Dan Conners

Last updated
Dan Conners
No. 60, 55
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Born:(1942-02-06)February 6, 1942
St. Marys, Pennsylvania
Died:April 28, 2019(2019-04-28) (aged 77)
San Luis Obispo, California
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
College: Miami
NFL Draft: 1964  / Round: 5 / Pick: 70
(by the Chicago Bears) [1]
AFL draft: 1964  / Round: 2 / Pick: 15
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Daniel Joseph Conners (February 6, 1942 – April 28, 2019) was a college and professional American Football player who played 11 seasons as linebacker for the American Football League's Oakland Raiders from 1964 through 1969, and for the Raiders in the National Football League (NFL) from 1970 through 1974, including Super Bowl II vs. the Packers.

Contents

He played college football at the University of Miami and is enshrined in their Hall of Fame.

Early years

Born in Clearfield Florida, Conners was raised in St. Marys, Pennsylvania and was a 1959 graduate of St. Marys high school. He led the Flying Dutchmen to undefeated seasons in 1957 and 1958 as a fullback and center while also earning varsity letters in wrestling and baseball.

That got the attention of the University of Miami (Fla.) where Conners began his college career as a center on the freshman team. He then moved to offensive tackle and then started to make a significant impact on the defensive side of the ball at tackle.

The eventual University of Miami Hall of Famer was 6-foot-2, 240 pounds by his senior year and broke the season record for tackles at that time with 57 tackles and 38 assists in 1962. In 1963, Conners was named an All-American defensive tackle.

Pro career

In the spring of 1964, Conner was drafted twice — by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round (70th pick) in the NFL draft and by the Raiders in the second round (15th overall) of the AFL or American Football League draft.

Conners signed with the Raiders and started an 11-year career that continued through 1974. Conners moved to middle linebacker and helped anchor the defensive unit that helped lead the team to the playoffs seven of Conners’ 11 seasons, 13 games in all.

In 1967, Conners and the Raiders reached the Super Bowl after going 13–1 in the AFL and beating the Houston Oilers, 40–7, for the league title as Conners had a fumble recovery. Against the powerful NFL champion Green Bay Packers in the second-ever Super Bowl, the Raiders lost 33–14.

The next year, the Raiders reached the AFL title game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Jets, 27–23. During the regular season, Conners played in the infamous “Heidi Bowl” where the Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final minute of a 43–32 win. However, NBC pre-empted the fantastic finish to go to its regular-scheduled feature film Heidi, causing predictable outrage.

The Raiders reached the AFL title game again in 1969 and lost to another eventual Super Bowl champion, this time hated rival Kansas City, 17–7. Conners recovered a fumble in the loss. Once again in 1970 now in the American Football Conference after the merger of the NFL and AFL, the Raiders lost again in the conference championship game to another eventual Super Bowl champion as the Raiders lost 17–7 to the Baltimore Colts.

Oakland missed the playoffs in 1971 and reached the postseason again in 1972, winning the AFC West with a 10-3-1 record. In the first round of the playoffs, the Raiders locked up with an emerging power and arch-rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium. In what was dubbed the Immaculate Reception game, it was Conners and the Raiders losing 13–7 on the final play of the game when Franco Harris grabbed a deflected pass out of the air and rambled into the end zone for the miracle finish. The Steelers wound up losing to the eventual unbeaten Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins the next week.

Back again in 1973, the Raiders won the AFC West, avenged the loss to the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs and lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dolphins in the conference final, 27–10.

Conners’ final season of 1974 saw the Raiders win the AFC West once again with a 12–2 mark, the best record in the NFL. After beating the defending champion Dolphins 28–26 in the first round in the famous " Sea of Hands " game, the Raiders lost at home to another eventual Super Bowl champion as the Steelers, down 10-3 going into the fourth quarter, outscored the Raiders 21–3 in the final quarter to win 24–13. The Steelers went on to win their first Super Bowl, beating the Vikings, 16–6.

Conners appeared in 141 games with the Raiders, 110 of them as a starter. While tackles weren't considered an official statistic until much later, Conners had 15 interceptions, returning three of them for touchdowns and he recovered 16 fumbles, returning two for scores.

Conners made several postseason All-Pro teams, mostly during a stretch from 1967 through 1969. He was a second-team all-AFL pick in 1967 by the Association Press, United Press International and The Sporting News. In 1968, he earned first-team All-AFL honors by UPI and Pro Football Weekly and second team by the AP. In 1969, he was a first-team All-AFL pick by The Sporting News and second team by the AP.

Conners was named as one of the six linebackers on the AFL Hall of Fame All-1960 Team, joining the likes of Bobby Bell, Nick Buoniconti, George Webster, Larry Grantham and Mike Stratton. The Chiefs’ Bell and the Dolphins’ Buoniconti are Pro Football Hall of Famers.

