Cliff Stoudt entered the NFL as a 5th round pick (121st overall) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1977 draft. Stoudt did not attempt a pass for his first three seasons and played only sparingly over the next three as Terry Bradshaw's backup. Stoudt was thrust into the starting role for the Steelers in 1983 when Bradshaw had off-season elbow surgery and led the team to a 9-2 record to start the year. Bradshaw returned in week 15 but reinjured his elbow before the playoffs and fans turned on Stoudt as the team's fortunes waned.
Stoudt signed with the USFL's Birmingham Stallions prior to the 1984 season and became one of the league's top passers during its final two seasons. He returned to Pittsburgh with the Stallions to play the Maulers in their inaugural home game. Three Rivers Stadium was sold out as some fans reportedly threw snowballs at Stoudt. In his two USFL seasons, Stoudt completed 478 of 810 passes (59%) for 6,479 yards with 60 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. After the league folded, Stoudt signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986 and followed the team to Phoenix in 1988, where he wore this jersey. He would play one season in Miami in 1989 and would finish his career with two seasons on the Dallas Cowboys roster but did not play. In his NFL career, Stoudt completed 359 of 684 passes with 23 touchdowns and 43 interceptions.