George Blanda passes away

George Blanda, one of the toughest and most unique players in NFL history, has passed away.

Blanda was the league’s all-time leading scorer when he retired in 1976 after 26 seasons as a quarterback/place-kicker.  A first-ballot Hall of Famer, Blanda played with the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, and finally with the Oakland Raiders.  He won AFL titles with the Oilers in 1960 and 1961.

Blanda started out as just a kicker in Chicago, but he became a record setting quarterback in Houston.  He’s perhaps best known for being the most improbable Player of the Year award winner (then called the Bert Bell Award) in history at age 43. 

Cut at the beginning of the 1970 season and 12 seasons after his first retirement, Blanda went on an insane five-week run where he either replaced Raiders quarterback Daryle LaMonica to lead the Raiders to a comeback victory or kicked a winning or tying field goal.  Every single week.

The book America’s Game describes how Blanda’s story in 1970 broke normal boundaries.  He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek. He was joked about by Johnny Carson.  He symbolized a new kind of life after 40.

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

Blanda is the placekicker on the All-Time AFL Team and didn’t retire until he was 48 years old.  He was 83.  We sent our thoughts to the Blandas and his extended football family.

96 responses to “George Blanda passes away

  1. absolutely great player, deserves all the accolades, may he RIP……………ain’t even got any wisecracks

  2. rest in peace, george. i still have memories of you playing and replacing lamonica. good memories as a kid who loved watching football.

  3. Some of my earliest sports memories are of Blanda and his run in 1970, at the tail end of his remarkable career.
    I remember hearing Bill King on the radio talk about the “ageless wonder”.
    RIP Mr. Blanda.

  4. A true legend in the nfl. It’s a shame that the last kick he saw was that shank by jano.
    First Tatum, now Blanda……..please let Al be next!

  5. He and Gordie Howe are the only athletes in the four major sports that I can remember playing and who are now over 80.
    RIP, Mr. Blanda.

  6. Very sad day. He was the real deal. Worked hard and with dignity. A sincere loss and all our prayers reach out to the family

  7. That’s a shame, RIP.
    Fortunately, he can live vicariously through this generation’s ageless wonder, Brett Favre, who won’t retire until he’s 63, once the 20 year warrenties on his bionic arm, hips, and ankles, finally expire and he’s forced into his 25th, and final, retirement.

  8. Oakraid- are you really wishing death upon someone? Get a life and learn some morals
    Gregg- thanks for not finding some way to diss the Raiders in this article.

  9. He was a great player and he gave the Raiders some real highlights later in his career. RIP, George, it was fun watching you.

  10. They don’t make em like him any more. He probably could have started for the Bills until the end.

  11. I miss you as you were (are) part of my memories of my life-I do and always will remember you well-see you later!

  12. A true professional that did what was asked of him without asking for a new contract every week. A true legend and inspiration. RIP.

  13. As a young kid watching Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis on NBC, I was transfixed each Sunday for those five weeks of magic by this “old man” who trotted out and always rescued the Raiders. It was something out of a fantasy. Now that I am 8 years older than Mr. Blanda was in that magnificent year, it seems even more improbable. Blanda was a hero of the AFL and one of the guys who made football fun when it was still a game. Well done, George. Thanks so much for making a kid’s Sunday end each week in story book fashion.

  14. George was so classic. As funny as he was tuff and talented. A true great. Guys like George didn’t make squat when they played the NFL Game. They did it for love. They earned the respect they were shown. They didn’t dance around wildly talking smack when they made a 10 yard catch or a tackle like you see today.
    Today’s NFL players don’t have a clue about humility and self sacrifice. Their sorry asses owe a major debt of gratitude to pioneers and warriors like Blanda.
    RIP “Grand Old Man”

  15. Hated the Raiders, but loved to watch Blanda.
    The Colts knocked Daryle LaMonica out of the first AFC title game in 1970 and Blanda had the Raiders with in 3 points before the Colts put the Game away with a late TD.
    R.I.P Mr. Blanda

  16. Thank you for your contributions to the game and more importantly to life. You will be missed.
    I send my prayers to to the family.

  17. RIP..
    I actually thought he was still on the Raiders Roster.. this guy epitomized the old school NFL tough guy.

  18. Godspeed, Mr. Blanda.
    He won the MVP at 43. Do you think you are going to do it at 41? The answer is no. Take it as a tip and learn from it, Hee Haw. Retire now before Clay Matthews rips you limb from limb on October 24th.