In Conners’ 11 seasons, the Raiders won seven division titles and compiled a 105-38-11 regulat-season record (.718 winning percentage). He was foundational piece of the Raiders’ defense over that period. Two years after he retired, the Raiders won their first Super Bowl title against the Vikings in 1976.

Later years

After his retirement, Conners remained in football as an assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers and a scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before returning to the Raiders organization as a scout. He lived in the Oakland area and served more than 25 years with the Raiders. He died on April 28, 2019 at the age of 77. [2] [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Super Bowl VI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1971 season. The Cowboys defeated the Dolphins by the score of 24–3, to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. Despite the southerly location, it was unseasonably cold at the time, with the kickoff air temperature of 39 °F (4 °C) making this the coldest Super Bowl played.

Super Bowl VII

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.

Jim Otto

James Edwin Otto is an American former professional football player who was a center for the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility.

Nick Buoniconti

Nicholas Anthony Buoniconti was an American professional football player who was a middle linebacker in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). He played for the Boston Patriots and Miami Dolphins, winning two Super Bowls with the Dolphins. Buoniconti was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Ted Hendricks

Theodore Paul Hendricks is a Guatemalan-American former American football player who was a Defensive end for 15 seasons with the Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers, and the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders in the National Football League (NFL). He was a member of four Super Bowl-winning teams, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990 after being elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He is distinguished as being the first Guatemalan-born player in the NFL.

AFC Championship Game Semi-final championship football game in NFL

The AFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the American Football Conference (AFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January by the two remaining playoff teams, following the AFC postseason's first two rounds. The AFC champion then advances to face the winner of the NFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

Joey Porter American football player

Joseph Eugene Porter is a former American football linebacker who played 13 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), and is a former outside linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After playing college football at Colorado State, he was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Porter earned a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks. He played for the Miami Dolphins from 2007 to 2009 and the Arizona Cardinals from 2010 to 2011.

Willie Edward Lanier is an American former professional football player who was a middle linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967 through 1977. He won postseason honors for eight consecutive years, making the American Football League All-Star team in 1968 and 1969 before being selected to the Pro Bowl from 1970 through 1975.

1977–78 NFL playoffs NFL seasonal playoff games

The National Football League playoffs for the 1977 season began on December 24, 1977. The postseason tournament concluded with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII, 27–10, on January 15, 1978, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

James Kent Hull was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League and United States Football League, more precisely a center for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL and Buffalo Bills of the NFL.

History of the New England Patriots Sports team history

The history of the New England Patriots began when Boston business executive William "Billy" Sullivan and Sullivan Brother Printers, owned by Joseph Sullivan, were awarded the eighth and final franchise of the developing American Football League (AFL) on November 16, 1959. The other initial investors in the team were John Ames, Dean Boylan, Dom DiMaggio, Dan Marr, Ed McMann, George Sargent, Paul Sonnabend, and Edgar Turner. Each of the 10 founders invested $30,000 to capitalize the team.

The 2005 Denver Broncos season was the franchise's 36th season in the National Football League and the 46th overall.

Bryan Cox

Bryan Keith Cox Sr. is an American football coach and former player. His most recent position was as the defensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Western Illinois University, a small college football program, but received attention for his aggressive style of play. Although Cox was a relatively late fifth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in the 1991 NFL Draft, he rose to prominence as a standout linebacker during his twelve NFL seasons from 1991 through 2002. He was a three-time pro bowler with the Miami Dolphins, and was also a member of the New England Patriots club that won Super Bowl XXXVI.

Lawrence Timmons American football linebacker

Lawrence Olajuwon Timmons is a former American football linebacker. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He would later win Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals. He played college football at Florida State.

The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football franchise based in the Miami metropolitan area. The Dolphins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The Dolphins team was founded by attorney-politician Joe Robbie and actor-comedian Danny Thomas. They began play in the AFL in 1966. The region had not had a professional football team since the days of the Miami Seahawks, who played in the All-America Football Conference in 1946 before becoming the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts.

1972 Miami Dolphins season Seventh season in Miami Dolphins franchise history; first Super Bowl win and only perfect season in NFL history

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.

The 1973 Miami Dolphins season was the franchise's eighth season and fourth season in the National Football League (NFL). The team entered the 1973 season as defending Super Bowl champion following its undefeated 1972 season.

Donta Hightower American football inside linebacker

Qualin Dont'a Hightower is an American football inside linebacker for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Alabama, was recognized as an All-American, and was a member of two BCS National Championship teams and was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Hightower, who is noted for his versatility, can play both middle and outside linebacker. He won Super Bowl XLIX, Super Bowl LI, and Super Bowl LIII with the Patriots.

Kyle Van Noy American football linebacker

Kyle Van Noy is an American football linebacker for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft after playing college football at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he was recognized as a third team All-American.

References

  1. "1964 Chicago Bears". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on April 9, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2020.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. Petrochko, Kevin. "A former super bowl champion with local roots has died". wearecentralpa.com. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  3. Daniel Joseph Conners