|No. 64, 22, 16|
|Position:|| Quarterback |
|Born:||September 17, 1927|
|Died:||September 27, 2010 83) (aged|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school:||Youngwood (PA)|
|NFL Draft:||1949 / Round: 12 / Pick: 119|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career professional statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
George Frederick Blanda (September 17, 1927 – September 27, 2010) was an American football quarterback and placekicker who played professionally in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). Blanda played 26 seasons of professional football, the most in the sport's history, and had scored more points than anyone in history at the time of his retirement.
Blanda retired from pro football in August 1976 as the oldest player to ever play at the age of 48.The only player to play in four different decades, he holds the record for most extra points made (943) and attempted (959). During his career, he played under head coaches Bear Bryant, George Halas, Clem Crowe, Lou Rymkus, Wally Lemm, Pop Ivy, Sammy Baugh, Hugh Taylor and John Madden.
Blanda was a quarterback and kicker at Kentucky from 1945-1948. Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who later won fame and set countless records at Southeastern Conference rival Alabama, arrived in his sophomore year, following a 1–9 season in 1945. The Wildcats only lost three games in each of the next three years.
Blanda was the starting quarterback his last two seasons at Kentucky (1947–1948), compiling 120 completions in 242 passes (49.6 percent completions), 1,451 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Blanda was signed by the Chicago Bears for $600 in 1949, an amount owner George Halas demanded back when he made the team. Blanda was given a lucrative contract of $6000, as the $600 was just a sign on bonus. While primarily used as a quarterback and placekicker, Blanda also saw time on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker. It was not until 1953 that Blanda emerged as the Bears' top quarterback, but an injury the following year effectively ended his first-string status. For the next four years, he was used mostly in a kicking capacity. Later commenting on his testy relationship with Halas, Blanda noted, "he was too cheap to even buy me a kicking shoe."Blanda later reflected that by the 1950s the pro game had moved beyond Halas, who seemed to lack the interest he had earlier.
Blanda retired after the 1958 season because of Halas' insistence on only using him as a kicker, but returned in 1960 upon the formation of the American Football League. He signed with the Houston Oilers as both a quarterback and kicker. He was derided by the sports media as an "NFL Reject", but he went on to lead the Oilers to the first two league titles in AFL history, and he was the All-AFL quarterback and won AFL Player of the Year honors in 1961. During that season, he led the AFL in passing yards (3,330) and touchdown passes (36). His 36 touchdown passes in 1961 were the most ever thrown by any NFL/AFL quarterback in a single season, until matched by Y. A. Tittle of the NFL New York Giants two years later in 1963. Blanda's and Tittle's mark remained the record until surpassed by Dan Marino's 48 touchdown passes in 1984. Blanda's 42 interceptions thrown in 1962 is a record that still stands.
During 1962, he had two 400-yard passing days for the Oilers: a 464-yard effort against the Buffalo Bills on October 29, with four touchdown passes (winning 28–16); and 418 yards three weeks later against the Titans of New York, this time with seven touchdown passes in a 49–13 victory. Blanda passed for 36 touchdowns that season. On 13 occasions, he connected on four or more touchdown passes during a game, and on November 1, 1964, unleashed 68 passes for Houston against the eventual champion Buffalo Bills.
From 1963 to 1965, Blanda led the AFL in passing attempts and completions, and ranked in the top ten for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns during seven consecutive seasons. A four-time AFL All-Star, Blanda's already-long career seemed over when he was released by the Oilers on March 18, 1967. However, the Oakland Raiders signed him that July, seeing his potential as a contributing backup passer and a dependable kicker.
In later years, Blanda remained a strong supporter of AFL heritage, saying: "That first year, the Houston Oilers or Los Angeles Chargers (24–16 losers to the Oilers in the title game) could have beaten the NFL champion (Philadelphia) in a Super Bowl." Blanda said further: "I think the AFL was capable of beating the NFL in a Super Bowl game as far back as 1960 or '61. I just regret we didn't get the chance to prove it."
In 1967, Blanda's first season with the Raiders, his kicking skills helped him lead the AFL in scoring with 116 points. In two instances, his leg helped play a role in Raider victories: a trio of field goals helped upset the defending league champion Kansas City Chiefs on October 1; in the closing weeks of the regular season, Blanda booted four field goals behind a hostile Houston crowd in a 19–7 victory over his former team, the Oilers, helping gain a measure of revenge. Three weeks later, the Raiders met the Oilers again in the AFL Championship Game and won 40–7.
The Raiders went on to compete in Super Bowl II, but lost the final two AFL Championship games in the ten-year history of the league.
In 1970, Blanda was released during the exhibition season, but bounced back to establish his 21st professional season. During that season, Blanda, at age 43, had a remarkable five-game run. Against the Steelers, Blanda threw for three touchdowns in relief of an injured Daryle Lamonica. One week later, his 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining salvaged a 17–17 tie with the Kansas City Chiefs. On November 8, he again came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass to tie the Cleveland Browns with 1:34 remaining, then kicked a 53-yard field goal with 0:03 left for the 23–20 win. Immediately after the winning field goal, Raiders radio announcer Bill King excitedly declared, "George Blanda has just been elected King of the World!"In the team's next game, Blanda replaced Lamonica in the fourth quarter and connected with Fred Biletnikoff on a touchdown pass with 2:28 left in the game to defeat the Denver Broncos, 24–19. The following week, Blanda's 16-yard field goal in the closing seconds defeated the San Diego Chargers, 20–17.
