This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification . (January 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Billy Kilmer at UCLA, 1959
|Born:||September 5, 1939|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||204 lb (93 kg)|
|High school:|| Citrus Union |
|NFL Draft:||1961 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11|
|AFL draft:|| 1961 / Round: 5 / Pick: 39|
(by the San Diego Chargers)
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
William Orland Kilmer Jr. (born September 5, 1939) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League for the San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins. He was also used as a running back and wide receiver. He played college football at UCLA, then 18 seasons as a professional. In 1964, while playing running back for the 49ers, Kilmer played a supporting role in one of the most infamous incidents in gridiron history: Vikings defensive lineman Jim Marshall ran Kilmer's fumble back 66 yards into the wrong end zone.
Born in Topeka, Kansas, Kilmer was raised in southern California and played baseball, football, and basketball at Citrus Union High School in Azusa, scoring more than 1,500 points in the latter sport while earning All-American honors. His baseball exploits saw him win all-conference accolades, while the poor fortunes of his football squad saw him relegated to third team all-conference recognition.
After graduation for high school in 1957, Kilmer competed in football for one year at Citrus Junior College, where he scored six touchdowns and threw for 15 more, with a broken foot limiting his playing time for the Citrus basketball team. He transferred to UCLA in 1958 and played three seasons. Kilmer also played on the Bruins basketball team in 1959–60 under head coach John Wooden.He capped off his college career with an outstanding senior season in 1960: he threw for over 1,000 yards, ran for over 800, scored eight touchdowns and served as the team's punter. Kilmer was also awarded the 1960 W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy as the outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast, and finished fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
After the conclusion of a UCLA career that saw him finish among the top five in school history for passing and rushing yards, as well as total offense, Kilmer played in the 1961 College All-Star Game, where he earned Most Valuable Player honors. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. There is some lingering controversy over exactly which position he played. His Hall of Fame plaque lists him as a halfback and says he "played tailback in UCLA's single-wing formation." Other sources list him as a quarterback.
Kilmer was the 11th overall selection of the 1961 NFL draft, taken by the 49ers. He was also selected in the fifth round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but signed with San Francisco on December 30, 1960. During that rookie season in 1961, he saw action as a primarily running quarterback in Red Hickey's shotgun formation, rushing for 509 yards and ten touchdowns, with his top performance coming against the expansion Minnesota Vikings on October 15 when he rushed for four touchdowns.
The following year Kilmer was primarily used as a running back but his season came to an early end following a December 5 auto accident in which he fell asleep in his 1957 Chevrolet convertible and drove off the Bayshore Freeway into the San Francisco Bay.Suffering a fractured leg, Kilmer's injury was bad enough to also force him to sit out the entire 1963 NFL season. He was able to return the following year, but his production was limited. His most memorable play as a 49er came in 1964 during a game against the Vikings at Kezar Stadium. On October 25, 1964 Kilmer fumbled after catching a pass from George Mira. The fumble was recovered by Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall, who infamously ran 66 yards in the wrong direction. In spite of Marshall's gaffe, the Vikings still beat the 49ers, 27-22.
After he saw no action in 1965 and was involved in a training camp contract dispute the next season, Kilmer was placed in the 1967 NFL Expansion Draft.
On February 10, 1967, Kilmer was selected in the expansion draft by the New Orleans Saints and, despite originally being thought of as the team's third-best signal caller[ citation needed ], became the team's starting quarterback for much of the next four seasons. He was the starter for the team's first game, a 27-13 loss at home to the Los Angeles Rams. Kilmer lost his starting job in 1967 after the first three games (all losses), and was replaced by former Baltimore Colt quarterback Gary Cuozzo. However, Kilmer regained that job in 1968.
His most prolific performance during his four-year stint with the team came in 1969, when he threw for 345 yards and six touchdowns in a 51–42 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on November 2.