  19. I was a little kid growing up in Wisconsin, but he was the man and made watching the Raiders fun.

  20. and until his last day on earth still a better Raider QB than anyone since Rich Gannon..

  21. It’s amazing that in a time where players are dying in their 50’s, this guy lived to 83 after playing for 26 friggin seasons!!
    Even as a Stiller fan, I tip my hat to this one of a kind player.

  22. Those were the days of real Football players……..not like today where you have athletes who are taught to play football.

  23. We use the term “one of a kind” a lot, but it truly applies to Blanda. They really don’t make them like this anymore. Condolences to his family and teams, especially the Raiders.
    Rest in Peace.

  24. I sent off for his autograph when I was younger and he returned my card signed and personalised to me…awesome! RIP George.

  25. I’m reminded of this classic quote from the show Happy Days:
    Ralph – That Bears quarterback is no good. He’s washed up. He’s 30.
    Richie – That’s ridiculous. George Blanda still has a few more good years left.

  26. They don’t make em like Mr Blanda anymore, that’s for sure.
    All the best to his family.
    Oakraid: I hope you never get old, but of by chance you do, may you end up with HALF the accomplishments, respect, money and power that Mr Davis has.

  27. OMG truly the end of an era. I watched him and the Raiders for years! I remember watching him kick an all most 3/4 field field goal to win a game! From ever after he and Kenny Stabler, as well as the other great Raiders, (John Mutosak, etc. were my heroes! RIP

  28. I was thinking about him the other day, and how Brett Favre could learn to kick and hang around for another 8 years or so. Blanda was a legend when I was growing up. A real football player. The guy threw for 236 TD’s, ran for another 9, kicked 943 extra points and 335 field goals, including 8 field goals from 50 yards or longer. Simply amazing – the last of the true ballplayers.

  29. George as much as anyone got me hooked on this game…watching how excited Dad got when he’d come off the bench

  30. 1970. My first year as a sports fan (age 9). the same year Dempsey beat the Lions with the still a record 63 yard field goal, a game blacked out here in South Louisiana. Funny thing..when I confirmed the record just now in the Elias /NFL record book, George Blanda was the first name listed. I remember Blanda being so old at the time. but he was only 43.
    RIP George Blanda, you played the game the right way. Thank you.

  31. Another legend passes away.
    In the early 1960s (at Frank Youell Fiedl) I will never forget seeing Blanda QB the Houston Oilers in Oakland vs the Oakland Raiders and QB Tom Flores.
    Final Score: Raiders 52 Oilers 49 !!
    Those great games of the 1970 season were as good as they get! Bill King’s calls of those moments will live on forever.
    RIP Raider George Blanda

  32. I was in high school in 1970. I remember being amazed at George Blanda’s skills on the field for a player of his age. There was no controversy, just good clean football. What a role model he was for younger players. R.I.P. George. You will be remembered.

  33. I remember watching him kick the longest field goal I’d ever seen when I was a kid . The guy was just an amazing athlete . God bless George …

  34. I remember On The Sidelines With The Oakland Raiders on Saturdays, George was usually the talk of the week. And by the way, OakRaid, we don’t wish death upon the founder of the organization, just a few changes and maybe let go a little Mr. Davis.

  35. George added a lot of excitement back when it was still fun at the Oakland-Alameda County Colisseum, RIP.

  36. The reason why I became a Raider fan … every week he pulled one out a victory for the Raiders in the last minute … a GREAT legend.
    I hope he didn’t see Janikowski miss that easy FG yesterday.

  37. I never knew him when he was with the Bears or Oilers, but I sure do remember him with the Raiders. Throwing football with the other kids in my neighborhood, I was always George Blanda. Great memories. To me, he was the comeback kid way before Staubach. Rest in peace.

  38. I was a Raider fan as i kid and actually got to see George Blanda play in the 70’s championship game in Baltimore. George came into the game in the late part of the second quarter and played a great game. he was a true gentleman and will be missed.
    PS he lied about his age, claimed to be 43 was really 49

  39. Ahhh . . . the “glory days”.
    Thanks for the memories George Blanda! You gave my dad and I some wonderfully unforgettable afternoons. May you rest in peace . . .

  40. At the Oakland-Alameda County stadium on about the fourth week of Blanda’s miracle winning streak, someone hung a sheet which said “God Wears #16 for Oakland.”
    Now, he’s just gone back to Heaven… And I’ll miss him.

