Garo Yepremian

Last updated

Garo Yepremian
Garo Yepremian 2013.jpg
Yepremian in 2013
No. 1
Position: Placekicker
Personal information
Born:(1944-06-02)June 2, 1944
Larnaca, Cyprus
Died:May 15, 2015(2015-05-15) (aged 70)
Media, Pennsylvania
Height:5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight:175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
College:None
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Field goals:210/313 (67.1%)
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Garabed Sarkis "Garo" Yepremian (June 2, 1944 – May 15, 2015) was an American football placekicker in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, during a career that spanned from 1966 to 1981.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Placekicker player in American and Canadian football who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals and extra points

Placekicker, or simply kicker, is the player in American and Canadian football who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals and extra points. In many cases, the placekicker also serves as the team's kickoff specialist or punter as well.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Contents

Early years

Yepremian was born in Larnaca, Cyprus to Armenian parents. [1]

Larnaca Place in Larnaca District, Cyprus

Larnaca is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the eponymous district. It is the third-largest city in the country, after Nicosia and Limassol, with a metro population of 144,200 in 2015.

Cyprus Island country in Mediterranean

Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

Armenians ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland

Armenians are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.

Yepremian and his brother, Krikor, who attended Indiana University on a soccer scholarship, immigrated to the United States. Yepremian, who had earlier played professional soccer in London, was not eligible to play NCAA soccer.[ citation needed ] After watching some of a football game on television, he decided to pursue an NFL career. With Krikor acting as his agent, he earned a contract with the Detroit Lions. [2]

Indiana University university system, Indiana, U.S.

Indiana University (IU) is a multi-campus public university system in the state of Indiana, United States. Indiana University has a combined student body of more than 110,000 students, which includes approximately 46,000 students enrolled at the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Professional career

Yepremian signed with the Detroit Lions on October 13, 1966. [1]

In his rookie year, he broke an American football record by kicking six field goals in a single game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 13. His talent aside, Yepremian was, nonetheless, at a loss regarding football vernacular and custom. In his first game his coach told him that their team had lost the coin toss, at which point Yepremian ran to midfield and dropped to his knees looking for the coin. [2]

Minnesota Vikings National Football League franchise in Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion team in 1960, and first took the field for the 1961 season. The team competes in the National Football Conference (NFC) North division.

Yepremian was an immediate target to NFL players who considered American football the exclusive realm of Americans. Players were looking to take Yepremian's head off, and before his first kickoff his coach told him to run to the bench as soon as he kicked before his opponents could lay into him. Yepremian kicked off, then in a harried state ran to the wrong bench, finding himself sitting with the opposing team. Yepremian had never worn a helmet and at first decided not to use one with a face mask, but that changed during Week 4 of the 1966 season, when he was knocked to the ground and badly injured by Green Bay Packers linebacker Ray Nitschke. Afterwards, he started using a single-bar mask. [2] He was the last player in the NFL to not wear a facemask on his helmet. [3]

Green Bay Packers National Football League franchise in Green Bay, Wisconsin

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) North division. It is the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1919, and is the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Home games have been played at Lambeau Field since 1957.

Ray Nitschke American football player

Raymond Ernest Nitschke was a professional American football middle linebacker who spent his entire 15-year National Football League (NFL) career with the Green Bay Packers.Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, he was the anchor of the defense for head coach Vince Lombardi in the 1960s, leading the Packers to five NFL championships and victories in the first two Super Bowls.

Face mask (gridiron football) part of a sports helmet that protects the face

In gridiron football, the face mask is the part of the helmet that directly covers the face. It is a major source of protection for the players, made of metal covered either with a rubber or plastic coating.

During one of his early games with the Lions, they were losing but scored a touchdown in the last 10 seconds of the game. Yepremian was sent in to kick the extra point, and he was so excited after converting the point that he went running off the field with his arms raised in celebration. Teammate Alex Karras asked Yepremian, "What the hell are you celebrating?" Yepremian replied with a phrase made famous on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson : "I keek a touchdown". [1] [2]

After the 1967 season, Yepremian left football to enlist in the U.S. Army. [2] When he returned to the Detroit area in 1968, however, the Lions chose not to re-sign him, so Yepremian signed a contract to be a kicker/punter for the Michigan Arrows of the Continental Football League. [4] The Arrows, however, were a disaster on the field (1-11) and at the gate (drawing barely 4,000 fans a game in Detroit) and folded at season's end.