Kilmer's last win as the Saints' starting quarterback came on week 8 of the 1970 season. Coach Tom Fears had benched Kilmer after three season-opening losses in favor of backup Ed Hargett. However, Fears was fired after week 7 and replaced by J.D. Roberts. The new coach brought Kilmer back as the starting quarterback. On November 8, 1970, in a home game versus the Detroit Lions, Kilmer led what proved to be a game-winning drive, although he could only bring the Saints as far as their own 44 yard line. With just one play left in the game, and his team down by a 17-16 margin, coach Roberts opted against asking Kilmer to go for a "Hail Mary" pass. Instead, kicker Tom Dempsey, who had earlier in the second half kicked an 8-yard field goal, was asked to attempt a 63-yard field goal. (The goal posts were still placed on the goal line in 1970, and not on the end line as they are today.) Dempsey made the kick, which broke the existing record by 7 yards. Only one longer field goal has been kicked since.
In a 2016 TV interview, recorded during a celebration of the Saints' 50th anniversary, Kilmer denied lingering rumors that he had been Dempsey's holder. "I got out of the holding business a while ago," Kilmer recalled, "but it was Joe Scarpati and it was a perfect hold." (Scarpati was a reserve defensive back.) Kilmer added, "when [Dempsey] kicked that ball, I knew he had made it. It was like Babe Ruth hitting a 500-foot home run. He really nailed it. And that was at sea level."
This dramatic victory is still the stuff of legend today. Dempsey was a big man who had been a lineman in junior college and semi-pro ball, even though he was born with no toes on his right foot, which was his kicking foot. He used a special flat-fronted kicking shoe. This win proved to be the only highlight of an otherwise dismal 2-11-1 season: Kilmer closed out the season by leading the Saints to six consecutive losses.
Frustrated after four years of the Saints' futility and sensing New Orleans would draft Ole Miss star Archie Manning with the second overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft, Kilmer asked to be traded and was granted his wish on January 23, 1971, when he was dealt to the Washington Redskins for linebacker Tom Roussel and two draft selections.
The trade which brought Kilmer to the Redskins was the first trade the team made after George Allen replaced Bill Austin (who had been the interim head coach since Vince Lombardi's untimely death in August 1970) as the head coach.
Kilmer seemed destined for a reserve role behind future Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen. However, this changed when Jurgensen suffered a severe shoulder injury in a pre-season game against the Miami Dolphins. Kilmer got the starting job and kept it for most of the next four seasons, but Jurgensen stayed on as his backup. The two players were friendly rivals during those years. Fans in Washington tended to be loyal to one quarterback or the other, sporting buttons at games that read "I like Billy" or "I like Sonny." Kilmer did not throw the tight spiral that Jurgensen did, but his wobbly passes often got the job done.
Kilmer then led the resurgent Redskins to a 5-0 start in 1971, but then the team ran into a midseason slump. Kilmer briefly lost his starting job as a result of the slide, but regained it after Jurgensen again injured his shoulder. The next season, Kilmer led the 1972 'Skins to an NFC-best 11–3 record, while also leading the NFL in touchdown passes (19) and passer rating (84.8).
After the season, Washington advanced to their first Super Bowl, against the hitherto unbeaten Miami Dolphins. Washington's tough defense held the vaunted Dolphins to just two touchdowns, but Miami's defense was even tougher. The Redskins didn't get on the board late until the 4th quarter, after a bizarre special-teams blunder by the otherwise impeccable Dolphins. Miami kicker Garo Yepremian's field goal attempt with a little over 2 minutes to go in the game was blocked, and Yepremian himself recovered the ball, which would have been OK if he had not then inexplicably tried to pass the ball, with no success whatsoever. Redskins' defensive back Mike Bass recovered Yepremian's fumble and ran the ball back 49 yards for a touchdown. Kilmer got the ball with 1:14 to go in the 4th quarter, on his own 30, with his team down 14-7. Kilmer had the chance to send the game into overtime, or even win it outright, but he was unable to move the ball. The game ended with a 9-yard sack. Miami lineman Vern Den Herder grabbed Kilmer's face mask on that final play and ripped his helmet off, but no penalty was called. The Dolphins became the first and still only unbeaten NFL team of the Super Bowl era.
The loss didn't dampen Kilmer's individual recognition as he was named to the Pro Bowl and the All-NFC Team.
In 1974, the Redskins acquired a third quarterback, a Notre Dame alumnus named Joe Theismann who had been a star in the Canadian Football League for three seasons. Kilmer beat out both Jurgensen and Theismann for the starting job. Jurgensen retired at the end of the 1974 season. Kilmer remained with the Redskins until he retired after the 1978 season. 1978 was also the season when Theismann finally took over Kilmer's starting quarterback position, although Kilmer did start two games that season, going 1-1-0.