  41. With GB you truly had someone acting just like a kid, having fun out there, for the loveof the game.
    Truly a breed apart.
    Brett who?

  42. I remember him playing when I was a kid. He’s a legend. Rest in peace Mr. Blanda.
    Steeler Fan

  43. The young kids on this site have no idea who George Blanda was, or what made this guy so special. Us old coots could never really explain it to them.
    I hope the Raiders organization honors him with a patch on their uniforms, but it would be an even greater honor if they would all play with the same determination and grit that Blanda showed even into his 40’s.
    Do George right, Raiders, and don’t suck this year.

  44. George Blanda was a man’s man, a ball player’s ball player and a class act. May his soul rest in peace and condolences to the Blanda family. You should be remembered with fondness and reverence by all fans, regardless of which team you pull for.

  45. Record currently held by George Blanda –
    Passing TD’s in a game: 7 (Tied with 4 others) November 19, 1961 vs. New York Titans[1]
    Most seasons played: 26 (1949-58, 1960-75)
    Most seasons scoring a point: 26
    One of two players to play in 4 different decades: (40s, 50s, 60s, 70s) – Jeff Feagles being the other
    Most PATs made (943) and attempted (959)
    Most interceptions thrown, single season: 42 (1962)
    Held record of most pass attempts in a single game: 68 (37 completions, vs. New York Titans on 11/1/1961) until 1994 when Drew Bledsoe had 70
    Oldest person to play in an NFL game: 48 years, 109 days
    First player ever to score over 2,000 points
    Oldest quarterback to start a title game
    3rd Fewest receiving yards in a career: -16
    Most total points accounted for (including TD passes) in a career: 3,418 (not an official stat)

  46. RIP – to me you will always be the greatest player ever.
    I watched on TV at age 46, he replaced an injured QB for a few plays and THREW A TOUCHDOWN PASS!

  47. “Richm2257 says:
    September 27, 2010 5:20 PM
    The young kids on this site have no idea who George Blanda was, or what made this guy so special. Us old coots could never really explain it to them.”
    Not to worry, Richman, there’s always Brett Favre who is seeking to break Blanda’s age records. Difference is, Blanda was respected and was a gentleman. Favre is neither.
    PS, RIP George Blanda.

  48. RIP, Mr. Blanda..
    A true legend of the game, from a time when MEN played football…
    Thoughts and prayers, to Mr. Blanda’s family, and loved ones..

  49. RIP George Blanda, one of the few class acts the Raiders have had.
    Even if you disliked the Raiders, you had to respect George Blanda.
    When first the New York Jets, then the Kansas City Chiefs went to the Super Bowl ahead of the Raiders in the late 60’s a lot of Raiders cried and whined. Blanda got mad at those who doubted the AFL no matter who was there

  50. As a kid, I clearly remember that 1970 season and how he seemed to perform the impossible. He was a real old time, tough guy and as far as I am concerned the epitome of what a football player should be.

  51. George Blanda… this is not a sad day as he has been called home and lead a really good life.
    I so remember watching him come in and kick for my Raiders. He kicked straight on.
    He was out there just heaving the ball around and lighting it up as a Qb and when he would run. . it was like watching a car crash in slow motion where you didn’t want to watch, but you couldn’t look away.
    Somehow.. he always got back up.
    He made Namath look nimble.
    Sad day no.
    A day for being retrospective respect…. indeed.

  52. George Blanda was the ultimate Raider. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to attend those games in the 70’s when he put on the show in the Oakland Coliseum.
    He was in his 40’s then and that seemed so old to me at the time. Now 40 seems young (sigh). George was a fierce competitor and he kicked field goals straight on, not sidewinder like they do today.
    George, you’ll be missed terribly by the Nation.

  53. Watching players like George and Johnny U were what made the NFL/AFL really special. Today the hoodlums shoot themselves, Fight dogs, and do there dance when they score even though their TEAM? looses. I miss the really great teams and players and I no longer watch football or baseball (steroids anyone) anylonger.
    I don’t mind change if it is for the good!

  54. I signed up just so I could add my condolences to his family and pay tribute to a great legend.
    Thank you George Blanda. I bleed silver and black today mostly because of watching you as a kid.

  55. Played for all those other teams but will always be remember’d as a Raider.Hace a good journey to one of the true greats of all time.George when you get there and these sissys today stand on the sideline and whine send them a lightning bolt special delivery.