In the AFC title game against the Baltimore Colts, Blanda again relieved an injured Lamonica, completing 17 of 32 passes for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns while also kicking a 48-yard field goal and two extra points, keeping the Raiders in the game until the final quarter, when he was intercepted twice. Aged 43, he became the oldest quarterback ever to play in a championship game, and was one of the few remaining straight-ahead kickers in the NFL.
Blanda's achievements resulted in his winning the Bert Bell Award. Chiefs' owner Lamar Hunt said, "Why, this George Blanda is as good as his father, who used to play for Houston." Although he never again played a major role at quarterback, Blanda served as the Raiders' kicker for five more seasons. Blanda was also named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, being the first-ever professional football player to earn the award.
He played in his last game at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium on January 4, 1976, at age 48,in the 1975 AFC Championship Game, in which he kicked a 41-yard field goal and made one extra point as the Raiders lost to the Steelers 16–10. He was released during training camp in late August 1976, succeeded at kicker by rookie Fred Steinfort, but pulled for the team as the Raiders went on to win the NFL title that season in Super Bowl XI. (Steinfort was injured in mid-season, and was replaced by 35-year-old veteran Errol Mann.)
Career high/best bolded
|Regular season statistics|
|Year||Team (record)||GP||GS||QB Record||Comp||Att||Pct||Yds||TD||Int||Lng||Rtg||Att||Yds||TD||FGM||FGA||FG%||XPM||XPA||XP%|
|Career (26 seasons)||340||106||53−50−1||1,911||4,007||47.7||26,920||236||277||95||60.6||135||344||9||335||639||52.4||943||959||98.3||2,002|
Blanda finished his 26 professional football seasons having completed 1,911 of 4,007 pass attempts for 26,920 yards and 236 touchdowns. Blanda also held the NFL record for most interceptions thrown with 277, until Brett Favre broke it on October 14, 2007. He rushed for 344 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground, kicked 335 of 641 field goals, and 943 of 959 extra points, giving him 2,002 total points. Additional stats include 1 interception, 2 kickoff returns for 19 yards, 22 punts for 809 yards, and 23 fumble recoveries.
Blanda holds the following professional football records:
He is the placekicker on the All-Time All-AFL Team, and was one of only 20 players to play all ten years of the AFL, as well as one of only three who were in every AFL game their teams played. Blanda was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, his first year of eligibility, and also was inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame.
Blanda held the record for most professional football games played with 340 until September 26, 2004, when it was broken by another placekicker, Morten Andersen as well as the record for most consecutive games playeduntil September 26, 1976, by defensive end Jim Marshall. He still holds the record for most games played by an AFL/NFL player who was not exclusively a kicker or punter. His 114 postseason points were an NFL record at the time of his retirement.
Blanda broke Lou Groza's career scoring record in 1971, a record he held until 2000 when it was broken by Gary Anderson. Blanda's 2,002 total points are still good for 7th on the all-time scoring list.
U.S. Route 119 in Blanda's hometown of Youngwood, Pennsylvania was renamed George Blanda Boulevard in 1985.
In 1999, Blanda was ranked number 98 on The Sporting News ' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
Blanda was the first-ever recorded fantasy football draft pick when the game was first created in 1962 by The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League.
Blanda was the son of a Slovak-born Pittsburgh-area coal miner.[ citation needed ] He was married to Betty Harris from December 17, 1949, until his death on September 27, 2010, ten days after his 83rd birthday. They had two children. Harris-Blanda survives him, besides the children.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Blanda died after a "short illness" on September 27, 2010.He was 83 years old. A moment of silence was held in Blanda's honor prior to the start of the September 27, 2010, game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football , from Soldier Field.
The 1970s TV series Happy Days was set in 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the Season 3 episode "Football Frolics", first aired January 20, 1976, Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard) and Ralph Malph (Donny Most) are watching the December 9, 1956, Chicago Bears – Chicago Cardinals televised game. After Ed Brown's pass to Harlon Hill is intercepted by the Cardinals, Richie wants "the other quarterback" put in. Ralph says that the other quarterback is "washed up. He's old. He's 30. He's got no future." Richie argues back, "George Blanda has two or three good years left." The joke was that Blanda, 19 years after the date depicted in the show, was still playing.
The second AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional football, known retroactively as Super Bowl II, was played on January 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The National Football League (NFL)'s defending champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Oakland Raiders by the score of 33–14. This game and Super Bowl III are the only two Super Bowl games to be played in back-to-back years in the same stadium.
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 2021 it is the only Super Bowl won by a Los Angeles-based NFL team.