During his time with the Redskins, Kilmer became one of the few remaining users of a single-bar face mask on the helmet, as multi-bar face masks became the norm in the NFL. Theismann also wore the single-bar throughout his career. Kilmer finished his 18-year NFL career with 1,585 completions in 2,984 attempts for 20,495 yards and 154 touchdowns, with 146 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,509 yards and 21 touchdowns, caught 27 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown, and punted the ball 16 times for 598 yards.
It was during the 1970 season, his last in New Orleans, that rumors stirred that Kilmer missed curfew before a game against the Denver Broncos and that his Saints teammates had nicknamed him "Ole Whiskey." That reputation had been noted by Saints owner John Mecom, Jr., who mentioned Kilmer's many late-hour visits to New Orleans bars while playing for the team.[ citation needed ]
Kilmer's most memorable night on the town came early Monday morning December 6, 1971 after beating the Giants 23–7. He got arrested at the Toddle House, a coffee shop in Arlington, Virginia. Apparently, Kilmer and unidentified female friend attempted to pay a $4 tab with a $100 bill and an argument ensued with their waitress.A local police officer named Edmund D. Sheroshick showed up, and Kilmer, told the policeman, “If you think I’m wrong, put me in jail!” Officer Sheroshick did exactly that, but Kilmer was released in plenty of time for his next team practice. In the next few days, Kilmer won the hearts of fans by leading the Redskins to a 38-24 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football which clinched a playoff berth, and also by telling the waitress she could keep the $100 as a tip. Ironically, Officer Sheroshick was disciplined after getting into an altercation of his own on early Christmas Eve morning at the exact same Toddle House. Even though he was off-duty and was not drunk, the officer had violated his department's rules by driving his cruiser while drinking.
On December 11, 1976, Kilmer was arrested for drunk driving less than two days before a game against the Dallas Cowboys.He was released in time to lead the Redskins to a 27-13 victory on Sunday, December 12, on the road at Texas Stadium.
Following his retirement, Kilmer stayed on the fringes while working for a gambling service that made selections on NFL games, but has since stayed out of the spotlight. Kilmer served as coach of the Shreveport Steamers of the American Football Association (a summer professional league) in 1979 and commissioner of the same league in 1981, but left as a result of numerous problems under his tenure as well as a lack of payment. He occasionally makes appearances in Mobile, Alabama, in support of the GMAC Bowl.
Kilmer was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987
Super Bowl VII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1972 season. The Dolphins defeated the Redskins by the score of 14–7, and became the first and still the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect undefeated season. They also remain the only Super Bowl champion to win despite having been shut out in the second half of the game. The game was played on January 14, 1973 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. At kickoff, the temperature was 84 °F (29 °C), making the game the warmest Super Bowl.
Super Bowl VIII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1973 season. The Dolphins defeated the Vikings by the score of 24–7 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl, the first team to do so since the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowls I and II, and the first AFL/AFC team to do so.
Super Bowl XVII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1982 season. The Redskins defeated the Dolphins 27–17 to win their first Super Bowl championship. The game was played on January 30, 1983 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Super Bowl XVIII was an American football game played on January 22, 1984 at Tampa Stadium between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion and defending Super Bowl XVII champion Washington Redskins and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Los Angeles Raiders to determine the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1983 season. The Raiders defeated the Redskins, 38–9. The Raiders' 38 points scored and 29-point margin of victory broke Super Bowl records; it remains the most points scored by an AFC team in a Super Bowl. This was the first time the city of Tampa hosted the Super Bowl and was the AFC's last Super Bowl win until Super Bowl XXXII, won by the Denver Broncos. As of 2019 it is the only Super Bowl won by a Los Angeles-based NFL team.
Richard Joseph Gannon is a former American football quarterback who played eighteen seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He is a sports commentator with CBS Sports.
