Mr. Clutch – George Blanda dead at 83

American professional football player kicker George Blanda #16 of the Oakland Raiders watches the game after he kicked the extra point against the Kansas City Chiefs that made him the first player in American football to score 2,000 points, Oakland, California, December 22, 1975. He was the only player to have done this until 2000. He also holds a record for the longest pro career at 26 years. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

George Blanda has been reported dead at age 83. Details are not readily available as to the cause of death at the time of this writing, but it has been confirmed by the Raiders front office.

Blanda, who’s career spanned four different decades, became a folk hero during the 1970 season. After being released in preseason, he came back to the Raiders to help lead the Raiders in five straight victories by kicking and passing the Raiders to four come from behind wins and one tie.

In week six, Blanda came off the bench to relieve an injured Darryl Lamonica and throw three touchdown passes and kick a field goal for a 31-14 win over Pittsburgh. The following week, Blanda kicked a game-tying field goal with three seconds on the clock, to give the Raiders a 17-17 tie with the Chiefs. Blanda followed that up by coming off the bench against Cleveland, where he threw a game-tying touchdown pass, then kicked the winning 52-yard field goal. Blanda’s heroics didn’t end there. Against Denver, he came off the bench to throw a late touchdown pass to help the Raiders defeat the Broncos 24-19. Finally, the fifth week of the streak, Blanda kicked a 16-yard field goal in the final seconds to aid the Raiders’ victory over the Chargers 20-17.The Raiders released a statement titled, “Raiders Mourn Passing of George Blanda.” The following is that statement:

We are deeply saddened by the passing of the great George Blanda. George was a brave Raider and a close personal friend of the Raiders Owner Al Davis.

When the Raiders Owner presented him for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, Davis called Blanda the greatest clutch player the game of pro football has ever known.

The Miracle of George Blanda in 1970 will live for eternity in the history of the Raiders as well as all of professional football. That year, Blanda’s last-minute heroics as a quarterback and place kicker resulted in four victories and a last second tie for the Silver and Black.

Our heart goes out to his wife Betty and the Blanda family and we grieve with them for our great friend.

A private funeral service will be held for the family. A memorial service will be held with the time and place to be announced at a later date.

Blanda was originally signed by the Chicago Bears in 1949 and didn’t become a starter until 1953 before being injured in 1954 after eight games. In 1959, after being the backup for the four previous seasons, Blanda lost his quarterback designation and was made a kicker only. That angered Blanda, so he retired from the game.

In 1960, the AFL and the Houston Oilers came calling and Blanda laced up his cleats to lead the most prolific passing attack in the league. He played with the Oilers until 1966, passing for over 3,000 yards in three of his seven seasons at the helm.

In 1967, Blanda became a backup quarterback and kicker for the Oakland Raiders…the rest is history.

Blanda played for a total of 26 years, the longest ever by any NFL player. He was named to four Pro Bowls, and made two All-AFL teams (one as quarterback and one as kicker). When he retired, he held or tied 27 NFL regular season records, nine post season records, five AFL/AFC-NFL/NFC Championship Game records, 16 AFL/AFC Championship Game records, and eight AFL/AFC Divisional Playoff Game records.

Here is a listing of the team records he held at the time of his retirement/leaving the team as per Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Bears’ records held by Blanda

(Records through the 1958 season, Blanda’s final season with Chicago)
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 541
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Career – 247
• [1st] Most Field Goals Converted, Career – 88
• [1st] Most Consecutive PATs Converted – 156 (1951-56)
• [1st] Most Field Goals Converted, Season – 14 (1957)
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 45 (1956)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Pass Completions, Game – 29 (vs. San Francisco, Nov. 1, 1953)
• [2nd] Most Pass Completions, Season – 169 (1953)

Oilers’ records held by Blanda

(Records through the 1966 season, Blanda’s final season with Houston)

