Wherever he played, fans would notice and appreciate the smooth and graceful athletic skills of the recordsetting Ed Rubbert. While at Clarkstown North High School in both his junior and senior years, he garnered All-County honors in football and basketball.
In 1982 as a senior quarterback, he was selected as Rockland’s co-offensive player of the year, sharing honors with his favorite receiver Mike Looney, who established new records for pass receptions. Ed set three major county records that year-single game 318 passing yards; 5 touchdown passes thrown in one game; and 1497 yards for a season. He fell shy of breaking the county career passing record held by Andy Cowan of Nyack by 180 yards. He was named to the New York State fourth team.
In Ed’s junior year on the basketball court, he was instrumental in leading Clarkstown North (scoring 20 points) to a one-point upset late in the season over Spring Valley, eventual State champions. He was the foremost rebounder and MVP of the Rams for 2 years, finishing fourth in the county as an 11th team All-State selection in his senior year.
An imposing figure at 6’5″ and 210 pounds, he received a full scholarship to play football at The University of Louisville. It was expected that Rubbert would be red-shirted as a freshman, but in the tenth game of a losing season, the coaches turned to Ed in the second half against Temple, and he responded well with 107 yards and his first collegiate TD pass.
In his first game as a starter to open the 1984 season, he proceeded to break into the Louisville record books with 29 completions in 55 attempts for 393 yards.
After Louisville had lost 10 straight games over a two-year period, Rubbert led the Cardinals from a 28-7 deficit to their first win of 1984, beating Houston 30-28, with a field goal in the final 20 seconds of the contest.
Ed finished the 1984 season (sophomore) ranked 14th in the nation with 2465 yards total offense (2353 yards passing) and threw for 18 touchdowns. He was named to The Associated Press’s All-Southern Independent 2nd Team.
When he graduated from Louisville in 1987, he had broken more than 10 records (some set by one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in The National Football League – Johnny Unitas).
Rubbert signed as a free-agent quarterback with the Washington Redskins in 1987, and was one of the last players released from the pre-season roster. The quarterbacks ahead of him that made the team were future Super Bowl stars Doug Williams, Jay Schroeder, and another rookie Mark Rypien.
Less that 2 months later, the football players’ union called for a strike to begin with the games on the first Sunday in October. Rubbert received a “hurry-up” call from Coach Joe Gibbs, who asked him to be his quarterback for the duration of the strike. In his first professional start against the powerful St. Louis Cardinals, Ed passed for a day-leading 334 yards (which included 3 TD’s), as the Redskins upset the Redbirds 28-21. The Cardinals, incidentally, had 13 regulars in uniform including 7 starters.
The next week, Rubbert led Washington to a resounding 38-12 triumph over the Giants in The Meadowlands. He started his third game with Dallas as the opponent, but left early with an injured shoulder, as Washington won 13-7.
In his 3 games as a Washington Redskin, Ed completed 26 of 49 passes for 532 yards and 4 TD’s, suffering only 1 interception.
It had been decided by the NFL at the onset of the strike that all games would count in the final standings. With the 3 straight wins, Washington was poised to contest for the Super Bowl of 1988, which they won 42-10 coming from behind Denver and racking up 5 straight touchdowns in the second quarter.
Ed Rubbert’s NFL career was short-lived, just playing in those 3 games and finishing the season on the Injured Reserve list with his shoulder injury. His efforts in helping to get Washington to The Big Game were rewarded with receiving a share of the winners’ earnings.
Ed currently works as a substitute physical education teacher (hoping for a full-time position) in the Clarkstown school system and assists Joe Casarella with the North Rockland football program.
He credits his oldest brother Bill (9 years his senior) as being the guiding force in his athletic career.