After sitting out the 1969 season, Yepremian earned a spot on the Dolphins roster in 1970. After leading the NFL with 117 points in 1971, he was a key member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins "Perfect Season" team - he was the leading scorer and converted on many clutch field goals to help the Dolphins stay unbeaten. Yepremian appeared in three Super Bowls (VI, VII, and VIII).

Yepremian went to the New Orleans Saints for the 1979 seasons. In 14 games, he made 12 of 16 attempts, with his longest being from 44 yards. He spent his final two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He made 16 of 23 for 1980, his lowest field goal rate since making only 45% in 1977. For 1981, he went 2 for 4 to end his career as he was replaced by Bill Capece.

Over his career, Yepremian was successful on 210 of 313 field goals and 444 of 464 extra points for a total of 1,074 points. He led the league in field-goal accuracy three times.

Highlights: Super Bowl VII

Yepremian is best known for two feats — one famous and one infamous. In a divisional playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas 1971, he kicked a 37-yard field goal 7 minutes and 40 seconds into double overtime, ending the longest game in NFL history and sending the Dolphins to the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Colts (which the Dolphins won to go on to Super Bowl VI). [2]

Despite all of Yepremian's success, many people remember him for an incident in Super Bowl VII in 1973. With his team leading the Washington Redskins 14-0, Yepremian was sent on to the field to kick a field goal with slightly more than two minutes left, which would have put the game out of reach. The field goal attempt was blocked by Bill Brundige, and Yepremian managed to get to the ball before any other player did. Instead of just falling on the ball to preserve the Dolphins' 14-0 lead, he picked it up and frantically attempted to throw a pass. The ball slipped from his hands and went straight up in the air. Yepremian then attempted to bat the ball out of bounds but instead batted it back up in the air, and it went right into the arms of his former Lions teammate, Redskins cornerback Mike Bass, who returned it for a touchdown. The Dolphins managed to hold on to win, 14-7, thus completing the Dolphins' undefeated 1972 season. Yepremian later joked to reporters after the game, "This is the first time the goat of the game is in the winner's locker room." [2]

In the 1973 Pro Bowl, Yepremian kicked five field goals to lead the AFC to a win, and was voted Most Valuable Player in that game. He was elected to another Pro Bowl in 1978, and he kicked twenty consecutive field goals without a miss in 1979. [5]

Accolades

Personal life

Yepremian was a motivational speaker and was the Founder/CEO of the Garo Yepremian Foundation for Brain Tumor Research. [1]

Reebok featured Yepremian and his teammates from the 1972 Dolphins team in a commercial which aired during Super Bowl XLII.

He guest starred in an episode of The Odd Couple in 1974 (called "The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly In Vain").

Garo appeared in the movie Paper Lion (film), as himself.

Death

Yepremian died on the morning of May 15, 2015 from high grade neuroendocrine cancer at the age of 70. [7] [8] [9] He is interred at the Oaklands Cemetery in West Chester, Pennsylvania. [10]

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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 ever played.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Garo Yepremian on Super Bowl Gaffe: "I turned it into a positive"". huffingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gonsalves, Rick (2013). Placekicking in the NFL: A History and Analysis. McFarland. pp. 157–160.
  3. http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/6628/face-of-the-nfl-is-gone-an-ode-to-the-single-bar
  4. http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article21153423.html
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Kicker". garokicker.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  6. "Players:" (PDF). americanfootballassn.com. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  7. Report: Legendary Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian dies
  8. Dolphins Super Bowl kicker Garo Yepremian passes away at 70
  9. Garo Yepremian dies at 70; kicker known for Super Bowl gaffe in 1973
  10. "Garo Yepremian". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 6 April 2019.

Other sources