• [1st] Longest Pass Completion – 95 (to Dick Compton, vs. Buffalo, Dec. 5, 1965)
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 596
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Season – 115 (1960)
• [1st] Most Rushing Touchdowns Rushing, Game – 3 (vs. Los Angeles, Sept. 18, 1960)
• [1st] Longest Field Goal – 55 (vs. San Diego, Dec. 3, 1961)
• [1st] Most Passing Attempts, Game – 68 (at Buffalo, Nov. 1, 1964)
• [1st] Most Passing Completions, Game – 37 (at Buffalo, Nov. 1, 1964)
• [1st] Most Pass Interceptions, Game – 6 (vs. Denver, Nov. 14, 1965; at Buffalo, Sept. 9, 1962)
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Game – 464 (at Buffalo Oct. 29, 1961)
• [1st] Most Passing Touchdowns, Game – 7 (vs. N.Y. Titans, Nov. 19, 1961)
• [1st] Most Plays in One Game, Rushing and Passing – 68 (at Buffalo, Nov. 1, 1964)
• [1st] Most Total Yards Rushing and Passing, Game – 467 (at Buffalo Oct. 29, 1961)
• [1st] Most Field Goals Attempted, Game – 6 (vs. New York, Oct. 9, 1960; vs. Denver, Sept. 14, 1963)
• [1st] Most Field Goals Converted, Game – 4 (at Buffalo, Oct. 31, 1965)
• [1st] Most PAT Attempts, Game – 8 (vs. New York, Oct. 14, 1962)
• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Career – 2,789
• [1st] Most Pass Attempts, Season – 505 (1964)
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Career – 1,347
• [1st] Most Pass Completions, Season – 262 (1964)
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Career – 19,149
• [1st] Most Yards Passing, Season – 3,330 (1961)
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Career – 189
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Season – 34 (1960)
• [1st] Most Field Goals Made, Career – 91
• [1st] Most Field Goals Made, Season – 16 (1961, 1962)
• [1st] Most PAT Attempts, Career – 304
• [1st] Most PAT Attempts, Season – 65 (1961)
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Career – 299
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 64 (1961)
• [1st] Most Passing Touchdowns, Career – 165
• [1st] Most Passing Touchdowns, Season – 36 (1961)
• [1st] Most Passing Interceptions, Career – 189
• [1st] Most Passing Interceptions, Season – 42 (1962)
• [2nd] Most Pass Attempts, Season – 362 (1953)
• [2nd] Longest Field Goal – 54 (vs. Oakland, Nov. 12, 1962)
• [2nd] Most Passing Attempts, Game – 60 (vs. Oakland, Nov. 7, 1965)
• [2nd] Most Passing Completions, Game – 31 (at Los Angeles, Nov. 13, 1960)
• [2nd] Most Pass Interceptions, Game – 5 (at San Diego, Dec. 24, 1961; vs. Denver, Dec. 2, 1962; vs. Dallas, Dec. 23, 1962; at Kansas City, Oct. 4, 1964; at Denver, Oct. 17, 1965)
• [2nd] Most Passing Touchdowns, Game – 6 (vs. New York, Oct. 14, 1961)
• [2nd] Most Plays in One Game, Rushing and Passing – 60 (vs. Oakland, Nov. 7, 1965)
• [2nd] Most Field Goals Attempted, Game – 5 (vs. San Diego, Nov. 25, 1962)
• [2nd] Most Field Goals Converted, Game – 3 (vs. Boston, Dec. 18, 1960; vs. San Diego, Nov. 25, 1962)
• [2nd] Most Points Scored, Season – 112 (1961)
• [2nd] Most Points Scored, Game – 26 (vs. Los Angeles, Sept. 18, 1960)
• [2nd] Most PAT Attempts, Game – 7 (at Denver, Nov. 5, 1961; vs. New York, Nov. 16, 1961; at Oakland, Dec. 22, 1963)
• [2nd] Best Passing Completion Percentage, Career – 48.9
• [2nd] Best Passing Completion Percentage, Season – 52.9 (1963)
• [2nd] Best Average Gain Per Pass Completion, Career – 14.2
• [2nd] Best Average Gain Per Pass Completion, Season – 17.8 (1961)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns, Game – 3 (vs. Los Angeles, Sept. 18, 1960)
• [3rd] Longest Field Goal – 53 (vs. Dallas, Oct. 22, 1961; vs. Buffalo, Dec. 11, 1960; vs. Buffalo, Oct. 14, 1962)
• [3rd] Most Passing Attempts, Game – 55 (at Los Angeles, Nov. 13, 1960)
• [3rd] Most Passing Completions, Game – 29 (at San Diego, Sept. 12, 1964)
• [3rd] Most Yards Passing, Game – 418 (vs. New York, Nov. 19, 1961)
• [3rd] Most Passing Touchdowns, Game – 5 (at Oakland, Dec. 22, 1963; vs. Kansas City, Oct. 24, 1965; at Denver, Oct. 2, 1966)
• [3rd] Most Plays in One Game, Rushing and Passing – 59 (at Los Angeles, Nov. 13, 1960)
• [3rd] Most Total Yards Rushing and Passing, Game – 418 (vs. New York, Nov. 19, 1961)

Raiders’ records held by Blanda

(Records through the 1975 season, Blanda’s final season with Oakland)

• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 863
• [1st] Longest Pass Completion – 94 (to Warren Wells, at Denver, Nov. 10, 1968)
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Career – 395
• [1st] Most Field Goals Converted, Career – 156
• [1st] Most Field Goal Attempts, Career – 249
• [1st] Most Points Scored, Season – 117 (1968)
• [1st] Most PATs Converted, Season – 56 (1967)
• [1st] Most Field Goals Converted, Season – 23 (1973)
• [1st] Most Field Goals Attempted, Season – 37 (1969)
• [2nd] Most Points Scored, Season – 116 (1967)
• [2nd] Most PATs Converted, Season – 54 (1968)
• [2nd] Most Field Goals Converted, Season – 21 (1968)
• [2nd] Most Field Goals Attempted, Season – 34 (1968)
• [Tied for 2nd] Best Pass Completion Percentage, Career – 50.6

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This article has 3 Comments

  1. George Blanda family……God bless you and thanks George for the wonderful memories. You made me a Raider fan.

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