Mike Stratton

Last updated

Mike Stratton
No. 58
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Born:(1941-04-10)April 10, 1941
Vonore, Tennessee
Died:March 25, 2020(2020-03-25) (aged 78)
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:224 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Tellico Plains
(Tellico Plains, Tennessee)
College: Tennessee
AFL draft: 1962  / Round: 13 / Pick: 100
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

David Michael Stratton (April 10, 1941 – March 25, 2020) was an American professional football player who was a linebacker for 12 seasons in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). He won two AFL championships with the Buffalo Bills, where he was a six-time AFL All-Star. He was named to the AFL All-Time Second Team.

Contents

Stratton played college football for the Tennessee Volunteers. He played professionally for 11 years with the Bills and spent his final season with the San Diego Chargers.

Early life

Stratton attended Tellico Plains High in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, a hamlet in the Great Smoky Mountains region. [1] [2] Football players there did not attract college recruiters, and Tellico Plains athletes rarely went to college. Stratton played tackle, fullback and wingback. [1]

Stratton received a scholarship from Volunteers coach Bowden Wyatt to play at the University of Tennessee. [1] He was a two-way player with Tennessee, playing tight end on offense and defensive end on defense. [3]

Professional career

Drafted out of college by the Buffalo Bills in the 13th round of the 1962 AFL draft, Stratton was selected as an AFL All-Star six straight seasons from 1963 through 1968. [2] [4] Bills coach Lou Saban teamed him with Harry Jacobs and John Tracey to form one of the best linebacking crews, playing together for 62 consecutive games from 1963 through 1967, a pro football record. They helped the Bills defense hold opposing teams without a 100-yard rusher for seventeen consecutive games in 1964 and 1965, capturing AFL championships in both years. [5]

In the 1964 AFL Championship Game against the San Diego Chargers, Stratton made the memorable "hit heard 'round the world". [6] San Diego's Keith Lincoln had a 38-yard run on the game's opening play. The Chargers were leading 7–0 when Stratton drove his shoulder into Lincoln's midsection, breaking the star running back's ribs and knocking him out of the game. [4] [6] The Bills shut out San Diego for the rest of the game, and won 20–7. [6] In the closing minutes of the first half with Buffalo leading 13–7, the Chargers drove to the Bills' 15, but Stratton intercepted a Tobin Rote pass to end the threat. Rote and San Diego coach Sid Gillman called the turnover a decisive play. [7]

Stratton played 11 seasons for the Bills before ending his career with the Chargers in 1973. He finished his career with 21 interceptions—18 with the Bills and 3 with the Chargers. [4] He was selected to the AFL All-Time Second Team. [8]

Later years

After football, Stratton became an executive with insurance company Crump Associates in Knoxville, Tennessee. [9]

On March 25, 2020, Stratton died at age 78 from heart complications after a recent fall. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

American Football League Professional football league that merged with National Football League in 1970

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1970, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.

Los Angeles Chargers National Football League franchise in Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Chargers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The Chargers play their home games at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, which the club shares with the Los Angeles Rams.

Sid Gillman

Sidney Gillman was an American football player, coach and executive. Gillman's insistence on stretching the football field by throwing deep downfield passes, instead of short passes to running backs or wide receivers at the sides of the line of scrimmage, was instrumental in making football into the modern game that it is today.

Keith Payson Lincoln was an American professional football player who was a running back for eight seasons in the American Football League (AFL). He played college football for the Washington State Cougars before choosing to play with the San Diego Chargers in the AFL over the established National Football League (NFL). Lincoln was a two-time All-AFL selection and a five-time AFL All-Star. A member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, he won an AFL championship with San Diego in 1963, when he was named the most valuable player (MVP) of the championship game. He had a stint with the Buffalo Bills before returning to San Diego and finishing his career.

