeared briefly late in three games, taking two snaps at Colorado, directing three series at Oregon and taking a snap at UCLA, but did not throw a pass.
Full name Matthew Stephen Leinart … graduated in 2005 with a degree in Sociology … born with strabismus (cross-eyes), as his left eye was not aligned with his right (underwent surgery when he was three years old and was fitted with glasses) … at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA) completed 192-of-309 passes (62.1%) for 2,870 yards, 28 TDs and 10 INTs as a senior in 2000 … against National Champion De La Salle High, completed 31-of-47 passes for 447 yards and four TDs, leading his team to a 9-3 record in 2000 … as a junior in 1999, named All-Serra League Offensive MVP while completing 150-of-233 passes (64.4%) for 2,400 yards with 15 TDs and six INTs … Mater Dei was the CIF Division I co-champion in 1999 … sat out his 1998 sophomore season with a rotator cuff injury to his left (throwing) shoulder … has one son, Cole.