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Bloviating Zeppelin: Oakland Raider George Blanda: Passes At Age 83

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oakland Raider George Blanda: Passes At Age 83

God bless you sir.

You were the last of a Great Generation, not only in football but in history.

For those too young to know, George Blanda #16 was the Oakland Raider backup quarterback to Kenny "The Snake" Stabler and Daryle Lamonica in the 70s.

With this addendum point: Blanda served in not only the #2 QB position, but he was also the team's kicker. And well into his 40s. He played up to age 48. In fact, he served 26 years in the NFL -- completely unheard-of today! When at the QB position, he was sacked like everyone else. Yet he came back year after year after year -- when the rules were much less stringent for sacking and hitting, in a dual position!

From the Associated Press:

ALAMEDA, Calif. — George Blanda, the seemingly ageless Hall of Fame quarterback and kicker whose 26-year career was best remembered for a remarkable run of late-game theatrics with the Oakland Raiders, has died. He was 83.

The Raiders confirmed the death Monday and issued a statement saying "we are deeply saddened by the passing of the great George Blanda. George was a brave Raider and a close personal friend of Raiders owner Al Davis."

Blanda retired a month shy of his 49th birthday before the 1976 season, playing longer than anyone else in pro football history. He spent 10 seasons with the Chicago Bears, part of one with the Baltimore Colts, seven with the Houston Oilers and his final nine with the Raiders.

He scored 2,002 points in his career, a pro football record at the time of his retirement, kicking 335 field goals and 943 extra points, running for nine touchdowns and throwing for 236 more.

But it was a five-game stretch for Oakland in 1970 that is the lasting imprint from his career. As a 43-year-old, Blanda led the Raiders to four wins and one tie with late touchdown passes or field goals.

Later that season, he became the oldest quarterback to play in a championship game, throwing two touchdown passes and kicking a field goal in Oakland's 27-17 loss to Baltimore in the AFC title game. His performance that season earned him The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

The dude, clearly, had balls made of steel.

Blanda was one of the new league's many prolific passers, throwing for 19,149 yards and 165 touchdowns in seven seasons for the Oilers. He was the AFL Player of the Year in 1961, holds AFL single-game passing record of 464 yards on Oct. 29, 1961, against Buffalo, and was chosen the league's all-time kicker.

Blanda called all the plays as was common back then, and further stepped out when kicks were required.

Blanda threw for 26,920 yards in his career and held the pro football record with 277 interceptions until Brett Favre passed him in 2007. He retired with the most points in history before the total was topped by several players in recent years.

"It certainly doesn't bother me," Blanda said about losing the scoring record. "The one record I was happy to get rid of was the one for the most interceptions, when Brett Favre got that one."

George Blanda was a gentleman's gentleman.

And embodied class upon class.

Some submit that 1976 contained the Greatest Raider Nation ever, as Blanda played with:

- John Madden as Coach;
- Ken Stabler as quarterback;
- Daryle Lamonica as quarterback;
- Fred Biletnikoff;
- Ben Davidson; too awesome and too bad;
- Jack Tatum at Safety (now passed);
- Center Jim Otto, 00;
- Linebacker Ted Hendricks - "The Stork"
- Art Shell on OT; (future coach twice)
- Gene Upshaw on guard; (and NFLPA president)
- John Matuszak on DL;
- Otis Sistrunk on DL;
- Phil Villapiano at LB;
- Willie Brown at CB;

God bless you, George Blanda.

You were the best that the Greatest Generation had to offer.

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, where he kicked a 41-yard field goal and made one extra point as the Raiders lost to the Steelers 16-10. Absolutely amazing.

My dad loved to watch you play because you were about his age and you refused to go down to injuries or age or events. He rooted for you because you were he and he was you. You took the fight back to the enemy and didn't make excuses or hold out for wages.

You have earned your rest.

You played longer than any other person in pro football history.

If no one else does, I honor you. Because I watched you play live. You gave Life your All.



Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

The man just killed the Bronco. 4th quarter, game in hand, South Stand fans celebrating, and out he trotted. End of game, Raiders win.

Working Security at those games was bad. Can't imagine the conditions if the Broncos won.

George Blanda was a class act. Always a friendly hello to the stadium workers, autographs, etc. Never heard a curse word.

Tue Sep 28, 04:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

And WSF, you nailed it, sir.



Tue Sep 28, 04:40:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Dave Miller said...

he was legend, as were the raiders of those days...

maybe he can put in good word upstairs on behalf of the team...

Tue Sep 28, 05:36:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Yeah Dave, they can use all the help they can get, can't they?

They are nowhere NEAR the Raider Dynasty that occurred lo, those many years ago. . .


Tue Sep 28, 06:01:00 PM PDT  
Blogger dmurray said...

The Incredible Shrinking Newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle put George Blanda's obiturary on the front page below the fold today. They referred to him in the copy and captions repeatedly as Mr. Blanda. Rarely have I seen the paper that doesn't know its ass from a hole in the ground refer to someone, and mean it, in such honorable terms.

Thanks for your post.

Tue Sep 28, 06:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

DM: and truly, I am amazed.

Someone at that paper must have a memeory.

As astounding as that sounds.


Tue Sep 28, 08:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger cj said...

In spite of not being a football fan, I remember George.

Sorry to see another great one gone.


Wed Sep 29, 07:02:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

He was a class act, he also ALWAYS took time to talk to military folks. He and Kenny Stabler actually bought four of us dinner one night after a game in Oakland.

Wed Sep 29, 09:40:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

NFO: Okay mister, spill it: what happened? Tell me. . .


Wed Sep 29, 05:00:00 PM PDT  

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