Dante “Dan” Pastorini reached legendary status in the 1970s as the dashing young quarterback of the Houston Oilers. Selected No. 3 overall in the 1971 NFL Draft out of the University of Santa Clara in California, Pastorini arrived in Houston with the expectation he could rescue the moribund team and take them to the top of the league. It didn’t take long for Houstonians to truly embrace Pastorini, and with salt-of-the-earth head coach Bum Phillips and colorful teammates like Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Elvin Bethea and Earl Campbell, the memorable “Luv Ya Blue” era was born. Before long, the entire country was shaking Columbia Blue pom-poms for the Oilers and Pastorini’s legacy — bolstered by a record-setting role in the 1974 Pro Bowl — was cemented in place.
After his playing years were over, Pastorini remained in the embrace of his adopted hometown and with an “Official Texan” decree signed by the governor himself, Pastorini laid down roots in the energy capital of the world. Immediately after his 13-year NFL career concluded, Pastorini stayed in sports by piloting a variety of racecars and boats, winning events and setting records along the way on both land and water.
Always anxious to give back to the city that still reveres him, Pastorini has supported countless charities throughout the years, none more so than the Be An Angel Foundation, which helps profoundly deaf children and families supporting multiple children with disabilities. Pastorini currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the well-respected entity.
Pastorini also progressed in the business world, owning and operating DP Quality Foods, working as a consultant for human resources giant Insperity, serving as a Senior Account Manager for DataWorks Plus and filling the role of COO at Turbine Metal Technology.
Through the years, Pastorini helped with the marketing efforts of industry leaders like Seagram’s Spirits, the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, Lamborghini Motorcars, Coors Light, Mopar Performance, Kendall Oil and Champion Spark Plugs. More recently, Pastorini was inducted into the Houston Sports Authority Hall of Fame alongside fellow honorees George Foreman, A.J. Foyt and Jackie Burke. Pastorini also is enshrined in the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame, the Impact A Hero Hall of Fame and is one of Mike Ditka’s Gridiron Greats. In 2019, the prestigious Houston Touchdown Club named Pastorini “Touchdowner of the Year.” In 2020 he is selected for the East West Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame in Tampa, FL. A veteran of football broadcasting, both in radio and television, Pastorini remains in the spotlight to this day, living in the shadow of downtown Houston.