John Willard Hadl is a former American football player, a quarterback in the American Football League and National Football League for sixteen seasons, with the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Houston Oilers. He also served as a punter for five seasons. He was an AFL All-Star four times and was selected to two Pro Bowls. Hadl played collegiately at the University of Kansas, and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Daryle Pasquale Lamonica is a former American football quarterback who played in the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons, primarily with the Oakland Raiders. He spent his first four seasons mostly as a backup for the Buffalo Bills, who selected in the 24th round of the 1963 AFL Draft. Lamonica played his next eight seasons as the primary starter of the Raiders, including after they joined the NFL through the AFL–NFL merger.
Leonard Ray Dawson is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) for 19 seasons, primarily with the Kansas City Chiefs franchise. Dawson began his professional career in 1957 with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL and also played for the Cleveland Browns. He left the NFL in 1962 to sign with the AFL's Chiefs, where he spent the last 14 seasons of his career, and rejoined the NFL after the AFL–NFL merger.
Frederick S. Biletnikoff is a former gridiron football player and coach. He was a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons and later an assistant coach with the team. He retired as an NFL player after the 1978 season, and then played one additional season in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Montreal Alouettes in 1980. While he lacked the breakaway speed to be a deep-play threat, Biletnikoff was one of the most sure-handed and consistent receivers of his day, with a propensity for making spectacular catches. He was also known for running smooth, precise pass routes. He is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988) and College Football Hall of Fame (1991).
Ronald Vincent Jaworski is a former American football quarterback. He was also an NFL analyst on ESPN. He is the CEO of Ron Jaworski Golf Management, Inc., based out of Blackwood, New Jersey, and manages golf courses in southern New Jersey, northeast Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He also owned part interest in the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League, where he also served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the league. Jaworski was nicknamed "Jaws" by Philadelphia 76ers player Doug Collins prior to Super Bowl XV.
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.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1970 season began on December 26, 1970. The postseason tournament concluded with the Baltimore Colts defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V, 16–13, on January 17, 1971, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.
Willie Lee Thrower was an American football quarterback. Born near Pittsburgh in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Thrower was known as "Mitts" because of his large hands and arm strength, which stood in contrast to his 5' 11" frame. He was known to toss a football 70 yards. Thrower was a part of the 1952 Michigan State Spartans who won the national championship. He became one of the first National Football League (NFL) African American quarterbacks in the modern era, playing for the Chicago Bears in 1953.
Charles Edward Brown was an American football quarterback and punter in the National Football League.
The 1960 Oakland Raiders season was the inaugural one for the franchise and for the American Football League (AFL). Head coach Eddie Erdelatz led the team to a 6–8 finish, third out of four teams in the Western Division.
The 1967 Oakland Raiders season was the team's eighth in Oakland. Under the command of second-year head coach John Rauch, the Raiders went 13–1 and captured their first Western Division title. The addition of strong-armed quarterback Daryle Lamonica greatly energized the Raiders' vertical passing game. Additionally, the Raiders added Gene Upshaw, Willie Brown, and George Blanda to their roster as well as linebackers coach John Madden during the 1967 offseason. All four would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Otis Taylor is a former American college and professional American football player, for Prairie View A&M University and the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 215 pounds, Taylor possessed sure hands during his career and served as a devastating downfield blocker, springing Chiefs running backs for many long runs.
Mark Johnston is a former professional football cornerback who played five professional seasons 1960-1964 in the American Football League with the Houston Oilers, New York Jets, and the Oakland Raiders. He was an American Football League All-Star in 1961, and was with the Oilers in the first three AFL Championship games, winning the title in 1960 and 1961.
The 1962 Season was the 3rd season for the San Diego Chargers as a professional AFL franchise; the team failed to improve on their 12–2 record from 1961. The Chargers finished third in the AFL West at 4–10 that season. At the time it was their worst ever season; this would be the only time the Chargers would endure a losing season during their AFL days. The slip from 12 wins to 4 still represents the worst season-to-season decline in Charger history.
The 1961 San Diego Chargers season was the team's second in the American Football League. It was the Chargers' first season in San Diego, where the team remained until 2017. The Chargers won their first eleven games and clinched the Western Division by mid-November, but only managed one victory in December. Like the previous season, the Chargers' season ended with a loss to the Houston Oilers in the AFL championship game, this time 10–3 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego.
The 1960 Los Angeles Chargers season was the team's inaugural season and also the inaugural season of the American Football League (AFL). Head coach Sid Gillman led the Chargers to the AFL Western Division title with a 10–4 record, in the team's only season in Los Angeles until its 2017 return, with its home field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The 1970 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 11th season in Oakland. It was also their first season as members of the NFL. The Raiders would ultimately win their fourth consecutive division title. They advanced to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Baltimore Colts.
The Broncos–Raiders rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders. Both teams compete in the American Football Conference (AFC) West division. Since the American Football League was established in 1960, the Broncos and the Raiders have shared the same division, first being the AFL Western Conference, and since the AFL–NFL merger, the AFC West.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Blanda .|
| American Football League MVP |
Len Dawson & Cookie Gilchrist
| Career NFL points record holder|