Saskatchewan Roughriders

Joe '747' Adams - Quarterback - 1982-83 - Tennessee State


Tennessee State Sports Information - 24-08-2012

Joe Adams arrived on the TSU campus in 1977, and left as one of the school's most celebrated quarterbacks.

Looking at the Tennessee State record book is like looking at Adams's rap sheet. Adams left TSU as the school's all-time leader in passing yards, passes attempted, passes completed, touchdown passes, 250 and 300-yard passing games.

Joe Adams was so proficient at passing and possessed such a strong arm that he earned the nickname "747", in reference to the Boeing aircraft.

When Adams attended the school, he was named an All-American by several publications four times and he helped lead the Tigers to the 1979 Black College National Championship.

On Oct. 18 1980, Adams had the finest day throwing the ball that any TSU quarterback had ever had. In a 35-17 win over Alabama State, Adams threw for 417 yards- a school record that stood for three seasons.

During his 1980 campaign, Adams had a school-record four consecutive 300-yard games en route to throwing for a then school-record 2,848 yards. Also during 1980, Adams broke his own record of touchdown passes in a season with 30.

"747" led the team in offense during all four of his seasons while gaining more yards every year he played.

Adams's gaudy numbers got the attention of the NFL's San Francisco 49'ers who selected the TSU quarterback in the 12th round of the 1981 draft.

San Francisco didn't have a place for Adams due to Joe Montana entering his prime, so Adams elected to play football in Canada.

Adams joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL in 1982 and had a great first season. He threw for over 3,300 yards, had 19 touchdowns and started all 16 games.

excerpt CFL Illustrated 1983 - Air Patrol - Bob Hughes

You could call the offence of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Air Faragelli, and its pilot is appropriately nicknamed, 747. Together, head coach Joe Faragelli and quarterback Joe (747) Adams gave the Canadian Football League one of the most exciting aerial shows of the 1982 season. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to make the Western Division playoffs.


If there was anything which significantly marked Faragelli's second season as head coach of the Roughriders, it was that he gave the ball to a rookie quarterback and let him learn the game, under fire.


Adams came to the Roughriders after having passed through the San Francison 49ers and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Big and strong, with a gun for an arm, Faragelli thought he saw something of Warren Moon in him.

And that was all he needed.

Form virtually the beginning of training camp in 1982, Adams seemed to be the light in Faragelli's eyes.

And, the aerial circus was off and ... throwing.


With receivers such as Joey Walters, Dwight Edwards and Chris DeFrance and an offensive line which was sound, secure and experienced and perhaps most of all - just about all Canadian and Saskatchewan offence filled the air with footballs.


-- statistics --


Joe Adams     Tennesssee State  
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1982 Ssk 454 245 3,312 54.0 19 16 84
1983 Ssk 208 104 1,529 50.0 8 6 88
1984 Ott 78 42 501 53.8 4 8 30
Total 3 740 391 5,342 52.8 31 30 88


Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1982 Ssk 22 148 6.7 33 2
1983 Ssk 11 33 3.0 11 1
1984 Ott 1 8 8.0 8 0
Total 3 34 189 5.6 33 3