Christian Adolph Jurgensen III, known better as Sonny Jurgensen, is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Joseph Robert Theismann is an American former professional gridiron football player, sports commentator, corporate speaker and restaurateur. He played quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL). Theismann spent 12 seasons with the Washington Redskins, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler and helped the team to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XVII over the Miami Dolphins and losing Super Bowl XVIII. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1982 season began on January 8, 1983. The postseason tournament concluded with the Washington Redskins defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, 27–17, on January 30, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1971 season began on December 25, 1971. The postseason tournament concluded with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, 24–3, on January 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1972 season began on December 23, 1972. The postseason tournament concluded with the Miami Dolphins defeating the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII, 14–7, on January 14, 1973, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California, becoming the only NFL team to finish a championship season undefeated and untied.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1974 season began on December 21, 1974. The postseason tournament concluded with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX, 16–6, on January 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Gustave Joseph Frerotte is a former American football quarterback. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He played college football at Tulsa.
Garabed Sarkis "Garo" Yepremian was a Cypriot-American football placekicker who played in the National Football League for 15 seasons, primarily with the Miami Dolphins. During his nine seasons in Miami, Yepremian was named to two Pro Bowls, twice received first-team All-Pro honors, and helped the Dolphins win two Super Bowl titles. Yepremian's first championship victory in Super Bowl VII occurred as a member of the 1972 Dolphins, the only undefeated team of the Super Bowl era. He also played for the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring in 1981.
The Cowboys–Washington rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Redskins. In 2005, Sports Illustrated called it the top NFL rivalry of all time and "one of the greatest in sports." ESPN ranked it the best rivalry in the NFL. The Sportster has ranked it the 17th biggest rivalry in the world. During the tenure of this rivalry, the two franchises have won 32 combined division titles and eight combined Super Bowls. They are two of the wealthiest franchises in the NFL. The rivalry started in 1960 when the Cowboys joined the league as an expansion team. During that year they were in separate conferences, but played once during the season. In 1961, Dallas was placed in the same division as Washington, and from that point on, they have played each other twice in every regular season.
The 1987 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 27th year in the National Football League. A players' strike caused the cancellation of the September 27 game at the Kansas City Chiefs, while the games played on October 4, 11 and 18 were played with replacement players. The Vikings finished with an 8–7 record.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins season was the team's seventh season, and third season in the National Football League (NFL). The 1972 Dolphins are the only NFL team to win the Super Bowl with a perfect season. The undefeated campaign was led by coach Don Shula and notable players Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, and Larry Csonka. The 1972 Dolphins went 14–0 in the regular season and won all three postseason games, including Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins, to finish 17–0.
Tracy O'Neil Porter is a former American football cornerback. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. With the Saints, he won Super Bowl XLIV against the Indianapolis Colts, sealing the game with a memorable interception returned for a touchdown. He played college football at Indiana.
The 1982 Miami Dolphins season was the team's seventeenth in the National Football League. The team was coming off an unexpected 11–4–1 1981 season and a devastating loss to the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional Round the previous season in a game dubbed the Epic in Miami. The Dolphins had clinched the 2 seed and were picked by many to reach the Super Bowl during the 1981 season. Because of the high number of picks to reach the Super Bowl the previous season, many more fans picked them to win it during the 1982 season. The Dolphins looked to improve on their 11–4–1 record from 1981. However, a players strike cancelled 7 of the team's 16 games. Because of this, the NFL schedule was shrunk to 9 games. The Dolphins started out fresh, winning their first 2 games prior to the strike. When season play resumed 2 months later, the Dolphins defeated the Buffalo Bills 9–7 in Buffalo to clinch a 3–0 start. After a loss to Tampa Bay, they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 22–14. The next week, they lost a brisk game against the Patriots 3–0 in a game called the Snowplow Game. The Dolphins would then win 3 straight games to end the season 7–2, tied for second in the AFC with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins won 2nd place over them by virtue of a series of tiebreakers. In the playoffs, they defeated the Patriots in a rematch by the score of 28–13. They then defeated the Chargers in a rematch of the 1981 Divisional Playoffs by a score of 34–13. In the AFC Championship game, they shutout the Jets, 14–0 to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1973. In Super Bowl XVII, they lost to the Redskins 27–17 in a rematch of Super Bowl VII which concluded Miami's perfect 1972 season.
Alfred Joseph Jenkins is a former professional American football player who played offensive lineman for three seasons for the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Houston Oilers.