Derrick Gaffney

Derrick Tyrone Gaffney (born May 24, 1955) is an American former college and professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons during the 1970s and 1980s. Gaffney played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the New York Jets of the NFL.

Derrick Gaffney
No. 81
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1955-05-24) May 24, 1955 (age 64)
Jacksonville, Florida
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:181 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High school:Jacksonville (FL) Raines
NFL Draft:1978 / Round: 8 / Pick: 197
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • SEC record for longest touchdown reception (1977)
Career NFL statistics
Games played:100
Games started:68
Receiving yards:2,613
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early yearsEdit

Gaffney was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1955.[1] He attended William M. Raines High School in Jacksonville,[2] and he played high school football for the Raines Vikings.

College careerEdit

Gaffney accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for coach Doug Dickey's Florida Gators football team from 1974 to 1977.[3] Memorably, Gaffney caught a ninety-nine-yard touchdown reception from Cris Collinsworth in the Gators' 48–3 victory over the Rice Owls in 1977, which tied the then-current NCAA record and remains the longest touchdown pass in Southeastern Conference (SEC) history.[3] While he was a Florida undergraduate, Gaffney was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Professional careerEdit

The New York Jets chose Gaffney in the eighth round (197th pick overall) in the 1978 NFL Draft,[4] and he played for the Jets from 1978 to 1984 and again in 1987.[5] His single best season was his rookie year in 1978, when he caught thirty-eight passes for 691 yards.[1] Gaffney started sixty-eight of 100 games in which he played for the Jets, and finished his NFL career with 156 receptions for 2,613 yards and seven touchdowns.[1]

Gaffney football familyEdit

Gaffney's older brother, Don Gaffney, was the starting quarterback for the Florida Gators from the middle of the 1973 season through the end of 1975, and was the first African-American to become the starter at the quarterback position for the Gators. Gaffney is also the father of former NFL wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and the uncle of former NFL cornerback Lito Sheppard. Both Jabar Gaffney and Lito Sheppard played for the Florida Gators in the early 2000s.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c, Players, Derrick Gaffney. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  2. ^, Players, Derrick Gaffney Archived February 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  3. ^ a b 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 158 & 181 (2011). Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  4. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1978 National Football League Draft. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  5. ^ National Football League, Historical Players, Derrick Gaffney. Retrieved August 4, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.