  56. Great memories….including what I think was the funniest line ever on the tv show “Happy Days” —-do any of you remember the scene?
    Richie and the gang were watching the football game on tv (set in the 1950s) when the announcer says “Now entering the game: George Blanda”. One of the kids watching stands up and says, “Don’t put Blanda in; he’s over the hill (too old).
    The show aired in the 1970s when Blanda was still playing for the Raiders.

  57. tango you fat, idiotic, retarded, moronic, drooling, window licking, redneck, hillbilly bigot: Shut your fat, idiotic hole you POS. A fat scumbag like you has no business opening his sewer about a real Raider like Blanda. Blanda and God (AKA Al Davis) were close personal friends and allies. You are a fat, puke POS.
    The Blanda family including God (AKA Al Davis) has the condolences of the real Raider Nation. Fat piles of crap like tango the POS will burn in hell for all eternity.

  58. I am truly at a loss for adjectives here.
    Pure class and someone every NFL player especially the divas could learn a thing or two from about the game and team coming first and not individual egos.
    I am 56 years old and remember George playing. I never once saw him jumping around after a great play like he owned the planet. Today someone makes an ordinary tackle and they’re leaping around like they just saved Western Civilization.
    Remember that George played in an era when a lot of these rules to protect the QB were not in place. Today anyone on the D who looks cross-eyed at the quarterback seems to draw a yellow flag.
    Well, another great is gone. The NFL Channel is doing that top 100 players of all time right now. They could do a whole lot worst than pick George Blanda as #1. God rest his soul.

  59. tango you fat, ignorant, pathetic, retarded, redneck, hillbilly, drooling, window licking, scumbag, bigot: You want to know what’s pathetic you POS? A fat, ignorant, momma’s boy like you flapping your ignorant sewer about how much of a Raiders fan you are, how much respect you had for Blanda and yet you always are putting down the team and God (AKA Al Davis). What kind of idiot band wagon jumping ass does that? Do the Nation and the world a favor you fat pile of pig crap and eat everything that mommy has under the sink you POS.

  60. To:aldavisispathetic: It is true I truly hate dead al and many of the past years draft picks. DHB, JaJUnk, etc but the fact is I am a die hard fan but unlike you I hold dead al to task and a POS like you tries to dignify a piece on George Blanda in the most un Raider like way. So GFY

  61. tango you fat, retarded, window licking, drooling, idiotic, moronic, hillbilly, redneck bigot: You are such a pathetic POS. You don’t hold anyone to task all you do is bitch. Just because someone isn’t an all pro their rookie year a fat pig like you calls them a bust. DHB has improved greatly this year and if you give him some time you might be surprised what a good player he could become. So shut your fat, retarded hole you moron. You know nothing, you are nothing.
    God (AKA Al Davis) owes a fat, ignornant, momma’s boy waterboy like you nothing you pile of pig crap. Do the real Raider fans and go to hell you POS because you never have anything constructive to say and yet you call yourself a die hard fan. I call you tango the fat, ignorant sack of pig crap.

  62. To:deadalandhisleisuresuit: DHB, he of the alligator arms, quits on routes and drops the easy ones ? So sorry I thought you meant someone else ? and let’s not forget about that awesome O line dead al has assembled ? Once again, my mistake ! You blindly follow ,a has been !

  63. tango you fat, ignorant, idiotic, drooling, banjo playing, window licking, redneck, hillbilly bigot: Damn right it’s your mistake you ignorant, uneducated, high school waterboy. DHB has dramatically improved from last year but a fat, ignorant pig like you won’t get your head out of the Doritos bag long enough to see that, you whale. So could you do the world a favor, pig, and remind us which NFL team(s) you’ve worked for? Where do you get all this expertise and experience? That’s right, orca, out of your ass. As always, you only talk out your ass because you’re just a puke high school waterboy who knows nothing, has nothing and is a total POS so GFY.

  64. DHB dramatically improved ? He had no where to go but up and his up is still pathetic just like dead al and his wonderful job assembling that awesome O line ! Give me a break and get your ass out of dead als shiny leisure suit !

  65. tango you big mouthed, ignorant, stupid, drooling, hillbilly, redneck bigot: Remind the world, hog, what NFL teams have you worked for? What’s that? None? You got all of your knowledge where? Out of your ass? From being the high school football team’s waterboy? You’re such a pathetic POS do the real Raider fans a favor, pig and GFY.

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