Ron Mix

Ronald Jack Mix is an American former professional football player who was an offensive tackle. He is a member of the American Football League (AFL) All-Time Team, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Charles B. Joiner Jr. is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons. He is best known for his career with the San Diego Chargers, with whom he spent 11 seasons. Before joining the Chargers, he played for the Houston Oilers and Cincinnati Bengals each for four seasons. He retired with the most career receptions, receiving yards, and games played of any wide receiver in NFL history. Joiner was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

For its first nine seasons, 1960 through 1968, the American Football League determined its champion via a single playoff game between the winners of its two divisions.

Tobin Rote American football quarterback

Tobin Cornelius Rote was an American football player who played quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL), the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL), and the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos of the American Football League (AFL).

The 1961 National Football League draft took place at the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia on December 27–28, 1960. The league would later hold an expansion draft for the Minnesota Vikings expansion franchise, and the Vikings were also awarded the first selection position in this draft. This draft was also the first regular draft for the Dallas Cowboys as they had only participated in the 1960 NFL expansion draft that year. The Cowboys held the worst record in the NFL the previous season, but selected second in this draft because of the entry of the Vikings into the league.

The 1962 National Football League draft was held on December 4, 1961 at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

History of the San Diego Chargers Sports team history

The professional American football team now known as the Los Angeles Chargers previously played in San Diego, California as the San Diego Chargers from 1961 to 2017 before relocating back to Los Angeles where the team played their inaugural season. The Chargers franchise relocated from Los Angeles to San Diego in 1961. The Chargers' first home game in San Diego was at Balboa Stadium against the Oakland Raiders on September 17, 1961. Their final game as a San Diego-based club was played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego at the end of the 2016 season against the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated them 37–27.

1965 American Football League Championship Game

The 1965 American Football League Championship Game was the sixth AFL championship game, played on December 26 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California.

1964 American Football League Championship Game

The 1964 American Football League Championship Game was the American Football League's fifth championship game, played at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, December 26.

Richard Clark Redman is a retired American football player, a linebacker with the San Diego Chargers for nine seasons, five in the American Football League and four in National Football League.

Reginald Howard "Stretch" Carolan was an American football player, a tight end in the American Football League (AFL). He played seven seasons (1962–1968), the last five with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jack Duane Laraway was an American football linebacker who played in the American Football League. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, class of 1997.

1979 San Diego Chargers season

The 1979 San Diego Chargers season was the team's 20th season, and tenth in the National Football League. Their 12–4 record was tied for the best in the league in 1979.

The 1965 Buffalo Bills season was the team’s sixth season in the American Football League. Though not as statistically dominant as the previous season, the Bills won a second consecutive league championship.

The 1962 Buffalo Bills season was the team’s third season in the American Football League. The Bills finished the season with a 7–6–1 record, third place in the AFL East; it was the Bills' first-ever season finishing with a winning record.

Mike Tolbert American football fullback

William Michael Tolbert is a former American football fullback. He was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played college football for Coastal Carolina University. He has also been a member of the Carolina Panthers, where he was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. He signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2017 after being released by the Carolina Panthers.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Johnson, Raymond (September 4, 1961). "'L'l Abner' End Promises Great Things For Vols". The Nashville Tennessean. p. 22. Retrieved March 27, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  2. 1 2 "Mike Stratton Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  3. Miller, Jeffrey J. (2012). "41. The Man Who Made The Hit Heard 'Round The World". 100 Things Bills Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. Triumph Books. ISBN   9781623680183 . Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  4. 1 2 3 Malorana, Sal (March 25, 2020). "Mike Stratton, who made one of the most famous plays in Buffalo Bills history, dies at 78". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  5. "Harry Jacobs". Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 "Mike Stratton". Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  7. "Mike Stratton's 230 Pounds Helped Bills". The Herald-News. AP. December 28, 1964. p. 37. Retrieved March 27, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "The Best Outside Linebackers Not in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame". bleacherreport.com. May 22, 2010. Archived from the original on October 7, 2010.
  9. "Where Are They Now?". Arizona Daily Sun. November 16, 1979. p. 12. Retrieved March 27, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  10. "Bills 50th All-Time team member Mike Stratton passes". www.buffalobills.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.